The Mystery and Emotion of “Blue”

By: Kevin Grace

The Three PrincessesIt is a color that has both negative and positive connotations, is symbolic of mysticism, social rank, both high and low emotions, and of serenity and wisdom.  Blue is a color that is a signifier of both Hell and purity, of luxury and dignity.  There are as many interpretations of what “blue” symbolizes as there are cultures in the world.

And the symbolism of the color is the rationale behind an online exhibit created by Archives & Rare Books Library.  Intended to highlight the spectrum of rare books in the collections, the selections show the cultural diversity over the ages of this particular color.   Nineteen volumes are represented in the exhibit, with several examples from each of illustrations and bindings, ranging from a 15th century illuminated book of hours to early Qur’ans and Persian poetry.  There are botanicals, fairy tales, Art Deco bindings, Asian drawing Ms. No. 20manuals, pochoir pattern books, and Turkish ebru marbled paper.  Each indicates a specific use of blue that depends on religion, technology, or geographical heritage. Continue reading

County Cork: A County Unchanged by History

By:  Savannah Gulick, Archives & Rare Books Library student assistant
County Cork, Ireland, Scilly Walk

County Cork, Ireland lies in the southwest region of the country and contains many historically famous cities and buildings, such as Cobh (formerly Queenstown) where the Titanic last docked before its disastrous maiden voyage Smith's History of County Corkin 1912, and Cork City itself, the second largest city Ireland.   In terms of its beauty and traditions, this particular county has not changed very much over the centuries, though like the rest of Ireland, has seen economic hills and valleys as well as its own take on revolution and patriotism in the island.  In Charles Smith’s two-volume 1774 work in the Archives & Rare Books Library, The Ancient and Present State of The County and City of Cork, the author discusses the vast history of County Cork up to his own time in the 18th century.  He explains all aspects of Irish history in Cork, ranging from wars to flora and fauna with maps and photos to illustrate what he is discussing.  The volumes are part of the growing body of Irish literature in ARB and are consulted frequently by students and scholars interested in urban development, the history of cities, and the general history of Ireland.  Smith’s work also includes maps and engravings of Cork City and the surrounding countryside. Continue reading

Shakespeare, Beethoven, Bearcats and More – All in Latest Issue of Source

sourceRead Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.

This latest issue of Source includes an article with Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian, about how UC Libraries is utilizing Organizational Development to help bring about transformational change. Kevin Grace, university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library writes about the Enoch Carson Shakespeare Collection and how it will be a part of autumn 2017 Shakespeare celebrations in Cincinnati. Another great reading collection, the Cohen Enrichment Collection, is also featured in this issue.

Other articles in Source include an update on two UC Libraries Strategic Plan initiatives – eLearning and Digital Literacy and the Digital Scholarship Center, a recap of the most recent annual Cecil Striker Lecture and the addition of Beethoven’s “Life Mask” in the Albino Gorno Memorial (CCM) Library. Read these articles and more.

Source is available on the web at http://libapps.libraries.uc.edu/source/ and via e-mail. To receive Source via e-mail, contact melissa.norris@uc.edu to be added to the mailing list.

Dudes in Drag: An Exploration of Humor through Merry Wives of Windsor

By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

In my previous blog I mentioned that the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company would be putting on free productions of Merry Wives of Windsor this summer as part of its Shakespeare in the Park series.  If you’ve read the play or seen the show, you know a main plot point is about Sir John Falstaff and how he tries to seduce Mistress Page and her best friend, Mistress Ford—at the same time.  Both women, faithful to their husbands, decide to create quite the fool out of Falstaff by feigning interest and arranging secret meetings between Falstaff and Mistress Ford.  Those meetings are always interrupted by Master Ford coming home, thus putting Falstaff in precarious positions.  One of the most notable scenes involves Falstaff donning a dress, pretending to be the fat aunt of the Fords’ servant so he can leave the house without being recognized.  It’s been long thought of as one of the funniest scenes in the play…why? What is it about a man in a dress that gives us a big chuckle? Continue reading

