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Women’s History Month: Power & Magic in the Kitchen

Historically speaking, the kitchen is a woman’s domain. Women were chained to their stoves for hours on end. Cooking skills were right up there with other desirable traits, such as purity, appearance, and obedience to men. As Laura Schenone puts it in her book, A thousand years over a hot stove, “cooking reveals itself as a source of power and magic, and, at the same time, a source of oppression in women’s lives.”

To paraphrase Schenone, what women learned and what they knew wouldn’t be found in a book. It was passed down in the oral tradition, shared with daughters and friends. Women shared information and found support for more than just cooking. They relied on each other to learn healing remedies, to craft utensils and containers, to secure moral support, and to learn survival skills.

When times made life difficult and challenged even the most experienced cook, women found ways to feed their families with what little food was available. They would pool their resources or come to the aid of a hungry family. Women created new recipes to stretch the limited types and quantities of food.

Not unlike other American households, during World War II, Eleanor Roosevelt’s housekeeper, Ms. Henrietta Nesbitt found ways to deal with meat rationing and developed “meat-stretcher” recipes. There is one such recipe in The Husbandman, an agricultural newspaper. This newspaper was published during America’s Gilded Age, a period when the women’s suffrage movement was strengthening in the United States.

The original recipe for scrap pie is below. My adaptation follows the image.

Scrap Pie – 1886

The husbandman, v. XIII, no. 640, Wednesday, November 24, 1886

Scrap Pie Women's History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrap Pie – 2015

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

½ large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp. butter

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare and assemble all ingredients.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Drain and set aside. Sauté onion and set aside. Use 1 tbsp. butter to coat the inside of a 9” pie plate. Cover the inside bottom of the pie plate with ground beef. Drizzle broth over beef. Layer the sautéed onion over the beef. Boil chopped potatoes in large pot of water until potatoes are tender. Turn off burner, drain and return potatoes to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add the beaten egg, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes. Whisk by hand or use an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover the beef with the mashed potato mixture. Use a dinner fork to create a design on the potatoes. Use remaining 2 tbsp. of butter to dot the top of the potatoes.

beefbeef onionsbeef potato

 

 

 

 

 

Bake at 375° until top is browned, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Scrap Pie done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 4-6 servings. Serve with salad or cooked vegetables.

Below are links to books, articles and blogs for your reading, watching and listening pleasure.

A thousand years over a hot stove can be requested through E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.

What we lose in losing Ladies’ Home Journal (Thanks to Laura Bang, Special Collections, for the link.)

The First Kitchen

Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life

#FoodieFriday: 5 Kitchen Appliances and Food Creations that Transformed Women’s Lives in the 20th Century

Women’s History Month – Audio and Video

My thanks to Michael Foight, Special Collections, for sending me the link to our digitized copy of The Husbandman.


LuisaCywinski_headshot thumbnailMonthly food blog feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion, and team leader, Access Services.


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‘Caturday Night News

Have you noticed that people don’t hold onto their old newspapers like they used to? We do. If you want to read more about Villanova Wildcats sports history, we’ve got digitized back issues of The Villanovan before they started publishing online editions.

NCAA 1985 Division I Mens Championship

NCAA 1985 Division 1 Men’s Championship Bracket, The Villanovan, March 22, 1985


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Art of Spring Break: Cabinets of Curiosities: Highlights from Special Collections

ARTOFSB
CABINETS

“Cabinets of Curiosity: Highlights from Special Collections,” a new exhibit on Falvey’s first floor, consists of six cabinets highlighting a variety of materials recently acquired by Falvey’s Special Collections. Photograph albums, a scrapbook, children’s books, adult novels, a tour book for California, a stereoscope and cards (double photographs that appear in three dimensions when viewed in a stereoscope), and a World War II Japanese portable volt-and-current meter are just some of the items in this exhibit.

METER.

Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, curated the exhibit. Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, helped Bang install the exhibit. Joanne Quinn, Communication and Service Promotion team leader and graphic designer, created the graphics for “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

Bang introduces the exhibit saying, “This ‘highlights’ exhibit features a selection of recently acquired materials. Over the past two years, we have focused out collection efforts primarily in the areas of popular culture and materials and upcoming historic anniversaries, particularly the current centennial of the First World War.”

CHILDRENS-BOOKS

“I love these ‘hodge-podge’ exhibits,” she adds, “because they give us a chance to show some of the great stuff that doesn’t fit in our regular-themed exhibits, like the stereoscope viewer.”

Two recent donations—Irish-themed books given by Patrick Moss, and a World War II collection from the family of James D. Reap, Jr.—are featured in the “Cabinets of Curiosities.”

The “Cabinets of Curiosities” will remain on display until mid to late March, followed by an Easter exhibit.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Art of Spring Break: Ruspoli and Droutzkoy Art Collections Will Be Reunited and Displayed

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KRISTEN W PAINTING

Villanova owns a number of paintings donated by Princess Eugenia Ruspoli; her adopted daughter, Princess Maria Theresa Droutzkoy; and her daughter’s husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy. Who are these donors and what did they collect? The massive painting, “Triumph of David,” by Pietro da Cortona, which is currently undergoing conservation in Falvey Hall’s Reading Room, is only one of a number of paintings donated by the two families although it is certainly the largest.

Princess Eugenia Ruspoli, donor of “The Triumph of David,” was born Jennie Enfield Berry in Alabama in either 1861 or 1869 (date varies according to the source consulted), the oldest daughter of a Confederate army colonel and plantation owner, Thomas Berry, and his wife, Frances Margaret Rhea. Before her first marriage, young Jennie Berry had traveled and studied in Europe. On May 7, 1889, Berry married a wealthy, older man, Henry Bruton, head of the American Snuff Company. Bruton died in 1892, making Jennie Berry Bruton a wealthy, childless widow who soon resumed her European travels.

eugenia_ruspoli-108x150In March 1901 Jennie Berry Bruton married the 23-year-old Prince Enrico Ruspoli whom she had met in her travels. Prince Ruspoli, with a title but little fortune, had followed Jennie to Georgia where he proposed. They were married in Washington, D.C., by the Papal Nuncio and the couple took up residence in a palazzo in Rome. After her marriage, Jennie Ruspoli changed her first name to Eugenia, derived from the Greek “eugenes,” meaning “well-born.”

Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello, Italy

Castello Ruspoli

With funds provided by Eugenia, she and Enrico Ruspoli purchased the Castle Nemi, parts of which date to the 10th century. The castle, still standing, is 20 miles south of Rome and near the papal summer palace, Castel Gandolfo. She provided the cash; he provided a title to support their aristocratic Italian lifestyle. Prince Enrico Ruspoli died in 1909 only eight years after their marriage. Despite a verbal agreement with his wife, Prince Enrico Ruspoli wrote a will in which he left the castle and most of his property to his own Ruspoli family.

Princess Eugenia Ruspoli challenged the will and, after years of litigation, she received the title to the castle and whatever personal property it contained. Presumably, this personal property included the grand “Triumph of David” donated by Princess Ruspoli to Villanova University in 1950. Were the other paintings she eventually donated to Villanova part of the contents of Nemi Castle when she and her husband purchased it, or did they, with her funds, collect additional works of art? And did she continue to collect after the prince died?

After becoming a widow for the second time, Princess Eugenia Ruspoli frequently traveled between Italy and the United States and eventually made her home in New York City. After the outbreak of World War II she shipped some of her art and furniture from the castle to the United States, a wise choice because the castle was later damaged by a bomb, leaving “The Triumph of David” exposed to the weather. After the war, Nemi Castle was inhabited by families of Italian squatters who had little respect for the historic property. This and the war-time damages led to additional litigation which continued even after Princess Eugenia Ruspoli’s death.

