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January 22, 2015

Treasures from Japan in the Yale University Library

This exhibition, now on view at the Beinecke Library, provides a glimpse of the treasures in two extraordinary collections associated with the legacy of Asakawa Kan’ichi (1873–1948), professor of history and first curator of the East Asian collections at Yale.

The Japanese Manuscript Collection (1907) and Yale Association of Japan Collection (1934) include stellar examples of early printing, woodblock print publishing, and artworks, as well as an impressive array of rare historical documents. The exhibition is a tribute to Asakawa’s vision for a great Japanese library that would engage Americans in the study of Japan’s history, society, and culture. It also celebrates recent efforts by faculty, students, librarians, and conservators at Yale University and the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo to document Yale’s holdings of pre-modern Japanese books and manuscripts and bring them to the forefront in research and teaching.

The exhibition is on view until Thursday, April 2nd.

January 20, 2015

Research travel grant for Yale's Cushing/Whitney Medical Historical Library

The Historical Library of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University is pleased to announce its eighth annual Ferenc Gyorgyey Research Travel Award for use of the Historical Library.

The Medical Historical Library, located in New Haven, Connecticut, holds one of the country’s largest collections of rare medical books, journals, prints, photographs, and pamphlets. Special strengths are the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Vesalius, Boyle, Harvey, Culpeper, Priestley, and S. Weir Mitchell, and works on anesthesia, and smallpox inoculation and vaccination. The Library owns over fifty medieval and renaissance manuscripts, Arabic and Persian manuscripts, and over 300 medical incunabula. The notable Clements C. Fry Collection of Prints and Drawings has over 2,500 fine prints, drawings, and posters from the 15th century to the present on medical subjects. The library also holds a great collection of tobacco advertisements, patent medicine ephemera, and a large group of materials from Harvey Cushing, one of the founding fathers of neurosurgery.

The 2015-2016 travel grant is available to historians, medical practitioners, and other researchers who wish to use the collections of the Medical Historical Library. There is a single award of up to $1,500 for one week of research during the academic fiscal year July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016. Funds may be used for transportation, housing, food, and photographic reproductions. The award is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. Applicants should send a completed application form, curriculum vitae and a description of the project including the relevance of the collections of the Historical Library to the project, and two references attesting to the particular project. Preference will be given to applicants beyond commuting distance to the Historical Library. This award is for use of Medical Historical special collections and is not intended for primary use of special collections in other libraries at Yale. Applications are due by Monday, MAY 4th, 2015. They will be considered by a committee and the candidates will be informed by JUNE 8th, 2015. An application form can be found on our website.

Applications and requests for further information should be sent to:

Melissa Grafe, Ph.D
John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History
Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
Yale University
P.O. Box 208014
New Haven, CT 06520-8014
Telephone: 203- 785-4354
Fax: 203-785-5636
E-mail: melissa.grafe@yale.edu

Additional information about the Library and its collections may be found here

January 12, 2015

Holocaust Video Testimonies Converted into Digital Files

Donations from library supporters have enabled the migration of over 12,000 legacy analog video tapes to digital files, the complete holdings of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies. The first migration occurred in February 2011 in the lab constructed in a renovated basement space in Sterling Memorial Library. This process assures preservation of these unique video documents, many recorded thirty-five years ago. It is also the first stage of the plan to provide free remote access to the Fortunoff collection to university libraries and to Holocaust museums and resource centers. Karen Prtizker and Michael Vlock, Dr. Lisbet Rausing and Professor Peter Baldwin ‘78, Helene Fortunoff, Joshua and Esther Fortunoff Greene, the late Judge Howard Holtzmann ’42, ’47 JD, Daniel ’51 and Joanna Rose, and Robert Weis are major donors who supported the migration. Foundation support came from the Mary Jane and Morton K. Blaustein Foundation, Conference on Material Claims against Germany, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, and Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah. Yale College courses in which testimony excerpts were recently screened by Fortunoff staff include Introduction to Ethnicity, Race, and Migration; Affect in the Writing of History; Poetry and the Holocaust; Postwar German Literature and Politics; Genocide and Ethnic Conflict; Visual Biography; and History and Holocaust Testimony. Excerpts have been incorporated in museum exhibits, documentaries, curricular units, conference presentations, and classes at universities throughout the world.

January 8, 2015

Yale’s Beinecke Library Acquires Archive of Acclaimed Playwright Paul Vogel

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University is pleased to announce that it has acquired the literary archive of dramatist Paula Vogel, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a celebrated teacher who has mentored a generation of playwrights. Vogel is the first American female playwright to have her archive included in the Yale Collection of American Literature, where she joins such luminaries as Eugene O’Neill, Thornton Wilder, A. R. Gurney, and John Guare.

“It is difficult for a playwright to think of her script in the chaos of production as anything but ephemeral,” Vogel says. “It is a significant honor for my work to be preserved in the remarkable company of Beinecke writers and artists.”

