Shakespeare’s Culturally Relevant Halloween Story

By Erica Bock, Archives and Rare Books Library Intern

Titus AndronicusIt is that time of year again. It is starting to feel like fall and Halloween is right around the corner. Netflix is coming out with their top Halloween picks. And a category such as “gory” or “gruesome” is bound to be featured, as it is nearly every year. If you are like me, not only do you enjoy a scary film, but there are also books that fit the season. Maybe you are cracking open Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Stephen King’s Carrie. However, I just may have a new recommendation for you. Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is a horror story that would definitely be featured on Netflix’s gory or gruesome film choices. And, believe it or not, it would be appealing to the same fans who adore American Horror Story or Sweeney Todd. But apart from appealing to the horror genre buff, this play addresses some issues that may be very close to home.

Although this story features a horrific fourteen killings, six severed members, one rape, one live burial, one case of insanity and an instance of cannibalism, we can find a number of these barbaric acts relevant to today’s culture. First and foremost, the issue of racism is addressed through these events. Titus Andronicus’ opposing sides consist of the Romans, which are revealed to be the more civilized pale skinned people, and the Goths, the darker skinned people known for their lawlessness and tactlessness. These are simply cultural biases that our culture is no stranger to. However, as the story progresses, both parties commit crimes of hatred, causing the audience to wonder who the heartless and reckless people really are in the end. Continue reading Shakespeare’s Culturally Relevant Halloween Story

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First Wave Feminism-Is it Still Relevant?

By Erica Bock, Archives and Rare Books Library Intern

Anne Bradstreet from The Poems of Mrs. Anne BradstreetMany of us remember being forced to read the poetry of Anne Bradstreet in high school or even college. And most of us read summaries online or in SparkNotes so we could still get an “A” without having to spend the time to decipher certain poetry. In high school, I was that person too.

However, when a college professor assigned us the week’s reading, I actually took the time to read Bradstreet’s works. Maybe it was because of lack of anything else to do. Or maybe I just really liked the professor’s approach to teaching. Regardless, I delved into the world of Bradstreet and I was both inspired and pleasantly surprised.

This free thinking first wave feminist started to inspire my life. And in particular, I took to her poem, “The Four Elements”. Bradstreet observed the world around her. And I began to realize what could happen if I too decided to become more aware of the world around me. Bradstreet reminded me that there is beauty in the natural chaos of life. And though everyone is different, we can use our differences to our advantage. Continue reading First Wave Feminism-Is it Still Relevant?

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A New Accession To The Holdings of Cincinnati Ballet

By:  Savannah Gulick, Archives & Rare Books Library Student Assistant

Nutcracker Program from 2001-2002 seasonIf you have lived around Cincinnati, most likely you’ve heard of Cincinnati Ballet, more specifically Cincinnati Ballet’s annual Nutcracker performance at Music Hall. Every holiday season, the ballet company performs this classic and it truly is a breathtaking. However, there is so much more to the company than just the Nutcracker! For example, when it was founded in 1958, Cincinnati Ballet became the first ever company to exist west of the Alleghenies. It is a fascinating history of this local cultural institution and our holdings of its archive includes a wealth of photos of their productions as well as costume designs and choreography. This most recent accession includes programs for Carmen, The Nutcracker, The Come Together festival, and Swan Lake; costume sketches, choreography, and pieces for Swan Lake and the Nutcracker.  The Archives & Rare Books Library holds the ballet’s records extending from 1960 to 2017. and this recent acquisition, accession number US-19-03, consists of 8.75 linear feet and covers 1991 to 2017.  Earlier acquisitions in 2010, 2012, and 2016 have the accession numbers of US-10-03 and US-12-07, and US-16-02 and overall the collection consists of 40.32 linear feet of documents, posters, Come Together Festival Program from 2005-2006 seasonphotographs, and programs.  The finding aids for the earlier accessions, with details on the contents, can be found online on the UC Libraries Finding Aid website.  ARB’s Sue Reller has been the contact person for the ballet and she assisted local arts writer David Lyman in his 2013 commemorative history, Cincinnati Ballet Celebrates 50: 1963-2013, from which many of following facts have been taken.  The volume is available in ARB’s reference collection and has the call number of GV1786.C5 C55 2013.

