Category Archives: Collections

Artists’ Books: A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature

Some of the most interesting materials in FSU’s Special Collections are Artists’ Books (also known as Book Arts). These are works in which the form of the work, the art and decoration on its surfaces, and the book’s moving parts are as important as the text of the work. Artists’ Books come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny to oversized. They often play with the format of the codex — pieces of substrate (writing surfaces) linked along one side to form what we refer to as a “book” — making meaning in often profound and exciting ways.

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The Artist’s Book we are highlighting today is A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, written and designed by Clifton Meador. Our copy is one of 25 that exist in the world. It comes in a “laser-cut birch plywood slipcase with dovetail joints,” and is broken into five volumes. Each volume has a different color schema that coordinates with the coloring of the seasonal forest scene depicted within. The volumes are accordion pleated and contain images and words only along one side; the back is blank.

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Accordion pleated works give the reader freedom in how they are read. An accordion-pleated text can be turned into a typical book-ready experience by keeping the pages folded up and going one at a time. Alternately, they can be unfurled entirely, revealing the length of the work in full. A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature has an additional complexity to its consumption, in that the text and images are facing separate directions; each volume contains a forest scene printed horizontally along the accordion folds while the text runs vertically down the long side of the bottom of the image.

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The textual content is a supposed lecture by an imaginary professor, who discusses nature and our relationship to it at length. The text of the lecture is broken up into shorter phrases that sometimes jump away from the margin and “grow” into the forest scene.

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The phrases take on a poetic quality, which is why it felt like the perfect choice for highlighting in our Year of Poetry blog series. While we often see poetry and prose and distinct forms, prose — especially spoken performance prose, as we might expect from a lecture — can take on a poetic quality, especially as it incorporates repetition, rhythm, and alliteration.

“The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who — even though he sounds convinced — is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience: for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a book that defeats reading.” — Vamp & Tramp Booksellers Website

 

This beautiful work is available for you to examine in Florida State University’s Special Collections, and we invite you come see it in person! It is much bigger than can be perceived in the images here.

Poetry and Nature: Robert Burns’ “Tim’rous Beastie”

In keeping with month’s theme, Poetry and Nature, I wanted to turn back to Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse,” a poem that delights and provokes upon each reread. In the poem we can see Burns’ tendency to find inspiration in the everyday; a brief encounter with nature gives him the opportunity to ruminate on the state of man and mouse alike. 

FSU’s Special Collections holds an incredible number of volumes of Robert Burns poetry, as well as ephemera connected to Burns fandom. A simple search for “Robert Burns” in the catalog of Special Collections items returns 149 items, including plays, music, biographies, and pamphlets, and most of these are either in the Shaw or Scottish collections.

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The Kilmarnock Burns, opened to “To a Mouse”

Likely our rarest item is our copy of the Kilmarnock Burns, the earliest printing of a collection of Burns’ works; 612 copies were printed in 1786 on a subscription basis, and was immediately successful, turning Robert Burns into a national celebrity. It is in this volume that “To a Mouse” was first printed for public consumption. Here’s a video of Dawn Steele performing the work:

We learn in the poem’s subtitle, and in the lore surrounding its inception, that the titular “Mouse” was glimpsed, “On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785.”

Burns laments this action, expressing dismay that he’s caused her tiny mouse-heart to race: “O, what a pannic’s in thy breastie!” Upon the poem’s closing, however, Burns has considered the differences between himself and the “wee beastie”: while both mice and men experience the roughness and instability in life, the mouse has the advantage in not being able to either dwell on the past or anxiously anticipate the future. 

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You can visit the Kilmarnock Burns, along with other Burnsiana, in the Special Collections exhibit “‘In His Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy.”

Spring is here, and FSU’s campus is covered in blossoming trees, lush green leaves, and curious critters. Take some time this week to consider your relationship to the natural world around you. Do you notice the little things on your walks through campus? Do you allow, as Burns did, these external stimuli to impact your thoughts and feelings about yourself, or even to provoke poetic expression?

Welcome to the Year of Poetry: T. S. Eliot and The Waste Land

Happy Poetry Month!

This month begins FSU Libraries’ Year of Poetry, April 2018 – April 2019, an entire year of celebration dedicated to poetry in all of its forms and facets. Look out for events on campus that invite you to participate in exploring poetry creation and poetry enjoyment!

