Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

The Art of Nature

July 31st, 2018

Just how heavy is an African elephant? What insects hang out together on milkweed plants? Satisfy your curiosity by visiting Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s summer 2018 exhibition before it closes on August 30.

Image of the T-Shirt Design by D.D. Tyler, "One African Elephant Is as Heavy as…" Milkweed Village T-Shirt design by D. D. Tyler

D.D. Tyler. “One African Elephant Is as Heavy as…” t-shirt and
“Milkweed Village” t-shirt. D. D. Tyler Collection.
Call Number: MS QA 22, Box 4. Click images to enlarge.

The pictorial T-shirts displayed in “The Art of Nature: Natural History Art and Illustrations by D.D. Tyler” answer such questions in the nicest possible way. These beautiful T-shirts selected from nearly 200 designed by natural-history artist D.D. (Diana Dee) Tyler charm the eye while they stimulate the mind. The same is true of her natural-history illustrations for periodicals, guidebooks, and children’s books.

Color drawing by D. D. Tyler of Mother Bear and Cubs for book Bears in the Wild by Ada and Frank Graham, 1981
D.D. Tyler. Mother Bear and Cubs. Color drawing for book
Bears in the Wild by Ada and Frank Graham, 1981.
Addition to the D. D. Tyler Collection received 12/17/2017. Click image to enlarge.

The detailed and scientifically accurate pen-and-ink drawings breathe life into each book author’s written descriptions of animals and their lives. In the exhibition, her impressive original drawings, never meant to be seen, can be compared with the published versions reduced photographically to half-size.

Ink and crayon drawing by D. D. Tyler of a Mother Squirrel Carrying Baby Squirrel for the book We Watch Squirrels by Ada and Frank Graham, 1985

D.D. Tyler. Mother Squirrel Carrying Baby Squirrel. Ink and crayon drawing
for book We Watch Squirrels by Ada and Frank Graham, 1985.
D. D. Tyler Collection. Call Number: MS QA 22, Box 1, Folder 30. Click image to enlarge.

A native Kansan, D.D. Tyler completed a Fine Arts degree at the University of Kansas in 1970. After backpacking around the world, she settled in Maine, where her career as an artist developed in tandem with her interest in the natural world. Now semi-retired, she recently donated her artistic archive representing forty years of work to Kenneth Spencer Research Library, where anyone using our reading room can request and view items from the D.D. Tyler collection, along with the many other books and manuscripts in the library’s collections.  Kenneth Spencer Research Library, located in the central KU Campus on Poplar Lane between Strong Hall and the Campanile, is open Mondays-Fridays 9-5 and (after fall semester classes begin August 20) Saturdays 9-1.

Karen Cook, DD Tyler, and Hank Tyler in front of the main exhibition title for "The Art of Nature," July 12, 2018

The artist, D.D. Tyler (center), and her husband, Hank Tyler (right), at the exhibition
with Karen Cook (left), curator of the exhibition. Click image to enlarge.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

The George F. Jenks Map Collection

June 13th, 2018

Note: A selection of materials from the Jenks collection, including the items shown here, were exhibited in the library’s North Gallery in June-July 2018. An online version of the exhibit is now available.

This past semester I helped process the George F. Jenks Map Collection under the guidance of Spencer Special Collections Librarian Karen Cook. Jenks (1916-1996) taught in KU’s Geography Department from 1949 to 1986, and during his tenure he established a renowned cartography program and became internationally recognized as a preeminent cartographer and scholar. The collection is composed of hundreds of maps, graphics, and associated artwork that he produced for publication and in support of his research. In this post I highlight a few items from the collection to illustrate the scope of Jenks’ career.

Jenks spent much of the 1950s producing statistical maps of Kansas. Representative examples of this work can be found in A Kansas Atlas (1952) and the maps he designed for the Kansas Industrial Development Commission. At a time when most state mapping agencies were either nascent or nonexistent, having a cartographer of Jenks’ caliber proved to be a boon for both the state and private industry. A Kansas Atlas was a rarity upon publication: a multi-color in-depth statistical atlas devoted to a single state. Jenks mapped an exhaustive variety of topics, ranging from population dynamics to agricultural productivity, using a variety of cutting-edge symbolization techniques. It should be noted that Jenks pioneered or fine-tuned many of the map symbolization methods used in this atlas and still in use to this day.

Image of the "center of the nation" map in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Image of a map of the population of Kansas in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Image of a map of Kansas mineral resources in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Selected maps from A Kansas Atlas (1952).
George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click images to enlarge.

The Kansas Industrial Resources atlas (1956) is a masterclass in two-color map design and artful cartographic generalization. Jenks took mundane topics such as railroad freight service and electricity grids and simplified them to create visually arresting, statistically accurate maps. This is no small feat: to this day mapmakers struggle with the challenge of generalizing data so that important information stands out while preserving the accuracy of that information.

