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March 2, 2010

Recent Antiquarian Acquisitions at the Lewis Walpole Library

The Lewis Walpole Library's new Recent Antiquarian Acquisitions blog features new additions of early materials to the Lewis Walpole Library’s collection. The blog is a work in progress and visitors should expect stylistic, format, and content alterations over the coming while. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

Subscriptions to the RSS feed enable users to be notified automatically when new posts of recent antiquarian acquisitions are added.

Fore more information on the Lewis Walpole Library, visit: http://www.library.yale.edu/walpole/.

October 15, 2009

Otherwise Engaged: Intellectuals, Politics, Education

Visit the online exhibition here: http://media4.its.yale.edu/students/sam/MSSA/

According to the late Edward Shils, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, intellectuals are those members of society “with an unusual sensitivity to the sacred, an uncommon reflectiveness about the nature of the universe and the rules which govern their society.” In this position, intellectuals occupy a position apart from society, working as scholars, writers, philosophers, and social critics. Given their role studying and criticizing society, intellectuals need to balance the need to maintain a critical distance from politics with their desire to influence political life. Some intellectuals attempt to have an impact on society through their writings. Others work as educators in institutions of higher education. Others choose to enter public service. In addition to the value that intellectual engagement might offer to the political world, the decision to enter politics encourages intellectuals to consider their responsibility to society, scholarship, and the intellectual class itself.

The students who curated this exhibit chose topics that reveal the tensions that confront intellectuals in their engagement with society. Students used the holdings of the Department of Manuscripts and Archives at the Yale University Library to illustrate the forms of engagement that intellectuals have attempted, as well as the responses to such engagement from both the intellectual and political worlds. The richness of the collection allowed students to explore a wide array of topics relating to political expertise, higher education, and the role of science and philosophy in society.In each case, the students reveal what lies at the intersection of intellectual life and political action—conflict, risk, and the potential for creative flourishing.

This exhibit is the final project for “The Intellectual in Politics,” a political science and humanities seminar taught by Justin Zaremby. In the course, students discussed authors ranging from Plato and Martin Heidegger to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walter Lippmann in an attempt to understand the relationship between intellectual life and political life. Students attempted to define the needs and goals of the intellectual class, whether intellectuals serve as advisors, teachers, or social critics.

This project was made possible through the generosity and enthusiasm of the Yale University Library. In particular, thanks are due to Diane Kaplan, Carolyn Caizzi, Rebecca Hatcher, Rebekah Irwin, Geoffrey Little, and Barbara Rockenbach. John Stuart Gordon of the Yale University Art Gallery introduced students to the idea of curating. Pam Patterson provided technical support to make this project possible.

October 9, 2009

New online exhibition: Samuel Johnson

In celebration of the three-hundredth anniversary of his birth in 1709, this new exhibition at the Beinecke Library examines the life of Samuel Johnson—author, critic, and above all conversationalist—as it was written after his death.

Visit the exhibition between October 9 through mid December 2009 at the Beinecke Library or view the online exhibition.

Drawing on James Boswell’s correspondence and the manuscript of his “Life of Johnson,” as well as newspapers, prints, and works written and annotated by Hester Thrale Piozzi and others, the exhibition explores the tensions of memory and identity found in the competing lives of one of England’s first literary celebrities.

Learn more about the Boswell Collection at the Beinecke Library.

See the Beinecke Library's Calendar of Events for more information.

May 6, 2009

New online exhibit: Starry Messenger

Starry Messenger: Observing the Heavens in the Age of Galileo

In the autumn of 1609, the Italian mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens. When, in 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, or Starry Messenger, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler responded with enthusiasm, praising the significance of Galileo’s observations. This online exhibition reveals European observations of the heavens from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century.

March 26, 2009

The Passover Haggadah: Modern Art in Dialogue with an Ancient Text

On online exhibit that examines the art of the Passover Haggadah .

March 1, 2009

The Art of the Ketubah: A Study in Jewish Diversity

Celebrating the art and design of the Jewish marriage contract.

May 10, 2008

Arabic Music

This online exhibition focuses particularly on 20th-century composers and artists, including Umm Kulthum, the most famous singer in the Arab world in that period. Her performing career lasted for over 50 years, from about 1910 until a final illness in Cairo in 1973. For almost 40 years, her monthly Thursday night concerts were broadcast live on Egyptian radio. As a result, her audience consisted of millions, reaching far beyond the concert-going public of Cairo to households all over the Middle East.

Casimir Zagourski African Postcard Collection

This extraordinary collection consists of 200 postcards made from photographs taken by Casimir Zagourski in Africa between 1924 and 1941, which formed a part of his overal project, "L'Afrique Qui Disparait" (Disappearing Africa). The photos are set in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as the Belgian Congo), Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, Kenya, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Congo-Brazzaville. The postcards depict a variety of aspects of everyday life in these different settings, including, for example, housing styles and traditional grave sites.

Centennial of the Boxer Rebellion in China

This exhibition showcases photographs and documents from the collections of the Yale Divinity School Library that illustrate the impact of the Boxer Rebellion on the missionary movement in China.

Coins & Medals of Imperial Russia

This exhibition describes 600 coins of the Russian Empire housed in the Yale Numismatic Collection. The collecting of coins at Yale goes back at least to the early 19th century. The collection was once housed in the Trumbull Gallery, but by 1860 it was in the University Library where its arrangement was undertaken in the middle years of the century. Today the total number is closer to 100,000, making Yale's by far the largest university collection in the United States.

