April 2015 Archives

April 2, 2015

Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the Yale University Art Gallery are acquiring the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection, one of the nation’s great photographic collections and the definitive assemblage of portraits of Abraham Lincoln.

“With this remarkable acquisition, Yale has secured its place as the premier institution for the study of American photography from the Civil War to the Gilded Age,” says Yale University President Peter Salovey. “I am delighted that faculty, students, and scholars from around the country and around the globe will have the opportunity to study this collection, learn from it, and share that knowledge.” 

Amassed by Frederick Hill Meserve (1865-1962) with the help of his daughter Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt (1900-1978), the collection contains more than 73,000 items, including 57,000 photographic prints, as well as thousands of books, pamphlets, maps, and theater broadsides. These materials document American history from the Civil War through the end of the nineteenth century and record the emergence of photography as a distinctive cultural practice.

Among the jewels of the collection are photographs of Abraham Lincoln, including an 1863 Alexander Gardner imperial albumen portrait and Mathew Brady’s “Cooper Union” portrait.  

"Our family and the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation have preserved the collection for more than a century. The Beinecke Library will now broaden access to students and scholars and preserve it for centuries to come," says Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation.

The collection’s significance also lies in the tens of thousands of portraits of American politicians, army officers (of both the Union and Confederate forces), writers, actors, singers, scientists, African-Americans, and Native Americans. A daguerreotype of Susan B. Anthony hints at the great number of women whose portraits appear in the collection.

“The Meserve-Kunhardt Collection is a magnificent prize for Yale to attain,” says David Blight, the Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University. “It consists of unmatched Lincoln material and much else.  Scholars of America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially of photography, will find a dazzling array of material for their research.”

The collection includes examples of works from most photographers who were active in nineteenth-century America, including Alexander Gardner and his circle, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, and Mathew Brady.

“The opportunities presented to research, exhibit, publish, and teach with this vast trove of historical images are boundless, and will surely attract legions of students, faculty members, artists, and public scholars to engage actively with these materials for many generations to come, “ says Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.

In 1897 Frederick Hill Meserve began an effort to illustrate his father’s Civil War diary. He accumulated the collection over the next six decades.  Since its inception, the collection has been preserved by five generations of the Meserve and Kunhardt families.

“It is not an exaggeration to describe this collection as one of America’s first and richest national portrait galleries, but that description doesn't encompass the many rare, often unique, images of Civil War battlefields and views of Washington, D.C., New York, and other American cities,” says Laura Wexler, Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. “This archive not only chronicles life in nineteenth-century America, it traces the emergence of photography as a distinctively modern medium of record and of art.”

The Meserve-Kunhardt Collection complements Yale’s already significant collections of American photography. The Beinecke Library, Yale University Art Gallery, and the Yale University Archives house internationally recognized holdings in photography of the American West and pictures of Native Americans and African Americans. The Beinecke Library is privileged to have copies of two of the most important albums of Civil War photography, Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War and George Barnard’s Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign.

The library also houses deep collections of important contemporary American photographers such as Lee Friedlander, Robert Adams, David Plowden, Eve Arnold, and Inge Morath.

“We are excited to welcome this one-of-a-kind collection, which complements Yale’s already significant collections of American photography,” says George Miles, the William Robertson Coe Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana at the Beinecke Library. “Yale University is one of a small number of institutions that possesses the facilities and technical expertise to both care for this remarkable resource and make it accessible for teaching and scholarship.”

The collection is the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary, “Living with Lincoln,” which chronicles how five generations of the Meserve-Kunhardt family have shared the “glorious burden” of collecting, preserving and documenting a vital archive relating to Abraham Lincoln.  The documentary debuts Monday, April 13, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, exclusively on HBO.

The acquisition was made possible, in part, by a generous donation from the Rice Family Foundation.  The collection is expected to come to Yale in the fall of 2015 and portions of it will be available for research by the summer of 2016.  While the majority of the collection will be housed at the Beinecke Library, a selection of large-format, formal portraits and other images will become part of the Yale University Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is one of the world's largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts and is Yale's principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. Its robust collections are used to create new scholarship by researchers from around the world.

Post on April 1, 2015 - 9:55pm |

April 2, 2015

Friday, April 10, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm at Linsly-Chittenden Hall (LC), 317, 63 High St., New Haven, CT 06511

Andrew Abbott, Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at University of Chicago

The keynote address by Andrew Abbott entitled “The Futures for Library Research” will be given at the "Library as Laboratory: A Symposium on Humanities Collections and Research". Abbott has published several important books and articles in the history of the social sciences and the professions. Most recently, he has published a thought-provoking guide to library and internet research (Digital Paper: a Manual for Research and Writing with Library and Internet Materials, Chicago: 2014). His 2011 article on the interrelated changes in disciplinary practice and library growth in the twentieth century detailed the ways in which librarians and researchers have often worked at cross-purposes even as the production of scholarly work and collections exploded.

The symposium will include presentations on the use of our collections in historical perspective, a discussion of what circulation and browsing data tells us about how collections are used, and the results of an ethnographic study of the research practices of current graduate students. The day includes a panel discussion with faculty and librarians on the challenges and opportunities of humanities library research in the 21st century. The main audience for this symposium includes Library staff, Yale faculty and graduate students, as well as interested scholars in the region.

