“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass Upon meeting with Dr. Pauley this past week, I was able to hone in on what I am… Read More
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
Upon meeting with Dr. Pauley this past week, I was able to hone in on what I am actually trying to convey as my message to my final project. I am switching gears just a little bit. I’m still doing the project over Notes on the State of Virginia, I am just focusing my project to show the books in the different Oklahoma universities and public libraries. This collection of copies and editions that reside in Oklahoma surprised me, if I could be quite honest. I figure the book is popular amongst the historians/history professors, students, etc. who are interested in Jefferson or maybe they really want to know more about Virginia in the 18th century. Either way, I’m just glad to say I finally feel comfortable with my project.
This week is my finals week, and I’d be lying if I said I’m looking forward to my Microeconomics final on Wednesday. It’s actually stressful enough to give me heart palpitations.
Pertaining to my project, I now have a more narrowed-down list of Notes that reside in the different surrounding universities. Once I know I have a completed list (my goal for Thursday), I will then create my Google map of Oklahoma and plot the different copies at the varying locations. I will also start my timeline at this point.
The end is very near, but once I survive my finals, I can focus all of my attention on finishing this project the way I would like.
It’s like I’m back in the first week, feeling the pressures of classes ending – except they are literally ending in four days. EVERYTHING is fine. Finals week is next… Read More
It’s like I’m back in the first week, feeling the pressures of classes ending – except they are literally ending in four days. EVERYTHING is fine. Finals week is next week. EVERYTHING is still fine.
This week has not been overly productive as I haven’t been able to meet up with my librarian to talk to her about the book. She knows the history of the book and how it came to our campus. With Kelly being the only librarian, apart from her assistant, even at a small campus there is not enough of her to go around. Our schedules have clashed as the end of the semester comes to a close, but I will be setting up a time to talk with her this week.
I managed to borrow the copy of the “Notes on the State of Virginia” we have in our library – the copy I can actually take out of the library. I snapped some photos of the few differences I found between the new, 1955 edition, and the 1801 archive book we have. I can only keep the newer edition out until the end of the semester (due in 10 days), so I may have to talk to Kelly in order to keep it a few days longer if needed. USAO’s semester ends earlier than this COPLAC class does, so I’ll be battling with timing.
Update on last week’s promise: I do not have my completed list of books, but it’s still in the works.
The internet can be a peculiar thing of information. Seemingly infinite, but it doesn’t cooperate when you truly want it to. Last week, I ran into the wall of only… Read More
The internet can be a peculiar thing of information. Seemingly infinite, but it doesn’t cooperate when you truly want it to. Last week, I ran into the wall of only finding the editions of “Notes” I had found prior to this final project. After gaining some insight and help into other ways to research this book, I was able to locate and create a list of the books found on those websites.
I have yet to thoroughly search through the records to see if they are duplicates or not. I also have some information I need to look into on my campus and talk with my librarian. That is my main goal this week – along with compiling all of this information into a readable spreadsheet of publication location and year.
Kumu is hands down my favorite tool we’ve used. This mapping process constructs a mesmerizing visualization of different topics – in this instance, books and who borrowed them in a… Read More
Kumu is hands down my favorite tool we’ve used. This mapping process constructs a mesmerizing visualization of different topics – in this instance, books and who borrowed them in a given time period. I chose a slightly different time from the tutorial to see if I could accomplish this assignment on my own. I chose August 1, 1825, to July 31, 1826, in order to cover a school year. I stuck with Manchester Academy because the Dissenting Academies Online website gave me a lot of listings to work with.
Though this process of searching the Dissenting Academies Online and scraping the data from that website into Google Sheets tested my patience, I was overwhelmed with joy when I completed the mapping process. By doing this, we are able to look back at a time period and easily view who borrowed a book, at what date, and how many times, if applicable. It’s basically a fun way of searching for a certain person and quickly being able to learn their book loan history. Whether they borrowed books for school education or personal curiosity, we can learn a lot about their habits.
While searching the English Short Title Catalogue for Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia”, I found myself perhaps a bit distraught. Not so much at the overwhelming abundance… Read More
While searching the English Short Title Catalogue for Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia”, I found myself perhaps a bit distraught. Not so much at the overwhelming abundance of printed books, but rather the underwhelming amount. For this project, I was hoping to find many, many copies of said book and map them accordingly. I pictured many, many location markers and hoped they would land all over the world. This is not so. Thomas Jefferson’s book was only listed six times on the ESTC, but amid technical problems, I was only able to successfully grab three of the listings.
