Leonardo da Vinci’s Visionary Notebooks Now Online: Browse 570 Digitized Pages

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Quick, what do you know about Leonardo da Vinci? He painted the Mona Lisa! He wrote his notes backwards! He designed supercool bridges and flying machines! He was a genius about, um… a lot of other… things… and, um, stuff…

Okay, I’m sure you know a bit more than that, but unless you’re a Renaissance scholar, you’re certain to find yourself amazed and surprised at how much you didn’t know about the quintessential Renaissance man when you encounter a compilation of his notebooks—Codex Arundel—which has been digitized by the British Library and made available to the public.

The notebook, writes Jonathan Jones at The Guardian, represents “the living record of a universal mind.” And yet, though a “technophile” himself, “when it came to publication, Leonardo was a luddite…. He made no effort to get his notes published.”

For hundreds of years, the huge, secretive collection of manuscripts remained mostly unseen by all but the most rarified of collectors. After Leonardo’s death in France, writes the British Library, his student Francesco Melzi “brought many of his manuscripts and drawings back to Italy. Melzi’s heirs, who had no idea of the importance of the manuscripts, gradually disposed of them.” Nonetheless, over 5,000 pages of notes “still exist in Leonardo’s ‘mirror writing’, from right to left.” In the notebooks, da Vinci drew “visions of the aeroplane, the helicopter, the parachute, the submarine and the car. It was more than 300 years before many of his ideas were improved upon.”

The digitized notebooks debuted in 2007 as a joint project of the British Library and Microsoft called “Turning the Pages 2.0,” an interactive feature that allows viewers to “turn” the pages of the notebooks with animations. Onscreen glosses explain the content of the cryptic notes surrounding the many technical drawings, diagrams, and schematics (see a selection of the notebooks in this animated format here). For an overwhelming amount of Leonardo, you can look through 570 digitized pages of Codex Arundel here. For a slightly more digestible, and readable, amount of Leonardo, see the British Library’s brief series on his life and work, including explanations of his diving apparatus, parachute, and glider.

Read more here!

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Millions of Objects at 14 Art Institutions to Be Digitized for Online Database

Hans Holbein the Younger, “Sir Thomas More” (1527) (The Frick Collection, photo by Michael Bodycomb)

Hans Holbein the Younger, “Sir Thomas More” (1527) (The Frick Collection, photo by Michael Bodycomb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new database launched by an international consortium of art institutions is working to grant internet users unprecedented access to dozens of art historical photo archives, which capture multiple images of a single artwork over time. Collectively known as PHAROS, the group is gradually digitizing millions of images, many of which are previously unpublished and accessible only through physical visits to individual research repositories. The 14 institutions involved include the Frick Collection (which is leading the project), Rome’s Bibliotheca Hertziana, the Courtauld Institute, Getty Research Institute, Paris’s Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art, and the Yale Center for British Art.

its completion, Pharos will exist as a searchable database of about 25 million images, most of which are of actual art objects from all over the world; other images consist of supplementary material, such as x-ray photos taken during conservation, or photos of the back of a painting. You may currently sift through over 158,000 images, from eight of the partner institutions, searching by an artwork’s date, artist, dimensions, medium, and more.

Read more here

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On this day in 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany is established

Documents on the creation of the German Federal Constitution. Published:  [Berlin] : Prepared by Civil Administration Division, Office of Military Government for Germany ; 1949. (From the H. Warner Waid Collection)

Documents on the creation of the German Federal Constitution.
Published: [Berlin] : Prepared by Civil Administration Division, Office of Military Government for Germany ; 1949. (From the H. Warner Waid Collection)

The NATO-aligned Federal Republic of Germany (popularly known as West Germany) was formally established as a separate and independent nation on May 23, 1949. It would remain so, divided from the Warsaw-pact aligned East Germany, until German reunification on October 9, 1990.

The Federal Republic of Germany, with the city of Bonn as its de facto capital city, was established from eleven states formed in the three Allied Zones of occupation held by the US, the UK and France.  The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was established in October 1949 from the territory occupied by the Soviet Union. The city of Berlin was also divided as West Berlin was later physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall.

Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967), German statesman, first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany 1949–63, at the German Bundestag, February 1955.  Image: Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)

Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967), German statesman, first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany 1949–63, at the German Bundestag, February 1955.
Image: Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)

Konrad Adenauer became the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). Adenauer held power for the next fourteen years and during that time refused to recognize the legal existence of the German Democratic Republic.

