Posts with the tag: research

The Archivist’s Nook: Tolkien, Milton, and Rare Books

Encountering a book once owned, signed, or inscribed by a distinguished person, is in some way encountering the person who signed it or closing the distance to only “a few handshakes away”. Holding the very same volume, read by someone we admire, turning the same pages, can become a transformative and inspirational experience.

Books such as these are known as association copies, and they have always been of interest to scholars and researchers providing invaluable insight into the life and acquaintances of the person who owned them. Whether they come with a bookplate or personalized inscription to their friends or colleagues, handwritten notes in the margins (aka marginalia), funny doodles scribbled within, a business card with a note, a dried flower, or a newspaper clipping folded between the pages: anything can become a source of new information.

Sometimes, people will ask us if we have any books in our Rare Books collections marked by distinguished names, and we are proud to say that we have some! W. B. Yeats, John Donne, Margaret Mitchell, Jelly Roll Morton, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton, to name just a few, are among those whose handwriting can be found in books on our shelves.

Until recently, if someone asked us about Tolkien (not an unreasonable question, given J.R.R. Tolkien’s strong Catholic faith and literary influence) we would have had to admit that unfortunately, we were not aware of any such books in our holdings, but now we gladly say that yes we do, though it depends on which Tolkien you have in mind, the father or the son.

Recently, our staff member re-discovered a book in the stacks, which made some other staff members very excited once they saw on the free front endpaper the name of a previous owner:

Christopher Tolkien,
Oxford, 1952

Christopher Tolkien was the youngest son of the famous writer and creator of Middle-earth J.R.R. Tolkien, who assisted in and later continued his father’s work as an editor and literary executor of his entire legacy, which became his full-time occupation and ended his over 10-year-long academic career as a Fellow of New College, Oxford. Since 1975, he was working hard to make a large corpus of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world and mythology available to readers, starting with the Silmarillion and the twelve volumes of the History of Middle-earth. His deeply scholarly work, performed with a tremendous level of understanding and attention to detail, and ability to navigate through multiple (sometimes conflicting) versions of the same narratives, compiling them into one consistent tale, makes him a most highly regarded figure for all Tolkien scholars and enthusiasts.

Christopher J. R. Tolkien (1924–2020), photo by Le Monde

In 2016, for his “editorial work on his father’s manuscripts” and his “academic career at the University of Oxford”, Christopher Tolkien was awarded the highest honor of the Bodleian Libraries – the Bodley Medal.

Approaching the third anniversary of his passing on January 16, 2020, we would like to highlight the recently discovered book, associated with him, but first – to share a few stories which can provide a context to what we can see in our copy.

In the Foreword to the 50th-anniversary edition of the Hobbit in 1987, Christopher Tolkien included the recollections by his older brother Michael about the days when their father read them aloud the first draft of what would later become known as the Hobbit:

“He also remembered that I (then between four and five years old) was greatly concerned with petty consistency as the story unfolded, and that on one occasion I interrupted: ‘Last time, you said Bilbo’s front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a gold tassel on his hood, but you’ve just said that Bilbo’s front door was green, and the tassel on Thorin’s hood was silver’; at which point my father muttered ‘Damn the boy,’ and then ‘strode across the room’ to his desk to make a note.” (C. Tolkien, vii)

Some years later, when Christopher was 14, his father even paid him a twopence for every error spotted in galley-proofs of his books. (J.R.R. Tolkien, 28)

The book re-discovered in our collections is a copy of The manuscript of Milton’s Paradise lost (ed. by H. Darbishire, Oxford, 1931) once owned by Christopher Tolkien, who was then only 28 years old. It was later owned and donated to the University Libraries by Robert T. Meyer, former professor of Celtic and comparative philology at Catholic University.

In addition to Christopher Tolkien’s ownership mark, executed in brown ink in an elegant and easily recognizable penmanship that mirrors his father’s, our copy also contains a marginal note, executed in the similar ink, which allows us to assume that our copy was not just owned, but read and worked with.