A Very Shakespeare Summer

By Sydney Vollmer

Shakespeare in the ParkCongrats to all the Bearcats who graduated and to those who celebrated surviving another semester! Now that it’s summer time, you might be looking for some fun things to do.  I can tell you about one that’s right in your backyard…well, park.  Once again the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will offer their free Shakespeare in the Park summer series.  It opens July 14th and runs through September 4th. Each year Cincinnati Shakes prepares two shows for their various performances at parks around the city and Hamilton County.  This year’s shows are Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Past years included A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing.  The official schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but it will be coming soon!  You can check their website for updates. Continue reading

Shakespeare and Cincinnati’s Dramatic Festival

By: Sydney M. Vollmer, ARB Intern

In the spring of 1883, Cincinnati held its first Dramatic Festival at Music Hall, performing for a consecutive six days.  The show had a lineup of performances of all sorts of dramatic works, with many of them holding Shakespearian titles.   The festival was such a big deal that even the Chicago Tribune sent someone over to see what it was all about but unfortunately, the Tribune was less than impressed with Cincinnati’s efforts, claiming that the largeness of Music Hall drowned out the performances of almost all the actors.  However, the critics did have some kind words for the orchestra as well as the performances of Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Apparently, these were the only two plays that were “great” enough to be worthy of performance while simultaneously using the space effectively. It certainly helped that in the role of Hamlet was the famous thespian James E. Murdoch.

Dramatic Festival Continue reading

The Children of Lir: Ireland’s Sweethearts

By: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern

It’s that time of year again. Winter is *hopefully* leaving and making room for spring.  March brings a lot to look forward to, especially for the Irish-American community.  Every year since 1991, the president has declared March to be National Irish Heritage Month.  But what does Irish heritage mean?  One University Honors class is on a mission to find the answer to that question.  It turns out that “to be Irish” means a lot more than having red hair, drinking beer, and being one with a short temper.  Led by professor Kevin Grace, along with Debbie Brawn of University Honors, 20 students will travel to Ireland over spring break to get an in-depth look at the country from where so many Americans emigrated.  The weeks leading up to the study tour were filled with readings of Irish-American literature, such as Angela’s Ashes and Irish America: Coming Into Clover, as well as the viewing of films and many discussions about what Irish heritage means. Continue reading

King Richard III: A Hunch about his Costume

Sydney Vollmer, Archives & Rare Books Library Intern

For those faithful followers who have not been keeping up with local theater, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s next production will be Richard III, running February 17th through March 11th. Their website (http://www.cincyshakes.com/) says of the show:

Shakespeare’s game of thrones enters its endgame as the history cycle’s final chapter takes the stage. The ruthless, remorseless and relentless Richard Plantagenet has his eyes set on the throne of England, and he makes the happy earth his hell as he carves a bloody swath through all that stands in his way. The History Cycle comes to its thrilling conclusion with the story of England’s most murderous monarch, Richard III. Paired with the production of Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 2, this theatrical event is not to be missed! Continue reading

BAE: Bureau of American Ethnology (not the Danish word for “poop” or an abbreviation of “babe”)

By: Colleen O’Brien, ARB Student Assistant

The acronym BAE does not refer to a common slang term amongst young folks or even to the Danish word for “poop.” Rather, in this instance it is a term which means Bureau of American Ethnology.

How did the Bureau of American Ethnology come to be and why is it important?

In 1879, as the discipline of anthropology was taking hold in universities across America, Congress established an agency called the Bureau of Ethnology.  There is some controversy over the exact purpose for which this department was founded, but one explanation is that the Department of the Interior needed to transfer archives and other materials to the Smithsonian Institution because the two entities were set to merge shortly thereafter.  Thus Congress decided to create a department to ease this change. The second reason, on the other hand, states the Bureau of Ethnology was established as a purely research division of the Smithsonian. Regardless, John Wesley Powell, the Bureau’s key founder, believed it should be used to promote anthropological research in the Americas.   In fact, in 1897, the Bureau of Ethnology changed its name to Bureau of American Ethnology in order to limit geographic interests. Continue reading

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