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New Online Exhibit: Jack B. Yeats Drawings and Illustrations

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: January 22, 2010
  • Filed Under: Exhibits

Posted for: Róisín Corry Roche (Digital Library Intern, Fall 2009).

Jack B. Yeats: Drawings and Illustrations, the latest exhibit of Falvey Memorial Library Special Collections is now on display on the second floor of Falvey or online at http://exhibits.library.villanova.edu/yeats

Jack B. Yeats, in his twenties.
Jack B. Yeats in his twenties, frontispiece, in Arnold, B. (1998). Jack Yeats. New Haven: Yale University Press. Falvey Memorial Library General Collection.

This exhibit focuses on the drawings and illustrations of Jack B. Yeats found in Special Collections materials. It also highlights the historical backdrop of Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as Jack’s involvement with his sister’s publishing company, Cuala Press.

In Falvey’s Special Collections, Jack’s drawings are found in children’s book, novels, plays, and broadsides. One of the highlights of the collection is A Broadside. Jack was the editor of the first series and provided over 250 drawings. While a handful of issues are discussed here, the complete first series is available online through the Digital Library.

Lament For The Death of Owen Roe O'Neil
Lament For The Death of Owen Roe O’Neil, February 1910 in Yeats, J. B. A Broadside for… Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1908-1915. Special Collections: McGarrity Collection.

As curator of this exhibit I had the rewarding experience of delving into the life of Jack B. Yeats. Prior to my research, my knowledge of the Yeats family was limited to his poet brother, William Butler Yeats, and his artist father John Butler Yeats. I had thought the artist Jack Yeats was the same person as his father. It was a mistake that I came to realize is often made when it comes to the art of Jack Yeats, both during his lifetime and today.

Preparing and researching the exhibit was a wonderful experience. Having an undergraduate background in history and graduate degrees in Irish Studies and Library and Information Science, the internship provided me with the unique opportunity of combining skills learned from all fields. The ability to handle rare and old materials on a daily basis was an adventure that can best be likened to being a kid in a candy store.

One of the most surprising aspects uncovered during the research phase was the large number of rare materials available in Special Collections. Among the items I was able to use were books signed by well-known Irish authors and rare volumes that are only held by a handful of libraries in the United States.

The most exciting moment was uncovering a letter written by a former president of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, taped inside one of his books, The Religious Songs of Connacht. The letter was written to a critic I could only determine to be named Bernard. The review this person wrote is taped inside the back cover of the same book.

Hyde letter from Diadha Chúige Connacht (The Religious Songs of Connacht
Hyde, D. (1906). Abhráin Diadha Chúige Connacht (The Religious Songs of Connacht). London: T.F. Unwin. Special Collections: McGarrity Collection.

Finding such unique materials on the shelves of Special Collections often made it difficult to stay on task. Despite the temptations, I managed to complete the exhibit in time for the start of the spring semester. I would like to thank Michael Foight, Bente Polites, Joanne Quinn, and David Lacy without whom this project would not have been possible.

Visit the exhibit on Falvey Library’s Second Floor or online at http://exhibits.library.villanova.edu/yeats

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Catholic Research Resources Alliance Portal: Scholars Preview

  • Posted by: Michael Foight
  • Posted Date: January 22, 2010
  • Filed Under: CRRA, Partners

Posted for Darren Poley:

In 2009 Falvey Memorial Library joined with other Catholic University libraries in the Catholic Research Resources Alliance which has developed a free online research portal for scholars interested in the Catholic Church, particularly Catholic-related items held in the United States. Unlike some other fields of research that are cross-disciplinary in nature there has never been an effort, until now, to collectively identify what may be called Catholica. Catholic Studies in America has certainly grown a great deal as a locus for scholarly research in the last couple of decades and now libraries, rather than creating a single repository, are working together to use current tools and technology to enhance methods for discovering the primary source material. The intent is to aid researchers and students to do the kind of ferreting out of lesser known or little used publications and manuscripts related to the Catholicism.

Its participation started last year when the Catholic Research Resources Alliance invited Villanova University librarians to actively get involved in a strategy last summer. Since then the Digital Library has begun to contribute data to the Catholic Portal project about our holdings in a number of “collecting themes” identified by the CRRA member libraries. Additionally the VuFind search and browse open source software developed by Falvey Library staff was adopted and now provides the infrastructure for the Catholic Portal’s functionality. In November of 2009, as new member of the CRRA, Falvey Memorial Library was asked to conduct a focus group of scholars to test and discuss the feasibility and user-friendliness of the project.

The Collection Policy Statement for the Catholic Portal says, “The purpose of the Catholic Research Portal is to provide global access to the wealth of research resources relating to the Catholic experience. Of primary interest are rare, unique and uncommon Catholic research materials. Because these resources are often uncataloged and little known outside their institutional repositories, the Portal seeks to encourage broad participation and to provide support to libraries, archives, and other institutions that wish to participate in this project but lack the resources to do so. The Portal will ultimately facilitate and assist researchers and students in identifying Catholic research resources and make Catholic scholarship more productive. In doing so, the Catholic Research Portal will contribute substantially to the generation of new knowledge.”

To this purpose volunteers from Villanova’s department of history, as well as that of theology and religious studies including some administrators and even a nationally recognized scholar in the field of Catholic Studies from another local university shared their views saying the purpose, audience and content of the project makes sense tinted with a little optimism at the prospect of the Library’s involvement. “I’m hoping for real energy and support to fulfill its clear possibility.” There was little agreement as to what to call the body of literature that would be useful to American Catholic Studies as a field of study, but the reason for Portal’s development does seem to be clear. As one focus group member said, “In a decentralized community like Catholic higher education, being able to discover the treasures hidden away in libraries and archives is very desirable.” The usefulness of the Catholic Portal and the positive reaction to Falvey Memorial Library’s digital library involvement seems clear to our patrons, and the Portal’s potential users.

It should be noted that the Collection Policy Statement for the Catholic Portal also makes it clear that, “As the Portal develops and expands, all Catholic colleges, universities, seminaries and archives in North America will be welcome to participate in this effort. Non-Catholic institutions with holdings of Catholic interest will also be welcome to contribute records.”

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Last Modified: January 22, 2010