The Most Complete and Luxurious Baths in the Country!


Image of advertisement featured in The Star Programme, April 1892.
Part of the Theater Collection located in Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections.


Posted in Manuscripts | Leave a comment

Grant awarded to digitize Max Reinhardt Collection

Midsummer 1934 Rehearsal 1

Max Reinhardt directs a 1934 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) has awarded a $5,000 Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing (RBDB) Grant to for the digitization and description of the Max Reinhardt Collection.

Once digitized, the collection will be made available via the  New York Heritage research portal and the Digital Public Library of America.

Max Reinhardt, c.1895

Max Reinhardt, c.1895

The collection documents the life of Max Reinhardt (1873-1943), celebrated Austrian theater director and filmmaker, and offers a singular historical record of many aspects in the study of theater and its history—acting, direction, stage design and costume design.

A man of few words, Reinhardt’s success was based on a combination of intelligence, passion, enormous energy, and the ability to focus on the most mundane details while keeping the larger picture in constant view. Reinhardt believed that exceptional acting was the most important aspect of any theatrical presentation. He also believed in theater-as-spectacle, and his elaborate, elegant sets and imaginative stagings reflected that belief. He knew well how to achieve dramatic effect with minimal stage effects and knew which approach to follow with each play he directed and produced. Reinhardt transformed theatrical production in the 20th century by playing a large part in the elevation of the director to the key figure in theatrical production and the innovative use of new theater technology and experimentation with theater spaces and locales.

During his lengthy international career, Reinhardt amply demonstrated his total commitment to artistic experimentation and the revelry of the creative imagination. He is still recognized worldwide today for his significant role in the transformation and development of theater.

Posted in Archives in the News, Manuscripts | Leave a comment

Boston Public Library Repatriates Historical Artifacts to Italy

In partnership with Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Attorney’s Office, BPL returns three items to Italy


by rlavery

Today Boston Public Library announced the return of three items from its Special Collections to the State Archives of Venice, Italy and the Library of Ludovico II De Torres in Monreale, Italy. During a repatriation ceremony with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and representatives from Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Italian Carabinieri, Boston Public Library formally returned the Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia, a medieval manuscript dating to 1392; an illuminated leaf from the manuscript Mariegola della Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, dating from between 1418-1422; and Varii de natvralibvs rebvs libelli, a  collection of works by Bernardino Telesio, published in 1590.

“These three items represent Italy’s rich history, and I’m pleased that through the cooperation of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Boston Public Library was able to ensure the safe return of these artifacts to their rightful homes in Italy,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I thank everyone involved in this successful process.”

“Boston Public Library took action upon learning of the claims and that the provenance of these historical treasures was incomplete, and we are very pleased to report that these items are returning home to Italy after being cared for by the BPL for decades,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

“Boston Public Library purchased these rare and important materials in good faith for the public to see and study and we took our stewardship of them seriously during the many years that they were in our care. We are fully committed to their safe return to Italy so they can continue to be utilized and appreciated by new researchers and scholars,” said Beth Prindle, Boston Public Library’s Head of Special Collections.

Boston Public Library legitimately purchased all three items from well-known rare book dealers during the mid-twentieth century. Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia was acquired in 1960 from Philip Duschenes of New York, the illuminated manuscript leaf was obtained in 1955 from the Italian dealer Olschki, and the Bernardino Telesio volume was purchased in 1980 from Michael R. Thompson of Los Angeles. The medieval manuscript and leaf became part of the library’s Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection of Distinction, a notable collection which totals nearly 250 volumes and single leaves dating from the 10th through the early 16th centuries. These special collections materials are administered through the BPL’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, which holds nearly 250,000 rare books and one million manuscripts.

Read more here

Posted in Archives in the News | Leave a comment

It WAS National Library Week last week

A History of US Public Libraries


“Rockingham County Library bookmobile and children,” North Carolina, 1955.

Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

For many Americans, their fondest memories revolve around a library card. From searching through the stacks, to getting a return date stamped on the back of a new favorite book, libraries are a quintessential part of how Americans learn and engage with their local communities. Since this country’s founding, public libraries have received broad and consistent popular support for their democratic missions and services. The ability to access free information has become a core ideal of what it means to be an American citizen, despite periods of historic inequality. Libraries help make this access possible by placing public benefit at the center of their work and continually adapting their strategies to meet changing public needs over time.

