Reading Your Future at the Clark

July 22, 2014 by

By Reading Room Assistant Stella Castillo

The riddle of your future may be solved at The Clark! Recently, I was wondering what the future may hold, so I decided to look into fortune telling and came across several books detailing how to read your palm among other things (like your moles!) to determine your future. Palmistry, also known as chiromancy, is the art of reading lines on the hand to forecast the future.

palm

One book, in particular, the True Fortune Teller or Guide to Knowledge… (Call Number: BF1851 .T86 1698*) tells the reader in Chapter 2 that: “…first you must understand, that of all of the members of the body, none so plainly exposes our Fortunes or Fates as the Hand; for in that the God of Nature has ingraven legible Characters, to be read by the studious and industrious, to whom it is his pleasure to reveal such secrets And those are the lines and joynts, & c. apparent in the Palm, Thumb and Fingers, which have an immediate intercourse, though by devious ways, with the chief feats of life, having diverse Names.”

 

The method of evaluating a person’s character or future life by reading the palm of that person’s hand involves decoding the various lines and bumps. The lines have names like the life line, the head line, the heart line and the Saturne line. The palmist may begin by reading the person’s dominant hand which, according to some traditions, represents the conscious mind. According to various traditions of palmistry, the non-dominant hand may carry hereditary traits or information about past-life or karmic conditions.

palm2

The history of palmistry is hazy but it is thought to have originated in India with Hindu astrology and spread through the traditional fortune-telling practices of the Romani people to China, Tibet, Persia, Egypt and Ancient Greece. The earliest books on the topic appear in the 15th Century. During the Middle Ages the art of palmistry was actively suppressed by the Catholic Church as pagan superstition due to its associations with magic and witchcraft and it was used to detect witches. In Renaissance magic, palmistry was classified as one of the seven “forbidden arts,” along with necromancy, geomancy, aeromancy, pyromancy, hydromancy, and spatulamancy. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated one had made a pact with the Devil. Palmistry saw a resurgence during the 17th century, when scholars began to attempt to find rational and scientific foundations for the practice. However, palmistry was outlawed in Britain during the reign of King George IV.

palm3

I could tell you more about what your palm might say, but perhaps you should come down to The Clark and have a look at how to read your palm yourself.

Our new interim Head Librarian, Victoria Steele

July 18, 2014 by

Victoria Steele will be joining the Clark Library for a two-year appointment as Interim Head Librarian, beginning at the end of August.  Currently the Brooke Russell Astor Director of Collections Strategy for the New York Public Library, she was the Head of UCLA Special Collections from 2000-2009 and is no stranger to the Clark and its collections.  A more detailed press release is available here.

sasb_portrait_20140701_victoria_steele-3702r.

L’archive du tombeau de Louis Menard

July 3, 2014 by

Le tombeau de Louis Ménard and A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard were among the first things I cataloged when I began working at the Clark 6 years ago and they were a great introduction to the wide variety of formats in the Clark’s manuscript collections.  Though these two companion volumes look like innocent codex manuscripts, bound in red morocco with fancy marbled endpapers, they are anything but normal bound manuscripts –

photo 3

– they are actually a bound archive.

In 1901 and 1902, French publisher and writer Edouard Champion compiled the book Le tombeau de Louis Ménard in honor of the writer, scholar and chemist Louis-Nicholas Ménard (1822-1901).  The published book itself is made up of letters from prominent scholarly, literary and political figures regarding Ménard and his legacy, and appropriately enough, Champion bound his copy of Le tombeau with an assortment of letters and calling cards from the book’s contributors and other well-wishers.  There was enough material in this archive to make a second volume of calling cards and letters, A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard.  Individuals represented in the Tombeau archive include Georges Clemenceau, Remy de Gourmont, Robert Comte de Montesquiou, Léon Bloy, Jean Bertheroy, and Maurice Barrès, just to name a few.

photo 3

Sully Prudhomme’s calling card pictured in the front

As in any archive of correspondence, the letters and items gathered together by Champion range widely in size, making the job of binding a somewhat onerous task.  How do you bind together material that is so varied size-wise?  You could just paste everything in a scrapbook larger than the biggest piece of paper in the archive, but that would result in lost text when double-sided letters get pasted down (and most items in this archive are written on both sides).  The solution Champion’s bookbinder settled on was pretty perfect for this particular project.  Instead of trying to work with the pages of the archive itself, the bookbinder bound together a set of short stubby pages onto which the materials in the archive are glued.

