UC Libraries Closed Thanksgiving

thanksgiving graphicUC Libraries will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 for Thanksgiving, with the exception of the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, which will be open Friday, November 29 from noon – 5:00pm. Regular library hours will resume Saturday, November 30.

This closing includes the Langsam Library 4th floor space, which will close Wednesday, November 27 at 11pm and re-open Saturday, November 30 at 10am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Classics Library fêtes Kathryn Gutzwiller, John Miller Burnam Professor of Classics

On November 20, the Classics Library honored UC Classics Professor Kathryn Gutzwiller on the occasion of her being awarded the title “John Miller Burnam Professor of Classics,” named for a Professor of Latin Palaeography at UC, 1900-1921, and whose personal library formed the basis for the classics library, which is also named after him.

The celebration in the Library’s main Reading Room began with a talk by Susan Prince, Associate Professor of Classics, who referenced some of Professor Gutzwiller’s many academic accomplishments, followed by a musical treat with Yo Shionoya on oboe and Janna Young on harp. Next, the event moved to the Blegen Library lobby for a champagne toast by Professor Jack Davis, followed by a reception with desserts from Happy Chick’s Bakery in Northside. The celebration also included a display of only a small selection of Professor Gutzwiller’s numerous publications, towered over by emperor Augustus wearing a laurel wreath, a symbol of triumph, along with a display of facsimiles and rare books of works by Hellenistic poets upon which Professor Gutzwiller has based much of her original and groundbreaking research.

The guest of honor, Kathryn Gutzwiller, John Miller Burnam Professor of Classics, with Classics faculty members Lauren Ginsberg, Jack Davis, Marion Kruse, Kathleen Lynch, Steven Ellis (in the back) as well as Classics graduate students, many of whom are students of Professor Gutzwiller.

Professor Jack Davis, Chair of the Classics Department, and Associate Professor Susan Prince who gave a toast and speech in honor of Professor Gutzwiller.

In the middle of the first row: Associate Professors of Classics, Daniel Markovich and Lauren Ginsberg; second row: Visiting Assistant Professor David Stifler and Assistant Professors Mirjam Kotwick, Calloway Scott, and Marion Kruse.

Susan Prince, Associate Professor of Classics, gave a laudatory speech honoring Professor Gutzwiller.

Janna Young on harp and Yo Shionoya on oboe, both graduate students at the UC College-Conservatory of Music, performed “Nightingale and Rose” by Saint-Saens and “Ombra Mai Fu” by Handel.

In addition to a card signed by all the classics faculty and staff, grad students, and Tytus fellows, the Library gave a notebook to Professor Gutzwiller with a motto that all agree perfectly fits her: “she believed she could [and] so she did.”

Professor Jack Davis gave a thoughtful yet good-humored champagne toast in honor of Professor Gutzwiller in the Blegen Library lobby.

Toastmaster Professor Davis had a captive audience. Jeffrey Kramer, the Archivist in the Classics Department, in the foreground.

All toasters were of age; graduate students Gabrielle Busnelli, Tiziano Boggio, Jakob Froelich, Luiza dos Santos Souza, Austin Hattori, Cecilia Cozzi, Simone Agrimonti, with faculty members Calloway Scott and Daniel Markovich.

The reception featured cakes from Happy Chick’s Bakery in Northside with the text “Dr. Kathryn Gutzwiller — John Miller Burnam — Professor of Classics — November 20 2019.” The flavors comprised chocolate orange, strawberry lemonade, vanilla rose, and ginger chai.

