Maria Mazziotti Gillan Poem Featured on Writer’s Almanac


The poem “My Mother Was a Brilliant Cook” was featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keiller for September 21, 2016. Each day on the program a poem is featured along with literary and historical notes from the day in history.

Hear Garrison Keiller read “My Mother Was a Brilliant Cook” [text of poem is included]

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the Director of the Creative Writing Program / The Binghamton Center for Writers, and a Professor of Poetry at Binghamton University-State University of New York.

She has published 20 books, including The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets (Cat in the Sun Books, 2014); Ancestors’ Song (Bordighera Press, 2013); The Silence in an Empty House (NYQ Books, 2013); Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories (MiroLand, Guernica Editions, 2013); The Place I Call Home (NYQ Books, 2012); and What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009 (Guernica Editions, 2010). With her daughter Jennifer, she is co-editor of four anthologies.

Many of Gillan’s books and other materials about her are housed in the Faculty Archives and the Maria Mazziotti Gillan Archive located in Special Collections. Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Bartle Library [off of the North Reading Room].

Visit maria Mazziotti Gillan’s official site

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Congratulations to Shantanu Patel and thank you for showcasing our University Archives!


Shantanu won the Libraries’ Welcome Weekend #baxterbooks photo contest for this shot, taken in Special Collections during the recent Welcome Weekend tours here in Bartle Library. The photograph shows a freshman beanie and a banner from the early days of Binghamton University – both items are housed in the University Archives! Great photograph, Shantanu!

Thanks to all of the students who visited Special Collections – we love visitors and were so happy to see so many of you! We hope that you enjoyed learning about the treasures in the Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections & University Archives. We welcome you to come back and see even more of our interesting and wonderful materials.

To learn more about Special Collections, visit our webpage.

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The Genius: A Memoir of Max Reinhardt is featured book for September


The Special Collections featured book for September is The Genius: A Memoir of Max Reinhardt. Written by his son, Gottfried Reinhardt, this is an intimate look into the life of Max Reinhardt from his birth near Vienna in 1873 until his death in New York City in 1943. Gottfried tells of the power and mastery of his father on a stage as well as the charm of Reinhardt and the love he generated in those whose lives he touched. This is poignantly expressed in a simple tribute from longtime admirer, Albert Einstein: “A man like your father, the world will not see again soon.”

Max Reinhardt was  theater and film director and theatrical producer. With his innovative stage productions, powerful staging techniques, and harmonization of stage design, language, music and choreography, he is regarded worldwide as one of the most prominent directors of German-language theater in the early 20th century. His career coincided with a major shift in the evolution of modern theater: the ascendancy of the director as the key figure in theatrical production. Reinhardt’s reputation in international theater history is secured by the leading role he played in this transformation, as well as by his innovative use of new theater technology and endless experimentation with theater spaces and locales, which together redefined traditional relationships between actor and audience toward a new participatory theater.

Reinhardt was a co-founder of the Schall und Rauch Kabarett stage [later known as the Kleines Theater] in Berlin in 1901 and later managed the Neues Theater and the Deutsches Theater, also both in Berlin. By 1930, he ran 11 stages in Berlin and, in addition, managed the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna from 1924 to 1933. His theaters embraced a number of genres including ballet, pantomime, opera and the morality play. Reinhardt had multitudes of successful productions both in Europe and in the United States including Vollmoller’s Das Mirakel [The Miracle], Gorki’s The Lower Depths, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Reinhardt also directed a film version in 1935 of a  Midsummer Nights Dream with a cast that included James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, and Olivia de Havilland.

After the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi-governed Germany in 1938, he emigrated first to Britain, then to the United States. Reinhardt opened the Reinhardt School of the Theatre in Hollywood, on Sunset Boulevard.  In 1940 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Binghamton University holds the Max Reinhardt Archives & Library which is located in Special Collections on the second floor of the Bartle Library. The collection  contains over 240,000 papers, personal letters, documents, and original promptbooks of Reinhardt productions; over 14,000 photographs and negatives, including a number of costume and set designs; films of some of Reinhardt’s productions; and a portion of Reinhardt’s personal library.

