Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

TBT: Dog Days of Summer

Image of 15 dogs gathered around a kitchen table.

Photo courtesy of the Villanova University Digital Library.


We’re officially in the “dog days” of summer!

Spanning July 3 to Aug. 11, the “dog days” of summer are usually the hottest days of the year. According to Merriam-Webster, the term is in reference to a star, not our furry friends…“In the ancient Greek constellation system, this star (called Seirios in Greek) was considered the hound of the hunter Orion and was given the epithet Kyon, meaning ‘dog.’ The Greek writer Plutarch referred to the hot days of summer as hēmerai kynades (literally, ‘dog days’), and a Latin translation of this expression as dies caniculares is the source of our English phrase.”

Stay cool, ’Cats!


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Library. Her favorite “dog day” is Aug. 1 (her birthday). 


Like

“Classics Illustrated” Comics in Distinctive Collections

Last week, I posted an article on this blog in which I discussed the value of collecting comic books in special collections, while drawing on examples from Marvel Comics in Falvey Library’s holdings. This week, I have another comic-book collection to highlight: Falvey’s holdings in Classics Illustrated. This series, which was published by three separate publishers (Elliot Publishing Co., Gilberton Company, and Frawley Corporation) from 1941 to 1969, adapted literary classics to the comic-book medium. It has significant research value not only in comics studies, but also in adaptation studies, a field that is becoming increasingly central in the arts and humanities. With the tagline “Featuring stories by the world’s greatest authors,” the series sheds light on mid-twentieth-century cultural conceptions of texts that have traditionally been viewed as particularly significant in the United States and elsewhere, as well as how these texts were transmitted to new audiences.

The Tragedy of Macbeth and Paratext

These comics include not only abridged adaptations of their source material, but also paratextual material that assists readers to understand and appreciate the stories. For example, the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth includes numerous explanatory footnotes, which make the early modern language of the text more accessible to twentieth-century readers.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Additional segments at the ends of issues often provide biographical and historical context for the preceding narrative, typically in the form of a text box. The following two examples, drawn from the Macbeth issue of Classics Illustrated, explain Shakespeare’s life and the relation between the play and King James I of England (you may click on all images in this blog article to enlarge them).

Other times, this type of supplementary content at the end of an issue takes the form of a comic book, like the following panels on British history, which are again drawn from the final pages in the Macbeth issue.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Another paratextual aspect worth noting is the banner that appears across the bottom of the final page in each adapted story, which urges readers to track down a copy of the original text in a school or public library. This inclusion demonstrates the comics’ goal of developing an appreciation of literature in younger readers. On the one hand, this is beneficial in that it encourages engagement with libraries and promotes further reading. On the other hand, it is potentially problematic in its suggestion that comics are valuable only if they serve as a stepping stone to a more highly respected (and supposedly more advanced) medium or mode of reading, namely prose and verse.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 128, Macbeth.

While seeking to cultivate a love of reading, Classics Illustrated promoted bibliophilia, especially as the notion relates to the material aspect of books. The following advertisement demonstrates this attitude, as it aims to sell a “handsome, durable, permanent” binder for storing Classics Illustrated issues, which is “made to last a lifetime of handling.” (However, the primary aim of any advertisement is, of course, to sell a product or service.)

Advertisement on back cover of Classics Illustrated, no. 64, Treasure Island.

Advertisement on back cover of Classics Illustrated, no. 64, Treasure Island.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Getting back to the adapted narratives themselves, it is important to note that Classics Illustrated sometimes altered or added to the source material. An illustrative case-in-point is the adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” which is collected alongside two other adaptations in issue #21 of Classics Illustrated. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” published in 1841 in Graham’s Magazine, is widely considered the first modern detective story. It is a predecessor to popular detective fiction like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, as well as numerous dime novels and story papers available on the Villanova Digital Library, most notably Mystery Magazine (1917-1927). Poe’s full short story is available on Falvey’s website. A facsimile edition of the manuscript can also be consulted in-person at the library.

