Yale University Library News

February 2009 Archives

February 4, 2009

Celebrating Charles Darwin

The University Library is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on February 12, 1809, and the 150th anniversary year of his publication of On the Origin of Species with a series of exhibits.

Darwin presented a masterful argument for evolution, synthesizing a wealth of information in a variety of scientific fields including animal husbandry, horticulture, taxonomy, biogeography, geology, paleontology, comparative anatomy and morphology, and embryology. His mechanism for evolutionary change challenged a worldview in Britain and America dominated by natural theology -- the belief that adaptation in the natural world manifested the wisdom and providence of the Creator.

The exhibits, which are free and open to the public, are on display across the library system and examine Darwin's influence on a variety of subjects including music and theology.

Books Written by Charles Darwin and Their Recent Impact
Kline Science Library Lobby, Kline Biology Tower Lower Level
February 1 – April 30

Charles Robert Darwin: February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882
Kline Science Library Reading Room, Kline Biology Tower Lower Level
February 1 – April 30

Christian Responses to Darwin
Divinity Library Rotunda
February 1 – April 30

From Natural Theology to Natural Selection: Celebrating the Darwin Bicentenary
Medical Library Rotunda
February 1 – April 17

The Nightingale and the Crow: Darwin and Music
Gilmore Music Library
March – April

“Your sincere and heteredox friend” :Charles Darwin’s Letters to James Dwight Dana
Sterling Memorial Library Nave
January 19 – March 27

Fore more information, visit the Library's Darwin website: http://www.med.yale.edu/library/exhibits/darwin/other.html.

Posted by Yale University Library on February 4, 2009 11:05 AM

February 6, 2009

February 18: One Hour to a Better Research Paper

One Hour to a Better Research Paper
Wednesday, February 18, 4:00 p.m.
LC 101

Worried about an upcoming spring research paper? Overwhelmed by “the stacks?” Wondering how to find the sources to back up your argument?

Yale Librarian Emily Horning’s presentation will introduce students to library services and highlight some valuable research strategies. Her talk will touch on:

• Navigating the Yale Library homepage
• Understanding library research tools and databases
• Using the collections effectively
• Getting to know your personal librarian and other resources

This talk is co-sponsored by the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Old Campus Fellows program.

Posted by Yale University Library on February 6, 2009 4:18 PM

February 13, 2009

Exhibition Tour and Film Screening

Exhibition Tour: Arabic Cinema Posters

Tuesday, February 24, 12:15 p.m.

Near Eastern Curator Simon Samoeil will give a tour of "Arabic Cinema Posters," an exhibition on display in the Memorabilia Room in Sterling Memorial Library. The first Arabic film was produced in Egypt in 1923 and the Arab world boasts an active and prodigious film industry. Advertising films produced in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, the colorful and engaging posters offer unique insights on cinematic and social history in the Arab world.

Space is limited. To reserve a spot on the tour, write to: atYUL@yale.edu.

Film Screening: Adrift on the Nile (1971, 115 minutes, Arabic with subtitles)

Thursday, February 26, 2:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall
Free and open to the public

In Adrift on the Nile we meet a group of hedonistic middle-aged friends who gather each night on a luxurious houseboat for dancing, love-making, and smoking hashish. When a young reporter visits the houseboat to write a story on the group, she is outraged to learn the tragic depths of their social alienation.

Based on the novel by the Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz, this 1971 production offers a revealing look at the Egyptian elite on the eve of the 1967 War. By this time, Nasser had ushered in an age of enormous social change, leaving the sons and daughters of the old bourgeoisie high and dry.

Directed by Hussein Kamal, Adrift on the Nile features the atmospheric cinematography of Mostapha Emam and a delightful musical number.

(Please note that the film is two hours long. University employees should secure their supervisor’s permission to attend the screening. Arrangements to cover time may also be necessary.)

Posted by Yale University Library on February 13, 2009 4:50 PM

February 18: The Nazis and Dixie

The Nazis and Dixie: African Americans and Germany in the 1930s
Glenda Gilmore
Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

Wednesday, February 18, 4:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 128 Wall Street
Free and open to the public - Reception to follow

Traditional historical wisdom holds that the United States remained unaware of the extent of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and of the danger that it posed for liberty around the world. However, African Americans tracked the Nazi persecution throughout the 1930s and realized what was at stake. Germany’s treatment of the Jews was front page news in every black-owned newspaper from 1933 onward. African Americans compared it to their oppression by Southern whites, and they forged an alliance with American Jews to create a language of tolerance and democracy in the face of the Nazi example.

