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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August 21st, 2014

Plant-lore for the masses

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.KIC_Image_0002

Aconitum also known as wolfsbane is a particularly poisonous plant that grows mainly in the Northern hemisphere.  Apparently it was historically used to kill wolves thus the reference to the plant as wolfsbane.  The image above is from La Leyenda de las plantas : mitos, tradiciones, creencias y teorías relativos a los vegetales, which displays the myth about how this poisonous plant was formed according to the Greeks.  The accompanying text which is in Spanish appears to state that in Hecate’s garden the foam from the mouth of Cerberus fell on the plant and caused it to become a poisonous.

La LeyendaKIC_Image_0004 de las plantas is a book that primarily relates legends, myths, folklore, and traditions regarding plants.  There are images throughout the text that illustrate plants in alphabetical order usually according to region and their connection to a specific folklore.  The Rose of Bahakavali is presumably an Indian legend related to roses.

The volume also includes a chapter on animal folklore and in one section the text explains about the legendary animals native to the Americas including the eagle, buffalo, vampire bat, jaguar, caiman, and of course the hippo.

KIC_Image_0007La Leyenda de las plantas : mitos, tradiciones, creencias y teorías relativos a los vegetales / Carlos Mendoza ; obra adornada con preciosos cromotipograbados… del reputado artista Luis Labarta… Barcelona : Establ. Tipolitográfico Editorial de Ramón Molinas, [ca. 1880] can be found in Widener’s collection using Hollis.

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

August 14th, 2014

A Vacation in Normandie

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

Côtes de Normandie Guide PratiqueWith the advent of smartphones and wifi everywhere, travel guidebooks seem like a thing of the past. Back in the late 19th century though, they might have been the only way to find your way around. The guidebook Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique, though miniature in size (about the dimensions of an iPhone), is packed full of information and surprisingly large fold out maps. With tiny illustrations to accompany its advice, this guidebook would have been a handy companion for a traveler on the coast of Normandie.

Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique

Côtes de Normandie Guide Pratique

Côtes de Normandie Guide pratiqueThe first section of the book is organized into a step by step guide of what to do for a 20 day vacation in Normandie, with different suggestions for every day. Also included are sections on hotels, prices, places to eat and advice for how to interact with the people and customs of the area. After the more general information at the beginning of the book, it is split into sections for each town in the area, with general demographic information, climate, and more suggestions specific to each location. There are activities for all types of people, from casinos to outdoor excursions, so that any traveler would find something to do.

Côtes de Normandie Guide pratique

One other interesting addition to this guidebook is the advertising section in the back.  Included are typical guidebook ads such as hotels, transportation and restaurants.   However, there are also more unusual ads for that type of book like grey-poupon mustard and furniture stores.   This small guidebook encompasses everything and acts as a great window into late 19th century tourism.


Côtes de Normandie : Guide pratique correspondant aux voyages circulaires organisés par la compagnie de l’ouest / Paris : Office des Guides Conty, [1895?] is available in Widener Library’s collection.

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

August 7th, 2014

Conjoined twins

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

KIC_Image_0006  Johann Conrad Brunner was a Swiss anatomist that is best known for his work with the pancreas and duodenum.  This fold out plate displays both anatomical and skeletal conjoined twin fetuses, which is part of Brunner’s medical dissertation Foetum monstrosum et bicipitem from the University of Strasbourg published in 1692.  The thesis is bound together with about fifteen other titles almost all of which deal with complications with childbirth.

KIC_Image_0003  One of the earliest depictions of conjoined twins appear on ceramics in the Moche culture in Peru.  The Nuremburg Chronicle, also known as the Liber Chronicarum is a well-known early printed book, published in 1493 which tells of the human history of the world as related in the Bible.  It was one of the first successful books that integrated text and illustrations together and also contains two color illustrations of conjoined twins.


A dried specimen of conjoined twins can be found on display in an exhibit from the Warren Anatomical Museum, located at the Countway Library on the 5th floor.   The text Foetum monstrosum et bicipitem dissertatione hac inaugurali … cum ejusdem sceleto sistit Joh. Conradus Brunnerus … Argentorati : Typis Johannis Welperi, Anno MDCLXXII [1672]. QM690 .B83 1672, can also be found at the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School in Longwood.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager and Joan Thomas, Rare Book Cataloger at Countway for contributing this post.

August 4th, 2014

Silhouettes: from Craft to Art

TypW 720.82.567 (A)The central scene in this engraving (left) faithfully reproduces an engraved vignette that depicted a method of drawing a silhouette. The vignette was printed in the second volume of Johann Caspar Lavater’s treatise on physiognomy, Physiognomische Fragmente, zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntniss und Menschenliebe published in Leipzig between 1775 and 1778.

Typ 765.75.513 v.2
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August 1st, 2014

New on OASIS in August

Fin de l'université : poster, 1968.  FB9.A100.968p (36) Twelve finding aids for newly cataloged collections have been added to the OASIS database this month, including posters from the May 1968 Paris protests and penmanship specimens from 18th century Boston writing schools.

Processed by Susan Wyssen:
Claude Farrère Papers, 1896-1957 (MS Fr 590)

Marseille Heroin Trafficking Collection, circa 1963-1975 (MS Fr 614)

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July 31st, 2014

Komic Kats

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

Krazy Kat


The comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman ran for 31 years in the New York Evening Journal and follows a cast of animal characters set in a highly stylized Arizona home.  Although not popular among the general public, due to its more highbrow and surreal content, it is considered one of the best comic strips of the 20th century and had a large intellectual following.  Although the drawing looks like simple pen sketching, the content and self-referential nature of the strip cements Krazy Kat’s place in the art world.  A critical, if not popular, success, Herriman’s comic strip inspired generations of cartoonists.Krazy Kat
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July 30th, 2014

“Attribute the faute to my ivel hed, and not to my slothful hande”

Signature of Elizabeth I (pf MS Typ 686)Houghton has in its collection several letters written or signed by Elizabeth I of England. She wrote one of these letters (cataloged as MS Typ 686) in her own hand to her brother Edward VI, then King of England. It is dated April 21, but there is no given year. It is likely, however, that Elizabeth wrote it in 1552 because in it she wishes for her brother improved health, and during 1552 he was sick (possibly with measles and small pox).

To demonstrate her concern, she uses religious imagery: “Moreover I consider that as a good father loves his childe derely dothe punis him scharpely, So god favoring your Maiestie gretly hathe chastened you straitly, and as a father doth it for the further good of his childe, so hath God prepared this for the bettar helthe of your grace.”

Passage from letter of Elizabeth I (pf MS Typ 686)
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