Friday, August 27, 2010

Irving Louis Horowitz-Transaction Publishers Archives goes online

Excerpt from the official press release:

Few, if any, archival resources can claim as complete and wide-ranging a documentary record for American academic publishing in the social sciences over the past half century than the Irving Louis Horowitz-Transaction Publishers Archives, 1939-2009. According to William L. Joyce, Penn State's Dorothy Foehr Huck chair and head of special collections, "This archive of well over 100 cubic feet of materials documents the expansion of social science research and publication from the 1960s into the first decade of the 21st century as it also illustrates the widening focus of the social sciences on important public policy issues."

View the collection at:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Joseph Priestley Collection Digitized

The newest name on the list of the Libraries’ digitized collections is Joseph Priestley, the 18th-century English clergyman, political theorist, radical thinker, and physical scientist who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the U.S. Best known as the scientist who discovered oxygen, he also made major contributions in the fields of education and philosophy. The digital site displays Priestley's correspondence with Josiah Wedgwood and others; two holograph drafts of his memoirs, his Last Will and Testament, an account book, his Birmingham Library card, and his property inventory. In addition to the papers, the digitized collection contains a unique item: the Priestley Memorial Scrapbook, compiled in 1875 and containing mounted photographs of posed groups of the scientists in attendance in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, at a celebration known as the Centennial of Chemistry, which was the first important gathering of chemists held in the United States. The group later became known as the American Chemical Society.

Consult the site at

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Special Collections Contributes to Bloomsbury Artists Exhibition

Twenty-eight items from the holdings of Rare Books and Manuscripts are currently on display at the Palmer Museum of Art in the exhibition “A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections,” on display through September 26, 2010. Among the materials on loan from Special Collections are letters by Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, and Roger Fry. Also included is a selection of books by the Bloomsbury literati with cover art and illustrations designed by their artist colleagues such as Vanessa Bell.  Published by the Hogarth Press, these volumes augment the exhibition’s exploration of the relationship between art and literature in this group of 20th-century moderns.

For more information about the Bloomsbury exhibition, see

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Corsets and Cameras: Photography, Bicycling, and the New Woman in Turn-of-the-Century America"

A gallery talk by Miranda Hofelt, Ph.D. candidate, the University of Chicago, and lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago

Thursday, September 2, 1010 at 4:30pm
Foster Auditorium (Paterno Library, first floor)

The talk will be held in conjunction with a new exhibition in the Heinz K. and Bridget A. Henisch Photo-History Collection Exhibition Room, 201A Pattee Library. The exhibition includes photographs, postcards, books, periodicals, advertisements, and other original documents that highlight the advent of the New Woman onto the American scene in the 1890s. Young, active, fashionable, adventurous, and often unescorted, the so-called New Woman took advantage of the mobility, freedom, and independence offered by the cycling and camera crazes that swept the American scene at the end of the 19th century. Special topics in Miranda Hofelt's lecture include the technological debut of the safety bicycle and the hand-held Kodak camera; representations of the New Woman in advertising to sell the equipment and gear developed by manufacturers; parodies of the New Woman that underscored the danger of leaving their "proper" homes by going awheel and Kodaking; and the interrelationship of the New Woman, cycling, and photography as symbols of liberty and modernity. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The items in the exhibition were selected from the holdings of the Henisch Photo-History Collection and Rare Books and Manuscripts by guest curator Miranda Hofelt, who was co-curator of a recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, "Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage" and co-author of an exhibition catalog of the same title. She has taught courses at the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh.

The Henisch Photo-History Collection Exhibition Room is located off the Paterno Family Humanities Reading Room and is accessible to the public during the hours of operation of the University Libraries. The exhibition will be on display through December 31, 2010.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New websites for Special Collections and all Penn State Libraries

Penn State University Libraries have launched a new website, based on extensive usability testing and user feedback, and meant to make services and resources more accessible and discoverable to students, faculty and staff.

At the same time, Special Collections needed to migrate dozens of projects done over the past decade into the new content management system. We used the opportunity to make our top-level pages more attractive, and hopefully better organized for our users. In addition, we added an online tutorial and tour.

We're still working out a few kinks here and there, but if you are interested, please take a look and tell us what you think! We'll be doing user studies later in the fall semester.