To read The Genius: A Memoir of Max Reinhardt or learn more about the man himself, please visit Special Collections. We are open Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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National Digital Newspaper Program Now to Include Newspapers from the Earliest Days of America’s Founding

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Gazette of the U.S., National Gazette & National Intelligencer Among Early Papers Now Included in Chronicling America from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress

Want to read how an 18th-century newspaper covered the inauguration of George Washington? How about learning what issues divided Congress in the early 1800s?

Going back into early American history is now possible due to new digital content that has been added to Chronicling America, the open access database of historic U.S. newspapers that is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

The newly available digital content is from 18th-century newspapers from the three early capitals of the United States: New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. At nearly 15,000 pages total, these early newspapers from the earliest days of the country are part of the database because of an expansion of the chronological scope of NDNP. The program is expanding its current time window of the years 1836-1922, to include digitized newspapers from the years 1690-1963. The expansion will further the program goal of capturing the richness and diversity of our nation’s history in an open access database, which anyone can use.

Read more here 

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Celebrate inventors – including Edwin A. Link – at Bartle Library

August’s Pop-Up Exhibit celebrates American inventors and their inventions. America is home to great inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone and Orville and Wilbur Wright who invented the Airplane. Binghamton University and surrounding community are home to many great (and future) inventors, including the local inventor Edwin A. Link.

Discover more about inventions with the Patents & Trademarks subject guide or reach out subject librarian Aleshia Huber at

Learn about the Edwin A. Link and Marion Link Collections located in Special Collections on the second floor of Bartle Library or reach out to curator Beth Kilmarx at


The Pop-Up Exhibit is located at the corner of the Reader Services Desk in the Bartle Library. Free themed bookmarks are available each month.

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Visit Special Collections during Bartle’s Welcome Week event!

Returning students, welcome back! New students, welcome to campus!

Come to Bartle Library and enjoy a fun, self-guided tour. Each stop provides a brief overview of the services and resources you’ll be using throughout the year. Be sure to visit Special Collections located on the second floor off of the North Reading Room and learn about our exciting collections!

Post your tour photo with hashtag #baxterbooks to any social media to enter a contest to win a cool prize!

Noon-3 p.m., Wednesday, August 24 in Bartle Library

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Head of Special Collections featured as a “Human of Binghamton”

On loan from the Libraries collections: one uniquely special “Human of Binghamton”

Jean Green, Head of Special Collections, Preservation and University Archives was recently featured as a “Human of Binghamton.” She shared a bit about her travels to Russia after graduating for college as an undergrad.

Posted on July 7, 2016 by libpr
 “When I was in college, I suddenly wanted to go to Russia more than anything else in the world. I started to learn Russian on my own and went to Russia in the summer of 1983, immediately falling in love with the country and the people. It is a fabulous, beautiful place and I would recommend a visit there to anyone.” #‎HumansofBinghamton‬

Photo by Casey Staff
 Humans Of Binghamton is our campus’ version of the blog-now-book “Humans of New York
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Upstate Cauldron is Featured Book for July 2016

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Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New York State is our Featured Book for July 2016. Part of our Local History Collection, this book is guide to the phenomenal crop of prophets, cults, and utopian communities that arose in Upstate New York from 1776 to 1914. The book received a bronze medal in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the US Northeast – Best Regional Non-Fiction Category.

From 1776 to 1914, an amazing collection of prophets, mediums, sects, cults, utopian communities, and spiritual leaders arose in Upstate New York. Along with the best known of these, such as the Shakers, Mormons, and Spiritualists, Upstate Cauldron explores more than forty other spiritual leaders or groups, some of them virtually unknown.

Godwin uncovers common threads that characterize these homegrown spiritualities, including roots in Western esoteric traditions, liberation from the psychological pressures of dogmatic Christianity, a preoccupation with sex, and involvement in the radical reform movements of the day. He “blends the diffuse and complex religious movements that once converged in Upstate New York to show how we became a modern civilization indelibly stamped by the experience of spiritual outsiders” [Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: White House Séances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation].