In 1929 Princess Ruspoli adopted her six-year-old niece, Maria Theresa, who later married Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, a white Russian from St. Petersburg. Droutzkoy came to the United States in 1926 as a journalist, attended Columbia University, became a naturalized citizen and editor of Bachelor magazine and later editor of American Helicopter magazine. He and his wife were active socially. Prince Alexis Droutzkoy died in 1976.

His wife, Maria Theresa Ruspoli was born in Norwich, England, in 1923. She became an American citizen in 1945; by this time she was married and well-traveled. Additional information about Princess Maria Theresa Droutzkoy is sparse except in reports of various society events in New York and elsewhere. We do know that the Droutzkoys were Princess Eugenia Ruspoli’s heirs.

Radan and Cannuli

Radan and Cannuli

Now for their art collections: from information provided by the Rev. Richard G. Cannuli, OSA, and in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide (1986) by George T. Radan and Father Cannuli, we can get a sense of their tastes as collectors. With only two exceptions, the paintings in both collections are Old Masters. These paintings are either Italian or Flemish works created from the 1500s through the 1700s.

The two exceptions are an undated work by an English artist, Samuel Prout (1783-1852), “Interior of a Cathedral Scene,” an oil painting on canvas, and an undated “Church Choir Boys,” oil on canvas, by C. De Antonio. The only C. De Antonio I discovered is Cristobal de Antonio, a Spanish artist (c.1862-after 1905). The subject of each of these paintings is the interior of a Gothic style cathedral or church, much like the paintings by the Dutch Baroque master, Saenredam. These paintings are listed in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide as gifts from the Droutzkoys, but are not in the recent inventory mentioned below.

According to the current inventory created by the University Art Gallery director, Princess Ruspoli donated seven paintings (including Cortona’s “Triumph of David”) and the Droutzkoys donated an additional seventeen paintings. The older list in the Villanova University Art Collection: A Guide says Princess Ruspoli donated six paintings (the Cortona included) and the Droutzkoys gave eight.

All paintings in the current inventory have been conserved with one exception. The works were brought from off-campus storage and locations on campus and briefly housed in the Reading Room last fall so that the conservators working on “The Triumph of David” could study them. I was able to visit this collection several times – a truly fascinating experience. Not all of the works are by famous masters, but they are all wonderful representations of their art historical periods. All feature religious subjects, including a “St. Thomas of Villanova Giving Alms” by Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 1593-1678, attributed to or workshop of).

Paintings fr Ruspoli and Droutzkoy

Radan and Cannuli (Villanova University Art Collection, p. xv) say, “ …[T]he authorship supplied by the donors has been accepted by the curators of the collection.” And that leads to an interesting question: is there another painting by Pietro da Cortona in the University’s collection? Listed as a 1952 donation by Princess Alexis Droutzkoy is an oil painting, “Adoration of the Magi” by Pietro Berretini. Pietro Berretini is the birth name of Pietro da Cortona, the artist of the large painting undergoing conservation in the Reading Room.

Princess Ruspoli made her gifts in 1949 and 1950. The Droutzkoys gave the bulk of their gifts from 1952 through 1957 plus a “Resurrection” painted by an anonymous 16th century Italian which was donated by Princess Droutzkoy in 1973. Two large paintings, “Madonna of the Rosary” by Cosimo Daddi, donated by Eugenia Ruspoli, and a 1614 Nativity triptych (a three-paneled work) by an anonymous Flemish master donated by the Droutzkoys are especially impressive.

