Spring Fever

Here at Special Collections and University Archives, spring fever has sprung! This is the first warm week in Michigan this season (averaging over 60 degrees F) and considering that very recently there was accumulation of almost an inch of ice, this weather feels marvelous. So we felt inspired to look through our collections to see what interesting spring-related books we could discover.

The Tales of Beatrix Potter

This lovely collection from the Folio Society includes several of Beatrix Potter’s tales, including the well-known The Tale of Peter Rabbit. They all feature Potter’s original drawings. These tales are timeless and the adorable drawings make them perfect reading material for a sunny spring day.

Beatrix Potter_all new
Potter, Beatrix. The Tales of Beatrix Potter. London, Frederick Warne, 2007, 12 vols.

The Fables of Aesop

Also published by the Folio Society, this book piqued my interest personally because as a Classics major, almost everything relating to Ancient Greece and Rome is exciting, especially if it still influences the modern world. These fables are accredited to Aesop, a slave from Ancient Greece, and are mostly short stories that end with a moral. Spring is considered a time for renewal and birth so this is a perfect time to read these. Some of our modern proverbs and popular tales derive from these fables including: “birds of a feather flock together”, the “boy who cried wolf”, and The Tortoise and the Hare.

The Fables of Aesop_pg 8

Aesop used the story The Pomegranate, Apple-Tree, and Bramble as a clever allusion to both spring and the Judgement of Paris.

The Fables of Aesop_pg 41

The Fables of Aesop_pg 45
Aesop.The Fables of Aesop. London, Folio Society, 1998.

Pomegranates are associated with Persephone, the goddess of spring growth. During a trip to the Underworld, she ate a handful of pomegranate seeds, which meant she had to spend at least part of the year there (the winter months). Her return to Earth in springtime is marked with warmer weather, flowers and trees, including apple trees, blossoming, as well as grain beginning to grow. Bramble fruit, however, is harvested at the end of summer, early fall — when Persephone returns to the Underworld. The “apple-tree” refers to the Judgement of Paris when he was given a golden apple and had to decide whether Athena, Aphrodite, or Hera was the fairest.

The Garden & Other Poems

If poetry is more your style, this would be a perfect read. The Garden was one of the most famous English poems from the 17th century and is a romantic poem that utilizes nature as a way to express emotions. This collection of poems, also published by the Folio Society, is about the size of my hand so if a quick yet enjoyable read is what you desire, this is a wonderful option.  With woodblock illustrations adding to the beautiful poems, whoever reads this will feel the joy of spring.
The Garden_pg 3The Garden_pg 9

The Garden_pg 7
Marvell, Andrew. The Garden & Other Poems. London, Folio Society, 1993.

The Secret Garden

Continuing with the idea of gardens, this is also a fitting book for spring. Another Folio Society publication, this book is filled with beautiful drawings that enhance the reading experience. Also, with the theme being rejuvenation, this book shows that when something is neglected it withers, but when it is cared for it blooms. This is demonstrated in the characters Mary and Colin. (If you are curious as to why, you will have to read the book!)

The Secret Garden_cover fullThe Secret Garden_title pg edited

The Secret Garden_pg 183 edite
Burnett, Frances H. The Secret Garden. London, Folio Society, 1986.

The Englishman’s Flora

This is the next great nature example which goes through all of plants in England, specifically the British Isle, while providing the names, botanical names, locations, as well as ancient lore and uses for each and 44 illustrations. We are featuring three illustrations below:

Englishman's Flora_pg 125

The first plant is the Rowan tree / Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia which is a prime tree for protection; the berries are even red, which is one of the best colors for warding off evil. Plant some Rowan trees around your house for protection against the supernatural. On May Day when fairies and witches are abroad, the Irish would nail pieces of Rowan over their doors and tied around their milk churns to prevent their butter and milk from being stolen. In Ireland, rowan was also thought to keep the dead from rising so it was planted in graveyards as well as sometimes being built into coffins. A fun fact about the Rowan tree is that it was also held sacred to Ukko, the Finnish god of the sky, weather, harvest, and thunder.

 

Englishman's Flora_pg 276 edited

The next plant is the Elecampane, Inula helenium, which is part of the sunflower family. Elecampane is good against coughs, asthma, stomach problems, protection against the Plague, and to heal the bites from poisonous animals. This plant was present in Anglo-Saxon recipes, half medical and half magical, to prevent elf-sickness.

 

Englishman's Flora_pg 325 edited
Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman’s Flora. London, Folio Society, 1987.

 

 

 

The third plant is Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum multiflorum, named after Josephus’ Solomon, a conjurer, enchanter, and philosopher, because Solomon set his praise upon its roots. This plant is used for gluing back together broken bones and could also be used to help bruises heal quicker, particularly black eyes.

