At a glance

Special Collections & University Archives

Manuscripts Division

The Manuscripts Division of the Department of Special Collections exists to arrange, describe, preserve, and make available documents and born-digital materials of enduring historic value, both as intellectual items and as historical artifacts, to support the research needs of the undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and other scholars at Stanford University and beyond. Stanford University Library subject curators actively seek out collections to enhance our holdings. Since 2009, Special Collections has been involved in developing a Born-Digital Program in collaboration with the Digital Library Systems and Services Department.

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Ruth Asawa at Tamarind lithography workshop 1965 by an unknown photographer

Walking around campus, one can readily see the impact of Stanford’s Arts Initiative. Joining the existing Cantor Arts Center are several new buildings, including the Bing Concert Hall, which opened in 2013, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, which opened on September 21st, and the growing structure that will be the McMurtry Building, slated to open in 2015.

In parallel with this new focus on the arts, the MSS division in Special Collections has worked over the last year with Peter Blank and Anna Fishaut at the Art & Architecture Library, in identifying and funding the preservation and processing of four recently acquired art collections. Some of the projects will include selected reformatting of audio-visual elements, processing of digital files, additional digitization efforts, and collaboration with the libraries’ Department of Conservation and the Art Library’s Visual Resources Center.

Portrait of Mandelbrot

 

The Manuscripts Division is thrilled to announce that the Benoit Mandelbrot Papers are now open for research. A finding aid to the collection is available on the Online Archive of California and materials are pageable through the catalog record in Searchworks.

The papers document the life and work of Benoit Mandelbrot, maverick mathematician and pioneer of fractal geometry. The collection contains biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, drafts and typescripts for books and articles, subject files, and reprints. The collection also contains a significant amount of research data, including notes, plots, graphs, and computer-generated visualizations of fractals. Also included are teaching materials, administrative records, awards, and materials related to publicity events, such as posters and flyers announcing conferences and lectures focusing on fractals or related topics. Other formats present in the collection include photographs, audiovisual material, and computer media, as well as an extensive amount of fractal and fractal-related artwork.

Music manuscript facsimiles

On display in the Music Library are a variety of facsimiles of musical manuscripts. Items range from a meticulous reproduction of the 15th-century Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, a heart-shaped collection of courtly love songs worked with gilt and fine hand illustrations, to a very convincing replica of the notebook page upon which Kurt Cobain penned lyrics for the iconic song Smells Like Teen Spirit.