William H. Loos (February 26, 1937 – January 24, 2017)
Sad news for current and former Rare Book staff to learn of the passing of William H. Loos, the highly respected Rare Book Curator who held the position for 30 years, retiring in 2002. A native Western New Yorker, Bill Loos graduated from the University of Buffalo and Syracuse University, specializing in Rare Book Librarianship. During his distinguished career with the library system, Bill was instrumental during the recovery of the missing Huckleberry Finn manuscript part, as well as the acquisition of the Milestones of Science collection. He also “rediscovered” among our collections the Negro Exhibit pamphlet from the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. His work with local and national literary celebrities garnered him much acclaim in numerous local publications during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and he appeared as an articulate lecturer throughout the northeast, regaling his listeners on the pleasures and perils of being a rare book custodian. He will be sadly missed.
The Rare Book Room of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is proud to announce the official opening of our latest exhibit, Milestones of Science: Books That Shook The World!
The Milestones of Science is a unique collection of 197 first and early editions by world renown scientists. Acquired by the Buffalo Museum of Science in the 1930’s, the Milestones include many of the most important books ever published in the Western world, with innovative and sometimes controversial ideas presented for the very first time. Many of the works laid the foundations for modern scientific disciplines and inquiry, stressing the need for observation, empirical evidence and experimentation over speculation and paranormal belief. On display through September 2017 are 35 remarkable highlights that include the discoveries of Gutenberg, Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, Newton and Marie Curie.
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.
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 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.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington, D.C. in August of 1963, the Rare Book Room has placed on display two items from its collection of cultural posters from the 1960’s and ’70’s.
Shown above are images of the display, with a poster of excerpts from the speech published by Emerson Graphics of San Francisco in 1968. The other, a quotation from King’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Stockholm, Sweden December, 1964 and photographic image.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. ”
Buffalo in 1813 after treatment
Buffalo in 1813 before treatment
The Rare Book Room map, “Buffalo in 1813″ hand drawn by Charles J. North from the original map created by local merchant Juba Storrs just prior to the burning of Buffalo in December of 1813, has returned from our conservator and looks cleaner and crisper than it has in many years.
The original map, known as “Plat of Buffalo Village as it is at this date, April, 1813” has been extant for over 100 years, and similar reproductions on a much smaller scale are held by the Buffalo History Museum and Cornell University Library. Our copy measures 65X51 centimeters, or approximately 1 and a half by 2 feet, and will be on display in the Grosvenor Room this December to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the burning of Buffalo during the War of 1812.
The redrawn map was made in 1917 by Charles North, a poet and former treasurer of the First Presbyterian Society, and he has added the present day names of some of the streets and listed the number of members of the First Presbyterian Church at the time.
Chas J. North, 1917
This truly historical artifact has been preserved thanks to a grant by the Greater Hudson Heritage Network and can be viewed and studied by patrons of the library for generations to come.