Collections Highlight: Companion to “The Flora of Forfarshire”

William Gardiner. “A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany ‘The flora of Forfarshire’”. Paper. 45 cm X 29 cm. Life Science Library. University of Texas Libraries

William Gardiner (1808-1852) typifies the self-taught scientists who made substantial contributions to botany and natural history studies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Pursuing botany as an avocation while employed as an umbrella-maker, he later published Twenty Lessons on British Mosses (1846) and The Flora of Forfarshire (1848).

“A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany ‘The flora of Forfarshire’”

The Flora was supported by subscribers and accompanied by a hand-written, bound volume of plant specimens, A selection of the native plants of Forfarshire; to accompany The Flora of Forfarshire.

This volume is part of the collections of the Life Science Library, the botany collections of which support and complement the research and collections of the Plant Resources Center.

Posted by Travis Willmann on July 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Future Tense

PCL

As many know, Fred Heath announced his retirement from his position as Vice Provost and Director of the University of Texas Libraries last spring. After over 30 years of work in library administration and 10 years at UT Libraries, we will say goodbye to Dr. Heath on August 31.

Contemplating the future of libraries, specifically our UT Libraries, has been a big part of Dr. Heath’s job.

In honor of Fred’s retirement, the University Federal Credit Union is making a gift to establish the Fred and Jean Heath Libraries Tomorrow Fund.  This endowment will provide funds to address future unknown needs and enhancements of the University of Texas Libraries.

The Libraries Tomorrow Fund is also an alternative for donors who want to support the Libraries, but who are not ready to make an investment of $25,000 or more. This fund allows donors to establish an endowment over a timeframe that is convenient for them. This is a unique opportunity for a donor to have an immediate impact without fully funding an endowment until they are able to.

The best part is that the University Federal Credit Union has pledged to match gifts up to $25,000, which means that your gift today will be doubled and have an even greater impact.

Any gift contributed to the Libraries Tomorrow Fund will help the UT Libraries of the future today.

Give today and plan for tomorrow.

Posted by Travis Willmann on July 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

Interview: James Galloway on The Servant Girl Murders

Author James Galloway — also a library specialist at the Mallet Chemistry Library — was recently consulted by the PBS investigative television program “History Detectives: Special Investigations” in the production of an episode on a series of unsolved murders that occurred in Austin in the mid-nineteenth century. Galloway’s 2010 book, The Servant Girl Murders: Austin, Texas 1885, provided background for the program, having been drawn from his research utilizing the wealth of historical materials inhabiting special collections across the Austin area, including those at The University of Texas at Austin.

Galloway was took some time to talk with us about how the book came to be.

What got you interested in the murders? 

James R. Galloway: I took a history class — Methods in Historical Research — when I was finishing grad school here at The University of Texas in 1996 that focused on local history resources and collections. I was trying to come up with a topic for a research paper and I remembered this local legend about a serial killer from the nineteenth century in Austin.  I did some digging around and as far as I could tell no one else had done research on the topic. I thought it would make a good research paper and started looking into it.

What compelled you to write the book?

JRG: After I finished grad school, I was still interested in the story, I had barely scratched the surface of the primary sources I could find and I had no idea what had ultimately happened with the murders and I wanted to continue to investigate them in my spare time.

Where did you discover information about the events, and how long did you work to research the book?

JRG: The story of the murders was told in the newspapers from the time period; they were the primary source for the “story” and I ended up reading through a few years worth of microfilmed newspapers to find the beginning, where and when they started, and where the finally ended.  But there were a lot of loose ends, (continue)

Paul Otlet and the pre-digital Internet

Paul Otlet’s sketch for the ‘worldwide network’ he envisioned
(Image: Mundaneum Archive, Belgium)

If you’re unfamiliar with  lawyer Paul Otlet and his monument to document science, the Mundaneum, Cataloging the World appears to be a worthy introductory volume to an oddly prescient episode in human history.

Otlet carried a grand vision of interconnecting the various knowledge gateways throughout the world in order to bring about a sort of collective enlightenment and benevolent world order… decades before Turing’s rudimentary machine even hinted at future computational possibilities.