In addition to maps and photographs of surviving buildings and monuments, the book also features a gazetteer of sites listing 150 locations connected to these groups, which may be used as a helpful travel guide to these unique sites.

Author Joscelyn Godwin is Professor of Music at Colgate University. He has written many books on music, mysticism, and Western esoteric traditions.

If you would like to learn more about alternative religions, utopian communities and Doomsday cults in Upstate New York, visit Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections located on the second floor of the Bartle Library [located off of the North Reading Room.

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Two Hundred Year Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

Finding Frankenstein: On the trail of a monster across Europe

By John Malathronas, for CNN  June 20, 2016

Two centuries after author Mary Shelley conceived "Frankenstein," its gothic echoes can still be found across Europe. Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt, Germany, was the birthplace of alchemist Conrad Dippel, whose purported experiments on the human bodies may have inspired Shelley.

Castle Frankenstein – Two centuries after author Mary Shelley conceived “Frankenstein,” its gothic echoes can still be found across Europe. Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt, Germany, was the birthplace of alchemist Conrad Dippel, whose purported experiments on the human bodies may have inspired Shelley. 

(CNN)  I’m standing at the square of Plainpalais in Geneva trying to escape the clutches of Frankenstein’s monster, my expression one of horror and disgust.

The monster stands a couple of feet taller than me, its hair disheveled, its serrated chest exposed, its eyes focused creepily at the park in front where skateboarders and BMX bikers buzz around carefree.

“That’s good, hold it right there,” says Cyrille and takes a picture with my cellphone.

Historian and guide Cyrille has been taking me around the Swiss city on a Frankenstein tour and the statue of the monster at Plainpalais, the site where it committed its first murder, was too good a photo opportunity to miss.

Frankenstein is a niche but growing attraction in Geneva, fueled by the bicentenary of the monster’s creation.

It was in June 1816, 200 years ago, that a group of five young people from England gathered in a villa overlooking Lake Geneva and tried to scare each other with ghost stories.

‘Waking dream’One of them, 18-year-old Mary Godwin, had a “waking dream” which she recounted one night and transfixed her audience, which included the English romantic poet Lord Byron.

Mary was accompanied by her future husband, the 23-year-old poet Percy Shelley, who had abandoned his first wife and children to elope with Mary.

They were all free-thinking bohemian spirits — what we would call today alternative creatives.

Byron encouraged Mary to write her scary story down; she started immediately and called it “Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus.”

Byron sent her manuscript to his publisher with the comment “pretty good work for a girl of eighteen.”

A copy of that first edition stares me in the face. It’s one of the six author copies Mary Shelley received herself and it’s full of annotations; most would find their way into the second edition.

Literary summer

The Geneva-based Fondation Martin Bodmer, one of the biggest libraries of rare books in the world is celebrating the bicentenary of Mary’s nightmare with an exhibition.

There are portraits, paintings, first editions and manuscripts that explain the background and recreate the setting of that literary summer.

Professor David Spurr from the University of Geneva, curator of the exhibition, fills me in.

“That was ‘the year without a summer’,” he says. “Mount Tambora had erupted in Indonesia in 1815 in the largest explosion in recorded history.

“The volcanic ash cooled down the atmosphere causing freak weather patterns for three years afterwards.”

He shows the 1816 meteorological records from Switzerland; the maximum temperature in June varied between 10-12 C (50-53 F).

A handwritten note says that even at the end of the month “there was not a single leaf on the oak trees.”

“The miserable weather forced the party to invent their own entertainment,” he adds.

“Byron took up lodgings at Villa Diodati at the top of a hill in Cologny, while the Shelleys stayed at a small house in Montalegre, 10 minutes walk away by the lakefront.”

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Happy International Archives Day!


June 9th is International Archives Day!

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. National Archives Day in the United States is January 23, however National Archives Month is celebrated in October.

The public’s image of the archives is sometimes 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.

It is therefore important 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 and that resource  gives testimony to the development of economical, political and social humanity.

So raise a glass and celebrate International Archives Day! The history you are celebrating might just be your own!

Read more about International Archives Day

Read about National Archives Month in the United States

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