Displays of a selection of Professor Gutzwiller’s works, towered over by a bust of Roman emperor Augustus, and with a deer. Professor Gutzwiller and her husband Bob are great supporters of the deer in their neighborhood of Clifton.  In the glass case are rare books and facsimiles of the works of Hellenistic poets, such as Menander and Callimachus, upon whose texts much of Professor Gutzwiller’s research is based. She has published several books on Hellenistic poetry: Studies in the Hellenistic Epyllion (1981), Theocritus’ Pastoral Analogies: The Formation of a Genre (1991), Poetic Garlands: Hellenistic Epigrams in Context (1998), and The Guide to Hellenistic Literature (2007). She edited a volume on a new collection of epigrams by Posidippus found on a papyrus, The New Posidippus: A Hellenistic Poetry Book (2005, rev. ed. 2008), and has written several peer reviewed journal articles, too many to list here.













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UC Libraries Closed Monday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. HSL to Remain Open 9am-5pm.

veterans day imageUC Libraries will be closed Monday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day, except for the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, which will be open 9am to 5pm.

This closing includes the Walter C. Langsam Library 4th floor space, which will close Sunday, Nov. 10 at 11pm and re-open Tuesday, November 12 at 7:45am.

Normal hours will resume Tuesday, November 12.

Thank you to all who have served.

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Shannan Stewart joins the Classics Library as Library Specialist in Classics

Shannan Stewart will be joining the staff of the John Miller Burnam Classics Library as Library Specialist in Classics on November 4. Shannan holds a PhD in Classics from the University of Cincinnati. She received a BA in Classical and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota and an MA in Classics from the University of Wisconsin. She also studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and at the American Numismatic Society, and she taught various classical civilization courses at the University of Illinois for a number of years. However, since she felt that she belonged in Cincinnati, she now lives here, and in her own words, “for good.” Her professors in the Classics Department are thrilled, describing Shannan as an outstanding student; her dissertation defense was considered one of the best. Shannan is a classical archaeologist with much field experience, including working with the former chair of the UC Classics Department, Brian Rose, in Turkey and Albania and with the current chair, Jack Davis, in Greece. Her book on Hellenistic pottery from Gordion is forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Please join us in welcoming Shannan to the Classics Library and to UC!

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Cicero’s Remains Discovered in Madeira, Cincinnati, after more than 2,000 years!

After weeks of excavating several layers of dust particles, mostly dog hairs, and what may be interpreted as children’s toys, textiles, and tools in his attic, our very own bibliographer/archaeologist/coin enthusiast/dog lover Mike Braunlin made what could only be described as the discovery of a lifetime, move over Griffin Warrior, namely the partial skeletal remains (a surprisingly small head and large hands) of one of the greatest of the ancient Romans, none other than the orator, lawyer, politician, Republican (not the Trump kind), good father, less great husband, Marcus Tullius Cicero. The identification is virtually certain since a paper fragment was attached with the text: “Caveat Rhetor: Cicero olim fui” in addition to a rostrum (the rostra of Rome?). AIA’s gold medal is a given for the explorer himself.

Mike, please tell us; how did it feel when you made this remarkable discovery?

Mike: Well, Rebecka, words alone serve as an inadequate vessel to contain the depth of my emotions when I opened that box and saw “things…yes, wonderful things.” Let it only be noted that by the time I had descended my ladder, but before I was able with trembling fingers and benumbed legs to convey that precious cargo into my house, I used up my 2 remaining Depends, and Susan had to drive to Kroger’s to purchase another package for me. In short, it was a very moving experience.

Would you say that this find equals Carter’s discovery of the tomb of King Tut and Schliemann’s discovery of Troy?

Mike: A modest man is a wise man. Let others judge.

What’s next for the intrepid adventurer? Searching for Atlantis?

Mike: Besides my immediate concern of plotting the closest restrooms on my twice daily trek to and from the University Garage, I want to confirm once and for all my long held belief that the existence of the Byzantines proves that space aliens interbred with local populations in the eastern Mediterranean in late antiquity. While the coin portraiture of the 7th through 15th centuries should alone convince even the skeptic, as just a few of my numerous examples show in the photos below, I suppose the die-hard opponents of this truth will only bow before the Light of Science. As my many intimates know, I WAS abducted by space aliens one dark November evening while I was bicycling home from a Boy Scout meeting in 1966. Little did my tormentors know that they themselves would someday provide evidence of their existence. I managed to take a bite out of one of those space-oddities while they were attaching a brain waive monitor to my head. As we all know, alien flesh does not decompose (they are like plastic bottles that way), and I still have a chunk of that nastiness wedged between my teeth. We’ve just got to dig up some Byzantine bones and match their DNA with the stuff I’m currently trying to dislodge with my tongue. Then let my detractors laugh no more!

