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UCL Rare-Books Club launch

Helen FBiggs30 August 2017

Posted on behalf of Dr Tabitha Tuckett, Rare-Books Librarian.

What: UCL Rare-Books Club
When: 1.15-1.45pm, Tuesday 5 September
Where: Science Library Rm 417 (*meet at library entrance 1.10pm if you don’t have a UCL library card*)

You are warmly invited to a new series of half-hour talks in which researchers will introduce individual items from UCL’s rare-books collections.

These talks will give our researchers an opportunity to share ongoing discoveries and new observations about the selected item, while audiences will be able to share their expertise and find out a bit more about the larger collection to which the item belongs. Booking is not required: just turn up!

The first talk will take place on Tuesday 5 September, 1.15pm–1.45pm, in UCL Science Library Room 417. Cerys Jones, PhD Student in Medical Physics, will present a talk on Seeing Beyond the Visible: Multispectral Imaging applied to Heritage Artefacts.

Detail from a humidity-damaged letter, Karl Pearon Papers.

Detail from a damaged letter, Karl Pearson Papers.

Multispectral imaging consists of capturing images of an object illuminated under ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. This technique enables faded text and pictures on historical artefacts to be recovered and reread. Cerys will be discussing the process of multispectral imaging and image processing, and present results from multispectral imaging applied to artefacts from UCL Special Collections and other heritage institutions.

The next Rare-Books Club speaker will be UCL Honorary Senior Research Associate Jacquie Glomski on Tuesday 12 September. More information on her talk, John Evelyn’s Contribution to Restoration Bibliophily, will be forthcoming.

Beethoven, Orwell and more on display – Tuesday 6 June, 12-4.30pm

Helen FBiggs2 June 2017

You are warmly invited to this year’s Treasures Of The Written Word on Tuesday 6 June, 12 to 4.30pm, in the Roberts Building Foyer. The event is open to all, and booking is not required: just drop in.

This annual event is a chance to see some of the treasures held in the library’s Special Collections, Archives and Records, and to talk to the staff who work with them. This year we’ll also have students and volunteers talking about their Connected Curriculum projects with the collections, and our popular conservation demonstrations. See below for the full programme.

poster

Highlights will include a letter by Beethoven, George Orwell’s notes for his novel 1984, miniature children’s books from the 1700s, one of the first printed anatomy text books with pop-up diagram from the C16th, illuminated Mediaeval manuscripts in Hebrew and Latin, some of the earliest European music notation to survive, model furniture belonging to archives on the history of school education, documents on the history of UCL itself, radical design from rare C20th magazines, newly discovered Bentham manuscripts describing a dramatic prisoners’ escape, and selections from the fascinating Huguenot Library.

volunteers with Bible

You’ll also be able during the first session to ask our students to look up your favourite words in early dictionaries, or find out whether your favourite area of London was anything more than fields in our C18th London maps. In the second session you can have a go at transcribing Jeremy Bentham’s handwriting, or at other times during the event hear how digitising rare materials can aid research.

Timetable

12 – 1.30pm

  • Rare printed books
  • Mediaeval manuscript fragments
  • Institute of Education rare books
  • History of UCL
  • Digitising rare materials

1.30 – 3pm

  • Orwell collections
  • Educating children – archives from the Institute of Education
  • Hebrew and Jewish collections
  • Bentham manuscripts
  • Transcribe Bentham

3 – 4.30pm

  • Mediaeval and Renaissance books
  • Archives and manuscripts
  • C20th poetry and small-press collections
  • Huguenot Library
  • Digital collections

12-4pm

  • Live conservation demonstrations

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Special Collections, Archives and Records team.

Text courtesy Tabitha Tuckett.
 

Rare editions of Dante from UCL Special Collections on display

Helen FBiggs20 March 2017

Rare editions of Dante from UCL Special Collections

Monday 27 March 5.30pm

The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, WC1H 0AB

Admission free.

dante

Image from an 1869 edition of La Divina Commedia with illustrations by Gustavo Dore [DANTE FOLIOS DD119 (1869) vol. 1]

There will be an opportunity to see some of UCL’s rare editions of Dante’s works, and hear the Rare-Books Librarian talk about the history of the poet’s work in print, on Monday 27 March, 5.30-6.30pm, in the Common Room of the Warburg Institute in Woburn Square (immediately south of Gordon Square). The event will continue 6.30-7.45pm in the Institute’s Lecture Room with readings from the text and discussions from UCL’s Professor John Took and the Warburg’s Dr. Alessandro Scafi.