When the conservation of Cortona’s “Triumph of David” is completed, the works donated by Princess Eugenia Ruspoli and the Prince and Princess Droutzkoy will be united once more. “The Triumph of David” will be hung on the wall and the other paintings will be placed behind glass in the niches that once held books in the Reading Room. The huge windows which provide the room with wonderful daylight will be treated to filter the harmful sunlight so that all these beautiful, conserved paintings will not deteriorate as did “The Triumph of David.”

fatherfalveyAnd true to the wishes of the Rev. Daniel P. Falvey (1906-1962), the former library director for whom Falvey Memorial Library is named, the Library will once more display an art collection. “… [H]e wanted the objects of his collection to be permanently housed in the Library of Villanova College. The aesthetic pleasure of viewing the paintings would enhance any student’s visits to do research. … Not only did he himself place the objects strategically at various locations in the Old Library, but he also secured donations (such as those of the Droutzkoys) to improve the scope of his garden.” (Villanova University Art Collection, p. xiv).

How inspiring to be able to study in such a vast, high ceilinged space surrounded by Old Master paintings.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Art of Spring Break: See Rare Illustrations that Complement Cortona Painting—A Conservation Update

ARTOFSB
What is the latest news about the conservation of “The Triumph of David,” the large painting attributed to Pietro da Cortona, located in the Reading Room of Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey)?

Conservation is well under way. The painting has been cleaned, areas where paint is missing have been filled (these are the reddish brown areas visible), the painting has been varnished several times and the conservator,

deGhetaldi

deGhetaldi

Kristin deGhetaldi, and her interns are now in-painting (filling in with color the areas where paint was lost). This in-painting is a slow process, using very soft, fine pointed brushes to make tiny strokes. Thus, you are not likely to see dramatic changes day to day or even week to week.

However, one very obvious change to the room is the addition of a small exhibit housed in two cases, one on each side of the gated entrance to the painting. This exhibit, designed by Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, will remain on display until the conservation of “The Triumph of David” is completed.

In her introduction to the exhibit, Bang explains, “Princess Ruspoli’s adopted daughter, Maria Theresa Droutzkoy, also a princess after marrying a Russian prince in 1945, provided funds for the framing and conservation of “The Triumph of David” in the 1950s. [The painting itself was donated to Villanova University by Princess Ruspoli.] She and her husband, Prince Alexis Droutzkoy, donated some other art to the University at the same time, as well as four books that were donated to the Library’s Special Collections, on display in these cases.”

The two books in the left case are both open to show illustrations. The first book is Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Private Collection of P. A. B. Widener: Ashbourne, Near Philadelphia, written by Aliene Ivers Robinson and published in Paris in 1885. The large black and white illustration shows a man with two horses in an expansive landscape. At the time this catalog was published, it was not possible to print photographs in books, so what is shown is a black and white engraving of the painting.

P.A.B. Widener

P.A.B. Widener

P. A. B. Widener, Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834-1915), was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman, an art collector and a former Philadelphia city treasurer. His collection included works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir. Ashbourne, the residence named in the book’s title, still stands in Elkins Park although it is now called Lynnewood Hall. In 1940 P. A. B. Widener’s sole surviving son, Joseph, donated over 2,000 items from his father’s collection—sculptures, paintings and decorative arts—to the National Gallery of Art.

The Catalogue of Paintings itself was donated to Special Collections in 1961. It is number 17 of an edition of 250. Widener gave this signed book to Aliene Ivers Robinson. One wonders how it made its way into the possession of the Droutzkoys.

plate2
In the same case is volume three of the 12 volume set of Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses De Tous Les Peuples Du Monde: Représentées Par Des Figures Dessinées De La Main De Bernard Picart [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World: Illustrated by Hand Drawn Pictures by Bernard Picart]. The text, in French, is by Jean Frederick Bernard of Amsterdam; the engraved illustrations, as noted in the title, are the work of Bernard Picart. This large volume was published in Paris in 1807.

