Libraries and Special Collections Honored with Public Relations Award

The 2015 selection committee of the PR Xchange Awards Competition recently shared the announcement of our win in the category “Materials Promoting Collections” for the Miniature Books Exhibit and Reception.

The PR Xchange competition is sponsored by the Public Relations and Marketing Section (PRMS) of the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLMA).

The annual contest is designed to recognize “the very best public relations materials by produced by libraries” throughout the year.  Contest submissions were evaluated by experts in public relations, communications, graphic design and marketing and were judged on content, design and originality.

Our Power Point entry summarizes information about the collection and includes fun photography from the opening reception:  2015 PR Xchange Award Winner.   Our entry, along with the other winners, will be displayed at the PR Xchange program during this year’s American Library Association Conference, to be held June 25-30th in San Francisco.

Beth Kilmarx, Curator of Rare Books and one of the primary organizers of the Miniature Books Exhibit and Reception, will be in attendance at the conference and will accept the award on behalf of the Libraries. The Libraries is deeply grateful for the support and interest of the campus community and extends special thanks to friends and colleagues who enriched the miniature book experience for all through the generous loan of their own editions!

The award-winning Miniature Books Exhibit will remain on display through the end of July in the Libraries’ Special Collections,  located on the second floor of the Bartle Library.
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I, Toto is Featured Book for June 2015


During the expansion of the Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Willard Carroll unearthed a leatherbound scrapbook from a site that was once a pet cemetery. To his amazement, its yellowing pages contained the rags-to-riches story of Terry, the female brindle cairn terrier who played Toto in the enduring film The Wizard of Oz.  [Incidentally, Terry was paid a $125 salary each week during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, which was far more than many of the human actors.]


Terry’s official studio portrait.

When she died in 1945, Terry’s manager and animal trainer, Carl Spitz, buried her on his ranch in Studio City, CA. However, the construction of the Ventura Freeway in 1958 destroyed her grave [which led to Carroll's discovery]. On June 18, 2011 a permanent memorial for Terry was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

I, Toto traces the canine star’s tragic beginnings, her exhilarating film career [she appeared in 13 different films!], and her happy retirement in Southern California with Carl Spitz. This book offers the inside scoop on Toto’s signature role, her costars [including Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy and Joan Crawford], and the making of The Wizard of Oz. Toto’s lovingly illustrated scrapbook features 150 photographs collected over the dog’s life.

Willard Carroll is an Emmy Award–winning producer, writer, and director. He has written and directed the feature films The RunestoneTom’s Midnight GardenPlaying by Heart, and Marigold. He has amassed the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia, documented in 100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images from The Wizard of Oz Collection of Willard Carroll. Together with Tom Wilhite, he founded the National Oz Museum.

I, Toto is part of the Allan Rogg Collection and is located in Special Collections on the second floor of the Bartle Library. Please come visit us and learn more about this star canine!


Terry working with Shirley Temple in the film “Bright Eyes.”


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June 9 is International Archives Day!

Did you know that the 9th of June is the International Archives Day? You maybe had the opportunity to celebrate it your country, through activities and events organized by National or local archives institutions, or professional associations, like in Senegal, Japan, or municipalities in Catalonia…

All around the world, professionals unite their voices on the 9th of June to make you understand why it is important to support archives and the profession. An excellent opportunity to discover or better know our profession, and to get in closer touch with a fascinating domain!


At the international Congress in Vienna in 2004, the 2000 participants adopted a resolution requesting the United Nations to create an International Archives Day. Some countries had already decided to have a national archives day, to raise awareness of the general public and the decision-makers about the importance of archives.

The UNESCO General Conference at its 33rd session in Paris 2005 proclaimed the 27th October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. The World Day is an appropriate opportunity to raise public awareness of the importance of audiovisual archives. It brings new incentives to the benefit of the preservation of these archives. This was an excellent initiative, but these are not the only archives that are at risk and in need of attention.

This is the reason why the ICA decided at its Annual General Meeting in November 2007  to launch the International Archives Day by its own, on the 9th of June. The date was obvious: on the 9th of June 1948, the International Council on Archives was created under the auspices of the UNESCO. This choice was adopted by ICA Executive Board, and adopted by the archives community as a whole.

Why an International Archives Day?

One might think that we have got a full calendar of international days to celebrate. However the public’s image of the archives is foggy: often confused with libraries, archives continue to be perceived as documents for internal use only, which are difficult to access and are of interest only to historians. The perception of records and archives by the public and the organizations that create them is not clear. This troubled image has an impact on the financial and human resources that responsible managers and administrators dedicate to records and archives operations and/or institutions.