 

 

 

The Victorian Wood-block Illustrators

Another example of a nature filled book, this features many woodblock illustrations completed by various artists as well as providing a lot of wonderful information about each artist. Nature — with a focus on plants and animals — seems to be a popular subject of woodblock illustrations making this another great example of a spring book.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Book Art: The Beauty of Marbled Paper

Paper marbling can be summed up as the “method for producing colored designs on paper or on the edges of books in which liquid colors are first suspended upon a liquid surface” (Wolfe, 2[i]). The liquid bath is typically thickened with Tragacanth, a natural gum, before ink or paint is dropped into it. To create the patterns, one may use a variety of instruments such as brushes, styluses, or combs to manipulate the paint or ink. The paint is then transferred by absorption onto the paper by placing the desired portion into the liquid bath.

If you would like to view an example of paper marbling by The Folio Society, click here.

Paper marbling was mainly used in book binding and calligraphy in Europe after the 17th century, with its peak popularity for book binding and wallpaper falling in the 18th century. Today, paper marbling is still used for book binding, among various other things, but are printed more often than created. Paper marbling was not just used for looks though, it also ensured authenticity because creating an exact duplicate is basically impossible. Creating the patterns is extremely difficult and mistakes cannot be undone.

With a steady hand, various sized brushes, styluses, and combs, and numerous colors of paint or ink, a variety of patterns can be created. Since there are so many patterns of paper marbling, we are going to focus on some of our favorites that are held here in the Special Collections and University Archives.

Turkish (Stone)

This is possibly the oldest known paper marbling pattern, dating back as early as the 15th century. This is one of the basic patterns created when multiple colors are dropped onto the surface using a marbling brush. The colors will continue to constrict as more colors are added leading to the beginning colors appearing as veins and the later colors appearing as “stones”, or large spots. This pattern can be utilized as a base for other patterns.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 1. Investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Vol. 10-12, United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Assassinations. Washington : U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978-1979, 12 vols.
2.  Byron, George G, Baron. Works of Lord Byron. Vol. 3, London, Murray, 1833, 9 vols.
3. Carlyle, Thomas. Thomas Carlyle’s Collected works. Library ed., vol. 13, London, Chapman, 1871, 34 vols.

Gold Vein

This pattern follows the same process as Turkish, except bronze must be the first color dropped in to create the effect of the gold veins running between the stones, which gives this pattern its name.

Addison 5
Addison, Joseph. The works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison. Vol.
1, London, Vernor and Hood, 1804, 6 vols.

Serpentine

Argued to have been created in the mid-19th century, this style begins with a Turkish base before a brush or stylus is drawn twice vertically through the bath with the second pass halving the first. Repeat this step horizontally. Then, draw vertically in wavy lines that emulate the way a snake moves.

Burlesque Homer 14 cover Burlesque Homer 14

Bridges, Thomas. A burlesque translation of Homer. 4th ed., vol. 1, London, G.G. and J. Robinson, 1797, 2 vols.

Nonpareil

One of the other basic marbling patterns, named for the French word meaning “matchless” or “unrivaled”. The desired colors are dropped in regulated sizes before a comb is drawn through the bath horizontally twice. Then, a smaller comb is drawn across vertically, although it can also be done horizontally. Multiple, contrasting colors can be used to make this pattern really pop. This pattern can also be utilized as a base for other patterns.

Byron 1 cover
Byron, George G, Baron. Works of Lord  Byron. Vol. 3, London, Murray, 1833, 9 vols.
36 Sexagenarian
Beloe, William. The sexagenarian. Vol. 1,  London, F.C. and J. Rivington, 1917, 2 vols.

Double Comb

After creating a nonpareil pattern, a wider comb is drawn once more through the bath which causes the arched lines to become separated into arched columns. The new columns can either be straight or manipulated further into waves.

Addisoniana 4 Cover Addisoniana 4

Phillips, Richard. Addisoniana. Vol. 2, 1803, 2 vols.

French Curl

This pattern can be created using any base, but bases with multiple colors will work the best. Once the base is completed, a stylus or brush is dipped into the bath and swirled, creating the curls that this pattern is named for.

l'hisoire 28

Auvigny, M. d’. L’Histoire de France. Paris, Chez Theodore Le Gras, 1749.

[i] Wolfe, Richard J. Marbled Paper : Its History, Techniques, and Patterns: With Special Reference to the Relationship of Marbling to Bookbinding in Europe and the Western World. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990. A Publication of the A.S.W. Rosenbach Fellowship in Bibliography. EBSCOhost.