Picard and Bernard intended to document the rituals and ceremonies of all the religions known at the time. Cérmonies Et Coutumes Religieuses …, volume three, discusses the Greeks and Protestants. It is opened to show text on the right and three illustrations on the left page. Two of the illustrations show ceremonies on Pentecost in The Hague (Netherlands) and Schmerhorn (Germany); the third illustration is titled “The Kings’ Star Carried (or on Parade) through Amsterdam[Netherlands].” The three Kings are likely the Magi. Falvey’s Digital Library has all 12 volumes of this edition digitized.

The series of Cérmonies Et Coutumes was first published between 1723 and 1737. Picart was a famous 18th century engraver. Cérmonies Et Coutumes is the first work undertake such a broad view of the known religions, and it was reprinted several times. Falvey’s set is a later reprint. For the significance of Cérmonies Et Coutumes, see The Book That Changed Europe.

The second case holds two additional books donated by the Droutzkoys: Shelley and Keats As They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly From Manuscript Sources by Edmund Blunden, and an untitled photograph album. Shelley and Keats … was published as an edition of 310 copies in London in 1925. Falvey’s copy is number five, and it is signed by Blunden, the editor; by the designer, Wyndham Payne; and by the publisher, binder and typographer, Cyril W. Beaumont. Payne also designed the cover, a wallpaper-like pattern, as well as the decoration of the title page. Prince Droutzkoy donated this book in 1960.

The most fascinating book in this small exhibit, for this writer, is the photograph album. Bang says, “This appears to be a photograph album containing original photographs of the city of Florence.” The album is opened to two photographs, one of the Piazza Santa Croce and the other of the cloister of the church of Santa Croce and the Pazzi Chapel designed by Brunelleschi. In the lower left margin of each photograph is “Edizione Brogi.” The photographs seem to be albumen prints.

A bit of research provided additional information: Giacomo Brogi (1822-1881), an Italian photographer, founded a company in Florence which published photographs. In the late 1800s the company employed 85 people. Brogi photographed not only Florence but also other sites in Italy, and he traveled to the Middle East in 1868. Giacomo Brogi had shops in Florence, Naples and Rome.

Carlo Brogi, retrieved from http://www.giacomobrogi.it

Carlo Brogi, http://www.giacomobrogi.it

His son, Carlo Brogi (1850-1920), continued the business after his father died. Carlo Brogi sold both his own and his father’s photographs under the label “Edizione Brogi Firenze.” This writer speculates that the photographs on display date from the 1880s and that the album may have been purchased as a souvenir of someone’s trip in a time, very unlike ours, when few people owned cameras.

One wonders where and when Prince and Princess Droutzkoy acquired these books. And did they purchase them as collector’s items, or did they enjoy them for their aesthetic appeal?

The exhibit will remain on display for the duration of the conservation of “The Triumph of David.” Small though it is, the display is fascinating and well worth a very detailed examination. And if the conservators are working on “The Triumph of David” during your visit, feel free to enter the fenced area for a closer look and to ask questions. The conservators are very gracious about sharing their knowledge.


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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Share the Love: Xs & Os for Romantic Pop Fiction

SHARETHELOVE2

Valentine’s Day is almost here, but not all minds wander to chocolate and roses. If you are the person who would rather celebrate this day with a good, heart-pumping read, visit the Pop Fiction shelves on the library’s first floor to take home one of these quasi-romantic novels:

Once Upon a Winter’s Heart
Melody Carlson

PS3553.A73257 .O53 2014

Once-upon-a-winter's-heart2Emma has given up on dating and declared romance dead. She is forced to give it a second thought when her grandfather dies leaving her grandmother heartbroken. In her grandfather’s honor, Emma agrees to keep the tradition of decorating the bookstore with hearts for Valentine’s Day and is helped by Lane who soon becomes more than just a friend. Unfortunately, he is also more than just a friend to Emma’s sister.

The Heart has its Reasons
Maria Duenas

PQ6704.U35 M5713

Heart3After losing her husband, Blanca, a college professor in Madrid travels to California in search of a new life. Accepting a research grant to follow a deceased, exiled Spanish writer, she works to sort out a long gone life of passion and intrigue while dealing with a colleague who has not disclosed secrets he knows about the writer.

