February 26th, 2015

A Beatnik Refuge

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

Greenwich VillageGreenwich Village by Fred McDarrah is a history of the New York City neighborhood from its inception as Old Green Village through the 1960s.  A detailed account from its time as a Dutch Colony to its incarnation as a refuge for counterculture and beatnik poets, McDarrah paints a picture of one of the most beloved parts of New York.  An introduction by David Boroff explains the importance of keeping history alive in New York and laments the destruction of other historical neighborhoods.  Filled with black and white photos of city streets and the people who inhabit them, Greenwich Village shows the cultural context of the 1960s.Greenwich VillageGreenwich Village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Greenwich Village
Fred McDarrah was an American staff photographer for the Village Voice and an author of several books on the beat generation.  Several of his books are available in the Harvard Library collection including New York, N.Y. : a photographic tour of Manhattan Island from Battery Park to Spuyten Duyvil / Fred W. McDarrah, Kerouac and friends : a beat generation album / Fred W. McDarrah, and Beat generation : glory days in Greenwich Village / Fred W. McDarrah, Gloria S. McDarrah.  Greenwich Village. With an introd. by David Boroff / Fred W. McDarrah is in the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection available at Widener Library.

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

February 24th, 2015

The Two Guildford Mathematicians

The charming town of Guildford, 40 minutes southwest of London on South West Trains, is associated with two famous British logician-mathematicians. Alan Turing (on whom I seem to perseverate) spent time there after 1927, when his parents purchased a home at 22 Ennismore Avenue just outside the Guildford town center. Although away at his boarding school, the Sherborne School in Dorset, which he attended from 1926 to 1931, Turing spent school holidays at the family home in Guildford. The house bears a blue plaque commemorating the connection with Turing, the “founder of computer science” as it aptly describes him, which you can see in the photo at right, taken on a pilgrimage I took this past June.

…the family home… The Turing residence at 22 Ennismore Avenue, Guildford
…the family home…
The Turing residence at 22 Ennismore Avenue, Guildford

And this brings us to the second famous Guildford mathematician, who it turns out Turing was reading while at Sherborne. In the Turing docudrama Codebreaker, one of Turing’s biographers David Leavitt visits Sherborne and displays the huge ledger used for the handwritten circulation records of the Sherborne School library. There (Leavitt remarks), in an entry dated 11 April 1930, Turing has checked out three books, including Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. (We’ll come back to the third book shortly.) The books were, of course, written by the Oxford mathematics don Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under his better known pen name Lewis Carroll. Between the 1865 and 1871 publications of these his two most famous works, Carroll leased “The Chestnuts” in Guildford in 1868 to serve as a home for his sisters. The house sits at the end of Castle Hill Road adjacent to the Guildford Castle, which is as good a landmark as any to serve as the center of town. Carroll visited The Chestnuts on many occasions over the rest of his life; it was his home away from Christ Church home. He died there 30 years later and was buried at the Guildford Mount Cemetery.

…through the looking glass… Statue of Alice passing through the looking glass, Guildford Castle Park, Guildford
…through the looking glass…
Statue of Alice passing through the looking glass, Guildford Castle Park, Guildford

Guildford plays up its connection to Carroll much more than its Turing link. In the park surrounding Guildford Castle sits a statue of Alice passing through the looking glass, and the adjacent museum devotes considerable space to the Dodgson family. A statue depicting the first paragraphs of Alice’s adventures (Alice, her sister reading next to her, noticing a strange rabbit) sits along the bank of the River Wey. The Chestnuts itself, however, bears no blue plaque nor any marker of its link to Carroll. (A plaque formerly marking the brick gatepost has been removed, evidenced only by the damage to the brick where it had been.)

…The Chestnuts… The Dodgson family home in Guildford
…The Chestnuts…
The Dodgson family home in Guildford

Who knows whether Turing was aware that Carroll, whose two Alice books he was reading, had had a home a mere mile from where his parents were living. The Sherborne library entry provides yet another convergence between the two British-born, Oxbridge-educated, permanent bachelors with sui generis demeanors, questioned sexualities, and occasional stammers, interested in logic and mathematics.

But there’s more. What of the third book that Turing checked out of the Sherborne library at the same time? Leavitt finds the third book remarkable because the title, The Game of Logic, presages Turing’s later work in logic and the foundations of computer science. What Leavitt doesn’t seem to be aware of is that it is no surprise that this book would accompany the Alice books; it has the same author. Carroll published The Game of Logic in 1886. It serves to make what I believe to be the deepest connection between the two mathematicians, one that has to my knowledge never been noted before.

…Carroll’s own copy… Title page of Lewis Carroll, The Game of Logic, 1886. EC85.D6645.886g (A), Houghton Library, Harvard University.
…Carroll’s own copy…
Title page of Lewis Carroll, The Game of Logic, 1886. EC85.D6645.886g (A), Houghton Library, Harvard University.