Check out an excellent overview of Otlet’s work and Cataloging the World at the blog Brain Pickings.

 

Posted by Travis Willmann on June 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Benson out and about

Culhuacán (MEXICATZINGO). Mexico. Jan. 17,1580. 70×54 cm.

The Benson Latin American Collection is sharing its unique holdings with our crosstown public partner through an exhibit featured at the Guadalupe branch of the Austin Public Library.

Mapping Mexican History: Territories in Dispute, Identities in Question features historic maps from the Benson’s rare books and manuscripts collections that represent a visual history of Mexico’s territory, culture and identity spanning the 16th through mid-19th centuries.

Included in the exhibit are examples of the exceptional Relaciones Geográficas, elaborate surveys from Latin America requisitioned by King Philip II of Spain in the 16th Century that provide detailed demographic, geographic and sociopolitical information on Spanish colonial life in regions and towns controlled by the crown, many featuring hand-drawn maps that range from simplistic to elaborate.

Mapping Mexican History is on view on the 2nd floor of the Faulk Central Library (800 Guadalupe) through October 15. Check the website for hours, or contact the Austin Public Library at 512-974-7400 for more information.

Posted by Travis Willmann on June 5, 2014 at 9:50 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Semester Recap: The Unbridled Beauty of Watercolor Renderings

To kick off a series of blog posts recapping the Spring 2014 semester, we figured we’d start with one of the most visually captivating: watercolor renderings from our very own Alexander Architectural Archive.

Earlier in the semester, Judy Birdsong’s Visual Communications studio paid a visit to the Archive to check out some of our working drawings in order to see how they have changed over the years. This is a completely fascinating progression, and one of my personal favorite things to view when I visit the Archive for my own research needs. However, a few weeks later, students were assigned a project requiring watercolor — and the watercolor renderings the Archive has are an absolutely incredible resource!

I was lucky enough to be given a similar exposure to the Archive’s watercolors by Curatorial Assistant Nancy Sparrow, and I’m here to pass on the unbridled beauty. If any of you happen to have been looking to improve your architectural watercolor skills, the Archive is an unparalleled resource!

Throughout final reviews, a similar version of the same comment often comes to the surface: accurately conveying an architectural idea heavily depends on the way you draw or render your final presentation graphically. With so much focus on computer generated renderings in practice today, watercolors are almost slowly being vaulted into the ranks of a lost art. These stunning examples from the Archive showcase immaculate talent that displays a clear understanding of color, shadow, contrast, and fine detail by the artist.

We hope the following high-resolution images inspire you in some way, whether out of pure admiration, or to pursue a new (or revived!) technique in the renderings you produce yourself. Click on the below photographs to view in beautiful detail!

I was floored by this beautiful rendering of the Flawn Academic Center, located just across the mall from Battle Hall. Nancy and I could not stop admiring the glass…

You can continue reading the rest of this article by Architecture & Planning Library GRA Stephanie Phillips over at the Battle Hall Highlights blog.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Posthumous Contribution: An Icon of a City

Plans for the redevelopment of Olin Park in Madison, WI from Frank Lloyd Wright’s work on the Monona Basin Project.

While searching for all of the items in Karl Kamrath’s Collection last semester, I was directly exposed to the vast depth and diversity of a successful architect’s personal library. From Alden Dow to Katherine Morrow to Richard Neutra, Kamrath’s collection spanned decades and encompassed elements of major movements and achievements in the 20th century.

While his collection contains some quintessential readings that were quite prolific (such as Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats and Other WritingsHassan Fathy’s Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egyptand Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Future of Architecture), there are also some limited publications of several design projects that Kamrath and his firm were associated with. As I sifted through special collections to find these professional reports, one caught my eye before I even noticed the Kamrath Collection stamp on the cover: The Monona Basin Project.

My interest directly stems from the report’s subject: a schematic master plan for the city of Madison, Wisconsin. As a University of Wisconsin graduate who spent five years in Madison, I was immediately intrigued by the possibility of being able to compare my visual of Madison with a plan dating back to 1967.