— There you have it. In spite of his exceptional discovery, Mike Braunlin remains modest and grounded in reality and is anxious to continue his search for the remains of dead people, whether of this or other worlds.

The skeletal remains of Cicero is temporarily (until October 31) on display on the mezzanine of the John Miller Burnam Classics Library.  Entrance is free. Do not touch.  


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The Greek Digital Journal Archive in Athens, Greece

I recently (August 24-30) attended a conference in Athens, Greece, where I presented and led a discussion on a project launched by the Classics Library called the Greek Digital Journal Archive (GDJA). The goal is to create a consortium to offer fulltext and detailed descriptions (so called metadata) for Greek journals in the humanities and the social sciences, newspapers, and newsletters published 1811-1949 (current out-of-copyright date) in one searchable and open online repository.

The Athenian Acropolis

The famed UC archaeologist Carl W. Blegen was a great Philhellene. He owned a house in Athens, in the posh neighborhood of Kolonaki, also the home of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA), but never in Cincinnati although he taught here part of the year. He along with benefactor and the then Chair of the Classics Department, William T. Semple (1921-1959), devoted much time, money, and effort to building the Greek collections, initially focusing on Ancient, but soon also on Byzantine and Modern Greece. Blegen would take frequent book purchasing trips to London, New York, Paris, and Istanbul in his pursuit to expand the Classics Library’s collections, especially of Greek materials. In 1953, under the leadership of Blegen, UC took on the responsibility for collecting scholarly Greek publications in all disciplines except for in agriculture, medicine, and law. This initiative formed part of the efforts of many academic research libraries in the U.S. during and after WWII to salvage and preserve library and archival materials in European libraries ravaged by war. This project was named the Farmington Plan after a town in Connecticut in which the first meeting was held. The idea was for U.S. libraries to take on the collecting of specific geographic areas, which were expanded to include the world since there were wars and disasters also in other parts of the world besides Europe. UC assumed responsibility for Greek publications, such as journals, hence UC’s distinguished collection of Modern Greek journals.

Athenian nightlife

The journals in the Classics Library are in print. Some of them are in poor physical condition. The collection is frequently requested via Interlibrary Loan and OhioLINK. Unfortunately, the Library’s small staff cannot scan more than brief articles. Often an entire issue or even an entire run is requested. Digitizing this collection would not only preserve it, but also potentially make it available also to scholars outside of UC. The digital collections & repositories department in Langsam, however, cannot take this on because of limited resources and because there are many projects that perhaps are more urgent. Outsourcing the digitization would cost between $400,000 and $800,000, depending upon the level of OCR correction necessary. This too is not feasible. Also, even though our collection is very strong and quite unique, we do lack journal titles and issues within the journal runs we hold. I have, therefore, pursued the possibility of a consortium of multiple libraries taking on this project. This way, the financial burden could be shared and the journal and newspaper runs be more complete.

The Library of the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center

Many Greek historic journals have in fact already been digitized although one major obstacle users have is the disparate digitization efforts.  The digitized journals are often difficult to locate and access in Greek libraries. There are a few in several libraries or academic departments, few coordinated efforts, but these are often hidden under multiple layers of discovery. In other cases, such as at the University of Cyprus, their digital journal collection is not easily accessible outside of the University of Cyprus community although scanned documents may be available upon request.

Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament

To explore the possibility of and interest in forming such a consortium, the Classics Library organized a conference at UC in October of last year. Participants included the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection at California State University, Sacramento, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Harvard University, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Greece, the Gennadius Library, and King’s College London.