This exhibition tells the story of the American public library system, its community impact, and the librarians who made it possible—from the founding of the first US libraries through the first one hundred years of service.

Posted in Cool Sites, Exhibits | Leave a comment

Join us for the Panel Discussion: “Kurdish community perspectives: Impacting our world”

Join us today, April 20, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Binghamton University Art Museum

All are welcome at a panel discussion reflecting the contributions of our faculty members to the learning, teaching and research of the Kurdish culture and the everyday life of its people.

Kurdish children and woman sitting smallKurdish men building small

Join us from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2017 in the Main Gallery of Binghamton University’s Art Museum for

“Kurdish community perspectives: Impacting our world”

Panelists will discuss their current research and findings, and how these efforts help us understand the world today. A general discussion of current events in the Kurdish community follows. Topics to be explored include the impact to Kurdish society as a result of the recent travel ban, perspectives on immigration and the vital role of diversity in education.

Panelists from Binghamton University

  • Moderator: Kent Schull, associate professor of Ottoman and modern Middle East history
  • Aynur de Rouen, curator of the Kurdish Collection, Special Collections
  • Bahattin Demir, PhD student in history
  • Ekrem Karakoc, associate professor of political science
  • Nilay Ozok-Gundogan, visiting assistant professor of Ottoman history

Panelist from the American Kurdish Council, New York chapter

  • Ridwan Zebari, director

RSVP online

This panel discussion complements the exhibit of black-and-white photography from the Vera Beaudin Saeedpour Kurdish Library and Museum Collection currently on display at the Art Museum: “A Glimpse of Everyday Life in Iraqi Kurdistan”

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A recent rare book acquisition by the University Libraries’ Special Collections


The Special Collections and University Archives department of the University Libraries’ was fortunate to acquire recently a remarkable rare book for the William J. Haggerty Collection of French Colonial HistoryDes colonies; particulièrement de la Guyane française.  It was written by P.-Ch. de Saint-Amant, who was the  private secretary to the Baron de Laussat, governor of Guyana.   The book was published by Chez Barrois & Delaunay in Paris in 1821.

This is a scarce first edition, and of which only 12 copies exist.  References to this work can be found in Sabin 74985; but not in Muller; not in Howes; not in Leclerc; not in the Beinecke Lesser Antilles Collection; nor in Kress, Goldsmiths’ or Einaudi.

From the description of the dealer’s catalogue, the work is divided into two sections:  the first section deals with the history, government, institutions, commerce and cultivation of French Guyana in particular, and the second part deals with the French government’s projects  to populate the colonies in general by various means:  invitations to Chinese labors and free people of color from the British colonies to work in the colony;  the use of galley slaves to populate the colonies and the possibility importing French farmers.  This book is a primary source and adds to the printed information contained in the William J. Haggerty Collection of French Colonial History.

Despite numerous attempts in the 1850s to import workers from elsewhere, including convicts from France, to work the plantations, almost all of these attempts to populate and develop the colony failed.

The binding is contemporary brown half calf with tree marbled paper covered boards.  The spine is in gilt compartments with gilt lettering to spine.  It’s pagination is:  xiv, [2], 246, [2, errata, blank] pp. 8vo.

Although not yet cataloged, the book is still available for study in the Special Collections and University Archives department of the Bartle Library.  Special Collections and University Archives is open to the public Monday – Friday, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Posted in Books, New Acquisitions | Leave a comment

Today in 1397 – the first reading of the Canterbury Tales

Chaucer 12

Title page of The Canterbury tales of Chaucer, modernis’d by several hands. Published: London, Printed for J. and R. Tonson, 1741. Located in Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections.

April 17, 1397 would turn out to be very significant in the development of English literature, for on this day Geoffrey Chaucer read his Canterbury Tales out loud for the first time in King Richard II’s court. He read it in English, the language of the common man, instead of the Norman French usually spoken at court.

It is believed that Chaucer may have written The Tales in the hope of having English accepted as a courtly language. On 17th April 1397, he was given the privilege of reciting his own works before the ladies and gentlemen of the court. In those days, public entertainment often consisted of a reader, reciting works from a book. Although readers were scarce and books scarcer still, the king could afford to pay for a narrator to read at his court.