Michigan Picture Postcards

Postcard. Why Don't You Come to Holland, circa 1910
Holland, Michigan. Why don’t you come to Holland, Mich. and runabout the town with me, circa 1910

Among the many instruments that people have devised to communicate with one another, the postcard fills many roles. If you need a simple way to send a quick note, to let someone know you’re thinking of them, to save or send a souvenir of your travels, or merely to document your own surroundings – postcards can meet all of these needs and more.

The American postcard was first developed in the 1870s, and the first souvenir postcard in the 1890s. They quickly became immensely popular, with their “Golden Era” spanning from around 1907 to 1915.

During that period, the U.S. Postal Service introduced the “divided back” postcard, which included a line on the blank side to separate the address area from the message area. Also during this period, Kodak produced a specialized “postcard camera” which enabled the quick production of “real photo” postcards.

The postcards highlighted in this exhibit come from our American Picture Postcard Collection (RHC-103).  Their photographs and illustrations depict the locales and sights of Michigan, and show us how things used to be.

Love Letters

For Valentine’s Day this year, we’re taking a peek into some of the most romantic correspondence collections in Special Collections and University Archives. We managed to whittle the choices down to two correspondence collections that really exude love. We hope you enjoy these snippets as much as we do!

First is the Edward Manley and Jean Worthington Letters, which includes a total of 60 letters written by Jean “Jeannie” Worthington and 159 written by Edward “Ned” Manley. The letters were sent between February 15, 1945-June 27, 1946 while Ned was serving in the U.S. Army. Jeannie, however, was a teenager, still in school in Cleveland, Ohio, trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life. A U.S. Army Private, Ned was assigned to an anti-tank company in the 27th Infantry Regiment in Japan.

The love between these two is heartwarming. Though it’s harder to imagine in today’s world of instant connections, letters were one of the only ways separated couples could communicate during the war. The only way to actually “see” your significant other was via photograph or in your dreams. Ned’s and Jeannie’s letters try to show the other person how much they cared through added emphases, terms of endearment, and the occasional inside joke.  They both mention how they will be together “always”, sometimes underlining the world, call each other “sweetheart”, and frequently mention 28–the number of children they joke they will have once they are married.  They both mention seeing each other in “Dreamland” at the end of some of their letters, alluding to the place they can at least pretend they are with each other. One example is the end of a letter Ned wrote to Jeannie on February 23rd, 1945:

RHC-116_Manley_014_19450223_002
Letter from Ned to Jeannie from February 23, 1945

The love these two share is evident, whether they’re talking about their daily routines or how much they miss each other. Many of these letters mention “Someday”, typically in quotation marks, likely referring to their hopes of being reunited after the war. Jeannie mentions “Someday” twice in the conclusion of a letter she sent to Ned on March 2nd, 1945:

Jeannie
Jeannie’s letter from March 2, 1945

The second collection we chose to highlight is the Doris Keirn and Burley Yehnert Letters, containing a total of 34 letters, 21 from Doris (nicknamed “Dorrie”) between November 13th, 1944 – February 4th, 1946 and 13 by Burley “Burl” between December 13th, 1946 and July 29th, 1947. Dorrie’s letters typically discuss school events, since she was attending the Altoona School of Commerce in Pennsylvania, early musical talent, and her heartache over her separation from her fiancée, Burl. During this time, Burl was a Private at various Army Air Force postings before receiving a promotion to Sergeant, stationed in Tampa, Florida in late 1945. While his letters were written after he was discharged from the Army, he struggled to find postwar work, preventing him from moving to Phoenix, Arizona to be with Dorrie.

Through these letters, it is easy to feel the deep love these two had for each other, which make their separation all the most heart-wrenching. For example, on November 25, 1944, Dorrie is listening to a song from one of her records and has to write out all of the lyrics to Burl because she thought it “suits us perfect”. The song is titled ‘Just Plain Lonesome’ by Burke-Van Heusen for the 1942 Kyser film “My Favorite Spy”. To write out every lyric shows just how much she was relating to this song, missing her fiancée and the moments they shared together. Listening to the music while you read the lyrics she wrote out evokes the loneliness she felt and her yearning to be with Burl.

Keirn-Yehnert2
Song lyrics in letter from Dorrie on November 25, 1944

The letters Dorrie sends to Burl are filled with romantic reminders. Some of the envelopes from Dorrie include special notes written on the flap, such as this example from January 21st, 1945 that reads “Close to you I will always stay/Close to you though you’re far away”:

Keirn-Yehnert3
Envelope flap from Dorrie’s January 21, 1945 letter

Two letters even contain lipstick kisses:

Keirn-Yehnert1
Five lipstick kisses sent to Burl
keirns_kisses
Stack of lipstick kisses Dorrie sent to Burl

A few of her letters include her picture glued on, creating a more personal stationery (and one that Burl would enjoy):

Keirn-Yehnert4
Letter from Dorrie on March 18, 1945 including her picture glued to the stationery

These letters are full of references to her love for Burl. She refers to him as her ‘husband’ even though they had not wed yet, and writes continually about how much she misses him and cannot wait until their time together truly begins.

