Stuart David and Sophia Belzer Engstrand Collection
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Lingscheit Carrie
1M ago
By Nicole Connell The Stuart David and Sophia Belzer Engstrand Collection has now been processed and is open to researchers! Stuart David Engstrand was a best-selling author, publishing primarily in the 1940s. His books include Beyond the Forest, A Husband in the House, The Invaders, More Deaths Than One, The Scattered Seed, The Sling and the Arrow, Son of the Giant, Spring 1940, and They Sought for Paradise. Sophia Belzer Engstrand was an author in her own right, writing the novels Julie Morrow, Miss Munday, and Wilma Rogers. She also served as an editor for Stuart, her husband, contributing ..read more
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Musing on Miniatures: An Introspective
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By Elissa B.G. Mullins The miniature format recommends itself to a wide variety of genres—from devotional materials to political pamphlets; from almanacs to advertisements; from volumes designed for the small hands and big imaginations of children, to delicately hand-crafted artists’ books. All boast portability, stealth, ease of storage, and economical use of paper and binding materials—pragmatic traits that ought not to be discounted. But practicality alone cannot explain the incongruous grip of the miniature upon our attention. Our fascination with well-proportioned tiny things is commonly ..read more
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Adventures in Cataloging: Arabic Manuscripts at RBML Part 3
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By Hanan Jaber Welcome to the final part of our Arabic Manuscripts at RBML series! Today, we are presenting the last four books for this collection.  Hand-written Qur’an – 1845 Of course I was expecting to find Qur’ans within the manuscripts just because many older books tend to be law books and religious texts. I came across one Qur’an hand-written in 1845 by Muhammad al-Raji. One of the notable commonalities amongst all the religious books that are manuscripts, including this Qur’an, was the notes of humbleness written at the end of the books. They usually begin with “this was written b ..read more
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Adventures in Cataloging: Arabic Manuscripts at RBML Part 2
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By Hanan Jaber Welcome back to part 2 of our Arabic Manuscripts at the RBML series! Today, we present to you some Islamic as well as Christian texts found in Arabic.  Asrar Namah by Shaykh Farid al-Din ‘Attar Amongst the Arabic manuscripts, there were also Persian manuscripts, such as Asrar Namah, a Sufi “secret” book originally written in the thirteenth century by Farid al-Din ‘Attar. The copy at the RBML was bound in full leather with a central oval medallion on the front and rear covers and was written around the 19th century by a scribe named ‘Umar al-Khatib. This Sufi “secret” philos ..read more
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Collection Highlights: The Story of Mable Schamp (1912-1951)
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
by Jonathan Puckett The Schamp-Levin Collection contains the papers of Mable Schamp and her second husband, Meyer Levin. Mable Hall Schamp (1912-1951) grew up in poverty but earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1936, served as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, worked on male contraceptives, battled mental illness, and became the first female professor at the City College of New York’s Chemistry Department. This post highlights Schamp’s life as told by the objects in this collection at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In her later years, Mable signe ..read more
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Iron Gall Ink
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By: Katie Hartman Besides the quill and parchment, ink was one of the most basic components of manuscript production.  Black inks were typically produced either from collecting soot (most common in Asia) or from oak galls (most common in Europe). Oak galls are growths that are formed around the larva of the gall wasp.  The growth would act almost as a chrysalis and the fully grown wasp would burrow out of the gall, leaving a small hole. The ink from soot was carbon based and was usually split into different grades regarding the type of material was burned to create it.  The ink ..read more
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Making Quills Part 3—Cutting the Quill
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By: Katie Hartman Cutting the quill’s nib is often seen as the most finicky and difficult part of the quill making process.  In a way, this assumption is both true and false.  Cutting a quill nib takes practice and some getting used to, especially if you’re nervous handling a knife or razor blade.  But, once you cut a few quills and get a feel for the resistance of the barrel under the blade and how deep to make the various scoops, the process is quick and takes a few minutes or less. The two primary materials you will need for this part of the process are a sharp knife and a cu ..read more
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Making Quills Part 2- Curing with a Dutching Tool
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
By: Katie Hartman Technically speaking, dutching simply refers to the process of hardening a quill by using heat.  However, since the process of using a dutching tool differs greatly from the other methods discussed in part 1, it is useful to refer to the process of using a dutching tool as dutching and the process of hardening a quill via sand or microwave as curing.  Dutching is an interesting way to temper a quill before cutting.  Unlike the previous methods of curing, you have much more control with dutching because you can see the quill changing color as you heat it.  ..read more
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Now Available: Fairy Tales Digital Exhibit
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Henning Taylor
7M ago
The digital pop-up exhibit “Once Upon a Time… Fairy Tales from Around the World” is now available! Curated by former graduate assistant Taylor Henning, the exhibit highlights fairy tale books from the RBML collection while exploring variations of familiar stories from five continents. Delve into the world of folktales and fairy tales by visiting the exhibit here: exhibits.library.illinois.edu/s/rbml/page/once-upon-a-time.  Below, enjoy a preview of some of the items featured in the exhibit. East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North, illustrated by Kay Nielsen (Q. Lars ..read more
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Digging the Depths of The American Songbag
Illinois Library » Non-Solus Blog
by Ruthann Mowry
7M ago
by Stephen Griffith Editor’s Note: Writer and musician Stephen Griffith (http://stephengriffith.com/) is working on several projects relating to Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag (1927). A recent visitor to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, he is turning over everything he can find about Sandburg’s ground-breaking collection of American folk songs. However, with many of his projects on-hold due to the pandemic, Stephen is taking advantage of isolation to record his renditions of each and every song in the Songbag—all 315 of them! To see him in action, visit: https://www.youtube.com/pl ..read more
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