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Of course, the easiest option would have been to keep all of these letters in a box, like a traditional archive.  But Champion clearly wanted to have these letters housed in a more bookish way (fitting, given his profession) and I am glad he did, as these two volumes are fascinating objects.  They are arguably easier to casually browse than a box of letters might be, and they easily fit on a shelf alongside other books.

photo 4

Edouard Champion, collector, Le tombeau de Louis Ménard and A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard, MS.2008.004 and MS.2008.005, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

 

The Tears of the Press

June 20, 2014 by

Introducing the Clark’s latest exhibition:

THE TEARS OF THE PRESS:

PRINT AND AUTHORITY IN 17TH-CENTURY ENGLAND

Curated by Dr. Stephanie Koscak and students in her UCLA History Department capstone seminar, Media and Politics in Early Modern England: Nicholas Barlow | Hillary Rose Cleary | Ricardo Aaron Garcia | Brian Jordi Thomas Knight | Amber Ward | Maksim Wynn | Sean Patrick Yancey

Whig Medley

INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITION

“What age ever brought forth more, or bought more printed waste paper?”, asked the anonymous author of the 1681 tract The Tears of the Press, with Reflections on the Present State of England. The temporary and then permanent lapse of prepublication print licensing, the emergence of violent party politics, and political revolution redefined the relationship between print and political authority for the English in the later seventeenth century. Packed with supposed lies, controversies, and fallacious news, readers consumed print like never before: “The ink hath poyson in it,” lamented our above author, yet “pamphlets these late times hath swarmed.”

This obsession with paper and the press in seventeenth-century England reflects new anxieties, tensions, and possibilities surrounding representation in an age of increasingly mass textual and graphic print. By the turn of the eighteenth century, the press had expanded beyond all previous bounds with the explosion of ephemeral print, particularly newspapers, pamphlets, engravings, satires, and broadsides. This exhibition, curated by students in Dr. Stephanie Koscak’s undergraduate capstone seminar in the Department of History at UCLA, “Media and Politics in Early Modern England,” aims to capture the vitality and novelty of print in this period. Collectively, these rare texts and images demonstrate the ways in which authority was constructed through print while addressing contemporary anxieties about veracity and misrepresentation. Topics include: the development of newspapers, the construction of royal authority in graphic images and printed pamphlets, the invention of mass partisan propaganda, the channels of printed communication undergirding the mid-century witch crisis, and emerging genres of engraved visual satire, such as political playing cards. Like the printer George Bickham’s large, hand-colored trompe l’oeil engraving The Whig’s Medley (1711), included in the exhibit, print playfully reflected back on its own complexities. Authors and artists asked contemporaries to read dialogically, to compare multiple representations, and to cultivate sharp interpretive skills necessary for England’s new media landscape.

SCENES FROM THE EXHIBITION OPENING

Tears of the Press opening 1

Dr. Koscak

Tears of the Press 2

Tears of the Press opening 3

The exhibition will be open through September 2014. If you’d like to see it, make an appointment for a tour via http://clarklibrary.ucla.edu/tour or visit during one of our summer events!

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray

May 23, 2014 by

In the 1945 film The Picture of Dorian Gray, there are actually two pictures of Mr. Gray — a “before” and an “after”– painted by two different artists.  The “after” painting by American artist Ivan Albright now lives in the Art Institute in Chicago, where you can find it on display.

Ivan Albright’s Picture of Dorian Gray

The other picture of Dorian was painted by Portuguese artist Henrique Medina, whose work should look somewhat familiar to Clark aficionados:

Henrique Medina's Picture of Dorian Gray

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray

Medina is responsible for the portraits of William Andrews Clark, Jr., Cora Sanders, and Robert E. Cowan that are prominently displayed in the library’s drawing room.

Henrique Medina's Picture of Mr. Clark

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Mr. Clark

Medina (1901-1988) spent several years in Los Angeles, where he was a favorite of society and Hollywood figures, including (it seems) Mr. Clark and his staff.  Works by Medina are housed in museums and collections around the world and there is a museum of his work in his native Portugal.  What Medina thought about the coincidence of painting Dorian Gray’s portrait after painting portraits of the founder and staff of one of the largest Oscar Wilde collections in the world is unknown — but hopefully he found it as interesting as we do.

Medina's Picture of Robert Cowan

Medina’s Picture of Robert Cowan

Apparently his portrait of Dorian Gray was at some point given as a gift to Hurd Hatfield, the actor who played Dorian in the film.  According to Hatfield’s Wikipedia entry, his art collections and other estate contents were sold at auction at his home in County Cork in 2007.  We’d love to know if Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray was among those contents. If you can help us figure out more details about the auction and about who owns the portrait now, we would be very thankful!