After watching Codebreaker and noting the Game of Logic connection, I decided to refresh my memory about the book. I visited Harvard’s Houghton Library, which happens to have Carroll’s own copy of the book. The title page is shown at right, with the facing page visible showing a sample card to be used in the game. The book was sold together with a copy of the card made of pasteboard and counters of two colors (red and grey) to be used to mark the squares on the card.

The Houghton visit and the handling of the game pieces jogged my memory as to the point of Carroll’s book. Carroll’s goal in The Game of Logic was to describe a system for carrying out syllogistic reasoning that even a child could master. Towards that goal, the system was intended to be completely mechanical. It involved the card marked off in squares and the two types of counters placed on the card in various configurations. Any of a large class of syllogisms over arbitrary properties can be characterized in this way, given a large enough card and enough counters, though it becomes unwieldy quite quickly after just a few.

… marked off in squares… The game card depicting a syllogism. Lewis Carroll, The Game of Logic, 1886. EC85.D6645.886g (A), Houghton Library, Harvard University.
… marked off in squares…
The game card depicting a syllogism. Lewis Carroll, The Game of Logic, 1886. EC85.D6645.886g (A), Houghton Library, Harvard University.

(The photo at right shows the card and counters that came with the book. I’ve placed the counters in such a way as to depict the syllogism:

No red apples are unripe.
Some wholesome apples are red.

∴ Some ripe apples are red.         )

To computer scientists, this ought to sound familiar. Just six years after checking out The Game of Logic from his school library, Turing would publish his groundbreaking paper “On computable numbers”, in which he describes a system for carrying out computations in a way that is completely mechanical. It involves a paper tape marked off in squares, and markings of at least two types placed on the tape in various configurations. Any of a large class of computations over arbitrary values can be characterized in this way, given a large enough tape and enough markings, though it becomes unwieldy quite quickly. We now call this mechanical device with tape and markings a Turing machine, and recognize it as the first universal model of computation. Turing’s paper serves as the premier work in the then nascent field of computer science.

Of course, there are differences both superficial and fundamental between Carroll’s game and Turing’s machine. Carroll’s card is two-dimensional with squares marked off in a lattice pattern, and counters are placed both within the squares and on the edges between squares. Turing’s tape is one-dimensional (though two-dimensional Turing machines have been defined and analyzed) and the markings are placed only within the squares. Most importantly, nothing even approaching the ramifications that Turing developed on the basis of his model came from Carroll’s simple game. (As a mathematician, Carroll was no Turing.) Nonetheless, in a sense the book that Turing read at 17 attempts to do for logic what Turing achieved six years later for computation.

I have no idea whether Lewis Carroll’s The Game of Logic influenced Alan Turing’s thinking about computability. But it serves as perhaps the strongest conceptual bond between Guildford’s two great mathematicians.

Thanks to Stuart M. Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and Faculty Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, for contributing this post from his blog The Occasional Pamphlet.

February 23rd, 2015

American Paintings at Harvard

The recent publication of American Paintings at Harvard, Volume 1: Paintings, Watercolors and Pastels by Artists Born Before 1826 (Harvard Art Museums, 2014) is a monumental achievement and makes fascinating reading. Theodore Stebbins, Jr., and Melissa Renn have led a distinguished team of scholars and curators and they are all to be congratulated on the creation of an authoritative reference work. We are pleased to report that five works from the Houghton Library collection are included in this first volume. Among them are Charles Wilson Peale’s watercolor on ivory portrait of George Washington, MS Am 1375, and the gift of William B. Osgood Field in 1943 (Catalogue no. 348).

Peale, Charles Wilson, 1741-1827. George Washington, c. 1775. MS Am 1375

A story was passed down in the family of the owner, Mrs. [Hannah Erwin] Israel, that she had received the miniature directly from Washington as his thanks for valuable information she conveyed to him about the British army and its plans. There is, however, no other support for this legend, though the warmth of Washington’s expression in the miniature sets it apart from the others Peale made at this time, and suggests that he or the general may have had a special purpose in mind for it. (p. 384)

Otis Allan Bullard’s portrait of Emily, Austin and Lavinia Dickinson, the gift of Gilbert H. Montague in 1950 (Catalogue no. 63).

Bullard, Otis Allan, 1816-1853. The Dickinson children, c. 1840.

In her left hand Emily holds a book of floral illustrations with a pink rose resting in its open pages, an image that speaks of Emily’s lifelong love of gardening and botany, and reflects her lasting interests in collecting and pressing flowers. (p. 110)

This post was contributed by William P. Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.

