Scottish Ghoulies

By:  Kevin Grace

 

  Infernal Gods, who rule the shades below,

Chaos and Phlegethon, ye realms of woe,

Grant what I have heard I may to light expose

Secrets which earth, and night, and hell inclose.

North Berkwick Witches tried before King James

The verse comes from an 18th century book in the Archives & Rare Books Library that purports to document true accounts of the supernatural, most of them from the Scottish highlands.  Of course, every country and culture has its own ghosts and witches, and Scotland has a wonderfully rich heritage of “long-leggedy beasties.”  Which notion, of course, points to the spookiest of goodnight prayers, the Scots’ traditional plea for safety in their beds:

From ghoulies and ghosties

And long-leggedy beasties

And things that go bump in the night

Good Lord, deliver us!

Title page - The History of Witches, Ghosts, and Highland SeersThis small poetic digression aside, our book of spectres and succubi came from the press of Robert Taylor of Berwick-on-Tweed.  Berwick was one of those towns caught between the Kingdoms of Scotland and England during the frequent border wars, but finally became a part of England in 1482.  Located in Northumberland, it is the northernmost town in England, but centuries later it still maintains a strong Scottish identity.  Taylor was active as a printer in Scotland and England from 1717-1779, and is credited with setting up the first printing press in Berwick in 1753.  In 1775, he published The History of Witches, Ghosts, and Highland Seers: Containing Many Wonderful Well-Attested Relations of Supernatural Appearances, Not Published Before in Any Similar Collection Designed for the Conviction of the Unbeliever, and the Amusement of the Curious.

One wonders a bit about that “Not Published Before…” statement in regard to Taylor.  Copyright was still a fluid concept in some English courts, and Taylor sometimes stood accused of pilfering from fellow printers.  Ten years after History of Witches was printed, Taylor would lose a lawsuit brought Berwick early pressagainst him by another printer on his publishing of a poetry book, The Seasons by James Thomson.  Nevertheless, the full weighty title gives weight to the content.  These were ghost stories intended to frighten the reader.  And, to put the fear of God in the souls and minds of non-believers who, in the words of Taylor, say such tales “are the invention of enthusiasm, and a crazy disordered imagination.”  There are 86 stories in his gathering, several of them from the Continent and many of them accounts of witches, of “second sight,” and of appearances by apparitions.  There are titles such as “The Daemon of Glenluce, in Galloway, in Scotland” and “The Dream of Lauchlan McKinnon.”

The tradition of witchcraft and ghosts in Berwick was a very long one.  In 1590, there were notorious witch trials in North Berwick that lasted for more than two years and involved more than 70 accused people.  According to the trials, the witches held their covens on Auld Kirk Green near the harbor.  Taken to the Old Tollbooth in Edinburgh and tortured, many of the accused were forced to confessed to consorting with the Devil.  The trials became quite famous and William Shakespeare even adapted some of the supposed “rituals” brought out in court for his play Macbeth.

Apparition to King James

Robert Clark Collection book plateAll in all, Taylor printed a lovely little book!  The copy in the Archives & Rare Books Library (call number SpecCol RB BF1411.H4 1775) is from the Robert Clarke Collection, the first collection of books that formed the University of Cincinnati Libraries and it has been nicely rebound in red cloth.  Taylor finished his preface to the book with this statement: “Let the aetheists, if there are any, the deists, free-thinkers, and infidel rakes read it and tremble.”

And we conclude here with another little verse:

 

Say, can you laugh indignant at the schemes

Of magick terrours, visionary dreams,

Portentous wonders, witching imps of Hell,

The nightly goblin and enchanting spell?

 

Happy Halloween!

The Archives & Rare Books Library’s Current Desiderata

By:  Kevin Grace

Gulliver's Travels, illustration by RackhamAs we are continually building the collections of the Archives & Rare Books Library in our areas of strength and making them more accessible for teaching and research, we know there are vital monographs or documents we would always like to acquire.  In some cases, our rare book budget will accommodate some special items, but when it comes to archival materials – and many rare books – we depend on the kindness of friends and strangers.  Our most current desiderata outlines some of the books and papers we are seeking, everything from documenting everyday lives in our German Americana Collection through cookbooks and organizational archives to rare books that strengthen our Shakespeare collection and our illustrated myth and legend holdings.  And of course, we always welcome Mick and Mackthe records of University of Cincinnati student organizations.

William ShakespeareThe items we list as desired acquisitions are primary resources in areas that are heavily used not only by UC students and faculty but by global scholars and the general public as well.  To view the list, go to http://libraries.uc.edu/arb/collections/desiderata.html and to learn more about the collections of the Archives & Rare Books Library and how to effectively use them in the classroom, in research, or in publications, call us at 513.556.1959, email ARB at archives@ucmail.uc.edu, have a look at our website at http://libraries.uc.edu/arb.html, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArchivesRareBooksLibraryUniversityOfCincinnati, or visit us on the 8th floor of Blegen Library.

