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Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Chance for Bescribbled!

There are only two weeks left to see Bescribbled, Nibbled, and Dog-Eared:Early American Children's Books before its last day on 12/31! Earlier this year I posted about visitor responses to our exhibit question "What is the worst thing you did to a book as a child;" since then we've filled and erased our response board many times.Here's how the board looks currently; there are some great answers (I especially like the note about "writing 'secret' curse words inside [a book]") but there's still plenty of room for you to make your mark.



The show closes on New Year's Eve, which is a time often associated with fireworks, so  in my swan-song post for the exhibition I thought I'd highlight a do-it-yourself manual entitled The Art of Making Fireworks.


Christopher Grotz, The art of making fireworks, detonating balls, &c. New-York: Published by S. King, 1821
RBD ROS 605 Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia

Just to be clear, we do NOT recommend the amateur production of fireworks, so please do not try this at home! In the exhibit, this book is displayed next to a tale about a child who burns down her house and kills her parents by playing with fire, a telling juxtaposition if ever there was one.

After laying out the basic ingredients in fireworks (gunpowder, saltpetre, sulphur, charcoal, and steel filings) The Art of Making Fireworks opens with instructions for squibs and serpents. (Because the book is in an exhibit case, the following images are all from a different edition in the British Library, whose copy was digitized by Google)

Christopher Grotz, The art of making fireworks, detonating balls, &c. Dublin: James Charles, [1820?. British Library. Digitized Jan 29, 2014

Later on, the book goes into making sky rockets, which requires careful production of the cases and trial and error regarding the correct charge.

Christopher Grotz, The art of making fireworks, detonating balls, &c. Dublin: James Charles, [1820?. British Library. Digitized Jan 29, 2014
In the section on sky rockets the author also goes into special effects and colors that can be obtained through adding different ingredients, such as raw antimony for a reddish honey color, camphire for white, and ivory shavings for silver.

Christopher Grotz, The art of making fireworks, detonating balls, &c. Dublin: James Charles, [1820?. British Library. Digitized Jan 29, 2014

In Bescribbled the book is open to pages showing off some more complicated effects, such as "To make a Dragon, or any other Animal, run on a line, spitting fire." If it weren't so dangerous, this effect might have been a nice way to get Smaug to show up for your Hobbit-watching party.

Christopher Grotz, The art of making fireworks, detonating balls, &c. Dublin: James Charles, [1820?. British Library. Digitized Jan 29, 2014
So come on in to see this book and its many friends before the end of the year! If you do plan to visit the Rosenbach in the next two weeks, please note that we are closed 12/24 and 12/25 and will be closing at 5 PM (instead of 8 PM) on 12/31.

Finally, somewhat on on the subject of holidays and children's books (but mostly just because I thought it was cool) I wanted to share this video of the 2014 holiday windows at Lord and Taylor in New York. I saw them in person back in November and loved the book-themed "Hall of Wisdom" window, which features cute mice let loose in a library. In the background, books are cut into paper sculptures reflective of their contents--among the children's books I saw were "Jack and the Beanstalk" and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (complete with lit lantern inside the wardrobe). There are adult books too--a giant marlin for The Old Man and the Sea and the spinning windmill of Don Quixote. This window shows up at 5:30 in the video below.




Enjoy!




Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Perfect Gift

With the holiday season upon us, many of us are busy finding, buying, or making gifts for our friends and family. The Rosenbach's collections are full of objects with gift giving in their history and this week I'm offering up an idiosyncratic selection of some of my favorite gifted items. (Just for clarity, these items were not necessarily holiday gifts, just gifts in general.)


Herbert Reichner, Die Gutenberg-Bibel der Sammlung Vollbehr: Schicksale des kostbaren Buches. Wien: [Jahoda & Siegel], 1927 Bound in: Leaf from Bible in German, preface to Psalms of David
Augsburg: G√ľnther Zainer, 1477 Incun 477 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This 1927 book on biblical illustration was a gift to Dr. Rosenbach from its author.  In an unusual twist, the 20th-century book is bound in a leaf from Bible printed in Augsburg in 1477. The angular initials on the leaf were quite modern at the time, celebrating the new woodcut medium rather than  imitating traditional calligraphic forms. 


Paperweight. 1965-72. 2006.2971. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
This paperweight was a gift to Marianne Moore from Clive Driver, the former director of the Rosenbach.  