Famously, this short story ends (spoilers!) with the reveal that a runaway orangutan had committed the eponymous murders. In Poe’s story, the orangutan’s fate remains ambiguous. However, the comic book adds an extra page at the end of the story, where detective C. Auguste Dupin and his associate (the unnamed narrator of Poe’s story, who is named “Poe” in the comic-book adaptation) track down and fight the animal, which was changed to an ape for the comic book. These changes and additions to the source material may have happened for a variety of reasons. In this case, perhaps the creators wanted the story to fit more neatly into the conventions of the adventure comic-book genre, hence the action-packed ending. Alternatively, they may have felt uncomfortable depicting an ambiguous ending, where a dangerous animal is still on the loose, especially if their target audience was mainly composed of children. (I have no explanation, however, for why the animal was changed from an orangutan to an ape.)

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 21, 3 Famous Mysteries.

Detail from Classics Illustrated, no. 21, 3 Famous Mysteries.

Robin Hood

Besides detectives like Dupin and Holmes, another famous character portrayed in Classics Illustrated is Robin Hood. Two early issues of Classics Illustrated in Falvey’s collection feature the character. Robin Hood has had a long history of popular culture portrayals (having even become a fox in a Disney animated film), and comics are no exception. In addition to Classic Illustrated issues, the English folk hero also appears in Martin Powell and Stan Timmons’ Robin Hood, published by Eternity Comics in 1989. The series’ first issue, which was recently donated to Falvey, sports a cover illustration by painter N. C. Wyeth. (More information about the original painting is provided in the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s N. C. Wyeth Catalogue Raisonné.) Other popular culture materials at Falvey’s Distinctive Collections that depict Robin Hood’s adventures include dime novels like the Aldine Robin Hood Library and The Story of Robin Hood (1889), both of which are available to read on the Villanova Digital Library.

All the comics shown in this article, and several more issues of Classics Illustrated and other titles, are available to see in Falvey’s Rare Book Room during walk-in hours (Wednesdays 9:30-11:30 AM and Thursdays 2-4 PM) or by appointment. Make sure to check the library’s blog for more articles on our growing collections of comic books, dime novels, and other popular literature.


Like
1 People Like This Post

Marvel Comics in Distinctive Collections

Falvey Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement (DCDE) department recently received a generous donation of dime novels and other popular culture materials, including comic books drawn from the collections of John Randolph “Randy” Cox. Randy was a highly regarded scholar and collector, with expertise in numerous areas of pulp literature, including Nick Carter and Sherlock Holmes. He was also an early supporter of the Edward T. LeBlanc Dime Novel Bibliography project, a comprehensive online database of dime novels, story papers, reprint libraries, and related materials hosted by Falvey Library. Among the titles recently donated from Randy’s collections are several comic books published by Marvel Comics in the 1960s and 1970s. These materials demonstrate the value of collecting original copies of comic books in special collections.

Some Brief History

Under the banners of Timely Comics and Atlas Comics, Marvel Comics published stories in various genres from the 1930s to the 1950s, a period known as a Golden Age of comic books. It was during this period that a handful of now-classic characters, such as Captain America and Namor the Sub-Mariner, were introduced to readers. However, it was not until the Silver Age of the 1960s and 1970s that Marvel would become synonymous with the superhero genre. This was largely owing to the humanizing of superheroes: While characters published by DC Comics (Marvel’s main competition, then and now) like Superman and Wonder Woman were akin to gods, Marvel characters experienced more grounded, personal problems alongside their grandiose, world-saving pursuits. For example, Spider-Man struggled to make rent and stressed about his coursework. Some of the creators responsible for ushering in this era of storytelling (most of whom created the Captain America comics pictured above) were Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Sal Buscema, Don Heck, Jim Steranko, Gene Colan, John Romita Sr., Art Simek, Sam Rosen, and Stan Lee.

Detail from Captain America Vol 1 #106, October 1986.

Detail from Captain America Vol 1 #106, October 1968. Art by Jack Kirby.

