September 15th, 2014

Pictures of a president

sculling  TRRR   TR speaking  Nairobi

Theodore Roosevelt was arguably the first truly modern president; nowhere is this more evident than in the thousands of photographs taken of him which capture his larger-than-life personality and incredibly productive life.

The Theodore Roosevelt Collection photographs, comprising over a hundred boxes of several thousand images, are the most heavily used materials within the collection, and are frequently requested by researchers, students, and visitors. Photographs of TR’s life from 1858-1910 can be searched and viewed online; photographs from 1910-1919 can be viewed by contacting the curator.

Many images from the collection can be seen in Ken Burns’s seven-part documentary “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”, airing this week on PBS.  More information on Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt at Harvard can be found here.

Thanks to Heather Cole, Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, for contributing this post.


September 12th, 2014

Glossing the Law in Houghton Library MS Typ 121

So why would the Ames Foundation, which focuses on the history of law, want to have Houghton MS Typ 121 digitized? There are dozens of manuscripts of the Digestum vetus, roughly the first third of Justinian’s Digest or Pandects, which is itself the largest part of the Corpus Iuris Civilis, the compilation of texts of Roman law made by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the year 533 CE. Houghton’s is certainly not the oldest manuscript of the Digest. There is one that was compiled in the late 6th or early 7th century that is in the Laurentian Library in Florence. Nor is it the oldest manuscript that contains the Accursian gloss, an elaborate series of marginal notes that summarized a century of work on this text, and that was compiled around the year 1240. It is, however, an early example of the Vulgate text of the Digest, which differs somewhat from the modern critical edition, and it contains the Accursian gloss from a period relatively close to the compilation of the gloss itself. The Vulgate text and the Accursian gloss were the base texts of Roman law that were used by jurists from the mid-13th century until well into the early modern period. The Ames Foundation has published on its website ‘metadata’ for one of the last editions the Vulgate text with the Accursian gloss, printed in Lyon in 1604. It has recently added the ‘metadata’ for the Houghton manuscript to the same site.
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September 11th, 2014

Adventures of Fido

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Le Aventures de Fido Caniche Le Aventures de Fido Caniche by surrealist artist Valentine Hugo, is an intricately detailed picture book that follows a dream sequence of Fido, an innocent, inquisitive poodle.  In the dream Fido visits other exotic animals including a peacock and a lion, and at one point successfully imitates a lion to scare people and steal their food.  However, when a rainstorm washes away his scary disguise the other forest animals mock him and he realizes he must return to his owner, Marguerite.

Le Aventures de Fido Caniche

Valentine Hugo, a talented illustrator belonged to a famous circle of surrealists, at one point marrying Jean Hugo, but also was romantically involved with the surrealist Andre Breton.   She was drawn to ballet and set design, though her work was not always successful.  Her most long lasting artistic endeavor and partnership was with Paul Éluard.  Her art was successful in her lifetime and she was in several surrealist exhibitions.  There was also a posthumous retrospective of her work exhibited at Centre Culturel Thibaud de Champagne in 1977.

Le Aventures de Fido Caniche

Houghton Library has several other works with Hugo’s illustrations including: Le phénix. Avec 18 dessins de Valentine Hugo by Paul Eluard, Médieuses : poèmes / de Paul Eluard ; illustrés par Valentine Hugo and Mouvements de danse de l’antiquité à nos jours / Valentine Gross.  Also available at Houghton Library from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection, is a book of family photos compiled by Valentine Hugo from her younger years: Photos de familles : photograph album, ca. 1907.

 Le aventures de fido Caniche / Valentine Hugo : Paris : Guy Le Prat, c1947 is available at the Fine Arts Library.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

September 5th, 2014

The masterful work of the “Naval Binder”

Binding by the Naval Binder (detail).  EC65.B6595.695m This story starts with a little database clean-up. (Hold that yawn!) Two unrelated items in HOLLIS had the same call number. There are any number of reasons why this might have happened, but figuring out that riddle was less important than finding the erroneously-numbered book. The title in question was a curious little volume, an entirely engraved book on shorthand, Samuel Botley’s Maximum in minimo, or, Mr Jeremiah Richs pens dexterity compleated with the whole terms of the law, thought have been printed in London around 1695. The late 17th century saw a growing interest in shorthand systems, which flourished under a variety of names depending on who was promoting it – semography, brachygraphy, and tachygraphy among them; Rich’s title was particularly popular. Given the place and date of printing, it was natural as part of our investigation to consult our reference copy of Donald Wing’s Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English books printed in other countries, 1641-1700. What a relief to find that an earlier diligent librarian had penciled in the call number. Voilà – book found!
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September 4th, 2014

British pop art

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


Gerald Laing was an artist that was part of the British Pop movement in the 1960s and remains one of the most well-known today.  His work in this period was typically a painting of a reproduced image often a drag racer, skydiver, astronaut, or starlet.  One of his most famous pieces is a painting from a newspaper photograph of Brigitte Bardo, which sold at Christie’s in February 2014 for just under $1.5 million.