Want to know more about who Dante was and why his writings are important for us today? Try the weekly Dante readings on Monday evenings at the Warburg Institute or fortnightly talks on Tuesday evenings at the Italian Cultural Institute. The readings on Monday 27th will feature the moving passage in which Dante and Virgil emerge from the abyss of Hell on the shore of Mount Purgatory, leaving you, we hope, in an improved mood for the holidays, albeit on a cliff-hanger until readings recommence next term. The Tuesday talk on the 28th will be on the relation between Dante, Classical mythology and Islam.

Best wishes from the UCL Special Collections Team, UCL Italian and The Warburg Institute.

Text courtesy Tabitha Tuckett.

Weekly Dante readings begin today – Mondays 6pm

TabithaTuckett30 January 2017

Readings from Dante’s Divine Comedy in English and Italian

Mondays 6-7.30pm, The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square

(Admission free)

Is a passage from Dante’s Inferno just what you feel like after a day’s work on a Monday? Or have you always wanted to know what all the fuss was about? Today you can find out, for free, at 6pm at the Warburg Institute off Gordon Square/Woburn Square with an introduction to Dante’s life and works, followed by readings on subsequent Mondays.

The annual collaboration between UCL Special Collections, the UCL Italian Department, the Warburg Institute and the Italian Cultural Institute has proved popular enough to resume this year, with a slightly different selection of passages and the chance, later in the term, to view some of the treasures from UCL Special Collections’ outstanding early and rare editions of Dante.

If Mondays aren’t a good time for you, try the themed Dante sessions on alternate Tuesdays at the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgravia. The next is tomorrow, 7-8.30pm.

Passages will be read in both English and Italian and illustrated, together with talks from UCL’s Dante Professor, John Took, on what to look out for in the excerpts. You never know: you could feel inspired, as this former member of the audience was, to cook the entire poem in biscuit form:

Dante & Virgil with sins

Dante’s Divine Comedy in edible form, created by audience member Leon Conrad.

Photo copyright David Ward.

UCL Special Collections opens new reading room in the Wilkins building

Benjamin G MMeunier23 November 2016

On Monday 21st November 2016, a group of Library Services staff and supporters including UCL academics and Professional Services staff celebrated the formal opening of a new reading room which will allow wider access to UCL’s rare books, manuscripts and archive materials for research and public engagement, supporting UCL’s distinctive Connected Curriculum.

Dr Paul Ayris said a few words to mark the opening of the reading room, sited at the heart of UCL. Paul highlighted that the project had delivered a high-spec space which UCL could be proud of. The opening marks a new phase in the history of UCL Special Collections, which started largely as a set of collections donated by the widows of early professors at UCL. Developments are afoot to establish permanent new bases for the treasures held in Special Collections, with a collaborative venture in partnership with Senate House Library and members of the federal university, as well as expansion facilities in future phases of UCL East. Paul congratulated all those involved in establishing the new reading room, and the party toasted the future of UCL Special Collections.

UC School pupils

As described in a recent tweet, the site where UCL Special Collections’ new reading room is located was once a playground for University College School pupils…

What’s in our Special Collections?

UCL’s collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books date back as far as the 4th century AD and cover a vast range of subject areas, notably: London, Social History, Latin America, Jewish Collections and the Orwell Archive – which is the most comprehensive body of source material for Orwell studies anywhere in the world.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

Did you know?

  • Some of the earliest donations to the Library include the 4,000 books given by Jeremy Bentham in 1833.
  • We recently discovered the manuscript of a poem by Byron inscribed into Samuel Rogers’ The Pleasures of Memory (London, 1810).
  • The first major manuscript gift, a magnificent 13th-century illuminated Latin Bible, was presented by William Steere in 1859.
  • Sonia Orwell, George Orwell’s widow, chose UCL Library Services to house the precious manuscripts and notebooks of the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.

The new reading room is located in the South Junction and is open weekdays from 09.00-17.00 with appointments to consult material between 10.00 and 16.00. The room can hold up to 8 readers at any one time.