Continue reading A New Accession To The Holdings of Cincinnati Ballet

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The Irish Fairy Book by Alfred Perceval Graves

By: Savannah Gulick, Archives & Rare Books Library Student Assistant

Cover of the Irish Fairy BookCeltic lore has always been fascinating to me and to readers worldwide, but oftentimes it is overlooked by Greek and Roman mythology so I thought I would highlight a few of the tales that exemplify Irish mythology and that are part of our holdings in the Archives & Rare Books Library.

Celtic Irish society revolved around the cult of warrior heroes. The most important people in early Irish society, equal even to the kings, were the Seanachie or storytellers. A major part of these bards’ duties was to compose poems in praise of the daring deeds of kings and warriors; hence they were held in high esteem in a warrior society. Continue reading The Irish Fairy Book by Alfred Perceval Graves

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Resiliency in Venezuela: A Brief Look at the Willpower of a Country and its People throughout History

By:  Savannah Gulick, Archives & Rare Books Library Student Assistant

Map of VenezuelaWith one glance at the current news in Venezuela, horror ensues as you witness the atrocities that Venezuelans are enduring on a daily basis. Corrupt politicians, hyperinflation, big oil, blackouts and a lack of access to food, water, and other necessities are just the beginning. In one of my Spanish courses, our professor had us pull newspaper articles about the conflict and one particular article still comes to mind: “In Venezuela, Cooking With Firewood as Currency Collapses” (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/world/americas/venezuela-nicholas-maduro-inflation-economic-collapse.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FVenezuela). Black markets are thriving and charging obscene amounts for items like propane gas, eggs and sugar, which in turn leads to people relying on firewood for heat and food. In this century, it is hard to fathom how quickly a country can collapse and what that means for the citizens. However, the stark reality is that countries can fall in a week if enough corruption, unrest, and poor distribution of wealth exists. Continue reading Resiliency in Venezuela: A Brief Look at the Willpower of a Country and its People throughout History

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Under the Tent of the Sky: A Collection of Poems About Animals Large & Small

By: McKenna Corey, ARB 2018-2019 NEH Intern

Under the Tent of the Sky Title PageThe Historical Textbooks Collection at the ARB contains texts that cover a myriad of subjects: history, science, civic studies, music, writing, mathematics, and more. As I browse the collection, as a literary fanatic, I tend to gravitate towards the literary texts. As I was sorting some books this week, I came across the most endearing poetry collection for children that I wanted to share.

The anthology is titled Under the Tent of the Sky, and it includes poetry that focuses on the animal kingdom. The volume was published in 1937. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of my favorite poets were included in the volume, including William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and even William Shakespeare. It was amazing to me that such prominent poets were included in a collection for children, and I was inspired to flip through the volume. Continue reading Under the Tent of the Sky: A Collection of Poems About Animals Large & Small

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Simon Lord Lovat

By: McKenna Corey, ARB 2018-2019 NEH Intern

Lord LovatSimon Lord Lovat (a title of Scottish reverence) was known in his time as “the Fox,” and for good reason. He was well-known to be sly and duplicitous.Within the context of the Jacobite uprisings, he played a special role. After his execution, it was apparent that it was up to interpretation whether he was a traitor or, as he would call himself, “a patriot.

