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Exploring French theatre at the turn of the 20th century

  • Posted by: Laura Bang
  • Posted Date: May 31, 2011
  • Filed Under: Theatre, World

Posted for Alexandra Edwards (Falvey Memorial Library Intern and Digital Library student employee)

One of the best parts about working in the Digital Library is getting to experience, firsthand, historical materials related to your own interests. Recently, I worked on digitizing issues of a French theatre magazine, Le Théatre, from the turn of the 20th century — a project that combined my love of the stage, the French language, and fin de siècle culture.

Le Théatre gives a fascinating glimpse into French cultural life during this highly artistic time period. The magazine covered the world of French theatre and dance in-depth, and provides an intriguing primary-source look into stage conventions, costuming, set design, and theatrical celebrity.

Of particular historic interest are the articles on Loïe Fuller, the American dance sensation with no formal training who is now credited as a pioneer of modern dance as well as theatrical lighting. Videos of her performances have been preserved and are exhibited around the country to this day — I recently saw a Library of Congress video of her signature dance style at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Several issues of Le Théatre mention Fuller, either in reference to the dancer herself, or to the style of dance she created, which was subsequently picked up by other performers.

The December 1898 issue devotes an entire section to Fuller, including a color cover featuring a dancer dressed and posed in the style of “La Loïe Fuller.”  After several pages of more traditional-looking ballerinas, the section on Fuller highlights the somewhat shocking, modern quality of Fuller’s style.  The dancers pictured wear long and flowing dresses which can be held up — it appears that rods have been inserted into the fabric — to give the appearance of wings.  Indeed, butterflies are pictured on many of the dresses.  A captivating action shot hints at the effect of Fuller’s twirling style in combination with the flowing costume.

The article mentions that Fuller was basically unknown a few years prior, but has since taken the dance world by storm.  The author notes that Fuller may not be the best dancer on the stage, but rather that there is a kind of magical quality to her dancing in and of itself:


Subsequent issues of Le Théatre profile “Le Théâtre de la Loïe Fuller” (August II, 1900), as well as Japanese dancer Sada Yacco, who worked closely with Fuller after the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 (October II, 1900).  Fuller served as Yacco’s manager and press agent, proving herself as savvy a businesswoman as she was entertainer and theatrical inventor.

Seeing Fuller’s work documented in Le Théatre emphasizes both her importance in the history of dance and the necessity of preserving historical primary-source materials.  Researchers across the world can now access these documents for free, allowing them to understand, in the original historical context, the impact that Fuller made on the world of French theatre and dance.

References:

Loie Fuller.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 May 2011. Web. May 2011.

Collier, Peter and Robert Lethbridge, eds.  Artistic relations : literature and the visual arts in nineteenth-century France.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.  Print.

Garelick, Rhonda K. Electric Salome : Loie Fuller’s performance of modernism.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.  Print.

Holmes, Diana and Carrie Tarr, edds.  A “Belle Epoque”? : women in French society and culture, 1890-1914.  New York: Berghahn Books, 2006.  Print.

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1611 King James Bible now online

  • Posted by: Laura Bang
  • Posted Date: May 17, 2011
  • Filed Under: Partners
Engraved title page of the 1611 King James Bible.

Title page of the 1611 King James Bible.

Over the past several months we have been working on scanning, processing, and completing metadata for a very special volume from one of our partners. In January, La Salle University brought over their latest batch of items for us to digitize, which included a first edition of the King James Bible from 1611. Not only is this an exciting and important work to digitize, but it is particularly timely now as this version of the Bible celebrates the 400th anniversary of its completion.

This book proved challenging to scan in many ways. Its bulky and unwieldy size meant that for most of the process, scanning was a two-person job. The volume is also fairly tightly-bound, which meant that getting the full page was difficult at times. We were able to meet these challenges, however, and we are pleased to present the entire volume online.

 

Sarah Seraphin, Special Collections Librarian at La Salle University’s Connelly Library, was very enthusiastic about the completion of this scanning endeavor. “This partnership makes it possible to deliver our content to scholars all over the world, on an excellent platform alongside the collections of other Catholic institutions,” Seraphin said. “Our aim is to curate a unique online selection of historic Bibles relating to the translation of the Holy Bible into English. With the 1611 ‘He Bible’ now online, the task of scanning one of our most prized volumes has come to fruition. We are grateful for the dedication of the Digital Library staff for their work on this and other invaluable works from the Susan Dunleavy Collection.”