 

The Woman from Paris
Santa Montefiore

PR6113.O544 W66 2013

woman-from-paris2Phaedra appears at the funeral of Lord Frampton, recently deceased due to a skiing accident. She is a surprise to the entire family and also the heiress to Lord Frampton’s sapphires. Three brothers contest the will, while the oldest wins Phaedra’s heart. The love affair is made difficult by another family member who is determined to uncover Phaedra as a fraud.

 

Silver Girl
Elin Hilderbrand

PS3558.I384355 S55 201

silver-girl2First a story of loss, then love, Meredith retreats to Nantucket with a friend to heal after her husband cheats his rich investors out of millions of dollars and loses the house. Life becomes interesting when Meredith’s high school sweetheart shows up and she is forced to sort through thoughts of what life might have been.

 

Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Nancy Horan

PS3608.O8725 U53 2014

wide-and-starry2The second novel by the author of Loving Frank, this time Horan focuses on the love between Robert Louis Stevenson and his feisty American bride, Fanny. I haven’t read this one, but Loving Frank was exceptional so I’ve put this on my list.

 

 

These books also go well with chocolate and roses. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Our Pop Fiction selection varies month to month, so check frequently for new titles.

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion team and special acquisitions coordinator in Resource Management. 


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Share the Love: Macaroons and Chocolate

SHARETHELOVE2

Like the title says, we’re here to talk about macaroons, referred to by the official website of France as “seductive little biscuits,” and chocolate, traditionally consumed on Valentine’s Day.

If you read the play “A Doll’s House”, then you probably remember Nora’s obsession with macaroons and the significance of this simple cookie in the play. A similar theme plays out in the movie “Chocolat” where chocolate is taboo during Lent but its overwhelming allure leads the residents of a quaint French village to hide their consumption of it from the mayor.

London Art of Cookery title pageI’m using a recipe from “The London Art of Cookery and Domestic Housekeepers’ Complete Assistant On a New Plan Made Plain and Easy to the Understanding of Every Housekeeper, Cook, and Servant in the Kingdom,” written in 1783. How’s that for a title? We have the print edition in Special Collections, but there are also other digitized editions available.

An important distinction needs to be made. Macaroons, as they are made in France, are almond biscuits sandwiched together with jam, chocolate, or other sweet fillings. The “other” type of macaroons contain shredded coconut. And although the recipe from The London Art of Cookery simply calls them Macaroons, it’s actually a recipe for French macaroons, not coconut macaroons. It’s confusing. I know.

Macaroons

 

 

 

 

One detour from the recipe will be the addition of chocolate ganache filling between two macarons, which is how they would be made in a French pattisserie. I will use the 1783 recipe for the cookies and a Food Network recipe for the ganache. And of course, I had French cafe music playing on Spotify, for inspiration.

Ingredients:

1 lb. sugar

1 lb. almonds, blanched and beaten (almond meal)

A few drops of rose water

7 egg whites, frothed

macaroon batterAfter combining the sugar, almond meal, and a few drops of rose water, I stirred in the frothed egg whites. The egg whites should form stiff peaks before being added to the sugar and almond meal. Using a small spoon, drop round dollops of batter about two inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Or you can use a pastry bag. The recipe ends with the instruction, “put them in the oven” without so much as an oven temperature or length of cooking time. I checked the Food Network for a suggested oven temperature (325) and time (13-15 minutes).

There was no measurement for the rose water so I used ½ tsp., but next time I would skip it altogether. It was a noticeable and not necessarily pleasant flavor, but that’s just my opinion. Luckily, the chocolate ganache soon remedied that. The cookies came out a little flat, not like the macarons I’ve come to expect. They tasted good so, who am I to complain? One last tip: make extra ganache. It’s great for dipping strawberries.

macaroons plated

To quote Nora, and although they didn’t turn out perfectly, “I shall have one, just a little one–or at most two. I am tremendously happy.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

I want to thank Michael Foight and Laura Bang in Special Collections at Falvey Memorial Library for locating suitable recipes from Falvey’s print and digital collections. Their help was invaluable.


