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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Art & Architecture Library recently acquired an 1870 art classic book entitled Les Chats that features an original etching by the famous French artist Édouard Manet (1832-1883). Cynthia Haven, Associate Director of Communications wrote an article for The Dish on the recent acquisition.

There’s a new cat at the Art & Architecture Library in the Cummings Art Building – and it’s well over a hundred years old.

The 1869 cat is featured in an original etching by the famous French artist ÉDOUARD MANET (1832-1883). The feline is hidden away between the pages of a newly acquired book, the deluxe edition of an 1870 art classic called Les Chats, by JULES-FRANÇOIS-FÉLIX HUSSON, who used the pen name “Champfleury.” The etching is also an  “aquatint” that uses a powdered kind of resin (called rosin) to create a muted gray-blue background.  Manet made the plate by hand, etching fine lines with a needle.

“Le Chat et Les Fleurs” is described as one of Manet’s most subtle combinations of the complex and simple.  According to the late art historian Jean C. Harris, the etching shows the traces of Japanese influence, with its flatness of spatial arrangement and the “rather freely drawn and widely spaced strokes to describe the flowers,” which “help to animate the surface and to relieve the monotony of the uniform aquatinting.”

To read Cynthia's article in its entirety, see the August 29, 2012 edition of The Dish.

California is an island. Always has been. Always will be.

A new Stanford Libraries acquisition of 800 maps from one of the nation's top map collectors, Glen McLaughlin, bolsters the claim: California was portrayed as an island on maps for well over a century.

"To my knowledge, it is the largest collection featuring California as an island in private hands in the world," said McLaughlin. "The collection was built over a 40-year time period, from 1971 to last year."

Cartographers call it the greatest snafu ever, persisting on a few Asian maps even into the 1860s. But perhaps those mapmakers sensed a deeper truth.

Article written by Cynthia Haven, Associate Director for Communications, Stanford University Libraries

Article reposted in part. To read the article in its entirety, see the August 30, 2012, Stanford Report.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In July, approximately 300,000 images representing nearly 800 items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include ~700 books from the Stephen J Gould Rare Books collection, roughly 150 Japanese maps, and the Montana Gothic publication.

Stephen J Gould Rare Books
Stephen Jay Gould was a renowned evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, historian of science, educator, popular science author, and polymath, as well as an enthusiastic collector. This project, focused on digitizing Gould's extensive holdings of rare books which  the Libraries acquired after his death, is part of the Stephen Jay Gould Papers project that enables research and educational communities to discover and access this unique collection of materials. Books digitized under this project are also being sent to Google and will be visible in the Google Book Search.
Example image:
Added to SDR: 693 volumes, consisting of over 288,000 scanned pages
Content Contact: John Mustain

Gaihozu Maps
Known collectively as "Gaihozu Maps", these maps of Japan and territories outside of Japan (referred to as "Gaihozu") were produced by the Japanese Land Survey Department of the General Staff Headquarters. Created between the Meiji era and the end of WWII, this collection is part of a world-wide effort to preserve this historically and scientific important set of materials. More information about this collection is available in an article in ReMix, the Stanford Libraries Newsletter. Branner Library holds ~10,000 of these maps. This represents the initial portion of the digitization work.
Example image:
Added to SDR: 147 maps, 294 images
Content Contact: Julie Sweetkind-Singer and Salim Mohammed

Montana Gothic
Montana Gothic was the first independent (small press) literary magazine published in Montana. Mixing Montana poets and artists with national and international expatriate literary culture, all with a surrealist flavor, during its brief existence the publication developed an international following.
Example image:
Added to SDR: 6 volumes consisting of roughly 700 pages
Content Contact: Roberto Trujillo

Inclusion in the Stanford Digital Repository ensures that these materials are available to researchers and scholars (while upholding appropriate access restrictions), now and in the future through a secure, sustainable stewardship environment. While many of these objects are already discoverable via SearchWorks others will get SearchWorks records in the coming months. All materials are currently available via the item’s PURL (a persistent URL which ensure that these materials are available from a single URL over the long-term, regardless of changes in file location or application technology).

Questions about the Stanford Digital Repository service should be directed to

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Stanford University Libraries recently completed a four-year project that conserved and digitized 350 fragile fragments of ancient papyri previously inaccessible to scholars. The collection comprises papyri fragments containing Demotic, Greek, Coptic, and Arabic writing, dating from 200 BCE through 200 CE. Many of the fragments are "cartonage" (discarded papyri manuscripts used to wrap mummies) excavated at Giza in the early 20th century.

The project began in early 2008, when Dr. Joseph Manning from the Department of Classics contacted the Preservation Department. Classics was preparing to host the Stanford Papyrological Institute and wished to display the papyri. However, the fragments' delicacy and brittleness rendered them impossible to read - and most were rolled, folded, and covered in plaster from the mummies.

The Preservation Department enlisted the expertise of Leyla Lau Lamb, a papyri conservation expert from the University of Michigan, to provide specialized training to Stanford's conservators. Following the training, Elizabeth Ryan took the lead, and with the assistance of David Brock, Carolee Wheeler, and Sarah Newton, successfully treated 43 fragments for use at the Papyrological Institute. The conservation staff documented, stabilized, conserved, and housed the papyri, making them assessable for scholarly use.

Staff continued work on the remaining fragments, eventually conserving all 350 pieces. Digital Library Systems and Services will scan each fragment, and make them available through the Stanford Digital Repository.