Francis Clark , vinaigrette.  Birmingham, England, 1840. 1954.2063 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia


Francis Clark , vinaigrette.  Birmingham, England, 1840. 1954.2063 The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

 This vinaigrette is engraved from Rebecca Polock to Mary Wolf. Vinaigrettes hold vinegar or smelling salts to revive a fainter or simply counter unpleasant smells.  They were made by silversmiths who specialized in small personal items known as “toys.” This example was made in Birmingham which was a leader in toy production; a 1767 directory described “Gold and Silver Toy Makers, who make Trinkets, Seals, Tweezer and Tooth Pick cases, Smelling Bottles, Snuff Boxes, and Filigree Work.”

 
Glasses with printers' marks. 1946. 2002.393. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
 These are two of a set of eight glasses given to Dr. Rosenbach by Arthur Houghton in 1946. Each glass in the set is engraved with a different medieval printer's mark. The glass on the left is Johann Rosenbach, the Spanish printer whom Dr. Rosenbach liked to claim as an ancestor. The glass on the right is the English printer William Caxton. The other glasses in the set bear the marks of the St. Albans Printer, Antione Verard, Simon Vostre, Aldus, Fust and Schoeffer, and Colard Mansion.

 


Lewis Carroll,Alice’s Adventures Under Ground London: Macmillan and Co., 1886.  EL3.D145al 866 MS Facsimile #2. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
 

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground London: Macmillan and Co., 1886.  EL3.D145al 866 MS Facsimile #2. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
This printed facsimile of the original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland (the manuscript was titled Alice's Adventures Under Ground) was a gift to "The Duck from the Dodo;" i.e. to the Rev. Robinson Duckworth from Charles Dodgson. Duckworth had accompanied Dodgson and the Liddell sisters (Alice, Edith, and Lorina) on the famous rowing expedition of July 4, 1862, when Dodgson first told a story about Alice's adventures to his young listeners.

K & Y Hendrickson, figurine. 2006.3024. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
According to Marianne Moore's niece, this carved ivory ox was a a gift to Moore from John J. Teal, Jr., the author of "Golden Fleece of the Arctic," a 1958 Atlantic Monthly article which Moore used as inspiration for her poem "The Arctic Ox (or Goat).

 And of course, as an institution the Rosenbach depends on the many gifts that come from our loyal supporters: from docents and volunteers who donate so generously of their time; from collectors who offer us choice treasures; and from financial supporters who make it possible for us to keep doing amazing things. Thank you to all of you for your gifts.


Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.


 

Friday, December 05, 2014

1320 Walnut Street

The Rosenbach is located on the 2000 block of Delancey Place because that was the home of our founders, Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach. But there are other locations around Philadelphia that were important to them as well, and probably none more so than 1320 Walnut Street. The brothers' business, the Rosenbach Company, operated out of 1320 Walnut (later adding 1322 Walnut) for 40 years, from 1903-1943, before moving to 1618 Locust for its final decade.

The building that the Rosenbachs knew is gone and an IHOP stands in its place, but I thought I'd share some pictures of the store in its prime. These also give a sense of the variety and quantity of merchandise which the Company handled. All my descriptions come from notes penciled on the back of the photos, so if anyone has any further information on these I'd love to know.


This image is labelled "Entrance Hall/1320 Walnut."
2006.2389. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This is the print room, which was in the "2nd floor middle."
2006.2416. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

 This image is also of the second floor.
Photograph by Marceau, Philadelphia. 2006.2403. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

So is this room. Note the knights standing guard in the doorway at the right.
2006.2398. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

This image shows the "2nd Floor middle," with the book room in the back.
2006.2402. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia


Here is the book room--those readers who have taken a tour at the Rosenbach may recognize the Shakespeare houses perched on the bookshelves.
2006.2414. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
 
This room is apparently on the third floor. I love the chair in lower left front.
2006.2418. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia

These are only a selection of our photos--to see more, check out our online object catalog and search for 1320 Walnut.

And last, and definitely least, here's the interior of the IHOP now on that location, as shown in a photo on Tripadvisor. I'm all in favor of pancakes, but the decor just can't compare.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60795-d3566313-r164804704-IHOP-Philadelphia_Pennsylvania.html#photos
Photo by Roberto V: "L'interno" (Jun 2013).


Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
and the primary poster at the Rosen-blog.