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October 10, 2012

From the Great Experiment to the University


The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives welcomes a new exhibit, "From the Great Experiment to the University: Historic Images of the University at Albany, 1844 - 2004." The exhibit will run from October 10, 2012 through April 15, 2013 in the Science Library Atrium.

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Founded in 1844 as the New York State Normal School, the University at Albany was the first state funded school for higher education in New York and fourth in the nation. Using documents, photographs, and artifacts, this exhibit traces the University's administrative history and student culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries, as it transitioned from the New York State Normal School to the New York State College for Teachers to the University at Albany.
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In 1962, as part of SUNY's expansion plan, the College for Teachers was designated a university adopting the model of a broad-based public research institution, charged with providing a liberal arts education for large numbers of undergraduates and a robust range of graduate programs.
Exhibit prepared by Special Collections' Faculty members Jodi Boyle and Brian Keough. In December 2012, University Archivist Geoffrey Williams will provide a guided tour of this exhibit. Specific date for this guided tour will be forthcoming.

For more information about the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, please visit: http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/.


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May 4, 2011

New Exhibit - University at Albany’s Past Commencements

The two display cases near the entrance to the University Library contain items from Special Collections and Archives about the University at Albany’s Past Commencements. 1960_Alumni copy.jpg

The New York State Normal School, as the University at Albany was originally known, was founded in 1844 and held its first graduation ceremony on August 27, 1845. The Normal School awarded diplomas to thirty-four students, who are listed in the Executive Committee Annual Report to the New York State Legislature, January. 27, 1846.

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The New York State Legislature created the State Normal School to train teachers for the common schools of New York State. It was the fourth state normal school in the country, the first in New York and the first outside of Massachusetts. On January 23, 1885, U. S. President elect and New York State Governor Grover Cleveland presents degrees at Commencement for the New York State Normal School in Albany, N.Y. See the illustration from The Daily Graphic, January 27, 1885, p. 630.


As the University expanded into the 20th century, the School held Commencement ceremonies at various locations including the downtown campus, Alumni Quadrangle, University Field, on the Science Library lawn and at Collins Circle. Included on display are an 1860 diploma, programs, documents, and photographs from past Commencements including 1845, 1880, 1916, 1954, 1962 and 2003 as well as the lyrics for the University’s Alma Mater, which are sung during graduation ceremonies. We have selected commencement video that is available online including:

-- Distinguished author Isaac Bashevis Singer’s speech at the University at Albany’s 137th Annual Commencement held on May 24, 1981 at University Field.

-- Marcia Brown's (Class of 1940 ) acceptance speech after being awarded the Honorary Doctorate from the State University of New York. 152nd Commencement ceremony, University at Albany, May 19, 1996.

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September 10, 2010

Exhibit: Following the Yellow Brick Road

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Presents: Following the Yellow Brick Road: Imitation and Influence in Children’s Literature

Classic children’s books endure for their originality and timeless value to generations of young (and older) readers. A handful of these books distinguish themselves as exemplars and definers of entire genres. Six such examples are presented in this exhibit. They are: The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678); Robinson Crusoe (1719); Gulliver’s Travels (1726); Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900); and The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902).

Presented here are small selections of books, some classics in their own right, which take influence from their groundbreaking predecessors in a broad variety of ways. Some are explicit sequels or pastiches, while others borrow structural, stylistic, or symbolic elements, but are otherwise independent entities. Some are written by associates of the influencing novel’s author, and some even share visual similarities with their parent work. Still more are abridged or excerpted versions of classics intended to make them accessible to even the youngest readers, or to convert works originally written for adults into child-friendly formats.

Selected Exhibit Highlights:

In 1899, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, was published and enjoyed a moderate but quickly burgeoning popularity. Itself an imitation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz saw imitators as soon as two years after its publication with the release of Zauberlinda the Wise Witch, by Eva Katherine Clapp (1901). Zauberlinda is the story of a Midwestern prairie girl named Annie who falls down a rabbit hole with her cat, Silvertip, into the land of the Gnome King. Interestingly, L. Frank Baum would introduce the Nome King and his underground Nome Kingdom six years later in Ozma of Oz (1907). In addition to plot similarities, Mabel Tibbitts illustrations from Zauberlinda are noticeably similar to those of W.W. Denslow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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The Wizard of Oz and Zauberlinda the Wise Witch are similar in plot and in illustration. Above is an example of an illustration of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (l) and an illustration of Annie from Zauberlinda (r).