National Poetry Month is always in April, a reference to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land*:

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.”

Listen to The Waste Land at Librivox.com

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The beautiful book pictured is from Florida State’s Special Collections. It is Eliot’s Poems, 1909-1925, a first edition of the first collection of Eliot’s poetry to include The Waste Land, a disjointed and highly allusive work that is central to modernist poetry.

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The Waste Land
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Spine with Label

You can find information about National Poetry Month here, including suggestions for ways to participate. Sign up for Poem-a-Day and participate in National Poem in your Pocket Day (April 26th)! 

And come to Special Collections in Strozier Library to experience some historic poetry materials in person, like Eliot’s The Waste Land!

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*Thank you, Jeff Hipsher, Service Desk Supervisor in the Scholars Commons, for this info.

Pepper’s Work in Lowering Hearing Aid Costs

Recently, while engaging in a record survey project involving the Claude Pepper papers,  I discovered Pepper’s influential work in lowering hearing aid costs to improve affordability and strengthen precise hearing loss screenings among seniors.

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Senator Claude Pepper was perhaps the first politician to grasp the burdens of older Americans owning hearing aids. In fact, many people that were 65 and older during his congressional service either couldn’t afford hearing aids, because their insurance didn’t cover the cost, or they were exposed to fraudulent tactics to purchase them. As sellers created the illusion that hearing aids could either physically cure hearing loss or prosthetically correct hearing loss to a state of normalcy. And, in some cases, older adults fell victim to purchasing two hearing aids for both ears when only one was necessary due to a faulty diagnosis. As a result, Claude Pepper took great pride in building awareness about hearing aids and affordability by introducing the H.R. 646 Bill on January 15, 1979, to propose a supplementary medical insurance program to aid in covering hearing aid costs and safeguard consumer abuse. The bill also pushed for hearing aid manufacturers to advertise that hearing aids could not cure or impede hearing impairments. The bill demanded that the Food and Drug Administration mandate the requirement of an audiologist examination before purchasing hearing aids under the Medicare program to secure accurate treatment. Senator Pepper fought hard for this great cause, even though Congress later decided to reject the bill.

If you would like to learn more about Claude Pepper’s work regarding hearing aid legislation, please visit the Claude Pepper Library & Museum. Materials are available for researchers and can be discovered online through the collection’s finding aid.

The Journals of an 19th century Tallahassee Reverend

We recently added a small new set of materials to the digital collection for theSt. John’s Episcopal Church Records. Two items detail the history of the Church further. The other three are journals kept by the Reverend Doctor W.H. Carter. They document his travels and ministry in New York, Florida, and places in-between from 1855-1907. Dr. Carter was born in Brooklyn, New York, and studied at Yale University. Before his time in Tallahassee, Carter was rector of Episcopal congregations in Warwick, New York, and Daytona Beach. After some time spent traveling as a missionary, Carter was installed at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee in June 1879. In his journal entry from June 9th, Carter noted: “wonder how I will like it.” He apparently liked it well enough, as he remained in Tallahassee until his death in 1907.

Page from Journal of W.H. Carter, 1874-1897
The page from Rev. Carter’s Journal where he notes his move to Tallahassee in 1879. [See Original Item]
During his time in Tallahassee, Carter oversaw the construction of a new church building in 1880 and continued to take his clerical work on the road to worshippers in many small towns in North Florida, asylums, and the Leon County Jail. In the 1880s he was instrumental in establishing a church building and school for the black congregation of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, often performing services there. Carter’s work and demeanor left a significant impression on the congregation of St. John’s; his obituary notes that “Doctor Carter’s life was an object lesson of cheerful and patient serenity. In 1950 the church annex was extensively renovated and renamed the Carter Chapel in his honor. You may see all the journals here in the digital collection as well as the other materials digitized from the St. John’s Episcopal Church Records collection.

St. John’s is the mother church of the Diocese of Florida. It was founded as a mission parish in 1829, and the church’s first building was erected in 1837. The Diocese was organized at St. John’s in 1838 and Francis Huger Rutledge, who became rector of St. John’s in 1845, was consecrated the first Bishop of Florida in 1851. The original church burned in 1879; a new church was built on the same site and consecrated in 1888, and it is still the parish’s principal place of worship.