Creators such as these often worked in highly specialized roles, which were necessitated by the fast-paced nature of the comics industry, as well as the complexity of developing graphic storytelling. American comics typically involve a writer who develops the plot; a penciller who designs the panel layouts and draws the initial sketches; an inker who finalizes the penciller’s work by tracing it in black ink; a colorist who adds color to each page; a letterer who inserts speech bubbles and designs fonts and logos; and an editor who oversees and double-checks the whole process. There can be much variation to this process, but it has remained relatively consistent throughout the decades, even while several steps are now accomplished digitally in most cases. What made Marvel’s procedures unique during the Silver Age, however, was the emergence of the “Marvel method” of creating comic books, in which the penciller arguably played a more central role than the writer in developing narratives. Following the Marvel method, a writer would come up with rough outlines for a story, without providing detailed dialogue or many details about where individual scenes were set. This would allow the penciller to make major decisions regarding setting, pace, and other aspects of the story, making the penciller’s role similar to that of a film director. The writer would then write the narration and dialogue around the penciller’s drawings. Most comics creators have not been using the Marvel method since the turn of the century. Nonetheless, there are still some who prefer it, such as popular penciller Greg Capullo, who, though he works at DC Comics and Image Comics, began his career at Marvel in the late 1980s.

 

Relevance to Special Collections

Partly due to the success of superhero film franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), comic-book superheroes have seen a resurgence in popular culture during the past decade. Stories that have now become a mainstay in the popular imagination, like the MCU’s Infinity Saga, can be traced back to comics published in the late twentieth century. For example, “the tesseract,” a cosmic weapon/energy source used by the villain Red Skull in the film Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and later by Loki in The Avengers (2012), makes an early appearance in an issue held by Falvey’s Distinctive Collections, under the name of “the cosmic cube”:

This newfound popularity of Marvel characters has meant that older comics, such as the ones in Falvey’s Distinctive Collections, are easy to find and rarely out of print. Even when they are out of print, there is always the option of accessing a digital copy. However, most recent editions of twentieth-century comics display several differences from the original copies. These differences demonstrate the value of collecting original copies of these comics in heritage institutions.

 

When large companies like Marvel reprint their earlier titles, they usually recolor the drawings. The above images show the differences between several panels in the copies of Captain America Vol 1 #110 and Conan the Barbarian Vol 1 #1 held at Falvey and their modern reprints (you may click on all images in this article to enlarge them). While some may argue that the modern edition is superior due to its cleaner lines and brighter colors, it does not teach us much about comic-book authorship or readership in the Silver Age. From an artistic point of view, it could be argued that the relatively muted colors and imprecise inks of the original printing are better suited to the art style. Moreover, the signature “dots,” which marked the cheap mechanical printing processes of the time, lend a realistic texture to many parts of the page. On the contrary, the flat recoloring makes figures and environments stand out in a way that was not originally intended. Artists and editors designed these comics with specific printing technologies in mind. If a researcher is to study these titles, they will get a clearer understanding of the comics in their moment of creation if they examine original copies.

Another aspect that is omitted when older comics are reprinted (except in facsimile editions of key issues) is the section of letters, or “fan mail,” at the end of each issue. These sections, which still exist though not as frequently as they used to, often have pun-based titles and publish selected letters from readers, as well as responses from Marvel’s editorial staff. They shed light on the reactions and attitudes of these comics’ first readers. One notable characteristic is that Marvel did not seem to shy away from publishing fan letters that were critical of the company or the topics explored in superhero comics. For instance, the following fan letter, published in Captain America Vol 1 #126 (the plot of which addresses issues of racial inequality), is actively resistant to the types of nationalistic attitudes that a character like Captain American might risk inadvertently endorsing:

Fan letter from Captain America Vol 1 #126, June 1970

Fan letter from Captain America Vol 1 #126, June 1970

A similarly valuable paratextual segment in Marvel comics of this era is “Stan’s Soapbox,” where writer and editor Stan Lee would discuss a wide variety of topics in his characteristically jovial style. (Lee, whom many will recognize as an elderly man who made brief appearances in most Marvel films until his passing in 2018, was as much a showman as a comics creator–so much so, in fact, that when artist Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics, he created a satiric parody of Lee for DC Comics called Funky Flashman.) The following two entries of “Stan’s Soapbox,” published in consecutive issues of Captain America, show the editorial staff’s active engagement with readers’ opinions:

Some entries in “Stan’s Soapbox” would also offer glimpses into the process of creating comics, including the Marvel method. Other entries announced events that would become key moments in comics history, such as Jack Kirby leaving Marvel.

"Stan's Soapbox" entry in Captain America Vol 1 #127, July 1970

“Stan’s Soapbox” entry in Captain America Vol 1 #127, July 1970

"Stan's Soapbox" entry in Captain America Vol 1 #129, September 1970

“Stan’s Soapbox” entry in Captain America Vol 1 #129, September 1970

Another element that almost never makes its way into modern reprints is the impressive and sometimes bizarre variety of advertisements that accompanied these superhero stories. Some addressed (or, unfortunately, sometimes took advantage of) the anxieties and insecurities of readers, such as the advertisement below about reading proficiency. Others promoted interesting and strange products, such as a book that teaches readers to throw their voices like a ventriloquist.

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

Advertisements in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

Advertisements in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #107, November 1968

And, of course, some advertisements would announce the publication of new Marvel series, such as the 1970 series featuring Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, the first comic book  published in the United States to feature this famous character.

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #129, September 1970

Advertisement in Captain America Vol 1 #129, September 1970

Advertisement in Ka-Zar the Savage Vol 1 #20, November 1982

Advertisement in Ka-Zar the Savage Vol 1 #20, November 1982

Collectively, these advertisements and other paratextual segments mentioned above help us understand the interests, attitudes, and even spending habits of readers during the late twentieth century. (For similar information on early-twentieth century consumers, see a 1916 store catalog recently made available on the Villanova Digital Library.) They can serve as invaluable resources for research; and, this research can only reach its full potential if researchers have access to original copies of these comic books, rather than being limited to modern reprints.

However, the world of comic-book collecting can be difficult to navigate for those not already familiar with it. Moreover, key issues (i.e., issues that include the first appearance of a major character or a particularly famous moment in a widely beloved story) can be too expensive for most individuals to afford. In an especially extreme case, a copy of Action Comics #1–the first appearance of superman and the birth of the superhero genre as we know it today–sold for $3.18 million last year. However, this case is not reflective of the prices of most older comic books, which are indeed affordable for many heritage institutions. By collecting original copies of comic books, heritage institutions can make these texts accessible to researchers and fans alike. Furthermore, these comics are recent enough to have copyright restrictions, which is why they have not been digitized for the Villanova Digital Library. In most cases, only modern reprints have been made available digitally by Marvel and other major companies. This is yet another reason for heritage institutions to collect physical copies.

The series referenced in this article are part of the growing number of comic books in Falvey’s Distinctive Collections. Be on the lookout for additional blog articles that highlight these comics, their value of research, and their connections to other historical materials at Falvey and beyond. In the meantime, if you are interested in a primer on how to study and appreciate comic books, then make sure to check out Falvey’s copy of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1993).


Like
1 People Like This Post

New Exhibit on the Korean War Now in Vasey Hall

A new exhibit, Korean War: American Forces in Korea, is now available to view in the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center on the ground floor of Vasey Hall. The exhibit focuses on the Korean War, which was fought in 1950-1953 between North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea, supported by the United States. Following three years of conflict, the two sides agreed to an Armistice, resulting in a Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel north, which divides the Korean peninsula to this day. Korean War: American Forces in Korea was curated by Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement Michael Foight and Distinctive Collections Coordinator Christoforos Sassaris. It includes a range of materials covering the war, from 1950s comic books to a letter signed by President Harry S. Truman.