Seven years following Zauberlinda, Frederic Chapin, composer for L. Frank Baum’s 1905 musical, The Woggle-Bug, wrote Toodles of Treasure Town and Her Snow Man(1908). The story is of a little girl who is whisked away in a magical snowglobe to Treasure Town. En route, she and her odd assortment of companions are intercepted by the evil Hi-Ho and his Harum Scarums. An army of cockatoos transports them to Walnut Town, where they are held hostage until they agree to hand over a magic bracelet belonging to the Fairy Queen Elinora of Treasure Town. Toodles and her companions are nearly one-to-one telegraphs of Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow. Elinora stands in for Glinda the Good, Hi-Ho for the Wicked Witch of the West, his cockatoos for the winged monkeys, the magic bracelet for Dorothy’s silver slippers, and so on. Particularly striking is Toodles visual similarity to Baum’s Oz in both illustration and typography.

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Above is an illustration of Dorothy and a winged monkey from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (top) along with Toodles and a Cockatoo soldier from Toodles of Treasure Town (below). The illustrations are strikingly similar in composition and style.


Following Frank Baum’s death in 1919, the legacy of Oz continued with Ruth Plumly Thompson’s 19 Oz-influenced books, beginning with The Royal Book of Oz (1921) and ending in 1939 with Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz. All of Thompson’s books were illustrated by John R. Neill, who also illustrated all of Baum’s Oz books apart from the original, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Neill himself wrote three Oz derivatives before his death in 1942.

In 1904, two years following the publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (London: Frederick Warne, 1902), the Henry Altemus Company of Philadelphia published the first pirated American edition as part of their “Wee Books for Wee Folks� series. The majority of illustrations in the piracy are redrafted versions of Potter’s originals. Notably, four illustrations appear in the pirated edition that do not appear in the Warne editions following the first three printings. As a result, readers of the piracy benefit from seeing the entire body of Potter’s illustrations, albeit in redrafted form.

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Above is a comparison of illustrations for The Tale of Peter Rabbit as published by the Henry Altemus Company in 1904 (top row), with Potter's original illustrations as published by Frederick Warne (bottom row). The Altemus illustrations are attributed to John R. Neill, illustrator of L. Frank Baum's Oz books following The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Following the Yellow Brick Road: Imitation and Influence in Children’s Literature is viewable in the atrium of the Science Library on the University at Albany’s Main Campus.

Erin Shoudy, Graduate Assistant, Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children’s Literature Collection, selected the items from over 12,000 titles in the collection. The Mathes collection is accessible in the Department of Special Collections and Archives on the University Science Library’s third floor. Further information is also available at: http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/children.htm


March 30, 2010

Constructing a Learning Space: The Science Library, 1984-2009

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Science Library, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives has selected items from the archives that document the planning, construction, and use of the building.

The exhibit is open and on display in the Science Library atrium of the Uptown Campus.

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November 5, 2008

Historical Children's Literature Exhibit


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This exhibition, originally mounted in conjunction with the publication of Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature by Leonard Marcus, will remain on display here in the M.E. Grenander Special Collections Department through Friday January 16th, 2009.



February 28, 2007

Exhibit talk: “The Secret Lives of Toys and Their Friends

The University Libraries’ M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives is hosting an exhibit talk “The Secret Lives of Toys and Their Friends: Selections from the Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children’s Literature Collection� on Wednesday March 28, 2007 at 3:00 PM. Kali M.D. Roy, graduate student assistant and exhibit curator, will discuss her ideas and inspiration for this exhibit that is drawn from the Mathes Historical Children’s Literature Collection (http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/children.htm) and features a small sampling of historical children’s literature about adventures based on the lives of living toys or objects, and stories from a toy's point of view.