Vogel has authored more than a dozen plays, including the 1992 Obie Award-winning Baltimore Waltz; How I Learned to Drive (1997), which won her second Obie, the Pulitzer Prize, the Lortel Prize, the Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award; Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief (1979); The Mineola Twins (1996); and The Long Christmas Ride Home (2003).

The Paula Vogel Papers include drafts of most of Vogel’s plays, teaching files, and drafts of work by students from her many years teaching; also included are about 200 computer disks and five computers. These digital files include photographs, documents, and email correspondence with theater critics and practitioners, including Sarah Ruhl, Bert States, David Savran, and Amy Bloom, as well as numerous theater companies who have produced Vogel’s works. Researchers will be able to access Vogel’s papers beginning in spring 2015.

“It is surprising that Beinecke had not acquired the archives of a female playwright before now, but I can’t imagine a more fitting artist to be the first,” says Melissa Barton, the Beinecke’s curator of drama and prose in the Yale Collection of American Literature. “We are very excited to welcome Paula Vogel’s archive to the Yale Collection of American Literature and to provide researchers access to this remarkable record of a great dramatist and teacher’s artistic process.”

As director of playwriting for Brown University for 24 years, Vogel mentored numerous playwrights who have gone on to great acclaim, including Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, and Quiara Alegría Hudes. In 2008, Vogel joined the faculty of Yale School of Drama as chair of the playwriting program, a post she held until 2012. She is currently playwright in residence at Yale Repertory Theatre, and she continues to teach at Yale.
Born in 1951, Vogel grew up in Washington, D.C. She lives in Providence, RI.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Yale's principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. One of the world’s largest buildings devoted solely to rare books and manuscripts, the Beinecke Library welcomes researchers from around the world to engage with its extensive collections.

January 6, 2015

Casting Shadows: Integration on the American Stage

January 16-April 18
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Many of the productions that we now consider highlights in the history of African Americans on the stage—Shuffle Along (1921), The Green Pastures (1930), Porgy and Bess (1935)—were performed by entirely African American casts. This exhibition features productions and performers that attempted to bridge racial divisions through integrated casting.

Initially viewed as a novelty, as when Sam Lucas became the first African American man to play the lead in Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1878, crossing the color line on stage would soon be held up as a triumph in the multi-pronged fight against Jim Crow. By the middle of the 20th century, commentators embraced the appearance of black and white actors onstage together as a symbol of progressive civil rights. Later playwrights, however, most notably August Wilson, questioned the validity of integration as a worthy goal in itself, advocating instead the celebration of African American life on the stage.

Fun on the Titanic: Underground Art and the East German State

January 16-April 16
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Behind the Iron Curtain, a generation of poets, artists, musicians, and performers turned their backs on the promise of “really existing socialism” and official culture in the East German state. In back-courtyard apartments, private studios, and workshops, they created a space for free creative expression that (they hoped) might elude the dictates, police, and policy-makers of the Communist regime, which they viewed as a dead end for culture, or—in the prescient metaphor of the poet “Matthias” Baader Holst—a sinking ship.

In this new exhibition, Fun on the Titanic explores the creative diversity and exuberant performativity of culture nurtured behind closed doors by the East German underground of the 1980s. Rare and colorful, the self-published ‘zines and artist’s books on display from Beinecke’s collection tell a story of persistent resolve, resourcefulness, and mischievous youthful determination—punctuated by betrayals, arrests, voluntary exile, and even suicide—all in the name of a lost generation and its yearning to have fun in the final days of a totalitarian state.

Treasures from Japan in the Yale University Library

January 16-April 11
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Opening on Monday, January 16 in the Beinecke, this exhibition provides a glimpse of the treasures in two extraordinary collections associated with the legacy of Asakawa Kan’ichi (1873–1948), professor of history and first curator of the East Asian collections at Yale. The Japanese Manuscript Collection (1907) and Yale Association of Japan Collection (1934) include stellar examples of early printing, woodblock print publishing, and artworks, as well as an impressive array of rare historical documents. The exhibition is a tribute to Asakawa’s vision for a great Japanese library that would engage Americans in the study of Japan’s history, society, and culture. It also celebrates recent efforts by faculty, students, librarians, and conservators at Yale University and the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo to document Yale’s holdings of pre-modern Japanese books and manuscripts and bring them to the forefront in research and teaching.

Copyright and Unpublished Works: Overview and Update

Wednesday, January 28, 2:00pm
Peter Hirtle, Harvard University
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall

Peter Hirtle is a Research Fellow in the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He also serves as the senior policy advisor in the Cornell University Library with a special mandate to address intellectual property issues. Previously at Cornell, Hirtle served as Director of the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections and as the Associate Editor of D-Lib Magazine. He is an archivist by training with an MA in History from Johns Hopkins and an MLS with a concentration in archival science from the University of Maryland. Hirtle is a Fellow and Past President of the Society of American Archivists and is a member of its Working Group on Intellectual Property. He was a member of the Commission on Preservation and Access/Research Library Group’s Task Force on Digital Archiving and the Copyright Office’s Section 108 Study Group, and is a contributing author to the LibraryLaw.com blog.

All are welcome to attend this talk sponsored by SCOPA.