December 2014 Archives

The staff of the Yale University Library wish you a happy holiday and best wishes for the New Year! Check library hours during the recess here.

Post on December 23, 2014 - 10:24am |

There is a vast trove of medical related collections in the Manuscripts and Archives of Yale University Library. I recently had a chance to go through some of these materials for an instruction session I co-taught for a class on the history of mental illness in America. One collection I examined was the Clements Collard Fry Papers. From 1930-1955, Fry was the head of the Department of Mental Hygiene at Yale, the office responsible for the treatment mental health problems among members of the Yale community in the early 20th century. In addition to his work with mental illness, Fry was an avid collector of historical medical documents, and the letter transcribed below is from that collection.

Timothy Pickering (1745-1829)

The 1827 letter is from the cantankerous Federalist Timothy Pickering, a former Secretary of State and Senator, and addressed to Loammi Baldwin, Jr., a well-known civil engineer who designed canals and dry docks in early America. In this epistle, Pickering offers Baldwin advice on the cause of the “derangement” of one of his brothers (it is not clear if it is Benjamin or George Baldwin), pointing to the “self-pollution” of masturbation. This was a typical view for the early 19th century and Pickering cites the highest authority for this belief, the 1760 pamphlet L’Onanisme by Samuel Auguste André David Tissot (an 1832 English translation can be viewed here. Onanism takes it name from Onan, son of Judah, who refused to impregnate the widow of his brother and practiced coitus interruptus with her. This later became associated with masturbation. See Genesis chapter 38 for the story of Onan). In that work, Tissot argued that semen was important bodily fluid that provided strength for the body and that its reduction through masturbation led to various disorders like epilepsy, poor memory, and insanity.

Loammi Baldwin, Jr. (1780-1838)

This letter is particularly fascinating for Pickering’s relation of Benjamin Rush’s opinion on masturbation. Rush thought that those who were most virtuous, especially young clergymen, were most susceptible to it, and he had warned his sons to avoid the vice. Pickering agreed with that assessment, reporting that his own sons died early because of their predisposition to onanism. He reported that the only cure for the “derangement” would be regular sex inside marriage or hard work. These types of views mirror the Federalist notion of control — it starts with the individual body and translates its way up to the body politic. This might be one reason why Pickering expressed curiosity about vegetarianism at the beginning of the letter. If people show restraint in their lives, either through eliminating meat or sexual urges from their lives, a republic based on virtue emerges.

[Transcription of Timothy Pickering to Loammi Baldwin, Jr., 27 October 1827, Clements Collard Fry Papers, Box 1, Folder 6.  Period dashes have been silently omitted. Transcription does not follow the exact layout of the manuscript]

Pickering to Baldwin, October 27, 1827, Page 1 of 3

Pickering to Baldwin, October 27, 1827, Page 1 of 3

Boston Octr. 20, 1827

Dear Sir,

            Since I have been in Boston, I have heard that one of your brothers, an engineer & ingenious draughtsman, had been deranged; but had happily recovered. That is derangement had been ascribed to a violent fever; and the latter brought on by a too intensive application to the Sedentary part of profession. When lately I was at Philadelphia, I visited & repeatedly saw a worthy friend (perhaps forty years old) who appeared to be in high health, as I had before known him to have enjoyed; But taking a meal with him, I then for the first time learned, that he never ate any meat; or rather, for many years past, had entirely abstained from animal food.  Mentioning this, afterwards, to another friend, the latter explained the motive of this abstinence. Some of his family had been liable to derangement of their understandings; and it was apprehended that the Stimulus of animal food, tended to produce an undue excitement, and this a disposition to become derangement.