 

 

A Closer Look At An Edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

By:  Savannah Gulick, ARB Student Assistant

Huck Finn Cover PageIn my Honors seminar, “The Culture of Books and Reading,” we were asked to choose a rare book from the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library to analyze and write about, and the book I chose was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (a personal favorite of mine).  Our first task was to analyze the physical features of our chosen books. Prior to this class, I really never cared to thoroughly look over a book; rather, I would just dive right in to the story. It truly is surprising how much you can learn from just examining a book. What I found about my book, just by looking, was that it is a limited edition (only 1500 copies produced), published in 1942 by The Limited Editions Club.  The book is hardcover and bound in a typical library buckram that is colored mustard yellow.  Considering it was issued in 1942, the printing is very clean and still in good condition on sturdy, white pages.  This limited edition contains 45 illustrations done by the Americana artist Thomas Hart Benton and they’re beautiful, fitting right in with the theme of Twain’s novel.  Overall, the book contains 396 pages and is still in good condition. Continue reading A Closer Look At An Edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Developing Future Access to Cincinnati’s Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection

By:  Alia Wegner, ARB 2017-2018 Intern

Third German Protestant Church
The Third German Protestant Church located at 829 Walnut Street, photo taken in the 1920s.

One of my internship projects this year is developing a digitization plan for the Cincinnati German Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection (Accession number GA-09-03).  Acquired a decade ago, the Third German Protestant Memorial Church was formerly known as the Third German Protestant Memorial Church of Cincinnati, the German and Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Church, and the North German Lutheran Church.   This collection spans 1814 to 1982 and includes records of births, marriages, deaths, confirmations, along with financial records and a few photographs.  For the most part, it has been used by family historians but once it is digitized and available as a global resource, the records can be used by urban historians, religious scholars, ethnicity and immigration researchers, and many others, as well as providing excellent primary resources in teaching.

The collection forms an important part of the University of Cincinnati’s German-Americana holdings but poses some challenges for digitization. The TPMC collection is composed primarily of handwritten German documents that need to be transcribed as well as scanned.  Since transcribing foreign language documents adds an additional layer of processing, it is important to get a clear sense of the extent and composition of the collection. One of my first tasks in this project was creating a collection overview. Continue reading Developing Future Access to Cincinnati’s Third Protestant Memorial Church Collection

The Don Heinrich Tolzmann German-Americana Collection

By:  Kevin Rigsbee, ARB and History Department Intern

Tolzmann German Americana Turnfest PostcardThe University of Cincinnati Archives and Rare Books Library recently received the papers of Don Heinrich Tolzmann, a retired Senior Librarian at UC and the former director of German-American Studies.  He has served as president of the Society for German-American Studies and during his tenure of office, he helped commemorate the 1983 German-American Tricentennial to mark the establishment of the first German-American settlement at Germantown, Pennsylvania Tolzmann also led the 1987 campaign to establish October 6th as German-American Day in the United States.  He has also served on the boards of international and national organizations, including the Deutsches Auswandererhaus in Bremerhaven and the Friends of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. and he is currently president of the German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati,

Dr. Tolzmann created the German-Americana Collection (also known as the Fick Collection because the initial bulk of the collection came from the library of noted Cincinnati educator and poet H.H. Fick) when he was on the University of Cincinnati Libraries faculty and built it into a world-renowned resource for research and teaching. This extensive collection contains materials from the nineteenth century to the present day, and ranges from periodicals and newspapers to personal letters, census records, and spelling books and almanacs. Continue reading The Don Heinrich Tolzmann German-Americana Collection

AP Trust Recap

By:  Eira Tansey

University of Maryland mascot
University of Maryland’s mascot in front of the McKeldin Library

Preservation has always been central to the mission of research libraries, which are charged with preserving knowledge, in all its forms, for use. Digital material faces different preservation challenges than analog materials. Rapid changes in file formats, software and hardware mean that digital content created according to today’s best standards risks being unusable or degraded in the future.