Image of the fuel resources map spread in Kansas Industrial Resources, 1956

Image of the fuel resources map spread in Kansas Industrial Resources, 1956

Fuel resources map spread, Kansas Industrial Resources (1956).
George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click images to enlarge.

Generalization was a key theme of Jenks’ research in the 1960s and 1970s. Two of his publications, “Generalization in Statistical Mapping” (1963) and “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps” (1963), remain staples in the cartographic literature. Through this research, Jenks helped to systematize the process for classifying spatial data and devised rules to guide the selection of effective classification methods. The collection contains the maps and graphics Jenks created to illustrate these concepts, many of which are still used in cartography textbooks. Examples from his 1963 articles are below. Also included in the collection are hundreds of the maps he used in in his various generalization experiments.

Image of graphics from “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps,” 1963

Graphics from “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps” (1963) illustrating the
process of data generalization. Different class intervals affect the appearance of the
data on the map. George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click image to enlarge.

Another staple of Jenks’ work are three-dimensional map. Starting in the mid-1960s until the end of his academic career, Jenks refined three-dimensional mapping techniques, first by hand and later using computers. He recognized the potential of representing spatial phenomena in three dimensions, running many experiments and publishing many papers exploring the issue. One publication, “Three Dimensional Map Construction” (1966), remains highly recognizable within cartographic circles, and it also featured one of Jenks’ most famous maps: a three-dimensional representation of population density in central Kansas.

Image of a three-dimensional “smoothed statistical surface” map in the article Three-Dimensional Map Construction, 1966

A three-dimensional “smoothed statistical surface” map representing
population density in central Kansas. This graphic graced the cover of the
November 18, 1966 issue of Science. Jenks originally created this graphic for his
class intervals research. George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click image to enlarge.

This post only skims the surface of Jenks’ celebrated career and barely hints at the contents of the Jenks Map Collection. Readers should keep in mind that while many of the maps featured in this post may not appear noteworthy by today’s standards or software capabilities, they were considered at the cutting edge in their time. Perusing both his personal papers (also maintained at Spencer Research Library) and this map collection reveals the breadth and depth of his cartographic expertise. Jenks was an innovator in many areas; in addition to his aforementioned research interests, he was also recognized as an expert in the areas of curriculum design, cartographic reproduction techniques, and the links between cartography, psychology, and human factors. The Jenks Map Collection preserves a wide assortment of the preliminary and production artwork underpinning his academic and professional careers. The collection finding aid is undergoing finalization and should be published to the Spencer Research Library website in the coming months.

Travis M. White
Special Collections Cartography Intern and 2018 KU graduate (Ph.D., Geography)

References

Jenks, George. (1952). A Kansas Atlas. Topeka: Kansas Industrial Development Commission.

Jenks, George. (October 1956). Kansas Industrial Resources. Topeka: Kansas Industrial Development Commission.

Jenks, G. F. (1963). Generalization in statistical mapping. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 53(1), 15-26.

Jenks, G. F., Coulson, M. R. C. (1963). Class intervals for statistical maps. International Yearbook of Cartography. 119-134.

Jenks, G. F., Brown, D. A. (November 1966). Three-dimensional map construction. Science. 154(3751), 857-864.

A Holinshed’s Chronicles Provenance Puzzle

February 6th, 2018

Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland is widely regarded as a book that inspired and informed many of William Shakespeare’s history plays, as well as tragedies such as Macbeth and King Lear. Last year Kenneth Spencer Research Library (KSRL) purchased the first edition (1577) with the aim of making the book and its 212 lively woodcut illustrations available to visiting classes and researchers. The bookseller’s description said that this copy had been in private family ownership for generations, but we never dreamed that it would be possible to trace the book back to its original owner. After unpacking the two volumes, we leafed through them page by page looking for manuscript annotations.

On the title page of volume one “William Kyllygrewe” had signed his name twice in Tudor script:

Title page of volume 1 of Holinshed's Chronicles (1577), with William Killigrew's signature

Title page of Volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed’s
Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande.
At London: Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, 1577.
Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Could William Kyllygrewe have been the original owner of the book? Browsing through the rest of the book revealed some marginal notes and manicules (sketches of a pointing hand) marking passages of interest to some past reader. There is no other handwritten evidence of ownership.

However, there is an eye-catching pictorial map in the section about the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that concludes volume two. The text recounts the conflict between the Catholic forces supporting Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Protestant forces of Queen Elizabeth during 1571-1573. The hostilities culminated in the “Lang Siege” of Edinburgh Castle.

The map shows the Protestant artillery bombarding Edinburgh Castle before achieving victory.