But there is another, and a fatal cause of derangement in young and unmarried men – Onanism, or self pollution. The consequences [2] are not suspected. The celebrated Dr. Tissot wrote largely on the Subject; and described those consequences, the result of his experiences. consequences really most afflictive. epilebsy [sic], consumption, and the most dreadful of all, Derangement of the understanding. I have at different times conversed with some distinguished physicians, on this Subject – among them, with Dr. Rush.  Many years ago he mentioned the matter to me; and the numerous applications to him, for medical relief; some from young clergymen; the most virtuous [inserted: being] the most liable to that selfish indulgence, which I remember he called “a monkish practice.”  He added, that t[e]aring off the names of the writers, he used to give the letters to his Sons, a warning to abstain from that vice. I have become more conversant with the Subject, because the derangement, and early deaths, of my Sons William & George, arose from that fatal indulgence.

Tissot, L'Onanism, 1797 edition.

Tissot, L’Onanism, 1797 edition.

Perhaps Tissot’s pamphlet may be found at some bookstore – or if not, with some physician of your acquaintance. A short account you may find the Encyclopedia [3] Britannica.

I do not know your brother; but tis enough to have known you, to determine me to give to you the hints herein noticed; being with respect and affection yours.

T. Pickering.

I always ascribed Mr. Bushminter’s epilepsy, and premature death to the cause above suggested.  My only brother lived to a considerable age: but his epileptic fits, for 20 or 30 years, I never doubted, originated in the Same cause. A young man in New Hampshire, grandson of my brother Wingate, was a physician. He was subject to epilepsy. By accident, he met with a woman whom he married. During her life, for 2, 3 or 4 years, he was well. After her death, the fits returned: and he has now quitted the practice of medicine, and gone to work on his father’s farm; which has proved salutary.

Loammi Baldwin Esqr.

[address leaf:]

Loammi Baldwin Esqr.
     Boston

[docket:]

Timothy Pickering Oct. 20, 1827

Post on December 16, 2014 - 2:50pm |

The Provost of Yale University, Ben Polak, announced this morning to the Yale community that Susan Gibbons will assume the position of Deputy Provost for Libraries and Scholarly Communication, effective January 1, 2015. Susan’s primary role remains that of the University Librarian; her new responsibilities will also include some of Yale’s scholarly communication ventures, among them the Yale University Press.

Susan joined Yale as the 16th University Librarian in 2011. She received her B.A. in History from the University of Delaware, afterwards earning an M.A. in History and a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University. She also holds a professional MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Rochester. Prior to coming to Yale, she was Vice Provost & Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester. While at Rochester, Susan was part of a research team that adapted ethnographic and anthropological methods to the study of libraries and library users. This growing suite of qualitative library assessment methods has been adopted by cultural heritage institutions globally and earned her an international standing in librarianship.

The broad focus of the Library, which provides support and services for teaching, learning and research across all disciplines of Yale, provides Susan with a strategically diverse perspective. She will bring important expertise and vision to her work in the Provost’s Office. She has been an exemplary administrator, with a visionary approach to the role of the Library in the academic and social fabric of Yale. Provost Polak stated that he is “delighted that Susan will be joining us in this new role.”

The Yale University Library is one of the world’s leading research libraries and a highly valued partner in the teaching and research mission of Yale University and scholarly communities worldwide. It is committed to fostering intellectual growth by collecting, organizing, preserving, and providing access to a rich and unique record of human thought and creativity. One of the Library’s distinctive strengths is its rich spectrum of resources, which include more than 15 million volumes and information in all media, ranging from ancient papyri to early printed books to electronic databases. Housed in 15 libraries, including Sterling Memorial Library, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the new Center for Science and Social Science Information, it employs a dynamic, diverse, and innovative staff of over 550 individuals. For additional information about the Yale University Library, please visit the Library’s website at www.library.yale.edu.

Post on December 11, 2014 - 11:31am |

December 11, 2014

Yale Digital Humanities Lab

Yale University Library received a $3 million award from The Goizueta Foundation to fund the creation of the Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab) in Sterling Memorial Library. Yale’s world-class collections offer unparalleled source material for humanistic inquiries. With the launch of the DHLab in fall 2015, we can now push these inquiries further by incorporating digital methods that allow us to see our (literary, historical, cultural, artistic) data at new scales. The Goizueta Foundation, which was founded in 1992 by Roberto Goizueta (Yale '53), provides financial support to innovative non-profit organizations in order to promote lasting change in education and family services.

