Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Goin’ Courtin’ at Spencer Research Library

February 14th, 2017

There is so much uncertainty in the world of dating and relationships. Countless questions abound: Am I interested in this person? Who should make the first move? How soon is too soon to talk to the other person after a date? Should you play it cool and aloof or be more earnest about conveying your feelings for someone? How long should you wait to define the relationship or discuss being exclusive with your partner? Does wanting to have that discussion make you seem needy or confident? The list goes on and all of your friends, all of the dating articles available to you, and every show on television seem to have conflicting opinions. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a guidebook – a collection of dos and don’ts when it comes to dating so you would know what to do or expect? Well, look no further than the collections at Spencer Research Library!

Book chapter, "Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage," 1896

First page of the chapter entitled “Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage.”
Social Life; or, The Manners and Customs of Polite Society by Maud C. Cook.
Kansas City, Mo.: S.D. Knapp & Co., 1896. Call Number: C23427. Click image to enlarge.

Published in 1896 in Kansas City, Missouri, Social Life; or The Manners and Customs of Polite Society by Maud C. Cook is just one of several 19th and early 20th century etiquette books housed at Spencer. In addition to the etiquette of courtship and marriage, Social Life also details the proper etiquette for everything from correspondence to childcare and so much more. While some of the content may no longer be directly applicable in today’s society, many of the tenets regarding courtship and marriage are rather insightful.

“Intuition, our own selfhood, is nature’s highest teacher, and infallible; and tells all by her ‘still, small voice within,’ whether and just wherein they are making love right or wrong.”

Modern translation: Trust your instincts. No one knows you better than you know yourself. From choosing a partner to guiding the progression of your relationship, if something feels wrong, trust that feeling.

Book illustration, "A Polite Escort," 1896

Illustration, “A Polite Escort,” in Social Life; or,
The Manners and Customs of Polite Society
by Maud C. Cook, 1896.
Call Number: C23427. Click image to enlarge.

“Again the young lady who willfully, knowingly, deliberately draws on a man to place hand and heart at her disposal simply for the pleasure of refusing him and thus adding one more name to her list of rejected proposals is utterly unworthy the name of woman.”

Modern translation: Be kind. Don’t lead someone on or pretend you have feelings for them when you don’t. Be honest about your feelings and intentions, whatever they may be.

“Differences must needs arise, which cannot be adjusted too soon.”

Modern translation: Communicate. Address problems and differences calmly and in a timely manner. If something has upset you, speak up, just do so respectfully.

Book illustration, "Declined with Regrets," 1896

Illustration, “Declined with Regrets,” in Social Life; or,
The Manners and Customs of Polite Society
by Maud C. Cook, 1896.
Call Number: C23427. Click image to enlarge.

“She should never captiously take offense at her fiancé’s showing the same attention to other ladies that she, in her turn, is willing to accept from other gentlemen, and she should take the same pains to please his taste in trifles that he does to gratify her slightest wish.”

Modern translation: Don’t be hypocritical when it comes to your partner’s actions. It is unfair for you to be upset over behavior that is similar to your own.

“See or correspond with each other often. Love will not bear neglect. Nothing kills it equally. In this it is most exacting. It will not, should not, be second in anything. ‘First or nothing,’ is its motto.”

Modern translation: It is not a badge of honor to ignore someone, especially if you care about them. Spend time with the one you love and do your best to stay connected.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Emily Beran
Library Assistant
Public Services

Housing Quick Pics: The Right Fit

December 19th, 2016

This year I spent some time upgrading the housings for Spencer’s N-size (very large!) items. I reviewed their current state with a curator and we identified those items that were most in need of housing improvement. Among these items was a very long and narrow broadside with a correspondingly long title: State procession from the Queen’s palace to the western door of Westminster Abbey, on the 28th of June, the day of Her Majesty’s coronation [1838?].

At the time of our review, this item was stored in a very large folder just like its neighbors in the N section. Unlike the other N’s, however, which are mostly oversize maps, this very skinny piece only occupies a small amount of the folder interior. It’s too big to fit in any of our map cases, but it didn’t feel quite right floating about inside the large folder, and it seemed quite unwieldy to retrieve and transport.

n21_before

We decided to rehouse this item in a more efficient and user-friendly manner by fitting out the inside of a standard cubic-foot box with an archival cardboard tube that rests on two cradle supports on either side and can be easily lifted out of the box.

n21_box

I rolled the broadside around the tube (followed by a protective layer of polyester film) and placed the tube back into the box. When this item is paged, it will be much easier for staff to carry – no more juggling a huge floppy folder. The item can be easily unrolled in the reading room when needed, and just as easily rolled back up onto the tube. And because the box is a standard size, it will fit well into existing shelf space.

n21_completed

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services

Rainer Maria Rilke

December 5th, 2016

Rainer Maria Rilke is one of the most beloved German-language poets of the twentieth century. So in honor of his 141st birthday yesterday, we’re highlighting some of our amazing books by Rilke from Spencer Library’s Special Collections.

Duineser Elegien (English: Duino Elegies), which is considered one of his masterpieces, was begun in 1912 at Duino Castle near Trieste, Italy. The inscription by Rilke pictured below was probably created as he was beginning to write these poems.