‘Caturday feature written by Luisa Cywinski, writer, Communication & Service Promotion Team and team leader, Access Services.

 


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Dig Deeper: A Thomas Merton Centennial

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Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk from 1941 until he died December 10, 1968, was born on Jan. 31, 1915, in Prades, France. Best known for his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, published in 1948, he also wrote about social problems, the contemplative life, prayer and other topics. The Seven Storey Mountain was a best seller and is now considered a classic work, a modern day Confessions of St. Augustine. Still in print, The Seven Storey Mountain has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Merton was educated in France, England and the United States. He graduated from Columbia University in New York City with a master’s degree. He converted to Catholicism in 1938 while completing his graduate work. He taught briefly at Columbia and originally planned to join the Franciscans (Order of Friars Minor). However, the Order did not admit him, and Merton then applied to the Trappists at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. He joined the Trappists (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) on Dec. 10, 1941, and remained in the order until his death 27 years later while attending a meeting of religious leaders in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the monastery Abbot Frederick Dunne urged Frater Louis (Merton’s religious name) to write his autobiography, to write biographies of Cistercians and to translate Cistercian works. Merton was a prolific author. Among his numerous works are five volumes of his letters and seven volumes of his personal journals and over 60 other titles.

Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO, says, “Many esteem Thomas Merton as a spiritual master, a brilliant writer, and a man who embodied the quest for human solidarity.”

merton-books

Dig Deeper (These are just a sample of Falvey’s holdings.)

About the Trappists and Cistercians
Trappist: Living in the Land of Desire (1997) by Michael Downey
Voices of Silence: Lives of the Trappists Today (1991) by Frank Bianco
The Abbey of Gethsemani: Place of Peace and Paradox – 150 Years in the Life of America’s Oldest Trappist Monastery (1998) by Dianne Aprile
The Rule of Saint Benedict (2001) by Saint Benedict, Abbot of Monte Cassino

Works by Merton
Thomas Merton: A Bibliography (1974)
Thomas Merton: Selected Essays (2013)
Thomas Merton: Essential Writings (c.2000)
Journals of Thomas Merton (c.1995-c1997)

About Merton
The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia (2002) by William Henry Shannon
Merton: A Biography (1980) by Monica Furlong
Thomas Merton, Social Critic: A Study (1971) by James Thomas Baker
Thomas Merton: Prophet of Renewal (2005) by John Eudes Bamberger

 

 


imagesArticle and photos by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. 


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What We Were Reading in 2014

Though we’re not a public library, sometimes we get asked about what types of items were charged out the most. Of course, those may not always be the most popular items. So, taking a look back at the rapidly fading year 2014, finds the New York Times bestseller, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, charged out as many times as any of our works. This is followed by perennial favorites, such as the The Holy Bible: New International Version-Containing the Old Testament and the New Testament, Oxford Spanish Dictionary, Mckay’s Modern Italian-English and English-Italian Dictionary, The Grammar Book: an ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course, Advanced Engineering Mathematics, The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution (now also online), Phaedo, Catch-22, Ulysses, Lolita, Beloved: a novel and Catcher in the Rye.

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Popular this year too was the New York Times bestseller Flash Boys, followed by titles such as Gone Girl: a novel, the Gabriel García Márquez novel, El Coronel No Tiene Quien le Escriba, All Names Have Been Changed, Organic Chemistry as a Second Language: First Semester Topics (second semester topics not as popular), Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (2014), The Fault in Our Stars, and The Laramie Project.