Burl’s letters are also full of his love for Dorrie. Where Dorrie calls him ‘husband’ he refers to her as ‘wife’ – and even points out how often people believe they are already married! He also is sure to tell her how lucky he is to have a person like her love him in return.

Keirn-Yehnert6
Closing of a letter from Burl

One letter even contains an “I Love You My Darling Dorrie” doodle:

Keirn-Yehnert5
“I love you my Darling Dorrie” doodle from Burl

Both Dorrie and Burl begin and end each letter by explaining how much they love the other person. These two truly fit the definition of true love.

We hope you enjoyed this peak into these two love related correspondence collections in our Special Collections. If you’d like to see more romantic letters in our Special Collections, be sure to check out the Olexa letters. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Grand Valley Logos: 1960s and 70s

Grand Valley State College, 1960-1973

The Official Seal

Grand Valley was founded in 1960, and its first classes were held in 1963 on a campus under heavy construction along the Grand River ravines in Allendale, Michigan. Still in its early days, Grand Valley organized a contest to design an official seal. The contest received 60 submissions from nearly two dozen entrants, but the winning logo (so the story goes) was an anonymous design found in the college mailbox with no postmark. The prize money of $100 was donated to the GVSU Scholarship fund. Students voted to select the school colors of light blue, black and white.

GVSC-seal-1960-color
Grand Valley State College seal, circa 1960s

The official seal can be found gracing numerous publications, promotional materials, and pieces of stationery in the University Archives. The 1960 date at the bottom of the seal reflects the date of Grand Valley’s founding, not necessarily the date of the item on which it is printed.

Alternate logos, such as the one below, with the “G” and “V” connected side-by-side, also cropped up during the mid- and late 1960s.

GVS-college logo
Grand Valley logo, circa 1960s

Grand Valley State Colleges: 1973-1983

In 1973, Grand Valley adopted a “cluster college” organization, and its name changed to Grand Valley State Colleges. This change reflected the distinctive teaching styles of its four colleges: the College of Arts and Science, Thomas Jefferson College, William James College, and College IV (later renamed Kirkhof College).

The Leaf Logo

During the early- and mid- 1970s, the “GV Leaf” logo, depicted below, graced much of the stationery and promotional materials produced by the institution.

GV-leaf-logo
Grand Valley Leaf Logo, 1970s

The logo’s designer, W-B Advertising Agency, explained that the smooth flowing line making up the “GV” symbol was characteristic of one large school encompassing a number of smaller colleges within. The tree or leaf-like symbol in the center is symbolic of ecology, rural setting, rebirth, and growth.

College of Arts and Sciences Logo

The most traditional of Grand Valley’s four colleges, the College of Arts and Sciences, or CAS, had curricula covering a wide spectrum of disciplines in the arts, humanities, and sciences. This spectrum is symbolized below in the logo that included a rainbow-like arch over the CAS initials.

CAS-logo
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) logo, circa 1970s

 

William James College Logo

The William James College was founded in 1971 and was organized under a philosophy of trans-disciplinary liberal education that emphasized critical thinking and personal fulfillment. Named after the famed American psychologist and philosopher, the college’s logo depicts a portrait of a young William James. This logo can still be found painted prominently on the wall of Lake Superior Hall, the building in which the college was housed.

WJ-College-logo
William James College logo, 1971-1983

 

Thomas Jefferson College Logo

The Thomas Jefferson College’s logo was, you guessed it, a portrait of United States’ Founding Father and President Thomas Jefferson, after whom the college was named.

TJC-logo
Thomas Jefferson College logo, circa 1970-1983

Though it began in 1968 as the College of General Education, it eventually grew and evolved into an interdisciplinary liberal arts program that was focused on bringing students “into contact with themselves, their personal and academic needs, their capacities, their values, their aims in life, and to help them integrate these elements into an effective whole by providing the necessary opportunities and resources. The college was housed in Lake Huron Hall.

College IV Logo

College IV provided an individualized, modular, self-paced, and interdisciplinary curriculum intended for goal-oriented students who didn’t fit into traditional modes of education.  Instead of classes or lectures, students learned through module books and video tapes that could be checked out of the College’s A/V Center.

College-IV
College IV logo, circa 1973-1979

The learning modules were supplemented by discussion groups, problem-centered projects, and independent studies. The college’s logo features its name and two beaming light bulbs.


In the early 1980s, Grand Valley disbanded the cluster colleges and reorganized with discipline-based academic divisions. Check back later for an exploration of Grand Valley Logos in the 1980s and 1990s!