Out and about with Special Collections

L ( Elizabeth )Lawes29 February 2016

An item from our Little Magazines collection is soon to feature as part of a new BBC Arts documentary on the avant-garde, ‘anti-art’ Dada movement. This morning I couriered our June 1917 (in facsimile) copy of Neue Jugend magazine to Neville Brody Associates graphic design studio in Islington for it to form the focus of a conversation between Neville Brody and Jim Moir (aka surrealist comic Vic Reeves), who is presenting the documentary. Neville Brody is famous for his design of culturally iconic publications from the 1980s such as The Face and Arena and for designing record covers for the likes of Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. His work is hugely influenced by the experimental typography of the Dadaists.

Neue Jugend magazine was produced in Berlin in 1916-17 by the brothers Wieland and Helmut Herzfeld (who later changed his name to John Heartfield, now remembered as a pioneer of twentieth century graphic design) and is a prime example of radical Dadaist design with its geometric layout and bold type. It also features important text works by the painter and caricaturist George Grosz. Original copies of this magazine are extremely rare: given its anti-authoritarian stance, most were destroyed by the authorities in wartime Berlin. Facsimile editions such as ours are also uncommon and this title is just one example of many radical artists’ magazines from the early part of the century in our amazing collection.

neue jugendNeue Jugend front cover (George Grosz)

The Small Press Project Event

L ( Elizabeth )Lawes18 February 2016

Small Press ProjectThe Small Press Project is a two-term project and collaboration between the UCL Slade School of Fine Art and UCL Library Services, culminating in an event at the Institute of Advanced Study’s Common Ground on Thursday 25th February.

The Project uses as its basis The Small Press Collections of Little Magazines and Poetry Store, held in UCL Special Collections. Staff and students have been afforded hands-on access to items from the collections, followed by a series of tutorials, workshops (e.g. in the Slade Bindery), and visits to independent booksellers and publishers.

Thursday’s event will include speakers, discussions, a live Risograph publishing workshop, and an exhibition by students and staff from the Slade School of Fine Art of work inspired by the Library’s Small Press Collections.

The event runs from 13:00 – 18:00, followed by a private view of the exhibition in the North Lodge, 18:00 – 20:00. More details can be found on the Slade School of Fine Art website.

Please do come along.

myUCL: a flurry of news about UCL Library Services

Benjamin G MMeunier13 March 2015

I am highlighting this week’s edition of myUCL, the weekly newsletter for UCL students, viewable at:

http://uclnews.org.uk/UAA-38OCS-613YPF1C84/cr.aspx

The opening of the UCL Senate House Hub, with its 144 new study spaces for UCL students, features as one of the headline stories. The learning space was designed by Burwell Deakins Architects (the same firm as for the Cruciform Hub) and it incorporates quiet and group working areas. A set of stunning framed images from UCL Special Collections provide a “homely” touch for UCL visitors in the grand Senate House building.

sen_house_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An event for UCL students and staff to find out more about the New Student Centre is scheduled for Wednesday 18 March in the South Cloisters, Wilkins building. The building will provide 1,000 learning spaces, managed by Library Services.

nscimages

 

 

 

Transcribe Bentham, the crowdsourcing project based around Bentham’s manuscripts in UCL Special Collections, was praised by the German State Secretary for Education. You can find out more about the project and UCL Library Services’ involvement on the Bentham Project webpage.

Jeremy

And finally, if any colleagues are interested in the UCL Teaching & Learning conference, hosted at the UCL Institute of Education on Monday 13 April, you can register now.

UCL East Library

Benjamin G MMeunier15 January 2015

Dear colleagues,

Shortly before Christmas, I gave this presentation to colleagues in UCL Special Collections on the vision for a new library in UCL East: UCL East 151214

Searching for suitable images of “East London” from our digital library, I found the cartoon below. How things have changed since 1901 and An illustrated history and guide to East London…

East London

UCL East is a tremendous opportunity for us to enhance our Outreach activities, and it will become a real showcase for UCL Special Collections. Current plans are to base about half of UCL Special Collections in a new building on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), with a focus on London Social History. The collections and research activity around those will support work on the UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction. Local partners around QEOP include the V&A, Smithsonian Institute and a number of London Boroughs.

 

UCL-East

 

The new library in UCL East will also provide hundreds of additional study spaces, to support students who will be living on site and the teaching and learning activity which will be happening there.

These slides give a snapshot of what the Library at UCL East might look like. As for the FAQ on my first slide, the answer is that there won’t be a swimming pool in the library… Do get in touch if you are interested in finding out more, or post any comments below.