This divisive arrangement was supposed to be temporary, but as Cold War animosities began to harden, it became increasingly evident that the division between the communist and non-communist controlled sections of Germany and Berlin would become permanent. For the next forty-one years, East and West Germany served as symbols of the divided world, and of the Cold War animosities between the Soviet Union and the United States.

In 1990, with the collapse of communism, East and West Germany were finally reunited as one nation.

The H. Warner Waid Collection -located in Special Collections – consists of over 700 German books, periodicals and government documents such as Documents on the creation of the German Federal Constitution (seen above). Included are German publications from the Weimar era, propaganda from the Nazi era and also U.S. government and military documents from the post-World War II reconstruction era.

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ~ the first president of Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, c.1923

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, c.1923

Today, May 19, is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s birthday.  Mustafa Kemal was born in 1881 in Thessaloniki, which was part of the Ottoman Empire and died on November 10th, 1938 in Istanbul.  Atatürk, which means father of the Turks was the first president of Turkey from 1923 to 1938.  He led the National Movement and was the commander during the war of independence against imperialism.  He was a nationalist and he advocated the independence of Turkey from all foreigners.   In 1923, he found the Republic of Turkey out of ashes of the Ottoman Empire and he transformed the country into a secular democratic nation-state and launched many reforms to create a modern Turkey by bringing a new political, legal, and education system and giving equal civil rights to women.

A number of books with information about Mustafa Kemal can be found in Special Collections on the second floor of the Bartle Library. These include Ataturk : a biography of Mustafa Kemal, father of modern Turkey by Lord Kinross, How happy to call oneself a Turk : provincial newspapers and the negotiation of a Muslim national identity by Gavin D. Brockett and Turkey by Arnold J. Toynbee and Kenneth P. Kirkwood. All three of these books are part of the Saeedpour Kurdish Collection.

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Rare Book on English Gardening Stolen from the NY Book Fair

Stolen in New York

The following book is missing, presumed stolen, from NY Book Fair, March 13, 2017.

STEELE [RICHARD]. An Essay upon Gardening, Containing a Catalogue of Exotic Planes for the Stoves and Green-Houses of the British Gardens… York: Printed for Author, By G. Peacock, 1793. 4to (25.7 x 20.1 cm).

Description: Later 19th century half calf on pebble maroon paper boards. The front cover is loose, almost off. Raised bands with double gilt lines; gilt title in upper panel; wear to edges. Collation: xxii [Includes Subscribers], [2], 126, [1-BL], [1-Explanation for plate], 127- 159, [1-Bl], [1-Errata], [1-Bl], 102, [2 –Explanation for plates], [2-BL] pp. + 3 copper engraved folded plates. The text has some edge dusting and minor toning. Plates and Explanation pages have toning and minor to moderate foxing, plates only.  The text block has been trimmed slightly, resulting in absence of plate mark at head and tail of plates. Details of plates is not affected, only blank margin inside plate mark.  This is scarce complete copy of one of the first publications with identification of origin of exotic plants growing in stoves, green-houses and British gardens.

If you have any information, or believed you have been offered this item, please contact Eugene Vigil (360-354-7512) or vigile@comcast.net.

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Happy Birthday L. Frank Baum!

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Cover of 1908’s Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz located in the Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections.

Today we celebrate the birthday of L. Frank Baum, known for his children’s books, most famously The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. His first best-selling children’s book was 1899’s Father Goose, His Book. In 1900 Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , which sold for $1.50 at the time. He went on to write 13 more Oz books before his death in 1919.

Many generations over the years have enjoyed the story as well as 1939 film version based on Baum’s stories, which had its premier over 75 years ago. Baum didn’t live to see that film, but he was involved in a musical stage play (1903) and early silent films based on his most famous book.

A prolific writer, Baum published 55 novels, 82 short stories, and over 200 poems. Along with publishing under his own name L. Frank Baum, many of his books were published under the pseudonyms: Edith Van Dyne, Floyd Akers, Schuyler Staunton, John Estes, Suzanne Metcalf, Laura Bancroft, and Anonymous.

Did you know? Baum was born in Chittenango, New York, in Madison County.

Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections holds several of Baum’s works including Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Road to Oz, The Magic of Oz and, of course, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Why not stop by and experience the magic of L. Frank Baum this summer?

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The Summer of Love: 50 Years

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Dean of University Libraries Curtis Kendrick invites the campus and greater community to get “far out” and “groovy” at the opening of our new “Summer of Love: 50 Years” exhibit:

Reception from 4-5 p.m. Thursday, May 11, in Bartle Library’s second floor mezzanine

The exhibit showcases items from our Center for the Study of the 1960s collection that recall an important year in a tumultuous decade. The exhibit provides viewers with a glimpse into the past at the social, cultural and political movements that started or were advanced during the year of 1967. It features stunning rock concert poster art; books on Psychedelic art and the impact the movement still has on contemporary artists; and books on social activism of the late sixties and how those movements are still alive today.

In Special Collections, an exhibit will feature materials from the Libraries’ University Archives that show facets of Binghamton University campus life: activism, academics, the social scene, and groups and clubs. Go back in time to gain an archival perspective of what was happening at the University back in the day.

The exhibits are on view on the Glenn Bartle Library second floor mezzanine and in Special Collections (North Reading Room).

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Special Collections remembers Sandro Sticca, professor of French and comparative literature

Professor Sandro Sticca

Professor Sandro Sticca

We in Special Collections were very sorry to hear of the passing of Prof. Sandro Sticca. He was a frequent visitor to Special Collections and the epitome of an Italian gentleman. He was a generous donor giving works such as a 2-volume set dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci and a 2-volume set dedicated to Michelangelo. We are especially fortunate that he spent time in Special Collections just before his passing analyzing our rarest books in Latin and Italian. He will be greatly missed.

Special Collections owns many of Prof. Sticca’s books in our Faculty Archives as well as his gifts to us. Please stop by to see the writings and gifts of this scholar who spent more than fifty years at Binghamton University.

Read more about Prof. Sticca here

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Our Book of the Month and Honoring those who fought in WWII

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The Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War (May 8 and May 9) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by Resolution 59/26  of the United Nations General Assembly on November 22, 2004. The resolution urges ‘Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and individuals’ to pay tribute to the victims of World War II. In the United States, it is observed on May 8, the anniversary of the date when the World War II Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

May 8 is also Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. This day in 1945 marked the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces. With that surrender came the end of World War II in Europe.

What did the WWII home front in Binghamton look like? Ronald Capalaces’ book, When All the Men Were Gone tells that story. He writes: “I lived on the Kelly block at 30 Dickinson Street in the First Ward during the war years with my mother, older sister, and younger brother in the two-bedroom apartment on the second floor – the one on the left, facing the street. All the men were gone; gone for the duration of the war. Left behind were wives, mothers, children, old folks, and the military rejects all facing an uncertain future.”

“The America of World War II stands in sharp contrast to the America of today … we at the Binghamton home front lived in a world where television, cell phones, computers, satellites, and the internet did not exist.”

How else did Binghamton then differ from Binghamton now? What was that world like? Read about it in When All the Men Were Gone, part of the Mark Kulikowski Collection, one of the Local History resources in Special Collections.

Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Bartle Library (off of the North Reading Room). Our hours are Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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CEMERS lecture Thursday – Ancient Christian Martyrs

Eusebius_of_Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea

Eric Rebillard, professor of classics and history at Cornell University, will speak on “Collecting Narratives about the Ancient Christian Martyrs from Eusebius (Fourth Century) to Ruianart (Seventeenth Century) and Today” at noon Thursday, May 4, in LN-1106. Rebillard has published five monographs, including The Care of the Dead in Late Antiquity (2009), Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa 200-450 CE (2012), and Transformations of Religious Practices in Late Antiquity (2013).

Jean Bolland (1596-1665), in the preface to the Acta sanctorum, and Thierry Ruinart (1657-1709), in the introduction to the Acta primorum martyrum sincera et selecta, both inscribe their project of collecting martyr narratives in continuity with Eusebius’ Collection of Ancient Martyrdoms (c. 300). However, attention to ruptures as well as to continuities will help in elucidating what was at stake in collecting martyr narratives between the end of the persecutions in the Roman Empire and the beginning of modern hagiography. Such a critical review allows us, in turn, to situate contemporary collections of Greek and Latin narratives about the ancient martyrs.

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