For anyone that’s either been a resident of the greater Wisconsin-Illinois area or happens to be a Frank Lloyd Wright buff, you know that Wright’s career began in Madison as a student at the University of Wisconsin. Though he never completed his engineering degree, he went on to realize many significant projects in Madison and the surrounding area, including the Robert M. Lamp House, Unitarian Meeting House, and Taliesin in nearby Spring Green, one of his most famous projects. However, Monona Terrace likely possesses one of the most interesting timelines of all of Wright’s works – and I’m here to share that story with you all!

You can continue reading the rest of this article by Architecture & Planning Library GRA Stephanie Phillips over at the Battle Hall Highlights blog.

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 30, 2014 at 7:55 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Happily Buried in Music

A few of the 300+ postal bins of CDs from KUT.

Anyone who is a regular user of campus delivery for music deliveries from the Fine Arts Library will find great joy in news of a massive new acquisition of materials from a local Austin institution.

KUT-FM recently moved into their new KUT Public Media Studios, and in an effort to maximize their space, a decision was made to offload 40+ years of physical media. After a near fruitless effort to dispose of the items through a public purchase offering as required by state law, the collection was offered up for the Fine Arts Library — an offer which was quickly pounced upon by Libraries administrators.

FAL is now the proud repository of an additional 60,000 CDs (doubling the current circulating collection) and 4,000 vinyl records, all of which become accessible to the denizens of campus and visitors to the library…after, of course, an arduous effort to process the vast cache of materials is complete.

More about the acquisition here.

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 17, 2014 at 9:37 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Poet Adds His Voice

The Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection

On a steamy day in September, renowned poet and fiction writer Ken Fontenot welcomed Sean O’Bryan, Manager of Preservation and Gifts Processing at the UT Libraries, and I into his downstairs apartment. The walls in the living room and hallway were lined with bookshelves packed with brightly-colored poetry, poetry journals, writing guides, and stacks of chapbooks. This is a poet’s home, and Fontenot wants these bound words to feed our next generation of poets. Ken Fontenot received the Texas Institute of Letters Best Book of Poetry Award for his 2013 In a Kingdom of Birds (Pinyon Publishing), his second book of poetry; he has also published translations of German poetry and a novel. The poetry began when he attended a reading series at Tulane, his alma mater, and seemed more possible when he made his way to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection at The University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

In the 1980s Fontenot moved from his home in New Orleans to Austin and to UT where he would receive an MA in German Language and Literature. While here, he found himself at the Flawn Academic Center, in a room adjacent to what was then the Undergraduate Library, a room full of poetry. “You go on filling your jar of hope with yet more hope,” he wrote in A Kingdom of Birds. Ruth Stephan founded the Poetry Collection at UT Austin in 1965, and Fontenot realized amidst these books and poetry reading events that he was a poet. The influence of the Poetry Collection stayed with him.

Last year he decided he wants his collection to make poetry possible for other potential poets and readers. His donation will add hundreds of volumes and contributes to an ongoing revitalization of the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection, now on the 6th floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library, in collaboration with the English Department and the New Writers Project. Ken Fontenot, along with the UT Libraries, hopes that the sweet cacophony of verse he has added to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection will feed you, poet. Revel in the work of Rosemary Catacalos, Kay Ryan, Cyrus Cassells, Ai, Louise Gluck, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, W. S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, and many more. You’ll see these titles added to the shelves over the next couple of months.

Fontenot’s fiction towers still in his apartment on other shelf-lined walls. These books, he says, he is keeping as he writes his second novel.

- Kristen Hogan, English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian

Posted by Travis Willmann on January 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

After Spending, Giving

#GivingTuesday is a national movement during the holidays dedicated to charitable giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping.

The goal of #GivingTuesday is to encourage people everywhere including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals and families to come together with one common purpose – to help others incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity through charitable contributions.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, community, company or organization to come together to give something more and then spread the word. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.

This #GivingTuesday, consider supporting UT Libraries. Click the banner to show your support and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

And learn about how we are transforming the college experience through our Think Space initiative.

We appreciate your support.

Posted by nataliemoore on December 3, 2013 at 10:44 am
Tags: , , , ,
Older Posts »