The Acropolis Museum

The participants at the recent conference in Athens also included representatives from the Greek Parliamentary Library, the Greek National Documentation Centre, the University of Patras, the University of Crete, the Center for Research Libraries, and the Blegen Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Conference goers enjoyed Greek foods, music, and dance at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center.

The cooperating institutions in the project also include the Centre for Asia Minor Studies, Athens, Princeton University, and the University of Minnesota (the Immigration History Research Center Archives).

Syntagma Square at night

Cooperating institutions have so far contributed inventories to determine unique titles at each institution and also items shared by multiple libraries and archives. Four journal issues have been digitized by UC and a couple of titles at other institutions have been linked to as “proof of concept” in a Repository under development. There is also a Website in progress.

Present-day Greeks are proud of their ancient Greek heritage. Copies of the east pediment of the Parthenon can be seen in Athens’ subway. 

The next meeting of the GDJA will take place at the Symposium of the Modern Greek Studies Association in Sacramento, California, on November 8 at 1:15 pm.

If you have questions about this project or would like to contribute financially or by volunteering, please contact me at (513) 556-1316, lindaura@ucmail.uc.edu.

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Mystery at the Library

Cincinnati, University of Cincinnati, John Miller Burnam Classics Library, Choir Psalter

Italy, s. XV (with s. XVIII additions)

As most of you know, the Classics Library has shifted a number of its collections this summer. One of those collections is the rare books and manuscripts that were moved from ARB to what used to be called the Pal cage on S4. Most of the palaeography collection in turn has moved to the Scriptorium by the main Reading Room on floor 4. One day in early spring, as I was reviewing the books in the Pal cage to prepare for the move, I came upon a large size book (16 x 22 inches), an original medieval choir book on parchment with a wooden cover adorned with metal bosses and metal studs at the edges. I could not find either a title page or a call no. In fact, the book had not been cataloged and neither the classics bibliographer of more than 40 years, Mike Braunlin, nor my predecessors, Jacqueline Riley and Jean Wellington, were aware of its existence.  I set out to try to solve the mystery of its provenance and date, but also its acquisitions history. I could find no information in the minutes of the UC Trustees, or in any library history, so the acquisitions history may never become fully known. We included the manuscript in the Adopt-a-Book event in Langsam in March which generated interest and a generous donation.

Regarding the identification of the manuscript, however; after some initial research, I contacted specialists I knew, in particular, Carmela Vircillo Franklin, President of the Medieval Academy of America and Professor of Medieval Latin at Columbia, who in turn contacted someone I also knew and had worked with in the past. Consuelo Dutschke is the Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Collections at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. There are few more distinguished experts in the world. Dr. Dutschke identified our mystery manuscript as Italian, possibly northeastern, [from the Veneto area?], and originating in the 15th century. Below are her notes:

Choir Psalter for ferial use, with psalms, hymns and other texts (invitatories; antiphons; responsories; etc.).

Italy, s. XV with later (possibly s. XVIII) additions, including an alphabetical index to the psalms as the front pastedown (signed and dated 1728), as well as some replacement leaves (e.g., f. 68), and some added prayers (e.g., the Salve Regina at the end of the book).

One historiated initial remains:  on a verso (folio not known), to open the service at compline, a 4-line initial C in white-patterned pink, set on a cusped gold ground, with blue and green acanthus leaves as terminals; the initial encloses the bust of a tonsured religious man wearing black robes (Benedictine?), holding a rosary in his right hand, and with a large wooden cross leaning against his left shoulder.

A verso //<Patri simulque filio tibique sancte> Spiritus sicut fuit sit iugiter seculum per omne Gloria.  Amen. <added versicle and response; then:> Ad Magnificat antiphona, Suscepit deus Israel puerum suum sicut locutus est . . . , Ad complectorium antiphona, Miserere.  Antiphona, Alleluia.  In secula seculorum amen. Psalmus, Cum invocarem exaudivit me iustitie mee in tri<bulatione dilatasti michi> . . .