It is therefore essential to remember that records and archives are documents, created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations, or in the transaction of business. Archival records are those documents that are preserved by their creators, successors or an appropriate archive institution because of their legal value or enduring historical significance. Archives constitute a major cultural heritage and information resource. The archival heritage is a valuable testimony about the economical, political and social development of humanity. The diversity of archival sources and formats is considerable. To ensure the preservation of these sources, a comprehensive approach that considers all types and formats of archives, is required. It is not possible to focus solely on one type of record, as other categories of archives also deserve attention.

Visit the International Council on Archives site to learn more

Learn more about International Archives Day 

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Turkish election outcome is blow to Erdoğan and breakthrough for Kurds

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, smiles after his party’s breakthrough in Sunday’s elections. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, smiles after his party’s breakthrough in Sunday’s elections. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

The mould-breaking outcome of Turkey’s general election on Sunday will be viewed as a personal rebuff for the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and as a historic political breakthrough for the country’s 18 million-strong Kurdish minority, which will be represented by a political party in parliament for the first time.

With 88% of votes counted, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), which Erdoğan helped to found, appeared to have lost its overall majority, falling just short of the 276 seats required for control of the 550-seat national assembly. Its share of the vote, at around 43%, was well down on the 49% it obtained in 2011.

The AKP had aimed for a total of at least 330 seats, which would have enabled the government to hold a referendum on the constitutional changes that Erdoğan needs in order to create an executive presidency. Erdoğan personally travelled the country trying to boost the AKP vote.

But concerns about a slowing economy, jobs, civil rights and a lack of progress in the Kurdish peace process appear to have combined with worries that Erdoğan could assume quasi-dictatorial powers to thwart the president’s ambitions.

Erdoğan, a three-time prime minister who has wielded power since 2002, now faces the prospect of continuing in the largely ceremonial post of president, to which he was elected last year, while real executive power is in the hands of his protege Ahmet Davutoğlu, the current prime minister.

Parliamentary democracy in Turkey was also a big winner as the pro-Kurdish, secular centre-left grouping, the People’s Democratic party (HDP), appeared to slip past the mandatory 10% threshold for representation with about 11% of the vote. Projections suggested that total would translate into about 74 seats.

This result gives Turkey’s Kurds and the other voters who deserted the AKP and flocked to the HDP banner an unprecedented national platform from which to counter the neo-Islamist AKP’s assault on Turkey’s secular tradition, which has gathered pace in recent years.

The peace process that followed the 2013 ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) may now also receive a much-needed shot in the arm, after a recent period of stalemate and sporadic violence.

Read more here

To learn more about Kurdish culture and History visit the Vera Beaudin Saeedpour Kurdish Library and Museum Collection located in Special Collections on the second floor of the Bartle Library.

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Artworks in Special Collections


Pastel work from the Tilly Losch Collection.

Pastel work from the Tilly Losch Collection.

The Tilly Losch Collection consists correspondence, diaries, photographs and other materials. But, did you know that the collection also features a large number of loose sketches, sketchbooks, and over 500 of her paintings?

Tilly Losch Collection Finding Aid

Come explore the Tilly Losch Collection in Special Collections located on the second floor of the Barte Library [off of the North Reading Room].

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Book on History of European Colonization is the Featured Book for May 2015


raynal set

Histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes / by Guillame-Thomas Raynal.  Londres: [s.l.]. 1792.

The Histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes is primarily the work of Guillaume-Thomas Raynal, a French writer and political philosopher.  Raynal’s book is a history of European colonization in the East and West Indies, South America, and North America.  The first edition of this work was published in 1770 in Amsterdam, and it consisted of only 4 volumes.  Raynal’s work was an immediate success with his Enlightenment contemporaries as Raynal was one of the first to denounce European colonialism, the exploitation of indigenous populations, and slavery. Cet ouvrage connut un vif succès auprès des philosophes de l’époque des lumières et fut condamné au feu en 1781, Raynal dut se réfugier en Suisse et en Prusse.

From 1770 to 1820, this multi-volume work was revised and published 30 times and in several different languages including English and Italian.  With each new edition, the text was expanded and augmented to include sections written by several of the leading intellectuals of the Enlightenment, including Diderot and the Baron d’Holbach.