Read more about the The Goizueta Foundation and the DHLab's mission here.

Post on December 11, 2014 - 1:41pm |

Yale University Library has received a $3 million award from The Goizueta Foundation to inaugurate a comprehensive initiative in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education at Yale by launching a Digital Humanities Laboratory to be located in Sterling Memorial Library (SML). Indicative of the interdisciplinary vision inspired by STEAM, the laboratory will provide expertise, equipment, and facilities for faculty and students across a wide range of subjects. A portion of the award will also establish an endowment fund to support STEAM education at Yale.

STEAM embodies the idea of amplifying the strengths of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by combining them with the creativity, visual acuity, and aesthetics drawn from the arts. The Goizueta Foundation’s significant contribution to the STEAM educational enterprise will build on a strong tradition of innovation in teaching and learning across disciplines at Yale and will greatly advance the integration of science, technology, and the humanities in education and research.

Yale University Librarian Susan Gibbons remarked, “The establishment of the Digital Humanities Laboratory provides a locus for the burgeoning interdisciplinary initiatives across Yale which explore teaching, learning, and research at the intersections of STEAM. We are very grateful to The Goizueta Foundation for providing Yale with the opportunity to develop robust support and services for faculty and students.”

The Digital Humanities Laboratory will catalyze existing STEAM-based projects at Yale and support the exploration of new ideas that connect established disciplines and audiences with Yale’s world-class cultural heritage collections. The term “digital humanities” encompasses a variety of emerging practices that transcend the boundary between STEM and the arts and humanities, including the computational analysis of cultural data and the democratization of teaching and research through global networks. Technologists, scientists, and humanities scholars on the Yale faculty who are already pioneers in STEAM education, as well as those who are newcomers to the field, will be able to use the laboratory to create new and compelling ways for scholars to engage with the sciences, arts, and digital technology in the twenty-first century.

“We believe that STEAM is a critical component of twenty-first-century learning, and The Goizueta Foundation is pleased to join with Yale University in this strategic initiative. It will provide a unique opportunity to join the university’s historic strengths in teaching and learning in the humanities with my father’s vision for innovation and creativity in education and public life,” commented Olga Goizueta Rawls, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of The Goizueta Foundation.  

About The Goizueta Foundation

The Goizueta Foundation was established in 1992 by the late Roberto Goizueta, former Chief Executive Officer of the Coca-Cola Company. The mission of the Atlanta-based foundation is to empower individuals by partnering with innovative non-profit organizations to produce lasting change in the areas of education and family services.

Mr. Goizueta graduated from Yale College in 1953 with a degree in engineering, and The Goizueta Foundation has been a generous donor to Yale, especially in the areas of biomedical and chemical engineering. Most recently, the foundation has supported the Advanced Leadership Program in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Science, Technology, and Research Scholars (STARS) Program in Yale College, designed to support historically underrepresented students in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. For more information, please contact amanda.patrick@yale.edu, Director of Communications, Yale University Library.

Post on December 11, 2014 - 9:57am |

The Bass Glass Project is now accepting applications for spring 2015 term projects using Google Glass. Two sets of "Bass Glass" devices are being offered by means of a call for proposal. The application and more information about the project can be accessed on the Bass Glass web page. The application is open to Yale faculty, staff, and students with a valid Yale Net ID. Applicants will be asked to choose a specific time duration (short-term or long-term) to use the device, and will be asked to include a description on how the device will be used. The Bass Glass Project committee will convene shortly after the proposal deadline to make its decisions and notify the selected recipients. The deadline for spring project proposals is January 5, 2015. To help generate ideas, here is a list of several creative use cases for how Google Glasses have been implemented by Explorers including an education innovation infographic. If you have any questions, please contact the Bass Glass Project at: bassmedia@yale.edu Good luck and glass on!