Born into the clan Fraser to Thomas and Sybilla in Scotland, Simon Lord Lovat was a brilliant student in his younger years. After graduating with a Master of Arts in 1695, Simon’s life was full of uncertainty. After the loss of his older brother in his younger years, Simon was declared the heir to his father, Thomas. The Lord Lovat at this time was Hugh Fraser, though his leadership skills weren’t excellent, and it was for this reason that Simon knew that he had to assure that his father would gain the title of Lord Lovat. To do this, he decided to create an army. Continue reading Simon Lord Lovat

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Benjamin Gettler and the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees

By:  Alex Temple, Benjamin Gettler Papers Project Archivist

I’ve mentioned before that Benjamin Gettler served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Cincinnati, but I haven’t really talked about how he got there or what that means.  In short, the Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University of Cincinnati.  There are 11 members total, who are recommended by the Ohio State Senate and appointed by the Governor of Ohio.  Among other responsibilities, they select and appoint the university president, set the university budget, and grant all degrees from the university.  The trustees set the framework for students’ experience at the University of Cincinnati, as they also are responsible for setting the tuition and approving university rules, curricula, and programs.  Gettler himself was key to the creation of the Judaic Studies Department.

Gettler was first recommended as a trustee to Governor George Voinovich by legislator Stanley Aronoff in October of 1992.  Aronoff lauded Gettler’s commitment to the Republican Party (Voinovich was a Republican governor) and business prowess, but it wasn’t until November of 1993 after a second recommendation from Bob Taft, that Voinovich would finally appoint Gettler.  Taft’s recommendation better highlighted Gettler’s qualifications as both a University of Cincinnati alumnus and significant donor.  Taft also praised his experience in law, finance, community service, and business in addition to his supportive activities with the Republican Party in local, state, and national issues.  He also put his own reputation on the line by making the recommendation out of personal familiarity with Gettler. Continue reading Benjamin Gettler and the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees

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James Handaysd Pekins – An Early Advocate for the House of Refuge

Portrait James H. PerkinsBefore the House of Refuge opened in 1850, there was no institution serving juvenile criminal offenders in Cincinnati.  Juvenile offenders were housed with adults in the Hamilton County jail.  In the late 1830s, a movement began in Cincinnati to reform the penitentiary system and a man named James Handaysd Perkins took part in this movement.  Although Perkins did not live long enough to see it, he had an important role in the start of the juvenile criminal justice system and social services in Cincinnati.

Perkins was born in Boston and moved to Cincinnati as a young man in 1832.  He came from a well-to-do family and was a talented writer and speaker, but he seemed to struggle to find his place in life.  He suffered from some health problems and also possibly from some mental health issues.[i]  He arrived in Cincinnati in search of a quieter life and with hopes of purchasing land for a farm, but instead he quickly became an up and coming member of society.  He began studying law under his friend, Timothy Walker, and joined a group of affluent New Englanders already living in Cincinnati.  Perkins even met his wife, Sarah Elliot of Connecticut through his social circles.  Even though life seemed to be going well for him, Perkins quickly became disillusioned with the law and attempted a variety of different careers from farming to establishing a milling and tool manufacturing business. Continue reading James Handaysd Pekins – An Early Advocate for the House of Refuge

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Flora McDonald: A Heroine of the Jacobites

By McKenna Corey, ARB InternHandwritten text that says Flora McDonald

A Heroine of the Jacobites

“Had it not been that her prudence and energies were called forth by the important and critical part which she was instrumental in achieving, she might have lived and died unknown to the world.”

-Alexander Macgregor, The Life of Flora Macdonald

Portrait of Flora MacDonaldIn every piece of history, there is a powerful woman, sometimes hidden or obscured from the record, that made all of the difference. This is true of the Jacobite movement as well, and though there are many incredible women that contributed to the movement, today’s post will focus on an incredibly special one. Flora Macdonald, with her bravery and commitment, saved a man’s life. What is even more incredible is that she not only saved a man’s life, but one that is integral to Scottish history.

I realized when I stumbled upon this portrait in the Virginius C. Hall Jacobite Collection, what struck me first was the poise and grace with which Flora poses. I was so enamored with the portrait that I decided to look into its subject, and after some research within the collection, I realized how important to the history of the Jacobite movements she really was. Continue reading Flora McDonald: A Heroine of the Jacobites

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