I found this task to be daunting, but I welcome any task that is challenging. Jefferson’s book was located in Baltimore, Maryland, Paris, France, and London, England. Perhaps someone from Virginia read the book, later traveling to Baltimore and left it there. Perhaps a curious Maryland-er wanted to read up on their neighboring state. Maybe Thomas Jefferson himself brought along a copy of his own book. For the other two places outside of the United States, I do not have any great guesses about why they were located there.
Without further ado, here is my (small) map showing the distributions of “Notes on the State of Virginia.”
Getting to revisit Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia with a new mindset, I found some interesting items that I did not notice when I first handled the book. In order… Read More
Getting to revisit Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia with a new mindset, I found some interesting items that I did not notice when I first handled the book. In order to understand not only more about the book, but about the time period in which it was made, I had to test my hand at some bibliographical work. The book is indeed bound, albeit rather worn out and unattached. An old string now holds the book tightly together to the original binding and will otherwise fall apart without it. The cover is a brown, hard leather binding that clearly shows the material withering away. At one point it seemed to be a darker brown but now has faded in certain spots due to light or sun exposure, or possible poor handling. It reminds me of my dad’s old Bible that showed signs of use and love. This book was certainly handled and most likely not only by one person. There was a particular portion of an image which was on the inside cover, but was visibly torn. I wish there was a way of telling what it was and if it was something of importance or relevance to the book, like a map of Virginia or a crest of some sort.
Looking closer at the paper I could clearly see that it was laid because of the chain lines and wire lines on the pages. The chain lines were primarily vertical except for two particular pages which may have been inserted at a different time or otherwise just turned around.The first example of the chain lines running horizontally was on the left page of the actual title page. This is the only full illustration in the book and it’s a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. You can clearly see an imprint in the paper around the illustration as if that portion was pressed in. The title page to the right has the chain lines running vertically, which was a bit odd. The other page where they were horizontal was on an inserted pullout chart which listed Native American tribes, what country they resided in (unsure if this actually meant county and not country), the chief town, and the number of warriors in a particular tribe. Both of these examples of the pages having horizontal chain lines were also obviously shorter than the rest of the book. I couldn’t tell of any insertion after the book had been bound together, so I don’t believe they were inserted at a later time. I calculated the format of the book to be octavo due to the number of chain lines running vertically to be four. On those pages where the chain lines ran horizontally, there were seven of them which could possibly be a quarto fold.
All of the pages were open and trimmed. At first, I thought the book was untrimmed because of the first few pages. I later realized those pages were just handled roughly because the binding had come undone, therefore not being due to deckling, just torn due to the handling of the book. There were no watermarks that I saw. I glanced at every single page to determine the pattern of the chain lines, but as I did so, I didn’t catch sight of any watermarks. Unless I obliviously passed one, I may assume there isn’t one due to this being the fourth edition. (Perhaps the first edition had one?) It was first published in 1785 and this fourth edition was published only 16 years later in 1801, so I am not sure if that’s an appropriate assumption or not.
The signatures of the book were there at the bottom of the pages every so often. They started as upper case letters and ran alphabetically, although oddly there wasn’t an ‘A’, ‘J’, ‘V’, or ‘W’.
The signatures then followed with an upper case/lower case letter combination, and again the combos ‘Jj’, ‘Vv’, and ‘Ww’ were skipped or missing.
Following those signatures were 3A, 3B, and 3C and then came the conclusion of the book.
A few miscellaneous, yet interesting aspects of the book I found was that between pages 134 and 135 there seemed to be a page or insert torn out. It was shorter than the other pages so I believe it to be an insert and I wish I could tell what it was. The sewing was done with two sets of stitching with thick thread. The bottom stitching was still intact, but the bottom pages were starting to come apart from the glue which held it together to the spine of the binding.
At first glance, the book is rather interesting because of simply how it looks. It’s also a bit exciting holding a book one of our Founding Fathers wrote and published. It’s even more interesting and even more exciting to continue this exploration of the history of this book and other books that are waiting to be told. ✥
For the collective four years I have attended the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, I haven’t spent much time in our library. Now, I’m asking myself “why?” I… Read More
For the collective four years I have attended the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, I haven’t spent much time in our library. Now, I’m asking myself “why?” I met with the director of Nash Library, Kelly Brown, who has worked for the University for fifteen years. I could tell just upon emailing her how excited she was to dive into the archive section and help me through this course. As I walked into her office, I noticed a small stack of books already laid out on her desk and the moment I sat down, she was already throwing ideas at me.