Croatia: Themes, Authors, Books

Documenting Croatia's important role as a crossroads between North and South, East and Wes, this exhibition spans five centuries (15th – 20th) and brings together a wealth of materials in a variety of formats (maps, manuscript and printed books, photographs) and disciplines (history and geography, linguistics and literature, religion, travel, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, neurophysiology, etc.), from a number of Yale repositories, including the Arts Library, The Beinecke Library of Rare Book and manuscript, the Maps Collection, the Medical Historical Library, and the Slavic and East European Collections.

David E. Apter Collection

This online exhibition represents the photographic work of David E. Apter, the Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Comparative Political and Social Development Emeritus at Yale. The photographs were taken to complement field research on African nationalism and the transition to independence from 1952 to 1960. They represent ordinary life during the last and final years of colonialism when expectations for a bright political future were running high, and the political and social complexities of life in a post-colonial world has not yet struck home.

From Psalm Book to Hymnal: Selections from the Lowell Mason Collection

The Psalm books and hymnals in this online exhibition are selections from the Lowell Mason Collection of Hymnology. The Divinity Library portion of the Mason Collection contains works dating from 1660 to 1961.

A Great Assemblage: An Exhibit of Judaica in honor of the opening of the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale

This exhibition is a joint effort of the many divisions of the Yale University Library that contain Judaica. Yale has a proud tradition of collecting Hebraica and Judaica that goes back to its earliest days and continues into the present.

Illuminated Islamic Manuscripts

Islamic manuscripts uniquely mirror the civilization that produced them. The entire gamut of learning can be seen in these pages, from grammar, literature, and poetry to theology, astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. The Islamic manuscripts shows not only the beauty and variety of Islamic calligraphy, illuminatiions and painting, but also the extreme care various artisans took in penmanship, binding, and papermaking. These colorful illuminations and miniatures transcend time and place, providing a window into pre-twentieth-centry Islamic culture.

Islamic Books and Bookbinding

Muslims learned the art of papermaking in the eighth century through their contacts with the Chinese, following their expansion into Central Asia. By the 11th-12th centuries, this technique reached Europe by way of Muslim Spain. Prior to the introduction of paper, Muslims used parchment (made from goatskin) and papyrus (indigenous to Egypt which they conquered in 641) for writing. Papermaking contributed to the flourishing of Islamic civilization in the middle ages, by providing readily accessible writing materials, and to the proliferation of the Islamic book and the craft of bookbinding.

Judaica: Yale Tercentennial Exhibition

This exhibition displays some of the wide range of Judaica collecting at the Yale University Library. In addition to the items from the Judaica Collection, material from the Map Collection, Arts of the Book, and the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library are also included.

Middle Eastern & Islamic Cuisine

This exhibition examines the rich history of Middle Eastern & Islamic Cuisine. Middle Eastern cooking as we know it today largely evolved from the cuisine of the glorious days of the Abbasid Caliphate, and even further back to the ancient Near-Eastern cultures of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, and Mesopotamians. Of these, the Mesopotamian is the oldest and the first documented world cuisine, of which only three Babylonian cuneiform tablets are extant today.

Moses Maimonides

This online exhibition commemorates the 800th anniversary of the death of Maimonides, 1138-1204.

Muslims' Contributions to Medieval Medicine & Pharmacology

An exhibition celebrating Muslim achievements in medieval medicine.

Samples of Arabic and Persian Calligraphy

This online exhibition displays a number of fascinating samples of Arabic and Persian calligraphy from the collections of the Yale University Library.

Treasures from the Sholem Asch Collection at Yale

This exhibition highlights just some of the material in the Sholem Asch Collection at Yale. Born in Poland and a resident of many countries- United States, France, Israel and England, among others-- Asch was one of the best known Yiddish authors of the first half of the twentieth century. A prolific writer of novels, plays and essays, he was the first Yiddish writer to be widely read in translation.

Asch had close ties to Yale, a fact not generally known. While in the United States, he lived for a time in Stamford, Connecticut, and did the research for his novels in the Yale Library.

Venice Haggadah of 1609: A Treasure for the Ages

The Venice Haggadah of 1609 is one of the most beautiful early printed Haggadot. The compositional conception of this edition differs from its precursors in the monumental layout of the page. The decorated frame consists of two columns crowned by a pediment, and a text illustration at the bottom of the page. Framing each lower illustration are the figures of Moses and Aaron on one page and David and Solomon on the other.

Victorian Missionary Periodicals

The Victorian age saw the formation of large numbers of religiously inspired organizations and movements. The missionary movement was the first of these movements to develop its own press, which was the largest religious press until it was surpassed by the temperance press in the mid-nineteenth century. Most of the missionary press was the product of denominational missionary societies or of missionary societies serving a group of denominations. Each society published magazines reporting the progress and difficulties faced in the missionary fields for their contributors. They also published periodicals for a popular audience, and juvenile magazines. While the basic function of the missionary press was to generate support for the missionary work, the periodicals also provided geographical and cultural information for the readers.

Yale and the Ancient Holy Land

This exhibition is an online version of an exhibition held at Sterling Memorial Library in winter 1998. Yale University has been involved in the archaeology and exploration of the Near East since the nineteenth century and has built a formidable collection of artifacts from that region. These include seals, oil lamps, figurines, clay tablets, journals, drawings, photographs and much more. A selection from Yale's vast holdings was put on display in the nave of Sterling Memorial Library in honor of the State of Israel's fiftieth anniversary.

Yale Russian Chorus: 50 Years

The Yale Russian Chorus began in 1953 as a musical offshoot of the Yale Russian Club.

You Shall Tell Your Children

An online exhibition featuring examples of the Passover Haggadah in Yale University Library collections.