Map showing the Protestant artillery bombarding of Edinburgh Castle from volume 2 of Holinshed's Chronicles, following p. 1868

Map of the siege of Edinburgh Castle, from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of
Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande.
Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Text on the back side of the map lists the chief participants in the siege. General Sir William Drurie commanded the Protestant forces with the aid of ten Gentlemen and Captaines. One of them was “Henrie Killigrew hir maiesties ambassadoure at that present in Scotland.” Listed next are thirteen “Gentlemen as went thither to serve of their owne free willes.”

Among the gentlemen who participated “of their own free willes” is William Killigrew.

List of participants in the Siege of Edinburgh Castle, including the names of Henry and William Killigrew.

List of participants in the siege from the verso of the map of Edinburgh castle,
from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of Holinshed’s Chronicles of England,
Scotlande, and Irelande
. Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Allowing for the variations in spelling usual at that time, could he be the William Kyllygrewe who owned this book? In his shoes, wouldn’t you want to own a book in which you and your brother are mentioned as major players in a recent military victory?

Some genealogical investigation of the Killigrew family tree with its numerous Henrys and Williams revealed that the Henry Killigrew (d. 1603) and William Killigrew (d.1622) were the fourth and fifth sons of John Killigrew and Elizabeth (née Trewennard) of Arwennack in Cornwall. As younger sons they needed to make their own way in the world and did so successfully as royal courtiers. William was elected Member of Parliament a number of times and was appointed to various government offices, including Groom of the Privy Chamber to Elizabeth I in 1576 and Chamberlain of the Exchequer under James I in 1608.  In 1594 he took an 80-year lease on Kempton and Hanworth, adjoining royal manors in Middlesex near London. In 1603 he was knighted.

While the biographical information did not answer the question whether this William Killigrew had owned our copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles, his prominence suggested that surviving documents signed by him might be located and compared with our owner’s inscription. The Discovery database at the website of The National Archives at Kew near London in England led to an archival record in the Surrey History Centre for a letter held written by William Killigrew to Sir William Moore on 3 June 1579, just two years after the publication of Holinshed’s Chronicles.

Killigrew’s letter concerns the Bishop of Winchester’s meadow at Farnham in Surrey.

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579.
Surrey History Center. Letter Ref. Number 6729/1/56.
Reproduced by permission of the More-Molyneux family and
Surrey History Centre. Click image to enlarge.

Killigrew planned to pasture his horses there but was asking Moore, one of the Bishop’s executors, to reduce the rent because the meadow was “very much choked with sand and gravel by reason of the great floods.” It was exciting for us to discover that the Killigrew signature on the letter is a close match to the ownership inscriptions in our Holinshed’s Chronicles.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature from a letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left)
and the letter to Moore (right). Click image to enlarge.

In fact, the search for a William Killigrew signature need not have led so far afield. Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s large collection of English Historical Documents includes, as it turns out, a 26 October 1601 deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

William Killigrew’s signature is clear at the bottom of the deed, although Robert’s signature to the right is only partly legible

Deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

Deed of covenant signed by William Killigrew, 26 October 1601.
A Miscellany of Deeds and Manorial, Estate, Probate and Family Documents, 1194-1900.
Call Number: MS 239: 2357. Click image to enlarge.

Once again, the signatures match.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature detail from 1601 deed of covenant.

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left)
and Killigrew-Gregorye deed (right). Click images to enlarge.

The manner in which the copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles descended from the hands of William Killigrew in family ownership until Kenneth Spencer Research Library purchased it is still uncertain. The bookseller’s description suggests that a female Killigrew relative may have taken the book with her when she married into the Grenville family. More research remains to be done.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

Item Feature: La Sfera, A 15th Century Schoolbook

October 19th, 2015

La Sfera, a 15th-century schoolbook, opens with basic concepts of cosmography and geography and ends with an itinerary of seaports of the southern Mediterranean and Black Seas. This manuscript poem in Italian is illustrated with astronomical and geographical diagrams, a drawing of the Tower of Babel, and miniature extracts from sea charts showing the coasts described.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Fig. 1. Diagrams showing celestial bodies and the division of the Earth into zones according to classical tradition appear near the beginning of La Sfera (ff.2v-3r). Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click image to enlarge.

Portolan charts, a type of sea chart that originated in the Mediterranean and was used in navigation from circa 1300 until the late 1600s, formed the model for the map illustrations in La Sfera.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Fig. 2. The portolan-style map illustrations exaggerate the shape of the seacoast and emphasize coastal place names and major cities (here Tripoli and Tunis), as well as giving approximate distances (f. 21v). Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click image to enlarge.