Post on December 9, 2014 - 8:47am |

December 8, 2014

[Evert J. Bancker] by Henry Dawkins, circa 1754-1767, approximately 9.5 x 7.5 cm. Pearson-Lowenhaupt Collection of English and American Bookplates (BKP 30)

Evert J. Bancker (1721-1803) was a New York City merchant and later became speaker of the New York State Assembly. His Chippendale-styled armorial bookplate, engraved by Henry Dawkins (active circa 1753), includes a shield with a figure resembling the number 4. Merchants, masons, and other artisans have a long tradition of using personalized marks and seals. Variations on this figure date back hundreds of years, and multiple generations of Bancker family bookplates also bear this symbol. As Howard James Banker notes in his 1909 publication, “if there is something of mystery as to [the figure’s] origin and significance, it but adds to its interest as a family symbol” (p. 17).

Chippendale bookplates reflect some of the same 18th-century design trends as Thomas Chippendale’s furniture, including elaborate scrollwork and garland flourishes. Yet Charles Dexter Allen (1865-1926), author of  American Book-plates: A Guide to Their Study with Examples (1894), characterizes some of Dawkins’s extrinsic design elements as “Chippendalism run wild” (p. 128).  

The Yale Bookplate Collection comprises an array of graphic works, such as this specimen by Dawkins, in addition to both archival and published materials related to bookplates.  

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References

Allen, Charles Dexter. American Book-plates: A Guide to Their Study with Examples. New York: Macmillan and Co., 1894. https://archive.org/details/americanbookpla00browgoog

Banker, Howard James. A Partial History and Genealogical Record of the Bancker or Banker Families of America and in particular the Descendants of Laurens Mattyse Bancker. Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Company Printers, 1909. https://archive.org/details/partialhistoryge00bank

Post on December 8, 2014 - 2:16pm |

Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall
Wednesday December 10, 2:00pm

New Haven rare book dealer William Reese will discuss how the business of dealing in rare books and manuscripts functions. He will discuss how material is acquired and marketed, issues of cataloging and description, how auctions and appraisals work, and other marketplace issues.

William Reese '77 is an antiquarian bookseller living in New Haven, CT. His firm, William Reese Company, founded in 1975 when he was a sophomore, is one of the leading rare book dealers in the world, specializing in Americana, travels and voyages, and literature.

The talk is sponsored by SCOPA and is free and open to the public.

Post on December 8, 2014 - 12:17pm |

Wednesday December 17, 10:30am-12 noon
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall

Patricia Hswe, Digital Content Strategist and Head, ScholarSphere User Services at Penn State University and Daniel Coughlin, Ph.D. Candidate at Penn State UniversityDescription: Yale University Library and Yale ITS are pleased to sponsor a conference and public lecture on ScholarSphere, a software project developed at Penn State University, based on the same open-source Hydra/Fedora framework in use at YUL.

Yale University Library and ITS are investigating the possible adoption of this solution to enable Yale faculty and researchers to self-archive their own digital content in a managed, secure repository for controlled or open dissemination as well as for their own use. Our speakers will talk about the ScholarSphere project both from a technical perspective and as a service model. More information on the ScholarSphere website here.

Post on December 8, 2014 - 12:19pm |

December 5, 2014

Matthew Jockers, Digital Humanities Lab

Matthew Jockers, Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jockers based the workshop on the first few chapters of his new book Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature. (You can view an electronic version of this book in Yale’s online catalog.) The concepts and techniques covered included word frequency, token distribution, and correlation.

The workshop was held in Bass Library, L01.

Workshop schedule:

SESSION ONE (3:30pm–4:45pm) covered: the R computing environment, R console vs. RStudio, basic text manipulation in R, word frequency

SESSION TWO (5:00pm–6:30pm) entailed: dispersion plots, Correlation, bonus material (time permitting)

Post on December 5, 2014 - 12:57pm |