Similar to how it was in the case of his childhood story mentioned above, this note is nothing else but a correction of an error, spotted by his meticulous eye. Next to the editor’s statement that “the Oxford English Dictionary does not record the form [of a certain word]”, Christopher Tolkien left a brief but precise two-word note “It does” and provided a reference.

He, probably, didn’t get any credit for spotting this error, not even his usual twopence, but for us, even this little note can tell a story.

 

References: 

Tolkien, J. R. R., et al. The letters of J.R.R. Tolkien : a selection. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.

Tolkien, Christopher. Foreword. The hobbit or there and back again, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Unwin Hyman, 1987, pp. i-xvi.

The Archivist’s Nook: Special Collections Resources on the History of Mexico

Scattered throughout Catholic University’s Special Collections are a range of resources related to the history of Mexico. We are happy to offer a new Library Guide to those materials. Here are a few of the highlights:

The National Council of Catholic Women announce their protest of the treatment of Catholics in Mexico in this 1920s letter from the NCWC/USCCB Office of the General Secretary’s “Mexican Files.”

The National Catholic Welfare Conference, forerunner of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, became involved in U.S.-Mexican affairs just after its founding in the early 1920s. Mexico-related records can be found throughout this enormous collection, partly due to the migration of Mexican Catholics into the U.S. at the time, but also because the bishops were concerned with the unstable political conditions in that country leading to persecution of Catholics in the 1920s. The archives, which holds the NCWC/USCCB records, contains a series of records known as the “Mexican Files,” Subseries 1.4, of the NCWC/USCCB Office of the General Secretary, which document the precarious position of the church in Mexico and attempts by U.S. Catholic authorities to stabilize such conditions. The Office of the General Secretary files also contain various materials throughout related to Mexican relations and migration which one can find by doing a simple search of the finding aid.

Established in 1920, the NCWC Press Department provided the Catholic press, radio, and eventually, television in the United States and other countries with news, editorial, feature, and picture services gathered and prepared by professional journalists and released under the names NCWC News Service and Noticias Catolicas (in Spanish and Portuguese for Latin America). Both services were designated by the abbreviation (NC) and the former later known as the Catholic New Service (CNS). Administrative files include correspondence, general subscriber files, obituary files for prominent Catholics, and miscellaneous publications and press releases. The NCWC/CNS finding aid can be found here.

La Esperanza. La Esperanza, Los Angeles, 11/3/2022, from The Catholic News Archive

Hosted by the  Catholic Research Resources Alliance the from The Catholic News Archive contains more than 30,000 issues of digitized Catholic newspapers comprising over 600,000 pages of news.

Included are digital copies of the Catholic News Service Press releases, La Esperanza of Los Angeles (ca. 1929-1954), The Monitor of San Francisco, and several other publications publishing Mexico-related articles.

Agustín Iturbide y Green (1863-1925), grandson of Emperor Agustín Iturbide I (1783-1824), was born in Mexico City during the French occupation of the country in 1863. Desiring a Mexican heir, Emperor Maximilian I, an Austrian by birth, arranged to adopt the younger Iturbide, then two years old, in 1865. Following the collapse of Maximilian’s regime in 1867, young Agustín was reunited with his birth parents in Havana, and resided with his mother in the United States until 1875 before leaving to study in Brussels. Agustín remained in Europe for many years before returning once again to attend graduate school in Washington, D.C. He was awarded a master’s degree in Linguistics from Georgetown University in 1884.

Iturbide returned to Mexico in 1887 to enter the Military Academy in Chapultepec. Although he had aspirations for a storied military career, his criticisms of the Porfirio Díaz regime in both a New York newspaper and in personal correspondence resulted in his being court-martialed in 1890. Convicted of insubordination, he was sentenced to one year in prison and was subsequently exiled.

An undated photo of Agustín de Iturbide y Green, image taken by a student at Georgetown University.

