For this blog entry we will take one final dip into the Holiday and Post Card collections. While the history of Valentine’s Day may have begun with the Roman Empire, the picturesque expressions of romantic sentiment most likely started during the Middle Ages with the literary concept of courtly love.
Be my Valentine and I’ll break the news to Mother, n.d.
Many of the post cards from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries presented quaint sentiment to a loved one with flowers, cherubic figures and beautiful maidens.
All For You My Valentine, postmarked 1911
True Love’s Offering, postmarked 1903
To My Love, postmarked 1905
More elaborate cards were considered Art Valentines and were often intricate and colorful. Here is just a small selection from our collections.
As a Christmas present from the staff of the Rare Book Room, this blog entry is dedicated to some of the past images of Christmas and Santa Claus. Presented here are children’s books with charming illustrations to warm the hearts of the coldest Grinches. Thomas Nast illustrated the first book, and A Letter to Santa Claus was published in Buffalo in 1902.
George Webster’s Santa Claus and His Works, McLoughlin Bros., 1870
A Letter to Santa Claus, 1902
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, L. Frank Baum, 1902
Also presented, undated Christmas cards from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Happy Holidays!
As Thanksgiving greetings from the Rare Book Room staff, presented here are two items from our many special collections. The post card, A Peaceful Thanksgiving, is from 1910 and includes a quote from the John Greenleaf Whittier poem, “My Triumph.”
The manuscript is from President Grover Cleveland’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1885, designating and setting apart the day for public Thanksgiving, reunion of families, the suspension of all secular business, and deeds of charity for the poor.
Enjoy the Holiday!
The Pan American Exposition Booklet pictured above was recently acquired by the Rare Book Room. Dr. R[ay] V[aughn] Pierce sponsored the publication of this “Free Guide to the Exposition, Buffalo and Vicinity, with Map.” Not only did this booklet impart valuable information about the 1901 Expo and the Buffalo environs, but it also dispensed medical advice while it promoted “Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery” and “Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription” too! Pierce’s patented elixirs claimed to cure everything from pimples and problems nursing to hemorrhoids and heart failure.
This particular booklet is remarkable for its excellent condition and unique for the owner/visitor’s pencil annotations. The reader is transported back in time to October 7, 1901 when this person notes arriving at the Pan Am “at 15 to 2 p.m.” S/he makes full lists all of the buildings, the Midway and other sights s/he toured and was apparently a neighbor from the North based upon the last note in the booklet stating s/he “went on train & home … arrived in Toronto,” . There is even a note “saw spot where McKinley was killed.” There is a also a page on which s/he has tallied up his/her trips expenditures which add up to “880”. In 1901 this must have meant $8.80 although today such a trip to a world’s fair would probably cost upwards of $880.00!
The latest exhibit in the Grosvenor Rare Book display room is You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map. Featured in our display cases are several rare and one-of-a-kind maps of Buffalo recently conserved thanks to a New York State Discretionary Grant. Among them, our infamous red-light district map from 1893, Mann’s Map of the Buffalo Harbor, and Map of Buffalo Village, 1805, made under the direction of the Young Men’s Association. Our wall panels include facsimiles of maps of the Olmsted parks system, the church district maps, pictorial maps and the harbor. Come see Buffalo’s landscape as it develops from an early 19th century pioneer settlement into a flourishing center of commerce and industry.
The Rare Book Room’s latest artist’s book acquisition is Timothy Freich’s creation Shale. Inspired by Agricola’s great geological work De Re Metallica (1556), Shale captures the look and feel of the Marcellus Shale that can be found in Western New York along the shores of Lake Erie.
The front and back covers of Shale are made of a flexible rock material. The pages are hand-made papers produced from black denim. A hand-sewn Coptic binding makes the structure of this codex. Between the leaves, which look like layers of shale, digital reproductions of De Re Metallica‘s woodcut illustrations are printed onto the pages. The graduated shape cuts into the text block engender a geologic structure like that of the Marcellus Shale strata formation providing interior texture and depth to the work.
Shale joins Mr. Frerich’s Linnaeus Gardens sketchbooks and folios in the Rare Book Room’s Book Arts Collection.
The staff of the Rare Book Room wants to remind readers of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece of realism, The Grapes of Wrath, as book lovers the world over celebrate the 75th anniversary of this Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning novel. It is also considered the main reason that Steinbeck later won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Along with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath is referred to as the Great American Novel, and both were critically acclaimed but often banned or even burned. As our Library Scrapbooks reveal, it was even banned at one time by our own Buffalo Public Library after its release in April of 1939.
Steinbeck’s greatest work has certainly stood the test of time and is now generally considered a “must read” for anyone interested in the best and most influential works of the American literary canon.