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

We are happy to announce about new ILL service for copies of articles from Ōya bunko. As you many of you know, the bunko holds many treasures of post war popular magazines which are rarely held in academic libraries and hard to access. If you can identify citations of articles fromWeb Oya database and send the citation to me, we will be happy to get the articles if the magazines and journals are not held at Yale.

About Ōya bunko 

About Web Ōya (https://www.oya-bunko.com/)

Web Oya is an online database of the index from the Ōya Sōichi Bunko, which is well known for its strong collection of popular weekly, general interest, and women's magazines. Web Oya lets you search titles, keywords and people (as authors or subjects) of popular magazine articles from 1988 to 1995.

Although the database is rapidly and continuously adding contents from magazines published in 1868 to 1987, for full coverage of the collection, please consult their print version in the East Asia Library Reference Room (SML 219). Please note, we can only obtain articles which you find in the online database version, not the print version of index. 

Post on April 1, 2015 - 8:00pm |

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 |