Association of College & Research Libraries

News from the Field


The Library of Congress has received 1,300 aluminum disc recordings of the early 1930s from the American Dialect Society. The 78 rpm discs contain field recordings of samples of regional American speech made for the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada, an ongoing project to document the distribution of regional speech variants. Proverbs, riddles, rhymes, folksongs, folktales, and narratives of every sort may be heard. Included in the collection are the voices of a young Alastair Cooke, just out of Yale Drama School; folklorists Alan and John Lomax, recorded at the home of Harvard scholar George Lyman Kittredge; a Zulu speaker attending Yale University; and a Connecticut resident remembering Mark Twain. Aluminum discs were the first portable electric means of recording sound; later the aluminum was replaced by acetate base recording blanks. The collection will be housed in LC’s Recorded Sound Collection.

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, has received from an anonymous donor one of the original steel-faced copper engraving plates engraved by Robert Havell in 1834 to print John James Audubon’s Birds of America. This copperplate, accompanied by a recently pulled uncolored restrike, produced the print of the Sora rail, plate number 233 in the set, and has been unknown publicly for 150 years. A wedding gift to the Hawkes family of Connecticut in 1855, it remained in the family until recently. This is the 79th original engraving plate from Audubon’s work now known to have survived. No example of an original copper engraving plate has appeared in the auction market in the last 50 years.

Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois, has been given a collection of manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, diaries, minutes, and financial records of the Handy Writer’s Colony, which operated from the early 1950s until 1964 in the small Illinois town of Marshall. The colony was established by Lowney Turner Handy, Harry Handy, and James Jones, the author of From Here to Eternity and Some Came Running. The collection includes manuscript copies of those books, as well as Jones’s unpublished first novel, They Shall Inherit the Laughter. Other manuscripts include published and unpublished works by Gerald Tschappat, Charles Wright, Charles Robb, and Lowney Turner Handy. The letters in the collection predate the existence of the colony by 20 years and end with Handy’s death, detailing 34 years of correspondence with writers, agents, movie stars, prisoners, soldiers, and her friends and family.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, has acquired a 955-volume collection of Russian poetry. Although its strength lies primarily in 20th-century imprints, several standard editions of 19th-century classics—Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, Maikov, Tiuchev, Fet, and Nadson—are well represented, both in pre-1917 and post-revolutionary editions. A large amount of the 20th-century poetry consists of emigré imprints spanning the world from Rerlin and Paris to New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Kharbin, and Tel-Aviv. Several of the books came from the library of George Reavey, British author and translator, and others came from the collection of Alexander Be- nois, Franco-Russian artist and stage designer.

The University of Iowa, Iowa City, has been designated to receive one of the finest collections of books on the culinary arts and science in existence today. Chef Louis Szathmary, chef and owner of The Bakery Restaurant in Chicago, has amassed a collection of over 10,000 rare and exotic volumes on cookery and gastronomy. In addition to a number of incunabula collected during the past 25 years, there are some 15,000 assorted pamphlets, menus, and letters from U.S. presidents and cookbooks owned and used by them. The Szathmary Collection is particularly strong in American cookbooks beginning about 1650, and Chef Louis used it for reference in the preparation of his 15-volume history on American cooking and living, Cookery Americana. The transfer of these historic materials will continue over a number of years. Szathmary’s intention is to donate a considerable number of books from his antique collection each year until everything is housed in Iowa City.

The University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, has acquired three collections of photographs for its Historical Photography Collection. The Puget Power and Light Company donated over 2,000 photos taken during the construction of the company’s White River and Electron hydro projects in western Washington. The Electron project, completed in 1904, and the White River project, completed in 1911, are two of the Northwest’s earliest hydroelectric generating plants. The family of the late Lawton Gowey donated a collection of 5,000 images of electric street car, interurban railway, and steam railroad operations in the Pacific Northwest dating from the 1880s. A third acquisition consists of five photograph albums which document the construction of a coal gas works on Seattle’s Lake Union in 1906-1907.

News notes

The Ohio State University Library for Communication and Graphic Arts, Columbus, will sponsor an exhibit of comic books and comic book art from May 19 through August 2, 1985. The exhibit will trace their history and development from early efforts in 1933-1936 through the golden age (1937-1950), theE.C. period (1950-1955), and revival (1956 to the present). Materials will be drawn from a number of private collectors, plus the libraries of Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and the Museum of Cartoon Art. The exhibit will open on May 19 with a speech by noted cartoonist Will Eisner.

The Research Libraries Group and the British Library Board met in London on November 29 to sign a memorandum of understanding that marks the beginning of a program of cooperative activities between the two organizations. A few days later a leased dedicated telecommunications line between RLG and the British Library was ordered for installation this spring. The first traffic on the line will extend work on the Eighteenth-century Short Title Catalogue. The separate versions of the catalogue in Great Britain and the United States will be unified in work done on the BLIN network. The two organizations also intend to coordinate preservation activities, to exchange records and files between their respective databases, and to explore direct electronic communications for interlibrary lending.

The University of Florida’s Peter Malanchuk was the first-prize winner in a reference product giveaway held by the Information Access Company at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Washington. His library will receive a one-year subscription to either Magazine Collection or Business Collection, full text microform printing and retrieval systems developed by I AC; a one-year subscription to one of IAC’s microform indexes; a one-year license to Search Helper software and hardware, including 700 free online searches; and two hours free online time to any of IAC’s databases. Malanchuk is chair of the Reference and Bibliography Department at Florida and chair of ACRL’s Law and Political Science Section.

Academic librarians also won the two second prizes in the drawing. Clyde Walton of the University of Colorado and Marcia Willis of the University of the District of Columbia were awarded a one-year subscription to their choice of four IAC products.

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