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Two weeks ago we saw the Three Little Kittens get scolded for losing their mittens. Today see our heroes get into even more mischief, much to their mother’s consternation. Happy Feline Friday everyone!

Harvard’s 141st football season opens tonight versus Holy Cross. Believe it or not, there was a time when Harvard was a football power as well as an academic one. The Crimson won nine national championships between 1890 and 1919. Three of those teams were coached by Percy Haughton, who wrote Football and How to Watch It (1922), the book from which the above images were taken. Harvard still plays in the stadium pictured here, but the crowds only approach this size for the Harvard-Yale game (known in these parts as The Game).

The poems, with specimens of the prose writings, 1885. Blake, William, from The Canterbury Poets series.

If you had been a dapper young Harvard man in 1885, you might have carried a small book like this in your suit jacket pocket so that you could read “on the go.” You might even have been inspired to pencil this sketch of a horse with what appears to be a partial autograph onto the last leaf of the book.

Of course, if you’d been this young Harvard student and penciled this sketch, you might also have heard about it from the librarian after you returned the book. If you deface library property it’s “vandalism.” More than a century later, it will be referred to as “ephemera.” This transformation will take place far too late to save you from the hefty fines.

Illustrations of Rip Van Winkle : designed and etched by Felix O. C. Darley, for the members of the American Art-Union, 1848

A special subscription issuing of the Washington Irving short story, with illustrations.

Happy Birthday to James Fenimore Cooper, born today in 1789. While Cooper is known today primarily for his frontier novels, he also wrote extensively on ships and the sea (and at least one story with a monkey). These illustrations are from The Cooper Gallery (1865), a posthumous collection of selection of Cooper’s writings edited by his daughter Susan, with illustrations by well-known contemporary illustrators.

We don’t only have books in our collection. This is a Czechoslovakian board game from 1991 based on the game of Monopoly. The title translates as “Let’s Build a Statue of Stalin”. This kind of irreverence of course could only occur following the 1989 Velvet Revolution and shows the fun some Czechs were having mocking the Soviet regime.

Special thanks to our colleagues in Collections Conservation Lab for alerting us to this unusual item! And to Anna Aizman for helping us with translation (bon voyage Anna!).

For Feline Friday we have illustrations from The Cat: An Introduction to the Study of Backboned Animals, Especially Mammals (1881). This is from Chapter 12, “Different Kinds of Cats”. We have to say some of these do look different from any other cats we’ve ever seen.

A selection of engravings from The World’s Worship in Stone (1880). Cathedrals featured, from top: Siena Duomo (exterior and interior); St. Peters, Rome (exterior and interior); Freiburg Cathedral; St. John’s Church, Chester. We will be featuring more images from this book in the coming weeks.

It’s time for another Where in Widener? Wednesday. There’s no mystery to this photo though: this is the view from the base of our main staircase. The murals are by John Singer Sargent.
Photo courtesy of Enrique Diaz.

It’s time for another Where in Widener? Wednesday. There’s no mystery to this photo though: this is the view from the base of our main staircase. The murals are by John Singer Sargent.

Photo courtesy of Enrique Diaz.

A Weekend in September by John Edward Weems, first edition 1957

It was called Hurricane Gale, but it’s regionally remembered as The Storm. Before it hit, Galveston was positioned to become one of the great U.S. cities for the new millennium. Two photos from this book show the same apartment block, with one of the residents’ handwritten notations, as a solid mass in one photo and a war-ravaged ruin in the second, demonstrating the devastation of wind and water on September 7-9, 1900.

The Weems book compiles dozens of survivors’ accounts into an eyewitness history of the disaster.

The Galveston County Daily News site The 1900 Storm has photos, film clips, and survivors’ tales. 

Some colorful butterflies and moths to brighten a Monday morning. These lovely illustrations are from The Complete Writings of Thomas Say on the Entomology of North America (1859).

A look back at Harvard and Ivy League Life in 1969 →

lamontlibrary:

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Julia Schmalz for The Chronicle

Here’s something fun that’s come our way: The Ivy League Guidebook, written by three enterprising Harvard undergrads way back in 1969. If you want to read about it (and what it says to us now, all these years later, about campus culture at a moment…

We’re thrilled at the recent Tumblr debut of Lamont, our sister library and the first undergraduate library in the United States! Today we know it as one of the most popular study spaces for undergrads on campus and as a charming example of midcentury architecture and design.

In 1949, Lamont Library’s modern style was an extremely controversial addition to the centuries-old Harvard Yard. Perhaps in an attempt to reassure the community, Harvard Library Bulletin’s Winter 1949 issue included pieces about the concept, design and function of the library from architect Henry R. Shepley and Harvard Library director Keyes D. Metcalfe.

Check out Lamont’s Tumblr!

Featured: The Ivy League Guidebook, 1969.

For the first Feline Friday of the school year we have a classic cat tale. These illustrations are from Three Little Kittens (1857), a slender volume including text and musical versions of the well-known nursery rhyme, In these illustrations the kittens are being scolded for losing their mittens.

This bookplate was inspired by the 1931 theft of almost 2000 Widener books by an alumnus of the graduate school. The thief was in fact sentenced to two years in prison (not hard labor). And while we don’t condone writing in library books, we are amused by the wag who equated hard labor with spending time at M.I.T. 
For more information on the theft and the publicity surrounding it, see Widener: Biography of a Library, pp. 87-89.
Thanks to Lauren Telepak for showing us this one!

This bookplate was inspired by the 1931 theft of almost 2000 Widener books by an alumnus of the graduate school. The thief was in fact sentenced to two years in prison (not hard labor). And while we don’t condone writing in library books, we are amused by the wag who equated hard labor with spending time at M.I.T.

For more information on the theft and the publicity surrounding it, see Widener: Biography of a Library, pp. 87-89.

Thanks to Lauren Telepak for showing us this one!

It’s a hot and humid first day of school here in Cambridge. We thought maybe these beautiful engravings of the sea might make everyone feel a little bit cooler. From The Ocean World (1869), which contains an additional 420 of these illustrations.