The physical collection includes administrative records; member registries; meeting minutes of the Vestry and church circles; Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, hymnals, and other liturgical works; documentation of the history of St. John’s Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida; service bulletins and other periodicals; sermon transcripts; photographs; and motion pictures.

For more information about the collection, visit its finding aid.

Sources:
W.H. Carter Journal, 1874-1897, St. John’s Episcopal Church Records, Special Collections and Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/MSS_2016-006
Stauffer, Carl. (1984). God willing: A history of St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1829-1979. Tallahassee, FL. http://fsu.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?23FS021651363

Solidifying U.S.-Czech Relations

“Dobrý den!” Or, as we in the Czech Republic say, “hello!” Over the past few months, I have been working on creating a container list for the Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte Collection. Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a Tallahassee native, is a lawyer, professor, and former President of FSU. A former President of the American Bar Association, Sandy is well known throughout the legal world and has made important contributions in promoting equality and democracy. Special Collections & Archives received these materials recently, and it has been my job to help organize and categorize all of the materials in the collection. Despite the preponderance of legal files, case briefs, and writs of certiorari, there have been a few interesting finds in the collection.

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In particular, I am intrigued by Sandy’s connections with the American Friends of the Czech Republic, a group designed to increase relations between the United States and the Czech Republic. Sandy was a board member of the group and oversaw the erection of a statue of T.G. Masaryk, who was the first president of the now extant country of Czechoslovakia. Most of the materials pertaining to Sandy in this part of the collection are site proposal documents and information on the Resource Development Committee of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. I find this particular part of the collection interesting for two reasons: first, given that my family heritage stems from Slovakia in a tiny town near the Czech Republic, it is always wonderful to pour over and analyze information from my ancestral homeland; second, and more importantly, Sandy’s work with the American Friends of the Czech Republic reifies his overall drive to be amicable, and most of all, helpful. This notion is further peppered throughout the entirety of the collection, particularly in his extensive and lengthy list of Pro Bono hours and in his service in and on multiple commissions, organizations, and commissions designed to improve access to education and to basic, fundamental resources.

Further, I believe that this part of the collection comments on a common undercurrent of the D’Alemberte Collection, that is, that despite our differences, we, as a human race, are profoundly more similar than we might believe. Ultimately, I am quite honored to be working on this collection and to have come to know, vicariously, such a reputable member of the FSU community.

Post by David Advent. Advent,  a native of Western North Carolina, is a junior English Literature and International Affairs double major at FSU. He is currently conducting his Honors in the Major Thesis and holds numerous campus positions that promote the visibility of undergraduate research at FSU.

Take Me Out To the Ball Game…

In Florida, it’s easy to see how it’s baseball season. We’re coming out an unusually warm February (though more seasonably cool and rainy weather is headed our way). So, it came as no surprise that the college baseball season is already in full swing. The 2018 Noles are riding a winning streak going into the second month of the season, having won their first 8 games of the season. Perhaps they’ve been perusing our collection of media guides from past teams for inspiration in the offseason.

Cover from the 1986 Florida State Baseball Media Guide
Cover from the 1986 Florida State Baseball Media Guide [see original object]
FSU has the dubious honor of being the most successful collegiate baseball program in the United States without a College World Series championship to their name. Maybe this will be their year? We wish them luck!

Browse our entire collection of sports media guides for FSU athletics here and if you have some you see we’re missing, let us know! We’d love to complete our collection.

Journeys in the Shaw Collection: Bohemian Grove Plays

The Green Knight

FSU’s John M. Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection is vast and covers myriad topics. While most are books intended for children, or books containing poetry, or both, in many cases the texts deviate from the collection’s title altogether.

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The cover’s gold medallion

Such is the case with The Green Knight: A Vision. In a catalog search for children’s books about knights, I stumbled upon a work that, with a little research, unraveled into a fascinating story about powerful men meeting in the woods in secret. The book is tan with a white spine and a gold medallion on the front cover depicting two knights astride their horses in the middle of a joust.

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The Naked Man

 

The Naked Man

The first sign that the text might not be intended for children was this strange photograph, labeled “NEOTIOS.”

It is a naked man, from a distance. Though the photograph is pasted into a position clearly made for it – the name of the photograph and artist are printed in the space below the paste-in spot – it is a strange sight opposite the elaborate title page, with its wood-block border and inclusion of green ink.

