Happy Birthday L. Frank Baum!


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

SOL web small

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

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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Happy May Day!

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Detail from a Russian May Day Poster, 1930, original size 103 x 73 cm.

Proletarii! Sryvaĭte podgotovku imperialistov k voĭne!: V denʹ 1 maia tesneĭ sonmknem riady v borʹbe za Sovetskiĭ Soiuz i za mirovuiu proletarskuiu revoliutsiiu!

Proletariats!  Frustrate the imperialists preparations for war!  On the 1st of May, tighten up the ranks in the fight for the Soviet Union and proletarian world revolution!

This May Day poster was printed to commemorate the Communist Party’s most important labor holiday.  Of the 75,000 posters originally printed in Moscow by Gosudarstvennoe izd-vo, the government authorized publisher, only a limited number have survived to the present. This lithograph is number 782 and is housed in the Russian Poster and Print Collection.

The Russian Poster and Map Collection contains rare lithographs and maps printed in Moscow and Leningrad between the years 1929 and 1936.  These materials were given to the University Libraries by an anonymous donor when the Special Collections department was established in the early 1970s.

To see this and other Russian and Soviet posters, visit Special Collections located on the second floor of the Bartle Library.

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Kurdish panel event a success!


Avras Taha, Civil Engineer and Former President of American Kurdish Council, New York Chapter, speaks about his life as part of the Panel Discussion: “Kurdish Community Perspectives: Impacting our World.”

It was standing room only at the”Kurdish Community Perspectives” event hosted by the Binghamton University Art Museum on Thursday, April 20. Attendees heard presentations from speakers including Avras Taha, who came  to the U.S. in 1996 from Dohuk, Southern Kurdistan.

Other speakers included Bahattin Demir, PhD student in history, Ekrem Karakoc, associate professor of political science, and Nilay Ozok-Gundogan, visiting assistant professor of Ottoman history. Aynur de Rouen, Curator of the Kurdish Library & Museum Collection, spoke about that collection, its creator, Vera Beaudin Saeedpour, and its importance to Kurdish studies.

After the event, attendees enjoyed Middle Eastern cuisine prepared by Sibel and Ozge.

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The Most Complete and Luxurious Baths in the Country!


Image of advertisement featured in The Star Programme, April 1892.
Part of the Theater Collection located in Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections.


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Grant awarded to digitize Max Reinhardt Collection

Midsummer 1934 Rehearsal 1

Max Reinhardt directs a 1934 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) has awarded a $5,000 Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing (RBDB) Grant to for the digitization and description of the Max Reinhardt Collection.

Once digitized, the collection will be made available via the  New York Heritage research portal and the Digital Public Library of America.

Max Reinhardt, c.1895

Max Reinhardt, c.1895

The collection documents the life of Max Reinhardt (1873-1943), celebrated Austrian theater director and filmmaker, and offers a singular historical record of many aspects in the study of theater and its history—acting, direction, stage design and costume design.

A man of few words, Reinhardt’s success was based on a combination of intelligence, passion, enormous energy, and the ability to focus on the most mundane details while keeping the larger picture in constant view. Reinhardt believed that exceptional acting was the most important aspect of any theatrical presentation. He also believed in theater-as-spectacle, and his elaborate, elegant sets and imaginative stagings reflected that belief. He knew well how to achieve dramatic effect with minimal stage effects and knew which approach to follow with each play he directed and produced. Reinhardt transformed theatrical production in the 20th century by playing a large part in the elevation of the director to the key figure in theatrical production and the innovative use of new theater technology and experimentation with theater spaces and locales.

During his lengthy international career, Reinhardt amply demonstrated his total commitment to artistic experimentation and the revelry of the creative imagination. He is still recognized worldwide today for his significant role in the transformation and development of theater.

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Boston Public Library Repatriates Historical Artifacts to Italy

In partnership with Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Attorney’s Office, BPL returns three items to Italy


by rlavery

Today Boston Public Library announced the return of three items from its Special Collections to the State Archives of Venice, Italy and the Library of Ludovico II De Torres in Monreale, Italy. During a repatriation ceremony with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and representatives from Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Italian Carabinieri, Boston Public Library formally returned the Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia, a medieval manuscript dating to 1392; an illuminated leaf from the manuscript Mariegola della Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, dating from between 1418-1422; and Varii de natvralibvs rebvs libelli, a  collection of works by Bernardino Telesio, published in 1590.

“These three items represent Italy’s rich history, and I’m pleased that through the cooperation of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Boston Public Library was able to ensure the safe return of these artifacts to their rightful homes in Italy,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I thank everyone involved in this successful process.”

“Boston Public Library took action upon learning of the claims and that the provenance of these historical treasures was incomplete, and we are very pleased to report that these items are returning home to Italy after being cared for by the BPL for decades,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

“Boston Public Library purchased these rare and important materials in good faith for the public to see and study and we took our stewardship of them seriously during the many years that they were in our care. We are fully committed to their safe return to Italy so they can continue to be utilized and appreciated by new researchers and scholars,” said Beth Prindle, Boston Public Library’s Head of Special Collections.

Boston Public Library legitimately purchased all three items from well-known rare book dealers during the mid-twentieth century. Mariegola della Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia was acquired in 1960 from Philip Duschenes of New York, the illuminated manuscript leaf was obtained in 1955 from the Italian dealer Olschki, and the Bernardino Telesio volume was purchased in 1980 from Michael R. Thompson of Los Angeles. The medieval manuscript and leaf became part of the library’s Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts Collection of Distinction, a notable collection which totals nearly 250 volumes and single leaves dating from the 10th through the early 16th centuries. These special collections materials are administered through the BPL’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Department, which holds nearly 250,000 rare books and one million manuscripts.

Read more here

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