New Books in Oesper

See what new acquisitions have been recently added to the Oesper book collection.

Click here for the September-October 2017 list.

For more information about Oesper (books and historical apparatus devoted to the history of chemistry), click here.

 

 

 

 

 

UC Libraries Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

  • thanks imageUC Libraries will be closed Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 for Thanksgiving, with the exception of the Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library, which will be open Friday, November 24 from noon – 5:00pm. Regular library hours will resume Saturday, November 25.

This closing includes the Langsam Library 4th floor space, which will close Wednesday, November 22 at 6pm and re-open Saturday, November 25 at 10am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Beginning Nov. 12 UC I.D. Required to Enter Blegen after 5pm

blegen hoursBeginning Sunday, Nov. 12, a valid UC I.D. is required to enter Blegen Library, home of the Archives and Rare Books Library, John Miller Burnam Classics Library, the Albino Gorno Memorial Music (CCM) Library and the Classics Department, after 5pm.

Public Access: doors to 400 level will be unlocked:

Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm

Saturday: 10am-5pm

Sunday: 1pm-5pm

UC Community Access: doors to the 400 level will be locked and accessible with a UC I.D:

Monday-Thursday: 7:30am-11pm

Friday: 7:30am-6pm

Saturday: 9:30am-6pm

Sunday: 12:30pm-11pm

Individual library hours vary, so check each libraries hours online at https://www.libraries.uc.edu/about/hours.html

 

What’s in the water?

Ohio River headwaters in Pittsburgh
Formation of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh by the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Photograph taken by Eira Tansey, October 2017.

What’s in the water?

Ohio’s status as a “water-rich state” has meant that it has long been a flashpoint for concerns over how to ensure protection of our water resources, particularly as Ohio’s waterways have played a significant part in regional industry. One of the most famous images of the environmental movement was Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River catching on fire in 1969 – it was not the first time, as it had caught on fire several times before, going back to the mid-1800s. If you want to learn more about the political atmosphere of Cleveland during this event, UC history professor (and friend of the Archives and Rare Books Library) David Stradling has written a book about it.

One of the landmark federal laws that was placed under authority of the newly established EPA was the 1972 Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act actually traced its origins to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948, and was the result of many amendments to the 1948 law. The Clean Water Act requires significant recordkeeping and information systems in order to support implementation of the law. Much of the Clean Water Act’s powers are delegated to state environmental protection agencies (for example, Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency, or Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection). One of the major parts of the Clean Water Act is a permitting system known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The NPDES system “regulates discharges of pollutants from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, sewer collection systems, and stormwater discharges from industrial facilities and municipalities.”

As a system of bureaucratic recordkeeping, the NPDES system reveals much about how we have attempted to take hard-to-quantify aspects of our environment, and pack it down into standardized documentation about human impact.

For example, reviewing a recent draft permit for a wastewater facility in the greater Cincinnati area, this permit will last for five years. It requires the wastewater facility to self-report sampling levels of their discharges to one of the tributaries of the Ohio River. Sampling must take place Monday through Friday but the time of day doesn’t have to be reported, and the permit holder must retain records for three years. One can imagine arguing for modifying any of these recordkeeping requirements upwards or downwards, based on your orientation towards deregulation or to environmental protection.

Recordkeeping is not a neutral act. What is reported and recorded reflects information necessary for regulatory fulfillment. Choices about recordkeeping – what to record, when to record it, who should record it, how often to record it, where to store it, and public vs proprietary access, reflect competing values attached to environmental information.

A Photographic Look at 125 Years of UC Libraries

125 years banner      How do you determine the starting date of the University of Cincinnati Libraries when from the university’s founding in 1819, books played an important part in the education of students?
      As early as 1875, a collection of books could be found in the various classrooms of University Building (now McMicken). These materials were selected for daily reference use and were acquired through various departmental funds. In 1883, a small working library was established in the Academic Department (College of Liberal Arts). However, it is in 1892 that the Libraries were officially recognized as a distinct administrative unit of the university by the Board of Directors (as the Trustees were called at the time) with the naming of a dean and the establishment of a separate general library apart from small departmental libraries maintained by faculty members. William Everett Waters, professor of Greek and comparative philology, was appointed the first Dean and University Librarian and would serve until 1894. Thus, 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
       To mark the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we have compiled an exhibit of photographs of the libraries past and present – from the first library in Van Wormer to the stately Blegen Library to Langsam Library, UC Libraries have changed considerably in 125 years.
       The photographs are also on display in the 5th floor lobby of the Walter C. Langsam Library. They are from the collections of the Archives and Rare Books Library and UC Libraries Communications Department.

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For more about the history of UC Libraries, read http://digital.libraries.uc.edu/exhibits/arb/lawrenceBook/ulhistory.pdf. In the coming year, we will find more opportunities to celebrate the future of UC Libraries as we look to 125+ years.

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!