Henrique Medina, from the University of Porto

Pittsburgh (i.e. Milan)

May 15, 2014 by

Shannon:

Here’s more on lying books and false imprints from Mitch Fraas at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ Unique at Penn blog:

Originally posted on Unique at Penn:


Why was the first book printed in Pittsburgh written in Italian? Spoiler: it wasn’t!

Above is the title page of the 1761 Lettere d’un vago italiano ad un suo amico with its place of publication listed as the thriving metropolis of “Pittburgo” a classic case of what bibliographers call a false imprint. I first came across this example nearly a year ago when researching European books which falsely claimed to be printed in North America and this April a copy of the first volume came up for sale from the bookseller Garrett Scott and is now here at Penn (call#: DP34 .C35 1761).

In 1761, Pittsburgh was only a few years old and had a population barely over 250. The first printing press and locally printed book didn’t come to the city until after Independence in 1786.  Given this fact and thanks to the sleuthing of the Italian…

View original 286 more words

Happy Birthday, Las Vegas!

May 15, 2014 by

From Nina Schneider, Head Cataloger

auction_vegas

Photograph of Clark townsite auction sale, Las Vegas, May 15-16, 1905 From the collection of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries

In 1905 a two-day auction took place in Southern Nevada. On May 15th and 16th 1200 lots were up for bid. The area: Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite. The owner: William Andrews Clark, the former state senator from Montana.

 

vegasmap

Las Vegas Land and Water Company Map of Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite, Lincoln County, Nevada, May 10, 1905 From the collection of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries

His activities weren’t limited to copper mining in Montana and Arizona. His fortune was already in the millions when he realized an opportunity to increase it even further. At the time, there was no railroad connecting Salt Lake City directly with Los Angeles, requiring a long trip through San Francisco. In order to shave hundreds of miles from this journey and take advantage of the shipping trades in San Pedro, California, Clark purchased nearly 2000 acres, along with the crucial water rights from Helen Stewart, the owner of a profitable ranch on the site of a former Mormon mission. Clark intended to build a train stop in Las Vegas. The rest is history. As James Hulse writes in “W.A. Clark and the Las Vegas Connection”:

The railroad laid out a town, Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite, and held a land auction on May 15, 1905. In two days, the 110-acres bounded by Stewart Avenue and Garces Avenue and Main Street and 5th Street (now Las Vegas Boulevard) were sold. The auction [on May 15 & 16, 1905] founded the modern Las Vegas Valley. … Clark’s Las Vegas Townsite became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911 when it adopted its first charter. Today the Las Vegas Valley is comprised of five jurisdictions: the city of Las Vegas; unincorporated Clark County; the city of North Las Vegas; the city of Henderson; and the city of Boulder City.*

Because liberal divorce laws were already in place and it was to be only two more decades before gambling was legalized and the Hoover Dam constructed, the city of Las Vegas thrived. Clark’s San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was later known as the Union Pacific.

Senator Clark

Henrique Medina Pencil sketch of William Andrews Clark, 1932? From the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA

* Montana: the magazine of Western History, (Winter 1987):48-55

The Ahmanson Undergraduate Seminar and Undergraduate Research

May 9, 2014 by

Congratulations, again, to Samantha Lusher and the rest of this year’s recipients of the UCLA Library Prize for undergraduate research. Read more about the prize and this year’s recipients here. We also want to congratulate Ms. Lusher’s professor, Dr. Alice Boone, who taught the Ahmanson Undergraduate Seminar (an English Department capstone course), “Legacies of The Castle of Otranto, 1764-2014″ at the Clark during the Winter Quarter and Professor Joseph Bristow, who advised Charlotte Rose, another recipient of this year’s award.

The 2014-2015 Ahmanson Undergraduate Seminar (a History Department capstone course), “Pirates of the Caribbean?,” will be taught by Professor Carla Gardina Pestana in the Fall Quarter. Students interested in applying for the course should apply by May 16. More information can be found at the link, above.

Sometimes, Books Lie (Part One: Title Pages)

May 8, 2014 by

We are often told that we can trust printed books, that the process by which their content has been compiled, vetted, and published is a process that filters out subterfuge, half-truths, and misleading gambits. This is not always (or even mostly) the case. Printed matter is the output of human endeavor and humans have biases, make errors, believe untruths, and outright lie in their printed vehicles.

Experienced researchers know this all too well. Once you realize that a book is telling you something that seems suspect, you can research further to determine if it is lying. Those who study the early modern period have a host of examples from which to play with conceptions of veracity and the circulation of ideas. Yet, novice researchers may not know what to do or where to start, and this blog post is for them.