This is the second in a series of lectures organized by the Library to mark Black History Month. The third and final lecture by Frank Mitchell ("African American Heritage Cooking in the Post Soul Food World") will take place in the SML lecture hall on February 23 at 4:00 p.m.

Posted by Yale University Library on February 13, 2009 4:54 PM

February 18, 2009

Yale University Library Receives Major Gift from Arcadia

New Haven, Conn. — Yale University Library has received a $5 million dollar gift from Arcadia, a United Kingdom-based grant-making fund established in 2001, to make the library’s important collections of international materials more available through cataloguing and digitization.

Yale University Librarian Alice Prochaska said “This important gift will allow us to make our rare non-English-language materials better known and available through cataloguing, description, and digitization. It will also allow us to continue other important work building and disseminating access to international collections. We are proud of our achievements in supporting the growth of knowledge on international affairs, and deeply grateful for the support and recognition that Arcadia has given us.”

The Yale Library supports teaching and learning in all academic disciplines, with a strong emphasis on area studies including Africa; East Asia; Judaica; Latin America; the Near East; Russia and Eastern Europe; and South and Southeast Asia. It actively collects material from around the world and has one of the largest collections of unique non-English-language materials available anywhere. The Library also supports the work of a number of projects documenting human rights tragedies, most notably the Fortunoff Video Archives for Holocaust Testimonies and the Cambodian genocide collection.

About Arcadia
Arcadia is a charitable foundation established in 2001. Since its inception, Arcadia has committed more than $181 million in funding to works that protect endangered treasures of culture and nature. These include international projects to digitize endangered languages, archives and artifacts, as well as the protection of ecosystems and environments threatened with extinction. Arcadia seeks to ensure that the scholarly resources created are widely available, both to researchers and more generally. For more information, visit www.arcadiafund.org.uk.

About Yale University Library
One of the world’s leading research libraries, Yale University Library is a full partner in teaching, research, and learning at Yale and is visited by scholars from around the world. A distinctive strength is its rich spectrum of resources, including approximately 13 million volumes and information in all media, ranging from ancient papyri to early printed books to electronic databases. The Library is engaging in numerous projects to expand access to its physical and digital collections and employs a dynamic staff of nearly 600 who offer innovative and flexible services to library readers. To learn more about Yale University Library and its collections and services, visit www.library.yale.edu.

Geoffrey Little
Yale University Library

Posted by Yale University Library on February 18, 2009 1:51 PM

February 19, 2009

Allen Grossman Wins Bollingen Prize in American Poetry

A three-judge panel has named Allen Grossman the 2009 winner of Yale University’s Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, established by Paul Mellon in 1949, is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. Previous winners include Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, E. E. Cummings, Louise Glűck, Adrienne Rich and Jay Wright. The prize includes a cash award of $100,000.

The judges described Grossman as “a profoundly original American poet whose work embraces the co-existence of comedy and tragedy, exploring the intersection of high poetic style and an often startling vernacular. His most recent book, ‘Descartes’ Loneliness,’ is a bold and haunting late meditation, comparable to Thomas Hardy’s masterpiece, ‘Winter Words.’”

Grossman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1932, and educated at Harvard University, where he received an MA, and at Brandeis University, where he earned a PhD in 1960. Grossman remained at Brandeis as a professor until 1991, when he was named the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. He retired from teaching in 2005. His many collections of poetry include: “A Harlot's Hire” (1959), “The Woman on the Bridge over the Chicago River” (1979), “The Bright Nails Scattered on the Ground” (1986), “The Ether Dome and Other Poems, New and Selected 1979-1991” (1991), “How to Do Things with Tears” (2001), “Sweet Youth” (2002) and “Descartes’ Loneliness” (2007).

“A distinguished teacher of poetics and literature, Grossman has influenced three generations of American writers,” the judges said. “He has characterized the lyric poet as an individual who, ‘by means of this art, seeks to speak with the utmost seriousness about the totality of what he experiences,’ and Grossman himself has been refreshingly restless in that pursuit. In ‘Descartes’ Loneliness,’ he achieves a precarious balance between an aspirational vision and close attention to the world at hand. The poems progress with comic flair, dramatic inquiry and, at times, rage, through remembrance toward understanding. The figure they make is large and difficult, and the results are wholly singular. Carrying a weight that is rare in contemporary poetry, their music provides a deep-seated solace to their stark sentence.”

