Talk on the Liberation Collection, 22nd February

Originally posted on the Special Collections blog:

On Thursday 22nd February Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey will give a talk to the Cambridge Bibliographical Society on ‘The power of the image in liberated France, 1944-46’.

His talk is inspired by imagery from the collection he has put together (recently presented to the University Library) on the German occupation of France during the war and its liberation by the allied forces. Beautiful books began to be published immediately after the liberation of Paris in August 1944 even though the war was still being fought in France. Once Paris was free and the Vichy government had collapsed, censorship came to an end, and it is the immediacy of this response and the quality of the books themselves that makes this period so interesting for the history of the book.

Talk starts at 17.00. Tea from 16.30 before the talk.

Free event, no booking required. Members and non-members of Cambridge Bibliographical Society welcome.

Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library
Thursday, 22 February, 2018

All welcome; booking not required

Victoire, numéro special (Paris, 1945)

New additions to the Revolution exhibition : the January 2017 Slavonic items of the month

In late 2017, we announced on this blog the start of Revolution : the First Bolshevik Year, a new online exhibition at the University Library tracking the dramatic events unfolding one hundred years ago.  Since then, two new batches of items have been added.  Most recently, six pieces have gone up which link to developments in December 1917 and January 1918 (this doubling up will cease with the next month’s batch, since the Soviet adoption of the Gregorian calendar took place in February 1918).  Stamps, books, music, and a satirical cartoon, the new items relate to the formation of the Red Army and the increasing activity of the White movement, revolution and the arts, and the short-lived Constituent Assembly.

The preceding batch looked at the December 1917 armistice for the Eastern Front, the rapidly unravelling situation in Ukraine, and the introduction of revolutionary economy.

Full captions for all the items featured in this post can be found on the exhibition site.

Before long, the most exciting stage of work on the exhibition – the involvement of undergraduates as co-curators – is due to begin.  A further report on progress will appear on this blog before long.

Mel Bach

Elizabeth Friedlander, modern print designer

Anyone interested in typography and book design will want to visit Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft in East Sussex this spring to see the exhibition devoted to the delightful work of Elizabeth Friedlander (1903-1985).

Born Elisabeth Friedländer (she anglicized her name on settling in Great Britain) into an affluent Jewish family, she studied typography and calligraphy under the renowned typographer Emil Rudolf Weiss. After completing her studies, she worked for the German fashion magazine Die Dame where she was responsible for designing headings and layouts. Her work came to the attention of the Bauer Type Foundry, one of the leading type foundries at the time, well known for commissioning and issuing modern and attractive typefaces (for example Futura by Paul Renner and Weiss Antiqua by Emil Rudolf Weiss). The foundry commissioned Elizabeth Friedlander to design a typeface. She finished the design in 1937 and the types were in production by 1938. “Elisabeth”, as the typeface became known as, is an elegant font, which cannot hide the influence of Emil Rudolf Weiss.

Promotional material issued by the Bauer Type Foundry (Morison.86.811)

Continue reading

Russian Revolution exhibition at the University Library

Futurizm i revoliutsiia (Futurism and revolution) by N. Gorlov; CCD.54.243

This week saw the launch of Revolution : the First Bolshevik Year, a year-long online exhibition which will grow on a monthly basis and will be co-curated with undergraduates.  The first month’s exhibits are also on physical display to readers and the public in the Library’s Entrance Hall for today and tomorrow – Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December 2017.

This exhibition will look at the events of the October Revolution and the year that followed, using a wide range of material from the University Library’s collections to illustrate the dramatic 1917-1918 timeline.  In future months, we will see students from various faculties and departments get involved in the project, giving them the chance to curate books and objects from the Library’s fascinating revolution-era collections.

The first month’s worth of exhibits consists of 11 items in 8 online groups, telling the story of the 27 October/7 November start of the revolution, with postcards of Moscow showing buildings altered by the fighting that took place and foreign accounts of the tumultuous events in Petrograd and beyond, before taking an initial look at the impact of the revolution on the arts.  Regular readers of this blog will be unsurprised to hear that several of these first exhibits (and more of those to come) are from the Catherine Cooke collection.  It is a pleasure to be able to look out items there and further afield in the Library for the exhibition, and I hope that students will feel similarly inspired as they handle this remarkable material.  Monthly updates to the online exhibition will be flagged by further blog posts.

Excerpt from Dvenadtsat’ (The twelve) by Aleksandr Blok with illustrations by Iurii Annenkov; S756.a.91.1

Mel Bach


The feat of the Real Academia Española’s first dictionary (part 2)

The dictionary lacked a general method and workflows were divided among the authors by combinations of letters. They took for granted that every academic was equally qualified, worked at the same speed, and was following the same criteria as the rest of the team – criteria which, incidentally, were not precisely established from the start. For instance, not all authors were using the same edition of a given work to find the quotes from authorities, so knowing the folio or page number is not particularly useful. The original intentions were too ambitious and some cuts in the plan were required. There was no room for adding the vocabulary of the arts and sciences. This task was postponed, with plans for an eventual separate dictionary dedicated to that vocabulary; a project never undertaken. Continue reading