Korean War exhibit case

Korean War exhibit case 1

The first case, pictured above, includes two US military publications that shed light on the experiences of US troops stationed in Korea. The Hour Glass was a newspaper that chronicled the activities of the 7th Infantry Division; it provided US troops with information about Korean history, culture, and language. The Stethoscope served as a newsletter for the 7th Division’s 7th Medical Battalion; it includes illustrations drawn by members of the Battalion.

Plaque commemorating Villanova veteran Lt. Robert T. Munday outside John Barry Hall

Plaque commemorating Villanova veteran Lt. Robert T. Munday outside John Barry Hall

The exhibit also commemorates Villanova alumnus Lt. Robert Munday, who was killed in action while serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. In the first exhibit case, you may view a letter of condolence following Munday’s death signed by President Harry S. Truman, as well as an article on Munday published in a 1951 issue of the Lynx, a literary magazine published by Villanova College from 1948 to 1983. A plaque dedicated to the memory of Munday is found outside of John Barry Hall on the Villanova campus. Moreover, an entry on Munday is found on Honoring the Fallen: An Interactive Memorial Map, a Geographic Information System (GIS) map showing the locations where numerous Villanova veterans died in service. Another Villanova alumnus who died in Korea while serving in the Marine Corps is William Gaul, who is likewise commemorated with an entry on the GIS mapping project. A similar resource is the oral history project The Voices of Villanova’s Veterans, which includes interviews with numerous Villanovans who served in the armed forces.

Korean War exhibit case on popular culture

Korean War exhibit case 2

The second exhibit case, pictured above, includes representations of the Korean War in the popular culture of the 1950s, including an issue of Collier’s magazine and four comic books depicting fictional scenes from the war. The page of Collier’s displayed in the exhibit showcases illustrations of US troops in Korea by artist Howard Brodie (1915-2010), who had previously become known for his sketches of World War II combat. These drawings demonstrate the heavy toll that continuous fighting took on US troops. The comics not only seek to engender sympathy toward troops, but also reflect several widespread attitudes, including McCarthyism, that would persist after the Armistice of 1953. These comics were all published shortly before the creation of the Comics Code Authority, which censored comics for decades, so Korean War-era comics were free to draw on the conventions of horror and similar genres in their depiction of wartime suffering.

Cover for Joe Yank, no. 10. New York: Standard Comics, February 1953.

Cover for Joe Yank, no. 10. New York: Standard Comics, February 1953.

Interestingly, one of the comic-book stories on display (“That’s What I Call Shooting,” found in Soldier Comics no. 11) emphasizes the importance of mapping technologies in war. For more information on this subject, read this article on Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century, an exhibit that was viewable in both Falvey Library and the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center during fall 2022.

You can see the full Korean War: American Forces in Korea exhibit during the spring 2023 semester at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center in Vasey Hall!


Like

Poetic License: American Dialect Poetry

My case for DCDE’s spring exhibit, “Poetic License: Seven Curators’ Poetry Selections from Distinctive Collections” focuses on American dialect poetry in our collections. Dialect poetry is a style of writing that attempts to replicate the sound and speech patterns of people from a particular region or social group. It has often been regarded with mixed feelings – enjoying immense popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but existing mostly outside of the literary canon. When we read these depictions of speech today our initial reaction is likely one of cringe-inducing disgust or dismissal. Yet these examples can be used by students, faculty, and researchers to think critically and open discourse on topics such as racism, stereotypes and bias, the immigrant experience (historically, as well as today), cultural appropriation and authenticity, and to promote cultural awareness and sensitivity.

The case highlights three particular poets writing in this style:

 

T. A. (Thomas Augustine) Daly, 1871-1948:

Daly attended Villanova College from 1880-1887 and went on to enjoy a prolific career in publishing and newspapers. Villanova holds several copies of his volumes, which sold widely, reaching numerous editions. Daly was best known for his humorous verse written primarily in Italian-American or Irish-American dialect. Critics and reviews in his day generally noted his portrayals of immigrant characters as distinguished by sympathy and understanding rather than as harmful or offensive.