Laing was deeply influenced by the experiences of William Burroughs in the Amazonian rainforest in search of ‘Ayahuasca’ the hallucinogenic vine with the active ingredient Dimethyltriptamine (D.M.T.)  This beautiful volume published in 1969 is a result of that influence, it is illustrated with 23 screenprints by Laing and the text was written by Galina Valentina Golikova.  This deluxe edition of DMT 42 is no. 50 out of the 210 copies produced and each print is signed by Laing.  It comes in a soft-cover book with silver wrappers that is housed in a claret corduroy case.  The color screenprints throughout the volume are very indicative of Laing’s British Pop inclinations.


Golikova who wrote the text for DMT 42 was actually Laing’s second wife.  He ended up doing a sculptural series on her entitled Galina I to X from 1973 to 1980.  Laing states that he experienced an epiphany at Charles Sargeant Jagger’s great First World War Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in England, which led to the Galina Series.  It marked a new method for Laing who had previously only worked with sheet metal but began sculpting in clay and then casting in bronze during this period.


To see more examples of Laing’s work in DMT 42 /[text] by G. V. Golikova ; illuminated by Gerald Laing. [Deluxe edition] Stuttgart : Edition Domberger, [1969]. N7433.4.L35A4 1969bPF please visit the Fine Arts Library.  We are lucky to also have another edition of DMT 42 in a different binding which can be located at the Fine Arts Library as well- N7433.4.L35 A4 1969 PF 

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

September 3rd, 2014

New on OASIS in September

Netsuke carved as a theatrical mask. MS Thr 1040 (13)Finding aids for nine newly cataloged collections, and preliminary box lists for two recent acquisitions, have been added to the OASIS database this month, including a collection of Japanese netsuke carved in the shape of theatrical masks, correspondence of the Emerson family, and posters for musical theater.

Processed by Irina Klyagin:
Ballet Scores for Productions of Anna Pavlova Ballet, 1907-1931 (MS Thr 1029)

E. G. Stillman Collection of Japanese Theater Masks Netsuke, circa 1700-1899 (MS Thr 1040)

Netsuke carved as a theatrical mask. MS Thr 1040
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September 2nd, 2014

Burroughs in pulp

Burroughs 1This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection.

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) looms large among countercultural figures of 20th-century literature. The seminal Naked lunch is a famous source of controversy – it was banned in Boston in 1962, and ultimately redeemed in a 1966 obscenity trial before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court – but is only part of a much larger oeuvre of fiction, essays, and visual art. While Houghton Library already held a considerable Burroughs collection, the acquisition of the Santo Domingo Collection has expanded our holdings to include literary journal contributions, collaborative texts, and other works.

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August 28th, 2014

What’s New: Feuillet Fandango!

The Harvard Theatre Collection has just acquired a splendid Feuillet dance notation treasure, in the rare first edition of El noble arte de danzar a la francesa, y española, printed by Pablo Minguet circa 1760.

*2013T-66 Title Page

*2013T-66 Title Page

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August 28th, 2014

Paper Planes

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Paper airplane bookOne very unique book by celebrated German-American artist Peter Max, Paper Airplane Book, showcases both his artistic talent as well as his playful attitude towards his work.  Entirely consisting of templates for paper planes, each sporting bright colors and happy phrases, Paper Airplane Book is an exceptional take on a typical child’s toy.

An avid environmentalist, many of the slogans on his paper airplanes remind people not to litter and to take care of the earth.   Paper airplane bookOther optimistic phrases include “I can’t talk, cause I’m laughing” and “today is your day”.  Max also promotes the creativity of the reader by giving them several uncolored templates to “Go wild with colors and way-out with slogans. Do your own thing!”Paper airplane book

Peter Max, a graphic artist still active today, was inspired by the psychedelic colors of the 1960s and 1970s.  Max’s work has found great commercial appeal; he has designed campaigns from everything from the World Cup and Super bowl to graphics to adorn commercial airplanes.  Max’s art has the aesthetics of pop art and commercial illustration, and his subjects vary widely.   Several more Peter Max books can be found in the Fine Arts Library Collection as well as Widener Library.  Some titles are:  Peter Max superposter book, The Peter Max land of red and The universe of Peter Max.Paper airplane book

Paper airplane book / Peter Max. New York : Pyramid Books, 1971,is in the Fine Arts Collection.


Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

August 23rd, 2014

The Poet as Naturalist: Thomas Gray’s copy of Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae

Beetle. Linné, Carl von, 1707-1778. Systema naturae. Nor 2103.2 Among the most precious books from the library of Charles Eliot Norton, Harvard’s first Professor of Art History, is the poet Thomas Gray’s copy of Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae. Gray’s youthful interest in natural history was fostered by his uncle Robert Antrobus, an Assistant Master at Eton; in his later years he cherished his uncle’s copy of Eleazar Albin’s A Natural History of English Insects (London, 1720), to which Antrobus was a subscriber and which featured one hundred finely executed hand-colored copper plate illustrations.

Shell. Linné, Carl von, 1707-1778. Systema naturae. Nor 2103.2
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