The over fifty items in the physical exhibit are from approximately the 1850-1950 period and highlights the potential scholarly uses of the Mathes Collection. Located in the University’s Department of Special Collections & Archives, the Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children's Literature Collection includes over 10,000 children's books and periodicals published in the 19th century and up to 1960. The collection is strong in the literature of the first half of the 20th century, but there is also extensive coverage of the 19th century, the latter half in particular. There is an especially strong concentration on neglected and forgotten works published in the United States, 1875–1950. The central purpose of the Mathes Collection is to provide the texts of works that are generally no longer available in children's library collections today–and to make them available for historical, literary and cultural study and consultation by scholars, students, teachers, librarians and the interested public. The Mathes Collection is named for Miriam Snow Mathes, Class of '26, who had a continuing interest in the Historical Children's Literature Collection. Ms. Mathes, who was a lifelong student, librarian, and teacher of children's literature, established an endowment fund in 1993 to provide continuing support for the collection.

The exhibit is available through May 2007 during normal hours for the Department of Special Collections & Archives, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday – Friday

When: Wednesday March 28, 2007 at 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Location: M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives, Science Library, Room 350

Web site: http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/secretlives/index.htm

Cost: Free

RSVP appreciated. Contact Brian Keough, (518) 437-3931
or bkeough@albany.edu


October 18, 2006

Images now available at Flickr

The Department has created an account over at Flickr for sharing images from current events and programs. All images from the Department's collections that are available in digital form will continue to be available only in the University at Albany Libraries' Digital Collections database, so if you are looking for images from your commencement in 1975 you won't find them at the Flickr page.

October 11, 2006

Exhibit: Intellectuals in Exile

The exhibit Intellectuals in Exile is now on display in the lobby of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives (October 11-December 31, 2006; University Library January-May 31, 2007). The exhibit includes items drawn from the collections of several individuals in the German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection including Karl O. Paetel, Benedikt Dolbin, Roy C. Bates (Kurt Bauchwitz), Walter Maria Kotschnig, and others. The exhibit was curated by Mary Osielski and Sandy Hawrylchak with preservation assistance by Katie Mullen. The exhibit coincides with Thursday’s program "University in Exile: Refugee Scholars, the New School for Social Research, and the German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection" at 4pm in the Standish Room of the Science Library.

Update: An abridged version of the exhibit Intellectuals in Exile is now on display in the lobby of the University Library through May 2007.

September 6, 2006

Exhibit: Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971

The exhibit Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971 is on display near the entrance of the University Library. It includes items drawn from the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives' University Archives and book collections about the Edward Durell Stone designed Uptown Campus of the University at Albany, SUNY.

The physical exhibit will be on display in the University Library through December 2006 and an expanded version will be unveiled in January 2007 in the Science Library. For questions regarding the exhibit, contact Geoffrey Williams at 437-3935 or gwilliams@uamail.albany.edu.

Continue reading "Exhibit: Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971" »

August 25, 2006

Exhibit: The Secret Lives of Toys and Their Friends

The exhibit The Secret Lives of Toys and Their Friends is on display in the lobby of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives on the third floor of the Science Library at the University at Albany.
A small number of items and information from the exhibit are made available online at http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/secretlives/ as an introduction to the physical exhibit.
This exhibit contains items drawn from The Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children’s Literature Collection and is on exhibit through early October 2006. This exhibit features a small sampling of the many stories written for children from either a toy’s point of view or about adventures based on the lives of living toys or objects. The over fifty items in the physical exhibit, including the small number displayed in the online exhibit, are a fraction of what the Mathes Collection contains on the subject of animated objects and/or toys.

Update: The Secret Lives of Toys and Their Friends is back by popular demand on display in the lobby of the Department of Special Collections and Archives beginning January 24, 2007.

August 9, 2006

Exhibit: The Sciences at the University at Albany, 1845-2006

The Sciences at the University at Albany, 1845-2006 is currently on exhibit in the lobby of the Science Library.

The exhibit contains items from the University Archives as well as contributions from current faculty members. A small number of items and information from the exhibit are made available online at http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/sciences/ as an introduction to the physical exhibit.

The exhibit examines the growth of and changes in science education and research at the University at Albany over its long history through publications, photographs, class notes, memorabilia, and other records documenting University students, faculty, departments, and research centers.