February 19th, 2015

Medicine for the masses

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

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Ever wondered where to buy first aid supplies, medical equipment, or prescriptions if you lived in 19th-century Europe?  Look no further than Guide Medical, translated as a Medical Guide to aid recovery in case of accidents or illness : instructions on performing medical prescriptions.  Authored by H. Finck who owned a shop in Geneva, Switzerland this catalog gives us a glimpse into the buying habits of people in this time period.  

Finck, a German apothocary took over the original shop from a French pharmacist and in a few short years took it from a modest corner store to one of the largest pharmacy’s in Switzerland.

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In addition to having the traditional items such as medical supplies and patent medicines Finck also carried perfume, sponges, and even had an American soda-water fountain.  Apparently the shop was quite modern for the time with lights set in walnut wood and windows that were glass cased so that you could see the whole interior of the shop from the outside.  A counter ran around the shop on three sides with various dispensers, along with a beautiful glass show case for various types of bottles for purchase.

Finck was really marketing to both the medical professional and the casual consumer which is probably what made him so successful. This is very evident in the image that describes how one would get the appropriate measurement for socks.

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Guide médical pour faciliter les secours en cas d’accidents ou de maladie : instructions sur l’exécution des prescriptions médicales / par H. Finck, pharmacien.   Genève : Imprimerie Ch. Zoellner, 1895.  RC86.8.F49 1895 can 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.

February 16th, 2015

Printed and Bound at the Monastery

A recent acquisition from Nina Musinsky Rare Books in New York is a copy of Leonardus de Utino’s Sermones de Sanctis, printed, probably rubricated and certainly bound at the Monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg in 1474. An inscription records it as a gift by Johannes Lescher, Rector of St. Martin’s church in Brixen to his church in 1478. A later inscription records the bequest of the book by Adam Schreindl in 1591 to the Jesuit College in Munich and from there it passed to the Royal Library in Munich where it was later sold as a duplicate. More recently it was in the New York collections of George Abrams (1919-2001) and Helmut N. Friedlaender (1913-2008).

Leonardus de Utino. <i>Sermones de Sanctis</i>. [Augsburg: Monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra], 1474. 2014-1062

This is the third dated book from the short-lived press of the Benedictine monastery of SS. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg which was an important center of manuscript production in the early 15th century. In 1472 its abbot Melchior von Stainhaim embarked on an ambitious project to establish a monastic press intended for the use of the monks. Surviving documents show the abbot spent considerable time and money setting up a well-equipped workshop with five presses and a variety of types. This and other copies of books printed there suggest that there was also a rubrication shop and a bindery.

This post was contributed by William P. Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.

February 12th, 2015

New on OASIS in February

Finding aids for seven newly cataloged collections were added to the OASIS database this month:

Processed by: Nora Garry, Laurel McCaull, Micah Hoggatt, Susan C. Pyzynski, and Bonnie B. Salt
Playbills and Programs Concerning Female “Stars”, 1767-1962 (TCS 72)

Processed by Irina Klyagin:
Nadine Baylis Costume Designs for The Yeomen of the Guard, 1988 (MS Thr 980)

Processed by Ashley M. Nary:
Documents Concerning the Benjamin Bullard Family in Sherborn, Massachusetts, 1762-1790 (MS Am 821)

Plays and Librettos, 1808-1927 (MS Thr 1059)

Librettos for 20th-Century Productions, 1927-1983 (MS Thr 1060)

Processed by Bonnie B. Salt:
American manuscripts, 1722-1907 (MS Am 511)

Meven Mordiern Letters from F. François Vallée and Others, 1915-1948 (MS Breton 12)

February 12th, 2015

A Collection of Skulls

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

Page_sucker_numero_un_skull.jpgLudovic Burel’s book Page_Sucker_Numero_Un_Skull.JPG is a collection of pictures of skulls.  From humorous pictures like skulls on socks and action figures to scientific photographs, this book shows every kind of skull imaginable.  Although there is no text written by the author, the pages that really stand out are about the killing fields of Cambodia and destroyed villages in Palestine. Juxtaposed with the lighthearted pictures of keychains and decals, these tragedies stand out all the more.  Although there is no explanation from the author, the message is clear. Page_sucker_numero_un_skull.jpg

 

Much of Ludovic Burel’s work deals with photographs he finds, often of anonymous subjects on the web.   Although he does give citations in the back of the book, it reads much as though one had performed a google image search, offering up a huge collection of photos that are related but without much initial context.  The title of the book, “page sucker” is the name of a website extractor software which Burel uses to compile 208 images of skulls collected online via a single keyword (‘Skull’).  Burel presents the images as he found them, with little or no modification, as though it was an archeology project of the web. Page_sucker_numero_un_skull.jpg

 

Page_sucker_numero_un_skull.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page sucker_numero un_skull.jpg / Ludovic Burel.  Paris : tux-tv.net, 2002 is available in the Fine Arts collection.  Available at Widener Library is another of Burel’s works Archives du biopouvoir : Marseille, 18e-20e siècles / présentées par Philippe Artières & Ludovic Burel.