Financially ruined and grieving for his mother, who passed away during attempts to salvage the family fortune, Iturbide moved to Rosedale to teach Spanish and French at Georgetown University. It was there, that he met Louise Kearney, who would become his wife in 1915. The Kearneys were a prominent Washington family whose ancestors had emigrated from Ireland in the late 1700s.

Iturbide continued to teach until his death from tuberculosis in 1925. Louise Kearney lived the rest of her life in a small P Street apartment and became friends with Catholic University procurator Msgr. James Magner, to whom she entrusted this collection in 1957.

This collection contains original documents from the Iturbide family from Emperor Agustin Iturbide I’s reign until the death of his grandson, Agustín Iturbide y Green, including correspondence, Mexican governmental documents, military medals and coins, newspapers, magazines, and portraits. The Kearney section contains correspondence and portraits from Louise Kearney, Iturbide’s wife from 1915 until his death.

Note that this collection is digitized and all of the links to the digitized documents are in the finding aid.

A link to the Iturbide-Kearney papers’ finding aid can be found here.

The  National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) was established in 1920 as an initiative of the Lay Organizations Department of the NCWC. One to three women represented each of the 114 dioceses of the time.  As the first federation of Catholic women’s organizations, the NCCW was able to provide a unified voice for the thousands of independent Catholic women’s organizations that existed in the United States, to offer resources for united actions, to ensure official Catholic representation in national movements, and to stimulate the local efforts of the women’s organizations.

The NCCW records span 1917-2000 and consist of administrative records and minutes, correspondence, national and international project notes, publications, photographs, and scrapbooks. While there are over 200 boxes of records in this collection, one can do a search for Mexico-related materials; specifically, series 7 (International Organization Affiliations, 1919-1984), boxes 111-142 (especially 115-116) contain materials related to the NCCW’s involvement with international organizations. A link to the NCCW finding aid can be found here.

A selected list of texts from our Rare Books collection related to the history of Mexico can be found here.

A full list of Mexico-related resources from Special Collections can be found in this Mexico-related Library Guide.

A Finding Aid for the Paulinus Bellet, OSB Papers

Fr. Paulinus Bellet, OSB (1913-1987)

A finding aid has been completed for the recently processed Papers of Fr. Paulinus Bellet, OSB, a distinguished Coptic scholar. These Papers are one of several important Coptic archival collections housed in the Semitics/ICOR Library.

Fr. Bellet (1913-1987) was born in the Catalonia region of northern Spain. He became a monk of the Abbey of Montserrat and obtained his degree in Oriental Languages from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Beginning in 1957 he served as the editor of the Coptic texts included in the Biblia Polyglotta Matritensia, travelling extensively to consult manuscripts in various European libraries. This work informed his interest in the Coptic manuscript tradition. In 1962 the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at The Catholic University of America was looking for a Coptic scholar to join the faculty. The Abbey of Montserrat and Catholic University arranged to bring Fr. Bellet to CUA, where he taught Coptic, Ethiopic, and Hebrew in the Semitics Department. He also taught his native Catalan language in the Department of Modern Languages. Following his retirement in 1977, Fr. Bellet continued to teach and work as a lecturer in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures.

One of twelve mezzotint plates from the Bellet Collection.

The Bellet Papers include research and lecture notes; professional and personal correspondence; lexical and other card indexes; facsimiles of Coptic and Latin manuscripts in European libraries; and twelve copper mezzotint plates and a metal stamp of the Ancient Christian Writers series. The plates and stamp had belonged to his CUA colleague Rev. Johannes Quasten (1900-1987). The Bellet Papers consist of the following series: Correspondence, Research Materials, Notebooks, Professional Files, Student Materials, and Photographic Material. Notebooks are housed in a filing cabinet, and the lexical material has been kept as it was originally organized in twelve drawer boxes. The rest of the Papers are organized and housed in twenty-six archival boxes. An inventory of periodical materials in the Bellet Papers is being compiled.

Notebooks from the Bellet Collection.