Because the work supported the principles of revolution as a basic right and promoted less than favorable views of the monarchy, the French Parliament condemned l’Histoire as impious.  The Roman Catholic Church officially banned the book in 1774 and ordered all of it copies to be burned in Paris by the public executioner.  These reactions to Raynal’s work led to his exile in Switzerland from where he traveled to the court of Frederick the Great in Prussia and then later to Petersburg to the court of Catherine the II.  In 1787, Raynal was permitted to return to France, but not to Paris.  After the revolution, Raynal returned to Paris and later died in 1796.  Although his work was criticized by his contemporaries as being reactionary, both in Europe and the American colonies, Raynal’s work has been credited for helping set the foundation for 18th and 19th century political thought

The Haggerty Collection’s copy was printed in 1792.  This edition consists of 17 volumes, of which16 volumes are of text and the 17th is an atlas containing 49 engraved maps relating to Europe, Asia, Africa and America, and 23 folded tables of statistical data on trade with the East Indies.  The Haggerty Collection’s copy is considered to be in fine condition, although incomplete as it is missing the atlas.  The volumes have a quarter calf binding with Fantasy pattern marbled paper covered boards.  The binding is not original and most likely the set was rebound in the mid to late 19th century as the Fantasy marbled paper pattern was not manufactured until then.  

Each volume has a highly detailed engraved frontispiece representing an important event, natural or the result of human actions, which had occurred in one of the French colonies.  The first engraving is of the death of the British officer, Major General James Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The second is of a hurricane that devastated several islands in the Lesser Antilles, and the third engraving is of a murder that occurred on the island of Saint Kitts.  These examples of engraved illustrations are extremely rare in the collection.

morte de wolfe raynal90001 murder2

Of particular interest to scholars is the false imprint information.  This edition was not printed in London.  Rather, it was printed in Paris, and although the printer was not listed on the title page, it is believed to have been printed by Cazain and his printing house.  This false imprint was an attempt to protect the identity of the printer as Raynal was still in exile at the time of the printing.  False imprints are fairly rare to find, and they can make life difficult for curators, but they add an intrinsic value to the bibliographic history of such works.


Call number:   D22 .R33 1792 t.1-16, The William J. Haggerty Collection of French Colonial History, Special Collections.

The William J. Haggerty Collection is the former library of the Union coloniale française, a French colonial lobby organization.  The Haggerty Collection is housed in the Special Collections department of the Binghamton University Libraries.  the departmentis open to the public, Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and by appointment.

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Nepal quake leaves century-old library in ruins

By Claire Cozens

May 11, 2015 1:05 PM

An employee looks at damaged book shelves at the Kaiser Library in Kathmandu on May 7, 2015

Janaki Karmacharya sits on a plastic chair under the tarpaulin that now serves as her office and despairs at the wreckage of her once magnificent library in the heart of Kathmandu.

Until last month’s earthquake, the Kaiser Library buzzed with Nepali students, intellectuals and tourists attracted by its collection of rare books, maps and ancient manuscripts — all housed in an opulent former palace.

Now wooden bookcases lie smashed on the floor of the 120-year-old building, which was gifted to the nation by the Rana dynasty that ruled Nepal for more than a century before losing power in 1951.

The library was closed on April 25 when the quake struck, and Karmacharya said it was two days before she plucked up the courage to go and see the destruction.

“I was speechless for a while… it was hard to believe the extent of the damage,” the 58-year-old chief librarian told AFP as she surveyed the impact of the 7.8-magnitude quake, which killed more than 7,800 people.

“I cried when I got came back home, I couldn’t help myself. The books are like my children, and I love them very much.

“Thank God it was a Saturday and there were no readers inside.”

Karmacharya estimates that the quake damaged around a third of the 28,000 books in the Kaiser Library.

They were the collection of Kaiser Shumsher, a scion of the Rana family who travelled to England in 1908 and fell in love with the grand houses and their private libraries.

When he returned to Nepal he decided to build his own in his palace in central Kathmandu.

Inside the building, antique statues lie in pieces on the floor and stuffed animal heads and portraits of Nepal’s former rulers in full military dress hang precariously on severely cracked walls.

In one room are the fragments of a suit of armour smashed to pieces in the quake; in another, a stuffed Bengal tiger and a huge bearskin rug, the head and paws still attached.

Books in the English section — many of which Shumsher brought back from his visit to England — include John Buchan’s adventure classics and such titles as “The Big Game of Asia”.

But the library is more than an eccentric throwback to a bygone era in Nepal, a feudal Hindu kingdom until just seven years ago when the monarchy was abolished following a Maoist revolution.

It also houses rare South Asian manuscripts on Buddhism, Tantrism and astrology, some so old they are written on palm-leaves.

They include a 1,100-year-old copy of the Susrutasamhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine, which is listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register.

“The damage in the Kaiser library is a huge loss to us as it was not only a home for books but an archive of invaluable historic scripts of archaeological importance,” said Labha Dev Awasthi, joint secretary at Nepal’s education ministry.

“We are concerned about the security of the books, paintings and other antique items that were kept in the library.”

Awasthi said the ministry was urgently seeking somewhere safe to store the valuable contents of the building, which is so badly damaged that staff have been advised not to enter.

With frequent aftershocks still rocking Nepal’s capital and the monsoon rains just weeks away, that task now appears urgent.

