Centenary of the Somme

Battle of the Somme
The battlefield near Courcelette

The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest offensives of the First World War beginning a hundred years ago today. Between 1 July and 18 November 1916 more than a million men were killed as the French and British attempted a big push to distract the German forces from French held Verdun to the south.

The First Day was the darkest day in the history of the British Army, sustaining nearly 60,000 casualties, with nearly 20,000 of those being killed. In the Pals Battalions the young men of entire communities were wiped out. Kitchener’s army, developed from the recruits he’d asked for after the losses sustained by the BEF at Mons in 1915 at the beginning of the war made their strategic debut. They were inexperienced and ill-prepared for the sort of mechanized slaughter that had developed between the Germans and the French.

Among those who took part in this battle and were deeply affected by it include J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, David Jones, and Isaac Rosenberg. Their experiences helped to engender and shape their contributions to literature.

At the end of the battle there had been some gains, but the image of Lions being led by Asses had become entrenched in the mindset of the British, with soldiers as simply numbers to be tossed at the enemy machine guns so prevalent in depictions of the war. The cost of the battle, which certainly must have made sense in the planning room were British Commonwealth: more than 419,654 casualties, 95,675 dead or missing; French: 204,253 casualties, 50,756 dead or missing; German 465,000 casualties, 164,055 dead or wounded, 38,000 prisoners. All for the gain of six miles.

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Ladies Almanack is being made into a film

Djuna Barnes’s 1928 novel Ladies Almanack is the inspiration for an experimental new film.

The original text is a literary parody of the intellectual and lesbian social circle of Natalie Barney in 1920s Paris, with the main character based on Barney herself. It’s presented as a month-by-month poetic almanac of misadventures with illustrations in the style of Elizabethan woodcuttings.

We have two first edition copies in our holdings:

  1. 818 B261L 1928 Connolly
  2. PS3503.A614 L3 1928

You can find more information about the film and some clips at this link. Please note that images and content contain nudity.

 

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Digital collections: 1924 Booker T. Washington High School Yearbook

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We’ve recently digitized and uploaded a fascinating piece of Tulsa history. Our copy of The Orbit, Booker T. Washington High School’s yearbook from 1924, is now available to look through on our ContentDM site at this link.

Teachers, students, school activities and clubs, plays, sports, and local businesses of the time are all encapsulated here.

All the pages have been transcribed and are searchable–if you’re interested in finding a specific name, click the “View Image & Text” button in the upper right corner, type the name in the search bar at the top, and the pages will be highlighted in red.

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Friday closing changes

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be closed on the following dates:

  • Friday, June 26
  • Friday, July 3
  • Friday, July 10

We will reopen each following Monday.

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New librarian Melissa’s new office

Since this is my first blog post with Special Collections, I thought it would be nice to show some progress pictures of the construction that Physical Plant has been doing on my new office.

The original work space and some bookshelves were moved so that we could get a better sense of the layout and floor plan.

Workers put up the frames for the wall very quickly right into the existing space.

Then it came time to add the sheet rock and insulation.

With the walls installed and the dark brown trim and old air vents removed, the electricians set to putting up brand new automatic timer lights. They’re nice and bright! You can also see where they’ve mudded over the nail holes and are getting ready to paint.

 

Next came the door.

Three coats of paint, and they were ready to install new base boarding along the foot of the wall. It’s looking fresh!

All finished! The furniture’s been taped out to make sure it fits, and soon I’ll get to hang my artwork and move in!

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Special Collections Summer Hours

Starting June 1st and ending July 31st, 2015, the hours of operations for McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be as follows:

Monday-Thursday                 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Friday                                       8:00 AM-12:00 PM

 

Have a great summer!

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The Art of the Book: Challenging Our Concepts

Many of the books and book-like objects to be seen in The Art of the Book, now on exhibit at the Zarrow Center, will challenge our notions of what constitutes a book—that ordinary and universally recognized thing that British author Paul Scott referred to as “a small, hard, rectangular object”.

The Artists’ Book:  Unlike authors and illustrators of the traditional book who may be constrained by the wishes of editors and publishers, the book artist is free to experiment with textual content (or the lack of it) and the combinations of all sorts of media.   The artist may choose to combine texture, color, sculptural qualities, moving parts, pop-ups, imagery (conceptual or non-conceptual), sound, and, in some cases, even smell. In other words, the artists’ book may engage some or all of the viewer’s senses while moving beyond words and intellect to communicate with the viewer.

Anatomy of the traditional book–a book you will not see in this exhibit

Some influential 20th century movements in the book arts are (to name only a few):

The Russian Futurists,
German Bauhaus,
The Dada Movement,
The Fluxus Movement,
Pataphysics,
Lettrism,
Surrealism,
The New Realism, and
American Pop Art.

The Altered Book:  Also on exhibit is a selection of altered books.  Technically, the illuminated manuscript could be considered an early form of the altered book; however,  Tom Phillips, a British artist, is credited with initiating the modern altered book movement when, in 1966, he bought a used and very inexpensive Victorian novel, A Human Document, by W.H. Mallock, and transformed it into his own work, A Humument.

A Humument:  A Treated Victorian Novel.  Tom Phillips.  London:  Thames & Hudson, 1980.

A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel. Tom Phillips. London: Thames & Hudson, 1980.

An altered book is created from an existing book (old, new, or recycled), utilizing an almost unlimited range of methods and media—re-binding, dis-binding, reshaping, cuts , tears, folds, assemblage and/or additions of 3D objects, painting, relief printing, collage, pockets and windows, pop-ups, and the use of or marking out of existing text—in order to alter its original form.

The Art of the Book continues through June 28th at the Zarrow Center for Art & Education, downtown in the Tulsa Brady Arts District.

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Closed for Employee Appreciation Week and Memorial Day

 

memorial day

 

 

McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives will be closed on Friday, May 22 and Monday, May 25, 2015, in observance of Employee Appreciation Week and Memorial Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at 8:00 AM. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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Closure

Due to a power outage, special collections is closed, Tuesday, May 12.

We are sorry for any inconvenience.

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New Special Collections Librarian, Melissa Kunz, joins department

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The staff at McFarlin Library Special Collections and University Archives is very excited to announce the addition of a new Special Collections Librarian, Melissa Kunz. Melissa received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hendrix College in Arkansas. After receiving her Bachelor’s, she received a Law degree from the University of Oklahoma. She then received a Master in Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Melissa has completed internships with the Woody Guthrie Center and the Mabee Legal Information Center at the University of Tulsa College of Law. While working toward her MLIS, Melissa also interned with the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW) at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. She worked on a team made up of six interns from various degree programs at OU-Tulsa. The CCEW is an economic development think tank that allows students to work with researchers and mentors to help solve real-world problems.

Please join us in welcoming Melissa Kunz as the newest member of our department.

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