Fr. Bellet died in 1987 before completing work on his edition of the Middle-Egyptian Coptic text of the  Acts of the Apostles in Glazier Codex (G67). His drafts and notes were sent to Dr. Hans-Martin Schenke who published the edition in 1991. Fr. Bellet’s Catalan library is now maintained by the Paulí Bellet Foundation in Kensington, MD. His personal diaries were returned to Montserrat in 1987.

The Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures  honors the work and memory of Fr. Bellet with the annual Bellet Lecture in his honor.

Please contact the Semitics/ICOR Library for more information.

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Rushing to the End of the Semester?

Image of a brain Last week, CUA Research Day had interesting research on mindfulness. As we all gear up (pay heed to that motion metaphor!) for the end of an academic semester, here are some readings on note taking and attention; mind mapping; and the art of slow!

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people. [Source: Mueller, Pam A. and Oppenheimer,  Daniel M. 2014. “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard:
Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” Psychological Science OnlineFirst,. doi:10.1177/0956797614524581. ]

Thinking through Comics with Nick Sousanis’s Grids & Gestures

Having briefly thought about this, I want you to take a single sheet of paper (any size, shape will do) and drawing with a pencil or pen, carve it up in some grid-esque fashion that represents the shape of your day. It can be this day, a recent day, a memorable day, or a typical/amalgamation day. And then inhabit these spaces you’ve drawn on the page with lines, marks, or gestures that represent your activity or emotional state during those times represented. The emphasis here is to do your best to not draw things. (You can always do that later!) And also, you can leave space blank on your page – but that has to mean something. This isn’t writing where you can finish a final sentence mid-page. Every inch of the composition is important in comics – so be aware of that as well. Finally, when I do this in class or with groups, I give people about 5-10 minutes to do it, so they have to make decisions quickly. Try to give yourself a similar limit. [Source: Salter, Anastasia. 2016. Thinking through Comics with Nick Sousanis’s Grids & Gestures. http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/thinking-through-comics-with-nick-sousaniss-grids-gestures ]

‘Slow Professor’: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

In a corporate university, argues Slow Professor, “power is transferred from faculty to managers, economic justifications dominate, and the familiar ‘bottom line’ eclipses pedagogical and intellectual concerns.” But slow professors nevertheless “advocate deliberation over acceleration” because they “need time to think, and so do our students. Time for reflection and open-ended inquiry is not a luxury but is crucial to what we do.” [Source: Berg, Maggie and Barbara Karolina Seeber. 2016. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. And, Flaherty, Colleen. “‘The Slow Professor’.” https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/19/book-argues-faculty-members-should-actively-resist-culture-speed-modern-academe, accessed April 19, 2016.]

 

— Kimberly Hoffman

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Research & Libraries

2016RESEARCHDAYPROGRAM-1Join us on Friday, April 15 for the inaugural CUA Research Day!

What do all the CUA Research Day presenters and poster participants have in common? They started with a question and they did research!

The recently published Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2015 findings include that while the discovery process has many access points, faculty still rely heavily on the library web site and catalog; faculty need more information about data management and repositories; monographs are favored over ebooks; and traditional scholarly outputs – journal articles and books – still reign supreme.

The most important finding for libraries may be:

Interest in supporting students and their competencies and learning outcomes shows signs of surging. Since the previous cycle of the survey, there has been an increase in the share of faculty members who believe that their undergraduate students have poor research skills and a substantial increase in the perceived importance of the role of the library in helping undergraduate students develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills.

We will see you Friday, April 15 at CUA Research Day! Look for these poster presentations from the library:

Comparing Religious Studies and Theology Faculty Citations and Library Holdings, 2002-2012: an Update

Digital Toolkit: Essentials for the Researcher of Today and Tomorrow: What we can learn from #HamiltonMusical!

 

— Kimberly Hoffman

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Passion!

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Experience Research Passion!

Scholarly communications can get bogged down in discussions of metrics, publishing models, open access,  promotion & tenure, and funder mandates. These discussions are important but miss that essential ingredient that makes the world spin and life worth living – passion!