 

 

 

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

February 9th, 2015

The “Incomparable” Katharine F. Pantzer (1930-2005)

Kitzi Pantzer with Volume II of the <i>STC</i>, 1976.The legacy of our late and much lamented Houghton Library colleague Kitzi Pantzer continues to live on in the Pantzer Fellowships awarded annually by the Houghton Library and by the Bibliographical Society which funds the research of new scholars of descriptive bibliography.  We have also had a recent and poignant reminder of her work on A Short-Title Catalogue of Printing in England, Scotland and Ireland and in English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 (Bibliographical Society, 1976-1991). Peter W. M. Blayney has dedicated his two-volume The Stationers’ Company and the Printers of London, 1501-1557 (Cambridge University Press, 2013) “To the memory of  / Katharine F. (“Kitzi”) Pantzer  / Friend, Mentor, and Role Model / She always spelled my surname correctly / and put my initials in the right order. / Go and do thou likewise.”

In the Preface to his work (p. xix), Blayney elaborates on his debt to Kitzi:

When acknowledging the help of colleagues and correspondents, historians often thank one or more predecessors upon whose shoulders they profess to stand – conceding that, without that pioneering work, their own research could not have been undertaken. I readily acknowledge that mich of the research for this book would have been difficult or impossible had it not been for the incomparable achievements of the revisers of the Short-Title Catalogue, especially the late and sadly missed Katharine F. Pantzer, whose death deprived this book of the most expertly critical reading it could have had.

Kitzi’s life and achievements are discussed more fully in Nicolas Barker’s obituary notice which appeared in The Independent on 14 October 2005 and which was repeated in The Book Collector 54.4 (2005), 603-605, and in David McKitterick’s which appeared in The Library 71.1 (2006), 87-89. One can get a real sense of her intellectual rigor and distinct sense of humor by reading her “The Serpentine Progress of the STC Revision,” in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 62.3 (1968), 297-311.

This post was contributed by William P. Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.

February 5th, 2015

She’s a maniac, maniac and that’s for sure!

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

IMG_0031  The Maniac pictured here is a reprint of the original 1909 edition which claims to be an account of madness from a patient’s point of view.  Mahlon Blaine is the actual illustrator of The Maniac though he used the name G. Christopher Hudson among other pseudonyms throughout his career.  Little is known of the real life of Blaine mainly because he seemed to change his story about his origins and life according to his mood.  Apparently he did work for a variety of clients including publishers, pornographers, and even Hollywood movie producers.  

What is known is that he created the original covers for John Steinbeck’s first two novels Cup of Gold
and To A God Unknown, both of which can be found in Houghton and are pictured here.

 Cup of Gold 1 God Unknown 1 God Unknown 3 (2)

Blaine also designed the endpapers for To A God Unknown seen above.  Blaine and Steinbeck met in 1925 on the steamship Katrina where they became friends.  Later on when Steinbeck wrote Cup of Gold the publisher contacted Blaine hoping his recognizable style would draw readers to this new author’s work.

The Maniac is written anonymously and the author refers to herself as a “Human Document” and urges the reader to use her narrative as an instructive text on madness.  Today this would most likely be termed a psychotic break or the descent into schizophrenia.  The illustrations in the text reflect many perspectives within a single image with layers of multiple scenes depicted.  This was a technique that Blaine had used in previous work, but the context seems particularly appropriate in this case.  The captions don’t provide much insight into what is happening in the image but seem more like a title of a work.

IMG_0032 IMG_0033

The maniac / illustrated by G. Christopher Hudson. New York : Books for the Few, 1941 RC516.T38 1941 can 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.

February 4th, 2015

From the library of Sarah Orne Jewett: Not to be lent

ac85_j5554_877d_cover

The following is the fourth in a four-part series on books from the library of Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) and her family.

Though Jewett had published stories in magazines beginning in 1868, Deephaven (1877) was her first book, and its publication signaled her debut as a notable American author. Her pride is evident in the words inscribed on the front flyleaf: “Not to be lent. Sarah O. Jewett. April 1877. This is the first copy of Deephaven that was printed, and it is my own. I don’t wish to lend it – there’s another which can be lent in the bookrack on my table.” Jewett was wise to keep a lending copy on hand, for it happens that the “bookrack” copy has not been identified; likely it was lent out and never returned. Visitors to Houghton Library may consult Jewett’s personal copy, but in accordance with her wishes (and library policy generally), we will not lend it out.

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Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909. Deephaven. AC85.J5554.877d.

Thanks to Bibliographic Assistant Noah Sheola for contributing this post.

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