Learn more about T.A. Daly in a previous online exhibit here: https://exhibits.library.villanova.edu/t-a-daly

 

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872-1906:

During his short life, Paul Laurence Dunbar published twelve books of poetry, four novels, and four books of short stories. He is regarded as one of the first African American literary figures to gain national and international recognition. Briefly married to Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson (1874-1935), a fellow writer later known for her activism in women’s rights, he died of tuberculosis at age thirty-three.

To a largely white audience, Dunbar’s dialect poetry, written in a style associated with Black speech of the antebellum American South, was seen as “authentic,” though he was born and educated in Dayton, Ohio. For Dunbar, this style of dialect was no more natural than it was for other popular writers also known for the style, such as Mark Twain, Joel Chandler Harris, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Distinctive Collections holds several copies of illustrated volumes of Dunbar’s poetry first published by Dodd, Mead, and Co. between 1899 and 1904. These lovely editions are illustrated with photographs by the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) Camera Club, with book cover and interior decorations by noted book designers Alice Morse (1863-1961) and Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944).

Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy,” from Lyrics of the Hearthside (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1899) later inspired the title to Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (1969).

 

James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916:

One of the most well-known and best-selling poets at the time of dialect poetry’s height of popularity was James Whitcomb Riley. Known as the “National Poet,” the “Hoosier Poet,” or “Children’s Poet,” for his Indiana-based Midwest regional dialect, his homespun poetry was often humorous and sentimental. Riley began his career writing for newspapers and gained fame performing and reading his poetry on traveling public speaking circuits. Two of his best loved poems are “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.”

 

 

Be sure to stop by Falvey’s first floor to see the entire exhibit in person this spring and watch the blog for most posts from the curators!

 


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


 


Like

Foto Friday: Poetic License


“Poetic License” is now on display on the Library’s first floor. The exhibit features poems selected from Falvey Library’s Distinctive Collections. Seven curators were given “poetic license” to curate an exhibit case; selecting specific materials to tell a unique story. Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Archivist, focused on American Dialect Poetry, “a style of writing that attempts to replicate the sound and speech patterns of people from a particular region or social group.” Pictured above is Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy” from his book Lyrics of the Hearthside (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1899). “This poem later inspired the title to Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969).”


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


Like
1 People Like This Post

TBT: HHAW Run For Hunger

Photo courtesy pf the Villanova University Digital Library.


In 1975, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (HHAW) was started by Father Ray Jackson and a group of Villanova students. This organization has a deep history at Villanova. This year, HHAW week is Sunday, Nov. 13 to Saturday, Nov. 19. You can donate a meal or enter the raffle to win prizes at this link. This week’s Throwback Thursday (TBT) is a letter from 1986 that Katie Dean, Chairperson of Run for Hunger, distributed to Villanova faculty.


Anna Jankowski ’23 CLAS is a senior Communication major from just outside Baltimore who ​​works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey Library.

 

 


 


Like

Welcome to Falvey: Meg Piorko, PhD, Joins Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement

Headshot of Meg Piorko, Digital Scholarship Librarian.

Meg Piorko, Distinctive Collections Librarian.


Meg Piorko, PhD, recently joined Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement (DCDE) as Distinctive Collections Librarian. Falvey Library’s rare collections are organized into three categories—Special Collections, University Archives, and the Digital Library. “I am responsible for cataloging new acquisitions and materials currently in the Library’s collections and adding them to the Digital Library.”

Originally from northern Delaware, Piorko earned a BA in Art History and Studio Art from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a MA in Art History from Georgia State University, and a PhD in History from Georgia State University. Before joining the Falvey Library staff she was the Curatorial Fellow for the Othmer Library Special Collections at the Science History Institute. “They have a huge alchemy collection of rare materials,” Piorko reflects on her post-doctorial fellowship at the Science History Institute. “I spent 80 percent of my time researching and 20 percent of my time learning library skills from James R. Voelkel, PhD, Curator of Rare Books. I acquired skills that were not taught in my PhD curriculum; like acquisitions, how to accession new materials in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and all of the library databases.”