Seraphin curated an exhibit called “Adornment & Alliance: Preserving Illustrated and Historic Bibles and Curating a Digital Collection Through Constructive Partnership.” This exhibit honors the mission of the Susan Dunleavy Collection of Biblical Literature and highlights La Salle’s partnership with our Digital Library—and, of course, it also celebrates the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Bible. The exhibit is on view in the main lobby of La Salle’s Connelly Library until mid-July 2011.

There were two separate issues of the first edition, both published in 1611. The volume featured in this article is a first issue of the first edition, which contained a type-setting error in Ruth 3:15: “… he went into the citie.” For this reason, the first issue is known colloquially as the “He Bible.” The second issue is known as the “She Bible” and it (and all subsequent editions) reads: “… she went into the citie.”

Text of Ruth 3:15 with type-setting error "... he went into the citie."

Ruth 3:15.


One of the great pleasures of working with rare books and manuscripts is getting to “touch” history and make it available to a wider audience online through our Digital Library, though oftentimes these materials may have been forgotten. It has been an interesting and exciting experience to handle and digitize a 1611 King James Bible—a book that still has a tremendous impact 400 years after its original publication.

Student scanning the King James Bible.

One of our student workers, Celina Wildemann, scanning the King James Bible.

 

Over the past several months we have been working on scanning, processing, and completing metadata for a very special volume from one of our partners. In January, La Salle University brought over their latest batch of items for us to digitize, which included a first edition of the King James Bible from 1611. Not only is this an exciting and important work to digitize, but it is particularly timely now as this version of the Bible celebrates the 400th anniversary of its completion.

 

This book proved challenging to scan in many ways. Its bulky and unwieldy size meant that for most of the process, scanning was a two-person job. The volume is also fairly tightly-bound, which meant that getting the full page was difficult at times. We were able to meet these challenges, however, and we are pleased to present the entire volume online.

 

[title page]

 

Sarah Seraphin, Special Collections Librarian at La Salle University’s Connelly Library was very enthusiastic about the completion of this scanning endeavor. “This partnership makes it possible to deliver our content to scholars all over the world, on an excellent platform alongside the collections of other Catholic institutions,” Seraphin said. “Our aim is to curate a unique online selection of historic Bibles relating to the translation of the Holy Bible into English. With the 1611 ‘He Bible’ now online, the task of scanning one of our most prized volumes has come to fruition. We are grateful for the dedication of the Digital Library staff for their work on this and other invaluable works from the Susan Dunleavy Collection.”

 

Seraphin curated an exhibit to honor the mission of the Susan Dunleavy Collection of Biblical Literature and to highlight La Salle’s partnership with our Digital Library—and, of course, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James Bible. The exhibit is on view in the main lobby of La Salle’s Connelly Library until mid-July 2011.

 

There were two separate issues of the first edition, both published in 1611. The first issue of the first edition contained a type-setting error in Ruth 3:15: “… he went into the citie.” For this reason, the first issue is known colloquially as the “He Bible.” The second issue is known as the “She Bible” and it (and all subsequent editions) reads “… she went into the citie.”

 

[Ruth]

 

One of the great pleasures of working with rare books and manuscripts is getting to “touch” history and make it available to a wider audience online through our Digital Library, though oftentimes these materials may have been forgotten. It has been an interesting and exciting experience to handle and digitize the King James Bible—a book that still has a tremendous impact 400 years after its original publication.

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10,000 and Beyond!

This week, we added our 10,000th item to the Digital Library! This is quite an exciting milestone!

The item in question is the Volume 18, No. 4 issue of The Villanovan, dated April 4, 1944. The Villanovan was scanned from microfilm by the Internet Archive and we have been steadily working on adding the individual issues to our Digital Library.

Volume 18, No. 4, April 4, 1944 issue of The Villanovan.