Screenshot 2014-12-12 10.51.45

Popular leisure reading material this year can be summed up in one sentence (more or less): Good News, for the Best of Me, in America’s Great Game, don’t Blink but Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That since 1345, or do you want a Casual Vacancy because you’ll have No Easy Day if you’re an Alchemist, English German Girl or a Racketeer.

Some of the most selected movies this year include perennial favorites like Citizen Kane; Groundhog Day; 2001, A Space Odyssey; and The Tree of Life. Other movies, The Corporation, Taxi to the Dark Side, Adaptation, Nun’s Story and La Jetée Sans Soleil were also charged out several times.

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Very requested subjects and books borrowed through our interlibrary loan and E-ZBorrow services were The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, The Goldfinch: a Novel, and books about counseling, statistics, public speaking and science fiction.

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Happy holidays from all of us to all of you – and we hope Santa puts some of your favorite reading material in your stocking. But if not, you know the first place to visit once you get back on campus! Click here for Christmas and New Year break hours.


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The Great War at Falvey: Online and In-House

LAURA

The title of the exhibition,  “Home Before the Leaves Fall,” comes from a statement attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany during an Aug. 1914 speech addressed to troops being assigned to the front lines.

Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, has served as editor, project organizer and curator of the online exhibition (HBTLF), and says this exhibition draws from rich holdings, “many little known or used,” of organizations and individuals in the mid-Atlantic region to tell the story of the Great War, World War I. “Home Before the Leaves Fall” commemorates the centennial of the first truly world-wide war. Foight tells us, “Collaborative by design, HBTLF is a multi-institutional project: articles curated by individual scholars and experts guide readers through the many threads that weave materials into a narrative tapestry, while social media spotlight newly digitized content, creative and educational use of materials, and news of other Great War commemorations. … New content will be regularly added.”

In addition to Foight, other curators from Villanova University are Laura Bang, Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant; Demian Katz, Library Technology Development specialist; Barbara Quintiliano, nursing/life sciences and instructional services librarian; and Alexander Williams, temporary Research Support librarian. Two former Digital Library interns are also curators: Ruth Martin (2014) and Brian McDonald (2012). Other curators are affiliated with Swarthmore College, American Philosophical Society, Athenaeum of Philadelphia and Chemical Heritage Foundation.

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The online exhibit includes the following sections: about—contains the “Curator’s Introduction” by Foight and a short video, “Das Lausejagd (The Lousehunter),” a dedication and acknowledgements; articles—written by various specialists; projects—(“Home Before the Leaves Fall News & Blog,” “Mail Call: A Podcast of News and Letters from the Great War”

, “The Fallen of the Great War: The Philadelphia Project [a genealogical research project],” and a list of participating institutions such as Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Villanova University and others); and resources—with links to “Letters, Diaries and Autobiographies,” “Materials” and “Works Consulted/Further Reading.” “Home Before the Leaves Fall” is not a static exhibit; new material is added frequently.

Falvey Memorial Library is hosting two corollary exhibits with graphics by Joanne Quinn, graphic designer and team leader of Communication and Service Promotion. On the first floor is “Home Before the Leaves Fall: Lost Memories of the Great War” curated by Laura Bang. This exhibit displays numerous items from Special Collections: two scrapbooks of French photographs, postcards, and books.

In the reference area of the second floor Learning Commons is a small exhibit, “WWI 100 Years: Lessons to be Learned,” designed by Joanne Quinn. This exhibit consists of books from Falvey’s collections selected by Sarah Wingo, subject librarian for English and theatre; Jutta Seibert, subject librarian for history; Merrill Stein, subject librarian for geography and political science; Linda Hauck, subject librarian for business; and Alice Bampton, an art historian. On the wall beside the exhibit are a large poster for “Home Before the Leaves Fall,” with the URL for the online exhibit and an arrow directing visitors to Special Collections. Also featured are reproductions of World War I posters, a world map showing the opposing nations and an illustrated timeline of the war.


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Last Modified: December 10, 2014