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The Frontispiece

 

 

It is on this frontispiece that The Green Knight’s origin is identified: “PRIVATELY PRINTED FOR THE BOHEMIAN CLUB BY SOME OF ITS MEMBERS / SAN FRANCISCO: MCMXI.” The border incorporates the primary values of the Bohemian ideal in the four great arts: Music, Literature, Painting, and Sculpture. Nature and Bohemia are at the top, and Care, the personified troubles and worries of the world, is at the bottom and depicted as a skull. (The Bohemian Club famously burns Care in effigy at a secret ceremony during their time at the Bohemian Grove.)

 

 

Weaving Spiders

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Colophon

The Bohemian Club is a private club (still active) founded in 1872 in San Francisco. The club began in order to gather together creatives in a sort of “salon” setting, but eventually included influential businessmen and politicians who considered themselves art aficionados. It is perhaps more accurate to say that they were aficionados in so far as they had the resources and leisure to enjoy and own art at a level beyond that of the everyman. The club’s motto is “Weaving spiders come not here,” meant to indicate that the wheeling and dealing of business should be left outside the walls of the club, where the conversation should turn to loftier things like art, music, and literature. However, it is undeniably a community of movers and shakers, and membership rosters read like a who’s-who of the era.

 

“Oscar Wilde, upon visiting the club in 1882, is reported to have said “I never saw so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-looking Bohemians in my life.” (Wikipedia)

Bohemian Grove

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Neotios’ Costume

Each summer, the Bohemian Club gathers in a second location outside of the city, among the redwoods of Monte Rio, California in what came to be called The Bohemian Grove. Here, global leaders purportedly “rough it” in the woods, but from accounts, it seems that the modern concept of “glamping” (glamorous camping) is a more appropriate description.

 

During the final weekend of a three-week stay in the Bohemian Grove, an elaborate play is performed: the Grove Play. It is written and staged entirely by club members. The Green Knight: A Vision is one of these plays, performed only once in the forest of the Bohemian Grove and recorded in this book that was meant only for the eyes of its members. The picture of the naked man is a character in the play, Neotios, whose proposed costume is depicted in the book.

Grove Plays always incorporate a musical component, and The Green Knight includes the composed music, which is primarily instrumental and meant to break up the sections of speech. There are a few chanted portions, highlighting the ritualesque nature of the performance.

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Music from The Green Knight

The Sire

The book includes an introduction by the “sire” (author) Porter Garnett, the play text, costume designs, music, and a fold-out map of the natural stage: a hillside faced by log benches for the spectators. It is this hillside that is depicted in the photograph of Neotios. The Bohemian Grove performances aspired to a level of artistic excellence that was unsurpassed outside of the private gatherings. Porter Garnett argued that “a certain number of the audience – by reason of their possession or their apprehension of it – feel that they are participants in a rite, not spectators at an entertainment” (The Bohemian Jinks ix).

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Map of the Grove Stage, logs for seating on the right side

Plays performed by Bohemian Grove members were referred to as “jinks,” and other copies of “Summer Jinks” exist, even here at FSU. The Allen Music Library holds a copy of “The Atonement of Pan: A Music Drama” from 1912, and Special Collections has Truth: A Grove Play from 1926 in its vault.

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Truth

For further reading on the Bohemian Grove, this Vanity Fair article is a fascinating introduction.


SOURCES:

Garnett, Porter. The Bohemian Jinks : A Treatise. San Francisco : Bohemian Club, 1908., 1908.

Garnett, Porter and Edward Griffith Stricklen. The Green Knight : A Vision. San Francisco, Priv. print. for the Bohemian club, by some of its members, 1911.

Hadley, Henry and Joseph D. Redding. The Atonement of Pan : A Music Drama. [San Francisco, Calif. : Bohemian Club], 1912.

Sterling, George and Domenico Brescia. Truth : A Grove Play. San Francisco : Bohemian Club, 1926.

 

What is Florida High?

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Demonstration School

Since its inception, Florida State University has been involved in teaching high school aged students in addition to college students. When the legislature voted in 1851 to create two institutions of higher learning in Florida, Tallahassee began to organize a bid to have one of the schools established in town.

