New Acquisition: Leaf Printed by William Caxton, 1482

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of an incunabula leaf from the Polychronicon printed by William Caxton (c. 1422-1491), the English printer who notably brought the first printing press to England in 1476.

Printed leaf in Gothic face with initials and paragraphs added by hand in red ink.
[D17 .H6 1482, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
The Polychronicon was a popular work written by Ranulf Higden (c. 1280-1364), a Benedictine monk of Chester, which chronicled the history of the world and was primarily adapted from the Bible. This newly acquired leaf is from the first edition of this work printed by Caxton at his press in Westminster after July 2, 1482. John of Trevisa (1342-1402) first translated the Polychronicon from the original Latin into English in the late fourteenth century, a text that has been useful in the study of the English language and medieval access to Biblical ideas through the vernacular. Caxton printed Trevisa’s English translation, but he also updated the text and “somewhat changed the rude and old English” to account for linguistic changes that had occurred over the century.

This leaf contains text from chapter 12 of book 4 of the Polychronicon, which recounts history during the life of the Roman Emperor Domitian. The leaf measures 11 x 8.25” and the text is composed of 40 lines in Gothic type with red rubrics and paragraph flourishes. The leaf also includes marginal annotations in a contemporary hand. Caxton’s printed leaf supports research in the material history of the book and printing in the West and joins other examples of early printing available in the rare book collection.

New Finding Aid | Occupy Eugene collection

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new finding aid published for the Occupy Eugene collection (Coll 484). The finding aid is now available on Archives West.

Buttons, pins, name badges related to Occupy Eugene
[Artifacts, Occupy Eugene collection, Box 3, Coll 484, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
The Occupy Eugene collection contains notes, agendas, contact lists, speeches, campaign plans, drafted proposals, reports, event lists, correspondence, photographs, DVDs, posters, handmade signs, fliers, handouts, clippings, newsletters, guides for protesting, chants, and documentation relating to other Occupy movements throughout the United States.

The Occupy Eugene movement began in 2011 with the aim to invoke “accountability and responsibility in government.” In line with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Eugene protested global banks and corporations arguing that these entities “embody the process that causes untold misery among 99% of the people for the benefit of top tenth of one percent with incomprehensible wealth.” The Eugene movement also supported a campaign to decriminalize homelessness. Protesters occupied local parks, including Millrace and Alton Baker.

Source: Occupy Eugene General Assembly. (2011). Vision statement. Retrieved from https://occupyeugenemedia.org/vision-statement/

New Acquisition: La Chymie Charitable et Facile en Faveur des Dames, 1687

Engraving showing a robed woman pulling back a curtain to show books and vessels.
[Frontispiece, QD14 .M48 1674, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
Special Collections and University Archives has recently acquired a copy of La Chymie Charitable et Facile en Faveur des Dames (Free and Easy Chemistry for Ladies), a treatise by French chemist and alchemist Marie Meurdrac (c. 1610-1680).
Meurdrac’s La Chymie is a notable work in the history of early modern science and is especially noteworthy as a contribution by a woman in the field. The text was first published in 1656 in Paris and subsequently published in five more French editions and translated into German and Italian. SCUA’s copy is one of the third edition printed in 1687, which is the first edition to contain an illustrated frontispiece depicting a Classically-robed woman theatrically pulling back a curtain to reveal books and vessels associated with chemical experimentation.

Classification of La Chymie’s genre has been actively debated and negotiated by twentieth-century scholars. The text addresses (1) principles and operations, vessels, lutes, furnaces, characteristics and weights, (2) medical herbs and medicines made from such plants, (3) animals, (4) metals, (5) making compound medicines, and (6) methods of preserving and increasing beauty for women. It primarily describes the language, equipment, recipes, and processes of alchemy, including a fold-out plate depicting a reference table of alchemical symbols (pictured below). These processes are also related to early modern chemistry, and recent interrogations of the boundaries of historical disciplines has allowed scholars to consider the work as an amalgamation of early modern genres including recipe or “receipt” books, medical cookery, alchemy, chemistry, and medicine (Feinstein, 2009).

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New Finding Aid | Gordon Gilkey portfolio of etchings

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new finding aid published for a portfolio of etchings made by Gordon Gilkey titled “A Series of Etchings Showing the Construction Progress of the University of Oregon Library” (Coll 242). The finding aid is now available on Archives West.

Etching of the University of Oregon Knight Library during construction
[Gordon Gilkey, U of O Library Facade, 1936, Gordon Gilkey portfolio “A Series of Etchings Showing the Construction Progress of the University of Oregon Library”, Coll 242, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
This portfolio contains 15 line etchings detailing the progress of the 1936 construction of what is now the Knight Library at the University of Oregon. Gilkey completed this portfolio as his thesis for a Master of Fine Arts degree in etching at the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 1936.

Gordon W. Gilkey (1912-2000) earned the first Masters in Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of Oregon in 1936. Early in his career he was an official etcher during the New York World’s Fair, 1937-1939. Later he became an art professor and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University, positions he held for 30 years. During World War II he founded an international program for the protection of art and later helped recover art stolen by the Nazis. Gilkey was also instrumental in establishing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the Oregon Arts Commission.

 

New Finding Aid | Western photographer collection

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new finding aid published for the Western photographer collection (PH368). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

Photo of men surrounding fallen tree. The large tree contains a crevasse so large a horse has been placed inside for scale.
[Photo by J. A. Meisor, circa 1890s-1904, Western photographer collection, PH368, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
The Western photographer collection is a compilation of historic photographic prints taken by photographers in the Western United States. The prints depict a wide variety of subjects dating 1841-1968, which predominantly center on the following themes: events, geographic areas, industries and transportation, land and cityscapes, and people in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Alaska. Some individual subjects include: floods, fires, parades, logging, mining, shipping, farms, natural scenery, housing, and portraits of politicians, Native Americans, pioneers, and families.

Scattered remains of wood from dynamite explosion of a structure.
[Photo by Barnard Studio, 1899, Western photographer collection, PH368, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]
–Liliya Benz, Special Collections Intern