One of the items to be featured in our upcoming architectural exhibit, Building Buffalo, is a uniquely bound guest book believed to have been owned by the Darwin Martin family. The beautiful designs on the cover closely reflect the window designs of the Martin house, and the book includes the signatures of numerous Martin relatives.
The book, which was probably bound at the turn of the 20th century, was created by internationally renowned bookbinder John F. Grabau (1878-1930), a local teacher, lecturer and master of the hand-tooled art. Examples of his work were owned by four American presidents, European royalty and many literary celebrities, and Grabau’s works were exhibited at numerous significant exhibitions.
Among the visitors of the Martin family who signed their names as guests between 1907 and 1930 include American poet Carl Sandburg, who was presented to the Buffalo social organization the 20th Century Club in November of 1920, and organic architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
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.
Lyman Frank Baum [1856 – 1919] began his life and journey in Chittenango, New York, just south of Oneida Lake and east of Syracuse. His yellow brick road led him from Central New York to the Dakota Territory, Chicago and, ultimately, California. He enjoyed wealthy times and lived through lean and bankrupt times. Along the way he was a chicken breeder, printer, actor, playwright, shopkeeper, china salesman, journalist, and children’s book writer.
Baum’s life and writings are the subject of the current and exciting Grosvenor Rare Book exhibit The Wonderful Wizardry of Baum. Many are unaware that Baum wrote 13 other Oz books in his lifetime (2 published posthumously) and that he also wrote other books before and while he wrote about Oz. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been dubbed an American Fairytale and his life could be called the same with all of its remarkable highs and lows.
Come see first editions of the “Oz Canon” and some of Baum’s earlier non-Oz writings. Learn about Baum’s incredible life journey and about the illustrators of Oz. See also more recent mechanical and fine press versions of The Wizard of Oz. And walk in front of the life-size Wicked Witch of the West and she has some words for you!
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.
The second installation of artists’ books alongside the science texts that inspired them is on display in the Central Library’s Grosvenor Rare Book Display Room. In this phase of the exhibit artists’ books and science first editions pairings include:
- FAULT LINES BY DOUG BEUBE, 2003, with BRITANNIA: OR, THE KINGDOM OF ENGLAND AND DOMINION OF WALES, ACTUALLY SURVEY’D BY JOHN OGILBY, 1698.
- BERNOULLI’S EQUATION FOR UNSTEADY FLOW BY AMANDINE NABARRA-PIOMELLI, 2008, with ARS CONJECTANDI, OPUS POSTHUMUM. BY JAKOB BERNOULLI, 1713.
- DE RERUM BY TIM FRERICHS, 2013, with PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY BY (3 VOLUMES) BY SIR CHARLES LYELL, 1830-33.
- POWERBOOK #2 BY RICHARD KEGLER, 1996, with BIBLE, OLD TESTAMENT [LEAF FROM BOOK OF JOB] PRINTED BY JOHANNES GUTENBERG, C. 1450-1455.
There is art to be found in science books and science to be found in artist’s books.
Although current society has come to think of science and math exclusively as “left-brained” functions while art and creativity are considered “right-brained” activity, some book artists are bridging this hemispheric divide with artist’s books and book arts inspired by science texts. These artist’s books reflect upon or interpret significant works and concepts of astronomy, medicine, geology, physics and more. Today’s mutually exclusive idea of “left-brained” and “right-brained” activity discounts longer understood ideas that science is a creative pursuit—that there really is art to be found in science—and that creative artworks often have some scientific basis and/or inspiration.
Please check out our latest exhibit: When Buffalo Burned: The War of 1812 on the Niagara Frontier
The Burning of Buffalo on December 30, 1813 during the War of 1812 was an early setback for the flourishing frontier village that remains an integral part of its legacy. As devastating as such an event was to the expanding settlement, the resilient pioneers of Buffalo and the Niagara region would soon rebuild, becoming the western terminus of the all-important Erie Canal and growing continuously until becoming host to the Pan-American Exposition in 1901.
Along with items of local and regional interest, on display are a series of letters from the war, maps from the time period, popular literature and broadsides, and documents of cultural and national relevance, including the declaration of war and early printings of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Exhibit dates: June 28, 2012 through January 20, 2013