At the University of Cincinnati Libraries, we have significant born-digital and digitized content. Much of this can be found in Scholar@UC, UCL Digital Collections, and Luna. Digital preservation refers to the various preservation measures undertaken to ensure long-term use and access of digital materials for enduring sustainable preservation. Archivists and librarians must make many key digital preservation decisions, such as whether to migrate old file formats to new ones, determining how and where to store files, and scheduling file integrity checks. Digital preservation is more than just backups, but storing extra copies of content is a critical component of a digital preservation strategy. To mitigate against complete loss, it is important to store extra copies in different locations. According to the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, increasingly enhanced levels of digital preservation emphasize greater geographic distribution of copies. Continue reading AP Trust Recap

Revealing the Cincinnati Irish

By:  Kevin Grace

Mollie Gilmartin Death CertificateIn 1866, dozens of Cincinnatians, many of them veterans of the Civil War, helped launch an unsuccessful Irish invasion of Canada.  After capture by British and Canadian forces, these Cincinnati Irish were repatriated and they came home.  In 1894, a young Irish immigrant by the name of Mary “Mollie” Gilmartin, living in Cincinnati’s West End, was killed by a man who had stalked her from County Sligo.  Mollie was buried without a grave marker and then forgotten for almost a century.  In 1908, a little girl from the Avondale neighborhood wrote her Christmas letter to Santa Claus.  Elainae, the six-year-old of a wealthy family asked for a doll and for an Irish maid.  And in the 1920s, Ireland’s political leader Éamon de Valera came to Cincinnati to raise money for his emerging independent country.  The Cincinnati Irish had deep pockets with an abiding connection to their heritage.  These are all fairly disparate stories that touch upon just one of the ethnic groups that shaped Cincinnati then, but what meaning is to be found in them now?  How are commonalities with other groups, other eras, and other places discovered and studied? Continue reading Revealing the Cincinnati Irish

Environmental Records and Regulation

By:  Eira Tansey

Burning Barge on the Ohio River
Strode, William, “Burning Barge on the Ohio River”, 1972, Environmental Protection Agency: DOCUMERICA. Image source: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/543983

The relationship between local, state, and federal environmental protection has always been complicated – both by accident and by design. When the earliest environmental protections began, they typically started at the local and state levels, often following some kind of environmental disaster – and thus, environmental protections developed unevenly. By the time, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970, the decentralization of environmental policy was deliberately embedded in the original organization of the agency: much of EPA’s enforcement and regulatory duties are delegated to state environmental agencies.

Water issues have been roiling the Midwest, with significant attention paid to the Flint lead crisis and the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Ohio’s water issues may not be in the headlines as much, but the risks are worth paying attention to. Ohio is often described as a “water-rich” state with Lake Erie to the north, and the Ohio River to the south. Although we may be water-rich, this water is often quite contaminated. The Ohio River is consistently ranked as the most polluted river in the United States, and UC researchers have conducted studies of pollutants from Ohio River-sourced drinking water supplies connected with past manufacture of Teflon. Both Lake Erie and the Ohio River routinely experience harmful algae blooms, which are often connected to runoff from agricultural activities – and much harder to regulate. In addition, Cincinnati is under a federal consent decree due to the overflow from infrastructure deficiencies with the local sewer system.  Continue reading Environmental Records and Regulation

Caring for Cincinnati’s Children: The Cincinnati House of Refuge and Beyond

The Cinicnnati House of Refuge in 1856
The House of Refuge from the 1856 Annual Report of the House of Refuge

Last year, I wrote a short history of the Cincinnati House of Refuge for a website that is currently under development by some UC Librarians which will make the data from ARB’s digitized Cincinnati House of Refuge records more easily searchable.   While conducting research on the history of the House of Refuge, I became intrigued with how Cincinnati dealt with children whose parents for one reason or another were unable to care for them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The Cincinnati House of Refuge was designed as a facility for juvenile delinquents, but over time it also came to house children who had nowhere else to go.  This fall I am beginning a research quest to piece together why this happened, and when and what alternatives to the House of Refuge were established.  I will be writing a series of blog posts on what I find.  This first one, though, will provide some background on Cincinnati’s House of Refuge. Continue reading Caring for Cincinnati’s Children: The Cincinnati House of Refuge and Beyond

Breaking in a New Stage

By: Sydney Vollmer, B.S., Marketing ‘17

Otto M. Budig Theater StageLast week, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company said hello to their new home at the Otto M. Budig Theater with performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was fortunate enough to be invited to their Media Night on September 7, when I got a first look at the space and the show.

The Theater

Located at 1195 Elm Street, the new theater features a modern style of architecture one might not expect for a company boasting Shakespeare’s name.  There is a large lobby area for everyone to gather before the show and during intermission and it is Otto M. Budig theater lobbypeppered with Shakespeare quotes and play titles everywhere you turn, from the steps to the seating. I personally am a fan of the bathroom sinks which read, “A little water clears us of this deed” – a direct quote from Lady Macbeth. When you go to a performance, see how many you can find!  Upstairs, an open room is used for classes and meetings for various presentations. During Media Night, Jeremy Dubin, Director of Creative Education, gave an informative presentation on the costuming and set design for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Continue reading Breaking in a New Stage