The Canterbury Tales, the magnum opus of Sir Geoffrey Chaucer and his best known work, concerns a diverse group of 30 pilgrims embarking upon a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas at Canterbury. To pass the time on their journey, they tell stories; the traveler who spun the best tale was to receive a free meal at the Tabard Inn upon his return. Their individual tales mirror their station in life – knight, parson, clerk, etc., for both good and ill.

Chaucer 16

Illustration of Chaucer from The Canterbury tales of Chaucer, modernis’d by several hands, 1741, located in the Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections.

Chaucer died October 25, 1400 in London, England, and was the first to be buried in Westminster Abbey’s inaugurated Poet’s Corner. After his death, The Canterbury Tales reached the wider world and were widely reproduced. By the mid-15th century he was regarded as the greatest English poet of all time, the art form he had pioneered about to flourish after the invention of the printing press in 1476.  This invention would come to mass-produce Chaucer and would make The Tales available to all writers who would follow him.

Visit Special Collections, located on the second floor of the Bartle Library to view the Libraries’ 1741 edition of The Canterbury Tales.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Rabbits and other fur-bearers

rabbits 2 001

Plate from Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers by John Burroughs; with fifteen illustrations in colors after Audobon, and a frontispiece from life. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1900.

Located in Special Collections, 2d floor Bartle Library.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Cornell University Library acquires vast collection of textile materials


 A massive collection documenting the U.S. textile industry is set to become one of Cornell University Library’s largest acquisitions ever.

The collection, from the Osborne Library at the recently closed American Textile History Museum (ATHM), is expected to fill eight or nine tractor-trailers when it arrives in Ithaca this spring. It comprises around 90,000 books, periodicals, manuscript collections, photographs, textile sample books, tintypes, glass plate negatives and trade catalogs that tell the story of the textile industry in New England and across the country.

The textile collections will complement textile union collections in the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, including the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union archives. Materials related to textile production, science and agriculture will become part of Mann Library; rare items will become part of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC).

Read more here

Posted in Archives in the News | Leave a comment

Digitizing history: 82,000-manuscript collection Vatican Library goes online

Project to open rare and valuable collection to the world is finally up and running.

People gather in St Peter's Square at the Vatican during Pope Francis' weekly general audience on May 1.
People gather in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican during Pope Francis’ weekly general audience on May 1.  (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES)  

By Lesley Ciarula Taylor    News reporter
Thu., May 2, 2013

Little things slow down the process of putting 40 million pages of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican Library online: gold or silver in the illuminations, bindings that disintegrate if you open them, getting the synergy right.

“It is important to realize if there is gold or silver in a manuscript. That requires a very particular process because the light will be different,” said Luciano Ammenti, who is in charge of IT at the Vatican and the project to digitize the storied library’s 82,000 manuscripts.

The project, finally up and running a year after its announcement, uses an armada of equipment to capture the vast range of pages amassed by the Vatican over five or six centuries into one of the world’s most valuable collection of books and manuscripts.

But synergy trumps sharpness.

“It is the right synergy between sensors, optics and lighting, together with the highest possible resolution,” the Vatican website explained.

So the high tech systems include “cradles” which allow the book to open to less than 180 degrees on its own, without contact and without glass plates.”

With 2.8 petabytes of storage from global data company EMC, the Vatican Library had to decide where to begin. In all, said Ammenti, the collection will take 43 petabytes of storage.

“We start with the most delicate, the books that are in a critical situation for conservation.”

“This is our dream, to give all the world access to our manuscripts,” Ammenti said.

“People often think the Vatican Library is a place where secrets are kept,” said Timothy Janz, scriptor graecus or specialist in Greek paleography, philology and history.

Once digitization opens the library to the world, rather than just to 200 scholars at a time in Rome, “many things that remain to be discovered will be found,” said Janz.

Ammenti’s staff of 15 digital archivists can, on a good day, scan one page a minute once all the equipment is in place. Because of the intensity of the process, however, they only work directly on the manuscripts for four and a half hours, he said.

The team uses eight different types of scanners and four varieties of digital cameras to deal with the fragile and rare texts. None is automatic.

The project got its kickstart with a $3 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation and posted its first digitized results, a series of 300 14th century German volumes, in January.

Posted in Archives in the News, Books | Leave a comment