Inscription by Rainer Maria Rilke, "Herrn Justizrath Löwenfeld in dankbarer Erinnerung...Schloss Duino...Januar 1912” located on the front page from volume 1 of his work, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, Leipzig : Insel-Verlag, 1910. Special Collections, call number: Rilke X18.
Inscription by Rainer Maria Rilke: “Herrn Justizrath Löwenfeld in dankbarer Erinnerung…Schloss Duino…Januar 1912”
located on the front page from volume 1 of his work, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge, Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1910. Special Collections, call number: Rilke X18. Click image to enlarge.

The first edition of Duineser Elegien was published in 1923 in Leipzig. Here is Spencer Library’s copy of this first edition printed on handmade paper with the beginning of “Die Erste Elegie” (English: “The First Elegy”).

Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Leipzig: im Insel-Verlag, 1923: cover. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Z50.   Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Leipzig: im Insel-Verlag, 1923: title page with unicorn watermark. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Z50.
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Leipzig: im Insel-Verlag, 1923: “Die Erste Elegie”. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Z50.   Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Leipzig: im Insel-Verlag, 1923: back page stating that this is the first edition, copy 48 of 300 printed on handmade paper. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Z50.
Pictured from top left to bottom right: Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Leipzig: Im Insel-Verlag, 1923: cover, title page with unicorn watermark (below and the the right of Leipzig), “Die Erste Elegie” and back page stating that this is the first edition and copy 48 of 300 printed on handmade paper. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Z50. Click images to enlarge.

Rilke’s works were translated into English, helping to bring his poetry to an international audience. Here is the beginning of “The First Elegy” from Duino Elegies translated into English by J.B. Leishman and Stephen Spender and published by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press in 1939.

Rilke’s Duino Elegies, with part of the “The First Elegy” in the original German with the English translation by J.B. Leishman and Stephen Spender placed side by side. Special Collections, call number: Rilke Y26.

Rilke’s Duino Elegies, beginning of “The First Elegy” with German and English translation
by J.B. Leishman and Stephen Spender placed side by side.
Special Collections, call number: Rilke Y26. Click image to enlarge.

Mindy Babarskis
Reference Specialist
Public Services

Dancing Cheek to Cheek: A dos-à-dos binding

November 28th, 2016

This book from Special Collections is really two volumes in one, in what is called a dos-à-dos binding, from the French, “back to back.” As the name implies, these two books share the same back covers, so that no matter how it is held, the reader opens to a front page of text. Geoffrey Glaister in The Encyclopedia of the Book (New Castle, DE: 1996) notes that this style was particularly popular in England in the period from 1600-1640.

Dos-a-dos binding. Call number A234. Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas         Dos-a-dos binding. Call number A234. Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas

  Dos-à-dos Binding with green textile tie. Call number A234. Click images to enlarge.

As noted by Matt Roberts and Don Etherington in Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books, these books were “usually small and frequently of a complementary nature.” This is true in the case of this dos-à-dos volume, although there are in fact three titles contained within:

1. The New Testament of our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ : London: 1620.

2. The Psalter or Psalmes of David. London : Companie of Stationers, 1625.

3. The whole booke of Psalmes. London : Companie of Stationers, 1620.

This small object would have been handy to take to church to have relevant texts close at hand.

Dos-a-dos binding. Call number A234. Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas         Dos-a-dos binding. Call number A234. Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas

Left: New Testament. Right: Psalter or Psalmes. The Whole Book of Psalmes follows this text. Click images to enlarge.

The volume is bound in leather, with gold-tooled patterns. The edges are gauffered, which is a decorative effect achieved by placing a heated tool or roll on the edges of the paper.

Dos-a-dos binding. Call number A234. Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas

Gauffering on the fore-edge of the paper, made by using a heated tool. Click image to enlarge.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

Manuscript Monday Quick Pics: John Beach’s Selection of Airs and Marches

November 21st, 2016

Today I want to share a quick before-and-after of a treatment I recently completed on MS E23, John Beach’s Selection of Airs, Marches, etc., with Instructions for the Violin, German Flute, Clarionett, Hautboy, French Horn, Bass Viol, Bassoon, Piano Forte, & Guitar (whew!). A patron request brought this volume to a curator’s attention, and the curator in turn sent it my way.

This book, a collection of manuscript musical pieces, had been lovingly assembled and clearly experienced significant use in its lifetime. The volume required stabilization in a number of areas in order to support use and handling. Its boards were both detached, its spine was missing, sewing threads were broken, and many of the gatherings, which had been made by adhering separate sheets together near the spine fold, were detached or damaged along that spine seam. In addition, there was a good deal of particulate matter (dirt) accumulated in the spine folds.

The treatment involved taking down the sewing, cleaning and mending the gatherings, and sewing it back up over new cords, which were pasted under the pastedowns to reattach the boards. I also added a replacement paper spine piece to protect the spine and give the book a more complete appearance. In its improved condition, this book can be safely used by researchers without the risk of further damage.

Music manuscript from Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries. Call number E23.

ME E23, before treatment. Click image to enlarge.

Music manuscript from Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries. Call number E23.

MS E23, after treatment. Click image to enlarge.

Music manuscript from Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries. Call number E23.

Hand-drawn illustration in MS E23, possibly copied from printed sheet music. Click image to enlarge.

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services