Kelly continued to tell me she had to run a report in order to find the oldest book in our collection. Unlike many other libraries who probably have books from the 1600’s, or perhaps earlier, we only go as far back as the early 1800’s. Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson was our oldest book.
By looking at the cover, there was no way of telling what it was. Printed on the binding of the book, clearly faded, were the words “Jefferson,s Notes.” I realize that’s a comma and not an apostrophe, but for the sake of how it was printed on the book, I did not want to correct anything. The book was printed in New York and was printed for and sold by T.B. Jansen & Co.
Unfortunately because of the condition of the book’s cover, and lack of reader use on the inside, there was no recollection or idea as to who owned it before we acquired it. While I cannot tell the history of who owned it before we received it, I can explain briefly about the time period and why Jefferson wrote the Notes. The completed work of notes was actually composed in 1781 (our book is the fourth American edition). The book is simply what it sounds like – notes over everything about the state of Virginia at this time. Items such as the history of the state, society, politics, education, religion, slavery, law, and agriculture filled the pages of this book. According to the Encyclopedia Virginia website, this book “established Jefferson’s international reputation as a serious scientist, a man of letters, and the principal spokesman for his ‘country'” (Forbes).
The Indians’ Book was the book I chose to share about which showed evidence of reader use. The beautifully crafted book is full of Native American songs, collectively put together by Natalie Curtis (Burlin) in 1907. Natalie was a New York City musician and chose to go on a journey to record native songs and dances from different Native American tribes (Bredenberg). As our librarian, Kelly handed me the book, I noticed how colorfully illustrated the cover was and how the design set it apart from other books – making it obvious that it was Native American. The reason I stuck with this book was because of the history it holds dear to the heart of my college.
Here at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, we have a stunning bronze statue that stands in the middle of what we call “The Oval.” Te Ata, otherwise known as Mary Frances Thompson (Fisher), was a traditional Native storyteller as well as an attendee of the Oklahoma College for Women (OCW). OCW became the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma – our state’s only liberal arts college and here we are today – continuing her story in such a modernized world.
Te Ata’s statue is one many students, faculty, and staff pass by on a daily basis, but many most likely do not know a lot about. This is something I wish to learn more about.
The Indians’ Book was a great choice because it was one which was gifted to Te Ata on Christmas of 1929 and eventually she gifted to our university. In the front cover, there is her signature. On the next page there is an ink illustration of a Native American head and by it is a signature, Chief Max Big Man – from the Crow Tribe of Montana. Te Ata is iconic to this school and adds to the history.
Along with the statue, our primary auditorium is named after her. She only wrote a small amount in the book, here and there mentioning “great song” or “wonderful book” or noting a passage was pertaining to the “spiritual side of the Indian.” We aren’t sure who owned it before Te Ata or even who gifted it to her, but she kept the book in prime condition. The look, the smell, the feel of it all feels used, but not horribly used or abused as some old books are.
Another special gift to our university was a hefty donation of 10,000 books by Dr. Richard Lowitt. He was previously a Regents professor here at USAO and taught a mixture of American History and American Literature – which explains his plethora of books in his personal library. He collected these books through his many years of teaching, as he will turn 95 in this coming February. Along with his experience of teaching, he collected the books because he knew the importance of these subjects and simply liked the topics. Dr. Lowitt first asked the University of Oklahoma if they would like his books, and upon turning him down for their overloaded library, we happily took them when he asked us. Of the 10,000 donated, Kelly is in the process of selling about 4,000 through Amazon and the other 6,000 are being worked into our library’s collection.
All three of these questions/prompts only hyped me up more to dive into the history of the stories behind these written words and those who owned them beforehand. I cannot wait to learn more and share more as I spend more time researching the past these books hold. ✥
Bredenberg, Alfred R. Natalie Curtis Burlin, ethnomusicology and folklore. Center for American Culture Studies, 1994, http://www.nataliecurtis.org/. Accessed 18 January 2017.
Forbes, Robert P. Notes on the State of Virginia (1785). Encyclopedia Virginia, 2016, http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Notes_on_the_State_of_Virginia_1785#start_entry. Accessed 18 January 2017.