This issue features numerous articles related to World War II. The front page headlines are listed below:

* Easter Theme In ‘Bunny Hop’ Show And Dance Apr. 15
* Lt. W. Garrity Killed Piloting Bomber in Africa
* Augustinians In Philippines Safe
* Comdr. Milner Leaves for Active Sea Duty Again
* Guadalcanal and Tulagi Veterans in Marine V-12 Unit Describe Battles
* Plans Completed For Guild Party
* Financier’s Frolic Tickets On Sale Now

Not content with just 10,000, we are already edging past 10,100 as of this writing! The current item count is viewable here and it is updated in real time as we add new items.

This week, we added our 10,000th item to the Digital Library! This is quite an exciting milestone!

 

The item in question is the Volume 18, No. 4 issue of The Villanovan, dated April 4, 1944. The Villanovan was scanned from microfilm by the Internet Archive and we have been steadily working on adding the individual issues to our Digital Library.

 

This issue features numerous articles related to World War II. The front page headlines are listed below:

 

Easter Theme In ‘Bunny Hop’ Show And Dance Apr. 15

Lt. W. Garrity Killed Piloting Bomber in Africa

Augustinians In Philippines Safe

Comdr. Milner Leaves for Active Sea Duty Again

Guadalcanal and Tulagi Veterans in Marine V-12 Unit Describe Battles

Plans Completed For Guild Party

Financier’s Frolic Tickets On Sale Now

 

Not content with 10,000 we are already edging past 10,100 as of this writing! The item count is viewable here.

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New Online Exhibit: Torn Between Brothers: A Look at the Internal Divisions that Weakened the Fenian Brotherhood

Posted for Jean Turner (Digital Library Intern, Spring 2011)

I had no doubt in my mind when I began to work on an online exhibit for Villanova’s Digital Library that the online content of the Fenian Brotherhood  collection would prove full of interesting pieces of 19th century military history.  Villanova’s Digital Library houses over 450 items for the American Catholic Historical Society that relate to the Fenian Brotherhood’s failed invasions of Canada.  I was caught off guard by the evidence of dramatic divisions and personal quarrels that plagued the Irish American organization and so I chose to highlight those along with the Fenian Brotherhood’s efforts to defy British rule.

 

(Title banner by Joanne Quinn; click for full size.)

When the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood fought overseas for an independent Ireland they sponsored an organization called the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States.  Originally intended to raise funds and materials for activism on Irish soil, the leaders of the Fenian Brotherhood surprised many with their repeated hostilities against British North America.  The first leader to propose attacks on Canada reasoned that they would create problems for Britain, but as the aggressive plan divided Fenian membership in two, subsequent military actions seemed more congruent with the desires of Fenian leaders to assert their authority over rivaling factions.

 

The Fenians Progress (New York, John Bradburn, 1865), cover. (1)

The letters and published circulars of Villanova’s Digital Library collection tell the story of several of these factions and their efforts to win authority over the membership as a whole.  Amidst preparations for military attacks leaders accused each other of mishandling the treasury, illegally printing bonds, and even resorting to violence against a fellow Fenian Brother.  The majority of the papers highlighted in this collection and exhibit come from Fenian Senator Frank Gallagher of Buffalo, New York.  Because he engaged in correspondence with members of multiple factions over a period of several years, Gallagher’s papers show the efforts of many to sway his personal opinions and allegiance.

'Battle of Ridgeway C.W.' Graphic. New York: Major C. Donahue and D. Egan, 1869. From Library and Archives Canada: Peter Winkworth Collections of Canadiana. (2)

Check out the online exhibit to follow the Fenian Brotherhood through its inception, three failed invasions of Canadian soil, one murderous plot to cover up inconsistencies in their treasury, and many schisms in the membership until the organization finally discontinued itself in 1886.

Curated by Jean Turner (Digital Library Intern Spring 2011), with graphic design by Joanne Quinn.  Additional and indispensable  contributions to the project were made by student scanners and several transcribers including Susan Ottignon and Mimi DiLenge; David Lacy for his work on the technical details; and Laura Bang and Michael Foight for their advice and guidance.

(1) Digital Library @ Villanova University.

(2) Library and Archives Canada.

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Last Modified: May 4, 2011