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The first page of The Trident from February 10, 1967. [original item]
They began by building a structure known as the Florida Institute which began holding classes in 1855. The Florida Institute was not exclusive to higher education. High school students were taught here as well. The city offered this structure, as well as a monetary incentive, to the legislature and won the bid to create the new school. The Florida Institute became the West Florida Seminary in 1857 but continued to educate high school students as well as college students.

It wasn’t until 1954 that the high school department got its own building on campus. The Florida State University School, or FSUS, was created and more commonly known as “Florida High”. The school taught children grade levels K-12. Students from FSU and FSCW Education program interned at this school as part of their studies. In 2001, Florida High moved to a different location, off of FSU’s campus. Despite the move, Florida High maintains its close connection with FSU and, especially, the College of Education.

FSU Libraries is beginning the process of digitizing the collection and the first batch of records – issues of the student newspaper The Trident –  is now live in our digital library. The collection can be accessed here. Those looking to donate material to add to our Florida High Collection should contact Sandra Varry at svarry@fsu.edu.

Claude Pepper’s Vision of Treating Alzheimer’s Disease Continues into the 21st Century

Claude Peppers work on Alzheimers dz
Newspaper Clippings of Claude Pepper’s Research on Alzheimer’s Disease
                            Claude Pepper Library Collection, Series: 302A, Box 26, Folder 2

Many remember Senator Claude Pepper as the “nation’s spokesman for the elderly,” serving as a chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health and Long-term care and the House Select Committee on Aging during the 1970s. Pepper gained recognition for being instrumental in displaying such a perpetual commitment to ensuring affordable access to comprehensive healthcare and solidifying social security benefits and Medicare/Medicaid. Remarkably, he expanded the spectrum of public health through the establishment of ten research centers to reduce the pervasiveness of chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, in an effort to reduce the exacerbation of symptoms.

Today, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Many individuals who are affected by the disease experience early onset in their 40s or 50s, while the majority of populations are diagnosed at 65 and up. Although this chronic illness entails complexities to why it occurs, there are several risk factors that precipitate the presence of developing dementia. These conditions include: head trauma, genetics, age, diet, or family history. The U.S. National Institutes of Health reported, that diabetes mellitus, smoking, depression, mental inactivity, physical inactivity and poor diet are associated with increased risk of developing dementia. For example, diabetes can increase the risk of AD by affecting the AB accumulation in the brain, causing the brain to compete for insulin-degrading enzymes. Other studies reveal that hypertension increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50% by decreasing the vascular integrity of the blood-brain barrier, resulting in protein extravasation into brain tissue. Furthermore, the Alzheimer’s Association (2018) revealed that 35% of Alzheimer’s or dementia caregivers reported that their health got worse over time due to care responsibilities, compared to 19% of caregivers for older people without dementia. Primarily, this disease not only affects families but the healthcare system as well by prevailing as the most expensive disease in America, costing more than cancer and heart disease to treat. In 2017, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s estimated 259 billion (The Alzheimer’s Association, 2018).

These statistics are staggering, which is why Senator Claude Pepper worked tirelessly to sponsor legislation to fund research efforts to create intervention therapies to alter cognitive decline. As a result, his legacy continues today as policymakers partner with IT technologist to treat the disease through the development of assisted technologies. These web-based interventions are beginning to change the paradigm of Alzheimer’s care by offering real-time access to clinicians via a patient portal or mobile app in order to provide care plans and disease management support in the home. Thus, aiding to lighten the burden of caregivers and improve the safety of dementia patients by modifying behavioral and psychiatric symptoms. (Lancioni, Singh, O’Reilly, Sigafoos, Amico, Renna and Pinto, 2016).

Pepper’s vision of improving home health care to enhance the quality of life for the disabled and elderly is beginning to resonate in the healthcare industry. Consequently, empowering dementia patients and caregivers in achieving self-efficacy.  Even though e-health tools are changing the dynamic of dementia treatment, awareness and financial provisions are still necessary to broaden the scope of accessing these applications. If you are a student or faculty member who may be interested in learning more about Senator Pepper’s work or the implementation of healthcare policies in government, visit the Claude Pepper Library!

The Claude Pepper Library & Museum offers insight into the establishment of medical research centers as well as the National Institutes of health on behalf of Senator Pepper’s instrumental legislative work. These materials are available for researchers and can be discovered online through the collection’s finding aid.