Post on April 1, 2015 - 9:43pm |

April 2, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2:30 pm, Bass Library LO1A

What is the actual historical relation between close reading and non-close or "distant" methods of textual analysis? This talk by Yohei Igarashi, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, demonstrates that I.A. Richards's inaugural theories of close reading were shaped by his era's statistical analyses, particularly the genre of the frequency-based word list. Recovering an important chapter from the history of literary studies that has eluded digital humanities discourse, this talk hopes to enrich our understanding of the digital humanities as well as close reading by looking to the former's pre-digital history. All are welcome.

Post on April 1, 2015 - 9:38pm |

April 20, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 3:00pm at the Center for Science and Social Science Information (CSSSI), 219 Prospect Street

In conjunction with the new CSSSI media exhibit "Anthropology at Yale", Professor Claudia Valeggia will share aspects of her current research on the biological and cultural correlates of life transitions among the indigenous Toba/Qom people of northern Argentina. She is the Director of the Chaco Area Reproductive Ecology Program and the Co-director of the Reproductive Ecology Laboratory. A reception will immediately follow her talk and all are welcome!

Post on April 20, 2015 - 12:44pm |

April 20, 2015

Sunday, April 26 at 4:00pm at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall Street.

This recital is in honor of the 25th anniversary of the endowment of the Joseph and Rosalyn Newman Yiddish Collection at the Yale University Library. It will be performed by Yale students with accompaniment by Jay Gitlin on the piano and Vinny Oneppo on the clarinet. The recital will be preceded with talks given by Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, who will speak on "Yiddish Sheet Music in the Tenement Era"; and Dr. Michael Ochs, retired Richard F. French Music Librarian at Harvard University and senior lecturer on music, who will speak about "Tailoring an Operetta to Its Audience: Joseph Rumshinsky’s Di goldene kale (1923)". The event is sponsored by the Yale Library Program for Judaic Studies, the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, the Yale Program in Judaic Studies, and the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. The recital and talks will be followed by a reception to which all are welcome.

Post on April 20, 2015 - 12:38pm |

April 24, 2015

Opening hours in Bass Library and Sterling Memorial Library have been extended in the coming weeks. Between April 24 and May 4, Bass Library will remain open until 2:45 am Sunday-Thursday, and until 11:45 pm on Friday and Saturday. Bass will also open early at 10:00 am on Sunday. Sterling will remain open until 11:45 on April 24, April 25, and May 2. To view the daily hours for seven of Yale’s libraries, access the Library homepage. From the homepage, follow the links at “Today’s Hours” to see hours for the entire week at all libraries.

Post on April 24, 2015 - 12:35pm |

April 27, 2015

Thursday, April 30, 1:30-3:00 PM, Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), A001

This talk on Thursday–the latest in the Day of Data series–will examine a computer simulation recreating the universe from the Big Bang to today.

We live in a remarkable era. We can directly see how our universe has evolved over time in the past 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. Today, we use astronomical observations and computer simulations in combination to test some of our wildest imaginations about what our universe is made of and how it began and evolved over the cosmic time. In this lecture, Daisuke Nagai will describe the state of affairs on our understanding of the universe and how computational modeling plays an essential role in interpreting ever-growing astronomical datasets of galaxies, stars, and planets and addressing some of the most confounding questions about our own universe.

Daisuke Nagai is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University. His research interests lie in the area of cosmology and astrophysics, specializing in theoretical and computational modeling of the structure formation of the Universe and its application to cosmology.

Post on April 27, 2015 - 1:35pm |

April 30, 2015

Due to upcoming renovations, the Beinecke Library's reading room will close at 4:45 pm on Friday, May 8. The public exhibition space will remain open through Monday, May 18. A temporary reading room will open on Tuesday, May 19, in the Franke Family Reading Room in Sterling Memorial Library. It will operate throughout the renovation, though access to some collections will be limited. There will be no access to Beinecke collections from May 9 until the temporary reading room opens. All the latest details about the renovation and closing times can be found here.

Post on April 30, 2015 - 11:43am |

April 30, 2015

Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, Tuesday May 5, 1:00 pm

Remi Castonguay and Suzanne Lovejoy from the Gilmore Music Library, and Brian Meacham, Archive and Special Collections Manager at the Yale Film Study Center, will present on an Arcadia-funded project entitled: Preserving Films in the Benny Goodman Archive. The Benny Goodman Archive is an amazing special collection in the Gilmore Music Library and part of it is composed of 16 and 35 mm films that were in serious need of preservation treatment. The films mostly date from the 1950s with contents ranging from home movies, to Hollywood feature excerpts, television broadcasts, and documentary footage. This presentation will provide an historical overview of the Goodman Archive to put the films into a larger context. Then, we will discuss some basic aspects of film preservation and the challenges this collection presented. Most importantly, we will provide an overview of the film collection’s contents through the projection of numerous excerpts. Join us for this exciting opportunity to watch some rarely seen footage. BYO Popcorn! All welcome!

This talk is sponsored by SCOPA.

Post on April 30, 2015 - 11:33am |