An official notice pinned to the door states that the structure is unsafe, and many of the old beams and pillars are broken.

“There are lots of cracks and aftershocks happen every day so this building isn’t safe anymore,” said Karmacharya, who now meets with her staff every day under a tarpaulin in the library’s tree-filled garden near the former royal palace.

“It will be a really big challenge for us to manage the library and move the books somewhere else. But we are concerned about the safety of these books.”

The government said the building would also be restored eventually, although it may be resurrected as an art gallery rather than a library.

For freelance journalist and 26-year-old Kathmandu resident Ayush Niroula, who used to read there as a student, that would be a shame.

“There are not a lot of libraries here in Kathmandu and on top of that it’s a really beautiful place to read,” he told AFP.

“They can transfer the books somewhere else, but it has a vibe of its own.”

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“Abruzzo” Donation Complements Libraries’ Italian Collection

Italian Books Post

Sandro Sticca, Professor of French and Comparative Literature; Caryl Ward, Head of Acquisitions and Subject Librarian for Comparative Literature, LACAS and Romance Languages; and Susannah Gal, Interim Dean of the Libraries (seated).

Professor of French and Comparative Literature Sandro Sticcca  has continued a custom of many decades through his recent donation of two books to the Libraries’ Special Collections. “Gabriele D’Annunzio,” a richly illustrated book highlighting places in the Abruzzo region of Italy, rendered famous by its most famous modern poet; and “Pescara,” a lush pictorial description of the poet’s own native city.

The books were generously sent to Sticca following his receipt of  a complimentary issue of Abruzzo’s leading magazine “Tesori d’Abruzzo” — (Abruzzo’s Treasures), which was sent in recognition of his long dedication to the region. In a subsequent gesture of appreciation, a subscription to the magazine was gifted by the publishing house to Binghamton University Libraries.

Sticca has written widely on the Abruzzo region, with his most recent book entitled “From Prehistory to History. Abruzzo’s Cultural Heritage.” In addition to having been born in Abruzzo, the Professor has also taught at the University of L’Aquila, located in Abruzzo’s capital.

Currently, Sticca and Stefano de Pamphilis, another native of Abruzzo and one of the magazine’s most prominent writers, are collaborating on a book about instructor in painting, Torquato Di Felice.

Special Collections is thrilled with this generous gift!

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T.H. Tsien, 105, Dies; Scholar of Chinese Books

The New York Times

T.H. Tsien, 105, Dies; Scholar of Chinese Books Rescued 30,000 of Them

By  APRIL 19, 2015

 T. H. Tsien was one of the world’s renowned scholars of Chinese bibliography and paleography, the study of ancient writing.  [Credit University of Chicago]

T. H. Tsien, a scholar of Chinese books and printing who in 1941 risked his life to smuggle tens of thousands of rare volumes to safety amid the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, died on April 9 at his home in Chicago. He was 105.

His death was announced by the University of Chicago, with which he had been associated since the late 1940s. At his death, he was an emeritus professor of East Asian languages and civilizations there and an emeritus curator of the university’s East Asian library.

One of the world’s most renowned scholars of Chinese bibliography and paleography — the study of ancient writing — Professor Tsien (pronounced chee-AHN) was the author of scores of books and articles, many in English, about the august history of the written word in China. As he was fond of reminding people, movable type originated in China centuries before Gutenberg.

Professor Tsien, who was born in China in the twilight of the reign of its last emperor, was a young librarian there during the Japanese occupation, which lasted from 1931 until the end of World War II. Working in secret, he was charged with keeping a trove of precious volumes, some dating to the first millennium B.C., from falling into the occupiers’ hands.

The Library of Congress in Washington agreed to take some 30,000 volumes, but the difficulty lay in getting them out of Shanghai. By 1941, the city’s harbor and customs office were under the control of the Japanese, who would have seized the books and very likely destroyed them. Had Professor Tsien’s work been uncovered, he would almost certainly have been executed.

Determined to get the books out of China at all costs, Professor Tsien could not have done so, he later wrote, had it not been for a turn of fate.

Read more here

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The impact of gender on Civil War suicides/everyday life of a Civil War soldier

Visit the Libraries from noon-1 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 15, for the latest installment of Special Collections’ Occasional Lecture Series. Diane Miller Sommerville, associate professor of history, and Yvonne Deligato, University archivist, will present the “Civil War Experience and Artifact: North and South and the Aftermath of April 15, 1861.”

Sommerville will focus on her current project, a study of suicide among Southerners during and after the Civil War that explores how gender shaped decisions about suicide in the wake of the physical and emotional devastation wrought by war. Using the personal diaries and letters from the University Libraries’ Civil War Collections, Deligato will share details from the everyday life of the soldiers who were there.

The event takes place in Special Collections, on the second floor of Bartle Library.

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