Some have attributed its authorship to Leonardo Dati (1362-1425), but, as a leader of the Dominican order, he was unlikely to have written a textbook in Italian. Boys destined for the law and Holy Orders were taught in Latin, while education for commercial careers took place in vernacular lay schools.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.  Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Figs. 3a-b. The text and place names are in Italian. The pen-and-ink drawings of mountains, water features, and the cities of Damascus and Jerusalem have been colored with watercolor washes (f. 22v). Left: overall view, right: detail of Jerusalem. Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click images to enlarge.

The confusion about authorship arose, because La Sfera’s author was Leonardo’s elder brother, Gregorio (Goro) Dati (1362-1435), a Florentine silk merchant whose 20 children (by a succession of four wives) doubtless provided the inspiration for writing La Sfera. The survival of more than 150 manuscript copies and several printed editions from the 15th and 16th centuries attests to La Sfera’s popularity. Goro Dati knew the Mediterranean Sea firsthand from trading voyages on merchant vessels, but he left La Sfera’s circuit of the Mediterranean coasts unfinished, perhaps because he died while writing it. In 1514 Giovanni Maria Tolosani completed and published the itinerary as a printed book.

La Sfera is written in ottava rima, a form of poetry employing stanzas of eight lines. It belongs to an Italian tradition of vernacular geographical poetry, known as geografie metriche. A later example was Francesco Berlingieri’s publication in 1482 of Geographia of the ancient Greek geographer, Claudius Ptolemy, re-written in Italian verse. Also dating from the 1480s were Bartolomeo dalli Sonetti (Zamberti)’s sonnets in Venetian dialect about the Greek islands. The ease of memorizing poetry may account for its use in textbooks published elsewhere in 16th-century Europe, such as the 2nd edition Johannes Honter’s Rudimenta Cosmographia published in Latin verse in Kronstadt (now Brasnow, Romania). Based on its script and paper watermarks, Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s manuscript copy dates from circa 1450. As well as annotations, the dirty outer leaves, stains left by spilled liquid, and the remains of a snakeskin used as a bookmark attest to its use.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.  Pryce MS P4 ff. 11r detail finger

Figs. 4a-b. The leaves in this opening have added marginal notes and a passage marked by a pointing finger (ff. 10v-11r). Left: overall view, right: detail of pointing finger. Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click images to enlarge.

This manuscript was probably used first as a textbook, without a cover, and later bound in a codex with other texts, from which it had been separated before its acquisition in 1966.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

All Creeping Things: A History of Herpetological Illustration

May 26th, 2015

All Creeping Things: A History of Herpetological Illustration, Spencer Library’s newest exhibit, opened on May 14, 2015. Guided by Special Collections Librarian Karen Cook, students Megan Sims, Sydney Goldstein, and Ryan Ridder created and installed the exhibit for an exhibit planning and design course (MUSE 703). Whitney Baker, Head of Conservation Services at KU Libraries, Special Collections Librarian Sally Haines, and Caitlin Donnelly, Head of Public Services at Spencer, also assisted the students with their project.

The exhibit was developed in conjunction with the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles conference being held at the University of Kansas in July and features herpetological illustrations from seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century books in Spencer Library’s Special Collections. Spencer has put on a few iterations of a similar exhibit for previous conferences. Each student had a unique perspective on their experience creating the exhibit.

Ryan Ridder

“One of our goals was to be distinct from Slithy Toves [a previous exhibit, by Sally Haines] and to present images that viewers familiar with that exhibition, and associated book, might not see as often. We ended up repeating a few irresistible images – the giant salamander, Agassiz’s turtles, and the famous frontispiece to Rössel von Rosenhof’s frog volume – but everything else you see is different. We thought touching on embryological illustrations would give our exhibit another unique slant.”

Photograph of Megan and Ryan installing books

Megan Sims and Ryan Ridder installing books in the cases. Click image to enlarge.

Sydney Goldstein

“I found this class to be both an overwhelming and an incredibly eye-opening experience. Coming from a graphic design background I’ve never gone through the steps of curating an exhibition or working off the computer. It was fun to rummage through a variety of books to select illustrations, figuring out how they will fit in the cases, selecting wall graphics, and working in a group. The most rewarding part was applying our vinyl title graphic ourselves. Overall, a great experience!”

Photograph of the MUSE 703 group hanging vinyl

Megan, Sydney, and Ryan hanging the vinyl title graphic.

Megan Sims

“I have installed many exhibits according to specific designs from clients, but this was my first experience selecting objects, designing signs and labels, and fabricating book mounts and wall graphics for an exhibit. Both the physical process and communication were challenging at times, but seeing the finished product was very rewarding. I’m excited for the conference members and the Lawrence community to see this exhibit!”

Photograph of the MUSE 703 exhibit team in front of title

Ryan Ridder, Sydney Goldstein, Megan Sims, and curator Karen Cook. Click image to enlarge.

All Creeping Things is free and open to the public through August 2015.

Megan Sims
Museum Studies Graduate Student