End of the hymn, Verbum supernum prodiens; antiphon for vespers; beginning of service for compline with Ps. 4.   Note in the upper margin:  Ad completorium.  The bottom three lines of the leaf, but carefully maintaining the original historiated initial, are an 18th century replacement.  The outlined style of the initial’s ground (very cusped) and the small flourished gold dot above the initial may point to northern (even northeastern?) Italy.

Bound in brown tooled leather over wooden boards, which are outlined in stamped metal; three bosses of an original six remain.

Added on the front pastedown, alphabetical list of the psalms with references to folio numbers in this volume; at the end of the list, a separate list of the psalms used in the Office of the Dead.  The list is signed:  “P. M.  PR Fecit 1728”; the first “P” might stand for “Pater/Padre”; the “PR” might stand for “Presbyter” (?).

  1. 1 Invitatoria subscripta dicuntur singula singulis diebus dominicis a dominica prima post octavam epyphanie usque ad Septuagesimam. Et a kalendis octobris usque ad adventum.  Ita tamen quod ultimum invitatorium si oportuerit repetatur.  Invitatorium, Venite exultemus domino . . .

Invitatories for Sundays from the first Sunday after the octave of Epiphany until Septuagesima Sunday (basically from mid-January until February, since Septuagesima = 9th Sunday before Easter), and from the first of October until Advent (basically from early October until the end of November).

  1. 2 Hymns from the beginning of Lent and from the beginning of October until Advent, beginning with the hymn, Primo die quo Trinitas beata mundum condidit . . .

This first hymn for Sunday at matins; note that the second part of the line, i.e., “quo Trinitas beata mundum condidit” is a re-writing over an erasure.

  1. 68 Constituite diem solemnem in condempsis usque ad cornu altaris, Deus meus es tu et confitebor tibi, deus meus es tu et exaltabo te. Confitebor tibi quoniam exaudisti me et factus es mihi in salutem . . . Psalmus, Beati immaculati in via qui ambulant in lege domini, Beati qui scrutantur tes<timonia eius . . .>

End of Ps. 117 and beginning of Ps. 118; this leaf is an 18th century (probably?) replacement for the original leaf, carefully cut off along the inner bounding line that left the original penflourishing of the initials in place.

A verso //<quoniam non de>reliquisti querentes te domine.  Psallite domino qui habitat in syon . . . Exultabo in salutare tuo, infixe sunt gentes in interitu//

Ps. 9, vv. 11-16; a note in a later hand in the upper margin reads “Dominica.”

  1. 110 //<cum ex>ultatione portantes manipulos suos. Antiphona, Facti sumus sicut consolati.  Ymnus, Telluris alme conditor mundi solum qui separans pulsis aque . . .

Ps. 125, v. 6; antiphon and hymn for Tuesday evening.

  1. 149v-150 Salve Regina, ending on the recto of f. 150 (but probably continuing on later pages) at “et Iesum benedictum fructum ventris”//

Added in an 18th century hand (?).

These detailed observations were made from email attachments of the images above. An in person examination will most likely yield further details. Dr. Dutschke is also one of the founders of Digital Scriptorium,  a consortium of American libraries and museums whose goal is to provide inventory and detailed metadata in addition to images and, in many cases, the full text of medieval manuscripts. It is our hope that our manuscript will soon be digitized and included in the DS. However, most importantly, although the manuscript is in surprisingly good physical condition, the UCL Preservation Department will first need to stabilize the red rotted leather binding and clean the text blocks.

It was an exiting find in an obscure corner of our Library where no one knew of its existence until just a few months ago. Thanks to Professor Franklin and Dr. Dutschke and to the anonymous donor who gave us the financial support we needed, we will now be able to catalog and formally add this magnificent 15th century Italian choir book to the John Miller Burnam Classics Library’s manuscript collection.