This year’s judges were Frank Bidart, poet and winner of the 2007 Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, Peter Cole, poet and visiting professor at Yale University, and Susan Stewart, poet and professor of English at Princeton University.

For further information, please contact Nancy Kuhl, Curator of Poetry, Yale Collection of American Literature: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu.

Three poems by Allen Grossman, from “Descartes’ Loneliness,” reprinted with permission of New Directions, 2007.


Now the sun sets and all the ways grow dark.
Persistent warble of a bird at my window,
in the dark. March 18, 2001—
my conviction of my own death. (“Get Ready!”)

Beginning with someone else’s death, a word,
and ending with the other death, my own,
the first word of the next life is “death,”
and the last word of this one is not yet

thought upon. But elegy is the song.
Teacher, do not set enigmatic tasks.


Upstairs, one floor below the Opera House
(top floor of the building), is the Caedmon
room—a library of sorts. The Caedmon room
was empty of readers most of the time.
When the last reader left and closed the door,
I locked it and moved in for life. Right now,
I am writing this in the Caedmon room.
Caedmon was an illiterate, seventh-century
British peasant to whom one night a lady
appeared in a dream. She said to him, speaking
in her own language, “Caedmon! Sing me something!”
And he did just that. What he sang, in his
own language, was consequential—because
he did not learn the art of poetry
from men, but from God. For that reason,
he could not compose a trivial poem,
but what is right and fitting for a lady
who wants a song. These are the words he sang:
“Now praise the empty sky where no words are.”
This was Caedmon’s song. Caedmon’s voice is sweet.
In the Caedmon room shelves groan under the
weight of eloquent blank pages, histories
of a sweet world in which we are not found.
Caedmon turned each page, page after page
until the last page—on which was written:
“To the one who conquers, I give the morning star.”


A gust of wind has blown the window open.
Where in the world is the scene of instruction?
Is it a mountain top? Is it a bed?
Or this long road down which we walk together,
the two of us—well acquainted. But also

strange to one another who, nonetheless,
are going the same way for a few miles
with the expectation of parting soon
without disappointment at a place we both
know of. (You! Look there!” “And you also! There!”

We two?”—More than two? Perhaps. But not fewer.
Two at Least. Each one correcting the direction
of attention of the other: “Look there.”
“There?” “Yes! Yes! Yes!—Nothing is known to one.
That mountain not. That bed not. This long road not.”

A gust of wind has blown the window open.
Look! Out there the apple tree is barren now.
The season has changed. Soon something will happen.
But where are you? Missing. Oh. When last seen?
—Now, cold rain. After that, silent in darkness, snow:

Where in the world is the scene of instruction?
In the Roman army, a soldier who has served
his time becomes a veteran, exempt,
and goes to fight afar. Before, there was
little time. And now there’s no time at all.

Posted by Yale University Library on February 19, 2009 9:28 AM

February 20, 2009

February 23:African American Heritage Cooking

African American Heritage Cooking in the Post Soul Food World
Frank Mitchell
Consulting Historian and Curator, Amistad Center for Art & Culture
and the Wadsworth Atheneum

Monday, February 23, 4:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 128 Wall St.
Free and open to the public | Reception to follow

With George Tillman's 1997 film Soul Food the conversation around the standards of African American Heritage Cooking moved from a political and cultural discussion into a public health debate. In Tillman's drama three sisters in Chicago try to maintain the family's Sunday dinner tradition as their mother dies of diabetes, presumably related to soul food cooking. Soul food is again as controversial—now for health reasons— as it was forty years ago when cultural nationalist poet Amiri Baraka coined the phrase. African American Heritage Cuisine remains a beloved culinary tradition continuing to evolve in daily practice. It is also a fascinating historical symbol whose relevance is changing as a result of the whole foods revolution, popular culture, shopping habits, and neighborhood demographics. African American Food Culture, a volume in the Greenwood Press Food Culture in America series, presents the history and culture of African American Heritage Cooking along with examples of daily practice and the food's healthy potential. Though some storied neighborhood restaurants have closed and the food is critiqued in public health literature, African American Heritage Cooking is alive and adapting to current priorities of the food world.

This is the third and final lecture in the series marking Black History Month at Yale University Library. Join us afterwards for a reception catered by Mama Mary's Soul Food.

Generously co-sponsored by the Office of New Haven and State Affairs and the Yale University Library Diversity Council.

Posted by Yale University Library on February 20, 2009 11:47 AM

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