Some lockdown-era donations

Our department, Collections and Academic Liaison, works on the lion’s share of donations of books made to the University Library.  Since our numbers in the library building have had to be kept very low since mid-March last year, our focus in the office has chiefly been on cataloguing new bought books, but this post mentions a few donations that we have been able to process recently. Continue reading

Ukrainian donations from New York : the November 2020 Slavonic items of the month

The English alphabet shown with the letters’ pronunciation in Ukrainian Cyrillic (from the penultimate book listed below).

This summer, I received five boxes of donations from the Shevchenko Scientific Society in the United States.  The Society had offered duplicates to libraries around the world, and we were fortunate enough to receive a few hundred with the help of the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies programme which paid for delivery.  While we have avoided having library material delivered to our homes, these boxes did come to my house with the agreement of the Society and the CUS programme lead, because timing was of the essence and the University Library building was at that point not fully open for deliveries. Continue reading

Frederick Justen and L’Eclipse: the early 20th c. donation of 1870-71 Franco-Prussian caricatures and satirical magazines to Cambridge UL

Six large volumes of around 1100 caricatures of 1870-71 (KF.3.9-14), digitised by Cambridge Digital Content Unit, with funding by Cambridge Digital Humanities, have just been made available on our Digital Library. This digitisation was enabled through a research project coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Prussian war and focusing on collections of French and German caricatures produced at the time which were brought to the UK shortly afterwards. While beginning to investigate the 1870-71 caricatures collection, I wondered about the role and evidence for the contribution of the bookseller Frederick Justen (1832-1906), who we know played a key role in assembling and bringing to the UK several collections of 1870-71 caricatures (see the articles by Daniels, 2005 and Müller, 2011-12).

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A small update on the Bowness collection


In an earlier blog post on this subject, my colleague Mel explained that Professor Sir Alan Bowness had generously donated several thousand items from his personal library, mainly consisting of exhibition catalogues and related ephemera such as private view cards. Slowly but steadily, these items have been making their way into iDiscover as we work through the collection. In this blog post, I’ll talk about the slightly smaller c size catalogues (between 22 and 25 cm in height) that I’ve been working on since last autumn (classified under Bowness.c.), but many of the larger catalogues (sizes a and b) have also been catalogued and are available to browse under the Bowness classmark.

It is an eclectic collection of catalogues, documenting the exhibitions of sculptors, etchers, woodcut and linocut artists, installation artists, pop artists and painters, mostly from the 1980s (when Sir Alan was Director of the Tate), 1990s and 2000s. The exhibitions are largely located in the UK (many in London and St Ives, Cornwall, as you might expect), but there are also numerous exhibitions from further afield – including several at the André Emmerich Gallery in New York and Phillip King’s 1997 sculpture show at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence (Bowness.c.49).

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George Steiner bequest

Professor George Steiner’s donation

I was recently delighted to catalogue and add to our collections a number of rare German philosophy and literature titles. These rather special books came from the library of the eminent literary scholar, the late Professor George Steiner who sadly died earlier this year. Numerous obituaries have been published outlining his career and achievements. George Steiner had finally settled in Cambridge after a long career which took him from the University of Chicago to Harvard, Oxford, Princeton and Geneva. Living in Cambridge he became a regular user of the University Library and it was his wish that some of the most precious volumes of his library should come eventually to the University Library.

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