The first CUA Physics Department Colloquium of February featured Raffaele Resta, Ph.D. speaking on Are Polarization and Magnetization Really Bulk Properties?   Dr. Resta’s was an Adjunct professor from 1996-1999 at The Catholic University. The passion of the researcher drew the audience along on his more than forty year journey of the mind imaging and mathematically establishing polarization and magnetism theories.

Dr. Resta has one of the most cited papers and many books on his subjects. While we, who are not physicists, may not understand the intricate mathematical equations on Dr. Resta’s slides; we can recognize his passion for his subject and appreciate the language of this passionate research:

What is a good property? Why do we need somewhat exotic theories? What is the nearsighted QM Maxwell demon? One’s head spins with imagining that the nasty position operator “r” is ill defined, convergence with the Flake size, orbital magnetization density, or the Haldanium paradigm (F.D.M. Haldane, 1988)…

Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Passion!”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: On the Road to Research with Don Quixote and Sancho

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 - 1932) by Vitold Muratov
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 – 1932) Picture by Vitold Muratov

2015 is the four hundredth anniversary of the novel Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel Cervantes. This article by Arturo Conde (NBC News) Cervantes Don Quixote Has become a Handbook for Life likens Don Quixote to a superhero – “a man who created a new identity, made his own armored costume, and fought to change the world into a better place.”

Readers treat the novel like an “open book with blank pages” because depending on where they are in life, they can see themselves reflected in many ways.

Blank pages is an apt metaphor for the beginning of an academic year; a new life on a college campus for First Year students and new challenges for all undergraduates; a deeper dive into research and teaching for graduate students; and new students, conversations and opportunities for faculty.

Blank pages mean something entirely different to the librarians collaborating with researchers. Librarians abhor blank pages – whether they be print or digital. We want those pages filled with the essential research you need. For your research quest – your essential research needs –  reach out to your liaison librarian, not so much squires, as subject experts, all! Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: On the Road to Research with Don Quixote and Sancho”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Open Access – Continuing Course

There should be a course for this! Open Access does not mean free. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) defines Open Access as “unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse.” The Open Access movement founding is often attributed to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) and Peter Suber has written and presented in detail about Open Access. For the most informative and concise overview please read Open Access Overview by Peter Suber.

Nancy K. Herther in her recent post  Scholarly Publishing & Peer Review Face the Future explains the peer review issue with Open Access; and Joe Esposito enumerates some of the complex issues with publishers and Open Access in his post  The Context of Scientific Publishing.

If you prefer your explanation visually, Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen, at PHD Comics, explain Open Access for Open Access Week 2012.

Research methodologies

Open access and social networking readings seem to be coalescing around the “idea” of reading carefully!

The Pew Research Center documents that usage of social media is increasing.  Two other articles question whether social media or open access have any impact on scholarly communications.

Social Media and Its Impact on Medical Research by Phil Davis

Is Open Access a Cause or Effect? by Phil Davis

Read carefully! It’s all in the methodologies.

 

US Department of Energy Public Access Plan

US Department of Energy Public Access Plan was released on July 24, 2014. [Plan]

The Department of Energy (DOE) has implemented their own Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science (DOE PAGES – Beta) as a repository for federally funded research.

In US Department of Energy Announces Public Access Plan (David Crotty, Aug. 4, 2014), copyright issues, text and data mining access, and use of data management principles are discussed. These issues and more will need to evolve through communication and practice.

Will the DOE Public Access Plan constitute “major shift in the scholarly publishing landscape” as Crotty writes?

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Update: From DOE/Office of Scientific and Technical Information

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has issued a “Statement on Digital Data Management“<https://www.energy.gov/science/office-science-funding>.  The new requirements regarding management of digital research data will appear in funding solicitations and invitations issued by the Office of Science beginning Oct. 1, 2014.   Other Energy Department research offices will implement data management plan requirements within the next year.