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Rare books

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

Broadwood grand piano, 1810

Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas for the voice with an accompaniment for the Piano-Forte : dedicated to Mrs. John Hunter. London : Printed for the Author, & Sold by him at No. 1, Bury Street, St. James - at Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co. Music Sellers to her Majesty, No. 7 Dean Street, Soho & Bridge Street, Edinburgh, [1794-1795]

Second sett of Dr. Haydn's VI original canzonettas : for the voice with an accompaniment for the piano forte / dedicated to the Right Honble. Lady Charlotte Bertie. London : Printed & sold for Messrs. Corri, Dussek & Co., [1795?]

Download images of the complete works: First set | Second set

What a time Haydn must have had during his London stays in the early 1790s! Already hailed as a great composer, and preceded by the performance and publication of numerous successful works including symphonies, string quartets, and works for keyboard, he was eagerly embraced by London society.

As reported in the Lady’s Magazine, January 1791:

“A remarkable circumstance happened this evening, in the ball-room at
 St. James's. Haydn, the celebrated 
composer, though he has not yet been 
introduced at our court, was recognised
 by all the royal family, and paid them 
his silent respects. Mr. Haydn came 
into the room with sir John Gallini, 
Mr. Wills, and Mr. Salomon. The 
prince of Wales first observed him, and
 upon bowing to him, the eyes of all the
 company were upon Mr. Haydn, every
one paying him respect.”

Haydn Lieder (1781) title page detail

XII Lieder fur as Clavier, erster Teil (1781), HXXVIa:1-12

Link to downloadable images of this work 

The Lieder were among the first works requested for publication by Haydn’s Austrian publisher, Artaria & Co., with whom he began a relationship at the end of the 1770s.  Artaria announced publication of this first set of Lieder in December 1781 (the second set followed in 1784), possibly to coincide with the festivities surrounding the Grand Tour of Russian Grand Duke Paul (later Tzar Paul II) and his entourage, including the Count and Countess von Norden. Other works published around this time were the highly praised op. 33 quartets. Both the Lieder and the op. 33 quartets represent a break from Haydn's more studious earlier works; the tribute to laziness that is "Lob der Faulheit" (in the second set of Lieder) in particular, has been singled out for its wit and overall affect.

Title page of the Bonaparte Edition (detail)

Collection complette des quatuors / d'Haydn ; dédiée au Premier Consul Bonaparte
A Paris : Chez Pleyel, auteur et editeur de musique, [1802]

Link to downloadable images of this work

Goethe described the classical string quartet form as “four rational people conversing,” a type of discourse embodied in the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Haydn, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, shaped the string quartet into the form we know today, moving away from the typical divertimenti solo with accompaniment, to four equal voices working out thematic material in (often lively) conversation. The complete set of parts featured here is a variant of the first edition of Haydn’s complete string quartets, dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, and known as the “Bonaparte Edition,” published by Maison Pleyel in Paris in 1803. 

The Stanford Libraries recently acquired a collection of 214 libretti of French opera and ballets in first and early editions, from the 17th-19th centuries. The major concentration is in 18th-century material, with significant representation of the works of major composers of the period, Dalayrac, Duni, Grétry, Lully, Monsigny, Philidor, Alexandre Piccinni and Nicolas Piccinni. The inclusion of first and early editions provides the opportunity for comparison of first performances and revivals. Libretti are important records of performance history, often including details such as names of the cast, choreographers, set designers, dancers, and other musicians involved in the production.

We're delighted to announce that Stanford Libraries is now a member of the Center for Research Libraries - Global Forum Network. This greatly expands the gamut of research materials that are available to the entire Stanford community.

CRL is a partnership of more than 275 university, college, and independent research libraries. For 60-plus years CRL has acquired and preserved newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources, and made them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery.

The Center for Research Libraries provide approximately five million publications, archives, and collections and one million digital resources to its member libraries to supplement their own humanities, science, and social science holdings. CRL has in-depth holdings that support research in history of science, economics, law and government, immigration and population studies, international diplomacy, cultural studies, and more. In addition, a partnership with the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology offers access to tens of thousands of scarce journal titles (many of them in foreign languages) to CRL members.

CRL materials can be obtained for extended loan periods and at no cost by users affiliated with member libraries. CRL resources include:

  • 6,500 international newspapers, many dating to the 1700s—the largest collection of circulating newspapers in North America.
  • 4,500 U.S. newspapers, many dating to the colonial era, including 2,000 ethnic titles. Foreign journals rarely held in U.S. libraries.
  • More than 800,000 foreign dissertations.
  • Area Studies: major microform and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, and many other areas.
  • Access to the Linda Hall Library’s science, technology, and engineering serials.
  • Access to the Law Library Microform Consortium's (LLMC) digital resources.

 

For background on the Center for Research Libraries visit its website and to see what exactly is in their collection, go to the CRL online catalog.

Yung-Yidish no. 1, cover.
I'm pleased to announce that the Stanford University Libraries have digitized a complete set of the rare (and fragile) avant-garde Yiddish literary and artistic journal Yung-Idish.  All three issues were published in Lodz, 1919, and the digitized versions are found at the following URLs:
 
 
For background on the Yung-Idish (or: Yung-yidish) group, see the entry in the YIVO Encyclopediahttp://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Yung-yidish.
"The founding of Yung-yidish, the first Yiddish artistic avant-garde group in Poland, grew out of a meeting in 1918 between poet Moyshe Broderzon and a group of visual artists centered around Yitskhok Broyner, Yankl Adler, and Marek Szwarc. Eventually, the group included some 20-odd members including Yitsḥak Katzenelson, Yekhezkl-Moyshe Nayman, and Hershele, as well as younger people discovered by the group, such as the artist Henekh Bartshinski and the writers Elimelekh Shmulevitsh, Khayim Leyb Fuks, and Yisroel Shtern."
 
Yung-Idish was also the subject of a scholarly monograph by the Polish art historian Jerzy Malinowski: Grupa "Jung Idysz" i żydowskie środowisko "Nowej Sztuki" w Polsce, 1918-1923. Warszawa: Polska Akademia Nauk, Instytut Sztuki, 1987.
 
In addition, I see that there is a Facebook page devoted to the group:
 

Stanford's set of Yung-Idish is part of the Ezra Lahad Collection, which was acquired by Roger Kohn for Stanford in 1998.  The issues, on crumbling thin cardboard stock, were painstakingly conserved by the Stanford Libraries' professional conservators in 2012, prior to their digitization.

Section relating to Special Collections Technical Services at SUL's Redwood City location.

Changes are on the horizon for Special Collections’ Technical Services Divisions - specifically the Rare Book Cataloging and Manuscripts Units. A few recent posts have referred to our imminent move to SUL’s Redwood City (RWC) location, so here finally is some information about this event. The Rare Book Cataloging Unit is the first to move and is being relocated over the Labor Day weekend; the Manuscripts Technical Services Unit will move there around the end of October.