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Update from the Classics Library

Welcome and welcome back! There is much (mostly) good news to report from the Library

We have new Classics Library access policies. Please see: https://libraries.uc.edu/libraries/classics/classics-library-policies.html

Please note that faculty, graduate students, Tytus fellows in Classics are given swipe card access to the stacks.  We are also getting lockers primarily for non-UC classicists in which to place bags.

The rare classics books in ARB have been transferred from ARB to the new “Rare Book and Manuscript Room” in the former Pal cage on S4. Please ask library staff to retrieve rare books for consultation in the Circulation area, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m, M-F.

Most of the palaeography collection has been transferred to the Scriptorium – The John Miller Burnam Palaeography Reading Room — room 414A off of the main Reading Room. Please request that the staff at the Circulation desk unlock the door for you.

The Reference collection is now located on the 4th floor opposite the Circulation desk and the current journals have been moved to the mezzanine.

Please review the Classics Library’s borrowing privileges for the collections in these and other locations: https://libraries.uc.edu/libraries/classics/services.html

The “New Books” have been moved to the cubby hole in the Circulation area.

We have “new” more comfortable chairs opposite the Circulation desk.

Please note that our annual supply budget of $250 cannot pay for new furniture (barely for pens). We make regular trips to UC Surplus on our own time and money to pick up discards. Much is trash, but occasionally we find decent chairs and things which was the case with the two armchairs we have put in the graduate study room to replace the tattered green one.

We currently have three new student assistants: Emily Dean and Elaine Suer (both Classicists), and Kayla Weiglein (in the German Ph.D. program).

Returning student assistants include: Brycen Carle, Kathleen Johnson, Maddie Menssen, Yo Shionoya, and Amber’Nay Wilkins. We are currently in the process of hiring additional student assistants. So far we are pleased with the applicant pool.

We are happy that Yo will be staying with us albeit in a different capacity from during the summer.  Our many projects (and calamities) have greatly benefited from Yo’s intelligence, kind and helpful manner, and hard work in the supervisory position he has held since late May. His many transformative initiatives have included a new student worker recruitment process and training procedures as well as his supervision of and active participation in the many reorganization projects and salvage efforts this summer.

The black mold from the leak in the Reading Room has been removed, so the room is again safe to use.

The leak in the stacks (under the urinal) has more or less been fixed. We are still waiting for the areas affected to be cleaned. Some 400 German dissertations are being treated by the Preservation department in Langsam.

Last but not least, the Classics Library has a new and improved website: https://libraries.uc.edu/libraries/classics.html

The website has been a major undertaking for many months because of added content but also because earlier versions kept being overlaid on newer ones, not by us). I wish to personally thank Lindsay Taylor for her invaluable help in navigating the many complexities of the different reiterations and editing modules. John Wallrodt used his Photoshopping skills to produce the composite image on the Classics Library landing page.

The moving of some 15,000 books has been quite an overwhelming effort. Most of the work – reviewing each book, changing locations and labels in the catalog and on spines, carrying, lifting, and cleaning numerous books, book cases, and shelves (we’re not quite finished yet) — has been carried out by our small Classics Library staff and student workers. An outside company moved the books from ARB to the Classics Library, but because of misshelvings and other issues, some of this work has been (and continues to be) fixed by the Library staff.

Hope you will like our new and improved library organization and welcome (back) to the John Miller Burnam Classics Library, UC’s Best Kept Secret!

From Your Classics Library

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Most UC Libraries Closed Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2

labor dayUC Libraries will be closed Monday, September 2 for Labor Day, except for the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, which will be open 9am-5pm. This closing includes the Walter C. Langsam Library 4th floor space, which will close Sunday, September 1 at 11pm and re-open Tuesday, September 3 at 7:45am.

A complete listing of library hours can be found online at www.libraries.uc.edu/about/hours.html.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend.

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