Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Archive Adventures: I'm Dreaming...

We're getting festive this year as we gradually make our way out of the fall semester, into finals, and ultimately to winter break.Our lovely coworker Ali decorated her cubicle to the brim with holiday cheer, including a lovely REMSBY tree complete with tinsel and a dapper-looking skull (from Halloween).

Last year I explored the Allison-Shelley Christmas book collection, but completely walked by a shelf of delightful gifts. It really was like waking up to Christmas morning when I popped into the Allison-Shelley room earlier today and saw the boxes. How did I miss those?! I started unpacking boxes and was thrilled to find toys that any kid from the 1800's would have given their left leg to have under their own tree. (I also played with them for a little after taking pictures...very carefully...). Their connection to the Allison-Shelley Collection is through the Children's Literature section. These games and toys were all made in Germany, but were intended for export. Thus, why you'll see different languages on the boxes.


 The first one I pulled out, and possibly my favorite, was the Toy Soldier set. Even though my gifts were all plastic horse models and books, nostalgia of "'Twas the Night'" and "The Nutcracker" always have me fondly remembering tin soldiers and choo-choo trains. There were so many more of these little guys. I hope that people leave early today so I can go back in and stage a miniature war!

Speaking of that famous poem, I found a panorama of it close by. Like all children's illustrated books, it has the tendency to creep me out. You just turn the little wooden dowels and you can scroll through the entire poem in pictures.

Santa kind of looks like a total creeper. It also frightens me that he's walking through a LIT fireplace. This is not a man you want to mess with.

Eventually, my squeals of joy attracted the attention of the Head of Special Collections. He instantly got as excited as I did by the toys and invited me into our vault to browse our more precious collections. While I was in there, I found tiny packs of playing cards. Mostly today you see the standard decks in the club-spades-hearts-diamonds variety, maybe some novelty versions, and tarot decks (which were actually for card games long before they became an occult item). So it's a real treat to see original decks and their unique artistry. I love the attention to detail in the middle set, and the strange images of the first. I'm sure there's a reason for a giant eagle to be carrying off a sheep, right?

Note the upper left card.

And just because no blog is complete without at least one book...here's one that will get a laugh out of you! Can't have a holiday in PA without the Dutch!

From all of us in Special Collections, we wish you the happiest of holidays and the safest of travels. Make sure to cuddle up with a good book and your favorite hot drink, relax, and enjoy your vacation until we see you in 2014!


Friday, December 6, 2013

James Mullen Christmas Card Collection on Display

For December only, Christmas cards designed by James Mullen are on display in the Special Collections exhibitions gallery. Mullen was a Professor of Art and Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, Emeritus at State University of New York College at Oneonta. Professor Mullen taught courses in drawing, printmaking, painting, design, and art appreciation as well as Honors Courses.

The Special Collections Library has a collection of original Christmas cards created by Mullen and by former Penn State faculty members, including Edwin Zoller and George Zoretich, as well as other artists. The cards in the collection were created between 1962 and 2004.

On display are several cards designed by Mullen:

Pine Cone, ca. 1966; pen and ink, offset lithograph

Gifts – Christmas 2003, four versions; color linoleum block print

Landscape (view at backyard 2 Brigham Road, Oneonta, NY. 1981; burin engraving

Pilgrim’s Way I, 1997; burin engraving

December Shelf, 2000; linoleum block print (image below)

Nightflower, ca. 1990; engraved zinc plate and proof impressions plus original burin engraving and aquatint prints

A finding aid is available for the entire collection: 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Finding Aids Online

The Special Collections staff are finishing up 2013 with a flourish of activity improving access to a number of collections. New and updated finding aids just published include:

Donald C. Henderson Papers - This collection of papers of librarian Donald C. Henderson includes correspondence, articles, newspapers, diplomas, publications, artifacts, catalogs, photographs, and articles.

Brent Wilson Papers - Brent Wilson joined Penn State's faculty in 1974 as a professor of art education as well as head of the art education program in the School of Visual Arts (1983-1985; 1989-1999). The collection reflects Wilson's participation in implementing National art education policies and document his service as an administrator and art education faculty researcher on children in art education.

Eighth Air Force Archive - The Eighth Air Force archive documents both the fighter and bomber groups that served in Europe and Africa during World War II and the Eighth Air Force veterans organizations nationwide. It contains books, photographs, audio-visual materials, oversize graphic materials, artifacts, memorabilia, microfilm, and organizational records donated by veterans and their families.

Hudson Coal Company Records - The Hudson Coal Company was a subsidiary of the Delaware and Hudson Company, which changed its name in 1899 from Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. The collection consists of microfilms of office files generated by the Hudson Coal Company of Pennsylvania for anthracite coal mines located in Lackawana and Luzerne counties, and microfilms of payroll records for mines located in Luzerne County. There are also several photographs.

James T. Stuart Family Papers - The collection documents multiple generations of the Stuart family, with a strong focus on the life of Civil War veteran James T. Stuart. The family resided in central and western Pennsylvania, and the collection consists of correspondence, photographs, family records, and other related materials.

Dickinson School of Law Student Records -  The Dickinson School of Law, founded in 1834 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is the sixth oldest law school in the United States, and the oldest in Pennsylvania. The school operated independently until 2000, when it merged with the Pennsylvania State University, and since 2005 the school has operated in dual locations, in Carlisle and University Park.

And more to come in 2014!