Combining her librarianship and academic background, Piorko is focused on digitizing the materiality of a text. “Theoretically, I come from the standpoint of material bibliography. I mostly work on early hand-pressed texts and every copy is unique. When we replicate something it is never the same. Even on a copy machine, each individual material culture object is different from the other one. If you’ve ever seen artists copy the same print over and over…the print changes every time. So do texts when they are copied and when multiple copies are produced (even in the same edition). I’m interested in copy specific evidence of the production of a material culture object (text) and how it was used by different historical actors. For example, people writing in the margins of their text, or chopping them up and putting them with other texts and rebinding them. How knowledge travels through textual media is what I’m interested in and I hope to bring that to my current position when I’m digitizing. Ensuring I’m also capturing the materiality and the copy specific evidence within these objects.”

The broad collections at Falvey Library and the opportunity to stay near the Philadelphia area drew Piorko to Villanova University. “Philadelphia has such a rich intellectual and cultural history. The city has incredible libraries with all kind of objects to study and make available to individuals that want to know about the cultural heritage. Villanova University is an outstanding holding institution for that. I’m really excited about the collections at Falvey Library. They are really broad and the nature of donations that come to Villanova are not subject specific and seem to be driven by relationships rather than subject. Which results in all kinds of fascinating objects that span different cultures and different time periods.”

Piorko is excited to collaborate with the Villanova community. “I am looking forward to bringing special collections into the classroom and public exhibits; encouraging hands-on (to whatever extent is safe for the materials) interactions with these objects. They should not just sit in the library. These objects are living. They are not just printed and the knowledge is stagnant. People continually contribute knowledge to these objects.” Building relationships and communicating the value of these collections to the Villanova community is essential for Piorko. “Falvey’s collections can be another vehicle of knowledge. I want to connect with the community and let them know about the really incredible things that we have in the collections. That’s what drew me here, the opportunity to help connect the humanity of these objects to to what is being learned in the classroom.”

In her free time, Piorko volunteers with PAWS animal rescue in Philadelphia. She enjoys playing board games and card games and going to the moves to watch horror films. Her reading recommendation for Falvey patrons: Out There by Kate Folk. “I loved this book. I like to read futuristic sci-fi that is also social commentary.”

Piorko’s desk is located in Access Services on Falvey’s first floor (email: megan.piorko@villanova.edu). For more on Villanova University’s distinctive collections materials, please visit this webpage. Distinctive collections materials can be viewed in the Rare Book Room (Wednesday’s 9:30 a.m.11:30 p.m. and Thursday’s 2 p.m.4 p.m.) as well as other hours by appointment. Faculty interested in incorporating Falvey’s collections in the classroom can contact Piorko to discuss options for collaboration.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Like

Photo Friday: Art of War

Image of Falvey Library's latest exhibit, Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century on display in the library's first floor.


Falvey Library’s latest exhibit, Art of War: Illustrated and Military Maps of the Twentieth Century, is now on display on the library’s first floor and in select cases at the Prince Family Veterans Resource Center. “Both locations feature a selection of two types of imagery: maps that are illustrated, highly pictorial, and created for public distribution; and topographic maps that have been created by government war offices for use in military conflict.” Read more about the exhibit here.

The exhibit was co-curated by Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Archivist, and Christoforos Sassaris, Distinctive Collections Coordinator, with graphics created by Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication and Marketing.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


Like

From the University Archives: Welcome to Class of 2026

From the University Archives: Welcome to Class of 2026

A Peek into First Year Orientation of the Past

New Student Orientation is designed to welcome and introduce students to what it means to be a Villanovan. During Orientation, first-year and transfer students participate in programs, presentations and activities designed to familiarize themselves with academic and cultural life at Villanova. In celebration of Villanova’s orientation tradition is photographs from orientation throughout the years.


Like

« Previous PageNext Page »

 


Last Modified: August 23, 2022

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top