Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | January 12, 2018

100th Anniversary of “Ulysses”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” which was first excerpted in the Little Review in 1918.

Interesting article based in part on material from our collections, thoroughly researched by Joseph Hassett


Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | October 17, 2017

Donation of Cricket, Children’s Literary collection

cricket cover

The records of the children’s literary magazine, Cricket, have been donated to the Special Collections Research Center of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. They were donated by former editor and founder, Marianne Carus, along with her husband Blouke and son Andre Carus. In all, the Cricket literary magazine collection consists of 168 boxes of archival materials, including illustrations, literary manuscripts, printed materials and a complete set of the literary magazine itself.  In addition to early records, the collection features correspondence from well-known authors, illustrators, and other professionals in the publishing industry.

Pam Hackbart-Dean, director, Special Collections Research Center, says “we are proud to welcome the Cricket Literary Magazine collection to its new home in the Morris Library’s Special Collections. The Cricket literary magazine made an enormous contribution to United States children’s literature and art.  Now these very records offer a rich resource of academic research potential.”  Project archivist, Dr. Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm, believes these records “provide this rare glimpse into visionary children’s publishing and the professionals who engineered its success.”

The brain child of Open Court Publishing’s Marianne Carus, Cricket Magazine was launched in 1973 as the only children’s magazine dedicated to literature. Determined to create a magazine for children comparable to The New Yorker, Marianne Carus founded Cricket Magazine with the enthusiastic assistance of well-known authors, illustrators, and leading figures in publishing.

Along with daring illustrator Trina Schart Hyman, and respected literary editor Clifton Fadiman, popular children’s author Lloyd Alexander was a major contributor to the magazine’s development and content, often sharing wisdom in the guise of “Old Cricket”. Designed to stimulate curiosity, imagination, and a sense of wonder about history, art, science, and world cultures, the magazine featured new stories and adaptations written by celebrated authors and interpreted by award winning illustrators. Cricket further inspired a line of literary magazines for children of different ages: Babybug, Ladybug, Spider, for newly independent readers, Cricket, and Cricket and Cicada for young adults.


Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | October 3, 2017

Archives Month 2017

archives month 2017Celebrate Archives Month!!  Archives Month is a way to celebrate the value of Illinois historical records, publicize the many ways historical records enrich our lives, and recognize those who maintain our communities’ historical records.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | September 6, 2017

Read a Banned Book

Banned Book logo 2017

Celebrate your right to read,  as well as to bring to light censorship and banned books  Your words have the power to challenge censorship. Join the us in celebrating Banned Books Week (Sept. 24 – 30) and continue to stand up for your freedom to read every day of the year.

Special Collections Research Center has Ralph E. McCoy’s personal collection of material related to First Amendment Freedoms. This collection traces the intellectual history of the concept of freedom of expression in the United Kingdom and the USA from 1600 to the present. The McCoy Collection is perhaps the most rich and diverse research collection of printed materials in SCRC. Freedom of expression has been developed and debated in many arenas in the Western world, and the materials in the McCoy Collection document such varied topics as the Popish Plot of 1678, Victoria Woodhull’s advocacy of women’s suffrage and “free love,” and the legal controversy over the “obscene” nature of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.   So we are highlighting our 1st amendment collection which contains many of these banned books and more.

Please visit our exhibit highlighting banned books beginning Monday September 11 until October 2nd.  This is behind Delyte’s cafe in Morris Library.

On September 27th from 10 am to 12 pm. explore a banned or challenged book at the Morris Library’s Banned Books Buffet. Celebrate your freedom to read and right to choose during Banned Books Week!  Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove banned books from schools and libraries. The Banned Books Buffet is an annual event celebrating your freedom to read and right to choose during Banned Books Week! Explore books like Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, and Captain Underpants. Fight censorship, read a banned or challenged book, learn about intellectual freedom, have a snack, and more at this event.

Included will be a selfie booth, selection of banned books, and light refreshments.  Open to students, staff and the general public.  This will be located in Morris Library by Abraham Lincoln’s head.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | August 15, 2017

Charles Lindbergh Comes to Southern Illinois

World War I pilots found that their skills learned in aerial combat could earn them a living.  Barnstorming, or aerial shows in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, became a popular attraction in the 1920s.  One such group was the Vera May Dunlap’s Flying Circus.   In early May 1925, Charles Lindbergh joined Dunlap’s Flying Circus.

As part of a baseball promotion for the Southern Illinois Ilard Road Baseball Association, Lindbergh came to southern Illinois.  On May 9, 1925, “Beans” Lindbergh, as he was billed in Carterville, Illinois, performed some daredevil stunts during the show, including stopping his motor three thousand feet in the air and landing with his engine dead.

It would be two years later when “Beans” would become an international celebrity when he became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | July 10, 2017

Old Campus

The Old Campus: an Historical Exploration showcases the history and development of the buildings and landmarks on Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s old campus quadrangle from 1874-1930.  The exhibit text and photographs describe the construction, architecture, and functions of SIU Carbondale’s most recognizable buildings.  The sources used in creating the exhibit include histories of SIU, Board of Trustee annual reports, Obelisk yearbooks, SIU course bulletins and printed materials, Carbondale newspapers, and photograph collections in the University Archives.  This exhibit was created by Matt Gorzalski, University Archivist.


Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | June 6, 2017

Solved Mysteries at the Archives

The Special Collections Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has played a key role in solving a century-old mystery.

Scholars knew that Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen rendezvoused somewhere in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1917, sharing stories of the wartime horrors they had witnessed. The discussions and idea exchanges that took place at the get-together, dubbed by some researchers as “potentially the most powerful meeting of English literature in the 20th century,” formed the basis for the future writings of the acclaimed war poets. Morris Library’s SCRC was the key to figuring out where this pivotal meeting took place and the answer received extensive publicity in Europe.

Neil McLennan, a senior lecturer and director of leadership programs at Scotland’s Aberdeen University and former head of history at Tynecastle School in Edinburgh, has conducted extensive research on both sides of the ocean into World War I poets, particularly Owen. After spending a decade searching for information within United Kingdom libraries and archives, he discovered a letter from Sassoon to Graves, written on stationary from the Craiglockhart War Hospital, where Owen and Sassoon met while undergoing treatment for shellshock. The letter was in SIU’s Special Collections Research Center.

That letter and subsequent missives revealed that the trio met at the Baberton Golf Club in Juniper Green on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The location was apparently chosen because Sassoon had a golf match he didn’t want to cancel so he invited the other two men to join him there. The club is still in existence today. The location where Owen, Graves and Sassoon met is significant because the gathering played such a key role in the success of the three notable war poets, according to McLennan.

McLennan’s discovery has resulted in extensive media coverage in the UK. Learning that SIU’s Special Collections Research Center is at the heart of solving a mystery 100 years in the making comes as no surprise to Pam Hackbart-Dean, the center’s director.

“Special Collections Research Center is a place of exploration and discovery,” Hackbart-Dean said. “Scholars and students use our collections to write new histories, explore significant lives, study change, trace the evolution of print, understand cultural shifts and create new literature. Over time, both our holdings and our vision have grown – expanding from an early emphasis on regional history to a global perspective and complementing a focus on traditional academic disciplines with transformative possibilities. We encourage amateur sleuths to uncover their mysteries in Special Collections.”

The SCRC, located on the first floor of Morris Library, houses an extensive assortment of unique and rare historical items including rare books, political papers, letters, manuscripts and much more. The collection features a clay tablet from Senkereh, in present-day Iraq, that is believed to date to 2400-2200 B.C.; a page from the Johannes Gutenberg Bible, the world’s first printed book, inked in Mainz, Germany, 1450-1455; a handwritten copy of a speech Abraham Lincoln delivered several times in the mid-1850s; a letter written by Amelia Earheart; and documents highlighting the criminal enterprises of Charlie Birger, including a pass for his hanging, the last public one in Illinois.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | April 27, 2017

New World War I exhibit

“German-Americans and World War I, 1914-1917,” now up on the east side of the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors, marks the centenary of America’s entry into World War I by examining the arguments made by those who tried and failed to keep the U.S. out of the war. Mostly pro-German and anti-British, they promoted American neutrality and opposed arming Britain and its allies. The exhibit is based primarily on propaganda from the records of the Open Court Publishing Company, held in the Special Collections Research Center.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | February 27, 2017

The Golden Age of American Book Covers

In the 1870’s, book cover art in the United States entered a “Golden Age” that lasted more than fifty years. Some of the work is startling for its prescience and can be associated with art movements that occurred decades after the books were produced.1

Unlike fine bindings of an earlier age, displayed with spines facing out, books with beautiful ornamental covers were designed to be seen from all angles.

By the 1890’s, book-cover art had become so popular that publishers began to use individual artist’s names to sell books. Since this was not generally the case earlier, many great cover illustrations, unsigned, remain unidentified as to the artist.

By 1894, American artists’ monograms or devices regularly appeared on book covers to make their work more easily identifiable. These took various forms: Sarah Whitman used a flaming heart with her initials; W. W. Denslow was known by his stylized sea horse; Earl Stetson Crawford by a crowned “C.” At the beginning of the twentieth century, more than 200 monograms or devices were in use.2 (See poster of some of these monograms.)

The influences on book-cover art are many. American book-cover art may have first been inspired by British decorative books, since many of the major American publishing houses had offices in London. This exhibit lists some of the artistic movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries and attempts to give examples of how each influenced cover art.

One must realize, however, that many artists and illustrators used a combination or fusion of styles and that artists across the country were aware of, and influenced by, the work of others. This makes it harder to identify many of the unsigned illustrations. In most cases, this curator has also attempted to represent influences, rather than rigidly attaching an artist to a particular movement.

The decline of book-cover art was precipitated by the rising popularity of pictorial dust jackets, as well as the First World War and the Great Depression—the time and labor needed to create lavish bindings could no longer be justified.

[1] Minsky, Richard. The Art of American Book Covers, 1875-1930. New York: George Braziller, Inc. 2010, 9.

[2] Ibid., 9.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | January 24, 2017

Alexander Lane Talk


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