Sometimes, books are in on the subterfuge of their creators, and they are lying for a reason. One example of such subterfuge is the false imprint, or, the lying title page. In a recent undergraduate class held at the Clark, we showed the students John Milton’s Pro populo Anglicano defensio,  printed in London in 1651. Why might a book printed in England be written in Latin? How can I find out more?

Milton, Pro populo anglicano defensio

My first stop is the English Short Title Catalogue (or, “ESTC”), where I searched for the title of the work. The ESTC returned three different possibilities, so I looked more closely at the three to determine which is the one I have in my hands. (This happens often with early modern books that were published in multiple editions or by different publishers.) I looked very closely at the titles of each of them. Since the title page in the Clark copy notes that it contains an index (“Cum Indice“), I am able to determine that this record matches: http://estc.bl.uk/R21409. Happily, the ESTC record has loads of information for me, including that the book was published in Amsterdam, not in London, and was published not be William Dugard (“Typis Dv Gardianis”), but by Louis Elzevier. (See the “Publisher/year” and “General note” fields.)

So, this book is lying about where and by whom it was published. Since it is purporting to be something other than what it is, the next question is why. In this case, the ESTC record helps me again. It gives me a citation to two articles written by scholar F.F. Madan who researched the publication history of this particular work. Thanks to the UCLA Library having a license to access the electronic version of these articles and holding paper copies at various library locations, I have easy access to Madan’s research.

Madan notes that there are multiple editions of this treatise, most of which are not published in London by William Dugard at all. Looking through Madan’s numbered list of editions and variants, the Clark’s copy is clearly no. 6. (I did not need to look this up this, however, since the ESTC record lists it as Madan no. 6. Indeed, if you look at the very bottom of the Clark’s catalog record, you’ll see the notation “Madan 6″ as well, but now you’ll know what that means.)

Also according to Madan, this work was “the official reply of the Parliament to the Defensio Regia of Salmasius, which was having a serious effect upon public opinion on the Continent.” (F.F. Madan, “Milton, Salmasius, and Dugard” in The Library, ser.4 vol.4 (1923), p. 119.) And the year 1651 was in the midst of the English Civil War, with King Charles I beheaded in 1649 and Parliament appointing Oliver Cromwell as chair of the new Commonwealth’s Council of State. This work was published amidst intense turmoil over the power of the monarchy, with John Milton responding for the side of Parliament, which hoped to sway public opinion both in England and abroad in its favor. And, the learned European audience for such a work was much more likely to read Latin than English.

What does the publishing history of this treatise, with its Latin text, many editions, and lying title pages, tell us about the purpose of the treatise and the period more generally? To help answer these and similar questions, explore the myriad resources at your disposal via UCLA Librarian Marta Brunner’ s incredibly useful British History research guide.

Marie Antoinette and Jacques-Louis David at the Clark

April 16, 2014 by

By Karie Jenkins, Clark Reading Room Assistant

You never know what great treasures you will come across at the Clark. When discussing the art collection with a colleague this morning, he informed me that we have two watercolor sketches of Marie Antoinette by Jacques-Louis David.  The Death of Marat, perhaps David’s most famous painting, has been called the Pietà of the Revolution.

Death of Marat

The Death of Marat

Intrigued and delighted by this snippet of information, I immediately had to see the drawings for myself. Within moments, I was whisked away to the Clark’s “French Green Room” where the sketches are hung adjacent to one another. Once we turned the corner and walked into the room we were greeted by the queen’s image, both faint and partial.

Both sketches seemingly accentuate Marie Antoinette’s exquisite sense of fashion and her imperial disposition. The first image I came across was of her standing and resting her hand gently on the back of a chair. The rendering of her attire and physique looks as though the sketch was taken straight out of a fashion illustrator’s notebook. Each garment is carefully labeled and assigned colors, thus demonstrating David’s creative process in composing this image. The second sketch is a portrait of Marie Antoinette. Detached and disinterested, she gazes away from the viewer with her head turned to the side. And naturally, her hair and head piece are piled high thus granting her the stature and royalty definitive to her essence. Of the two sketches, only the image of her standing is dated 1793, which was the ominous year she met her demise. Right above the date David wrote, “Marie Antoinette dans La Conciergerie.”

131125_07: [Portrait of Marie Antoinette] [art original]. 1793.

If you recall, Conciergerie was the infamous prison which Marie- Antoinette was brought before her trial. She was given less than a day to prepare and received no sympathy from the courts or the public. Once the verdict was reached, she was found guilty of treason and was immediately swept away to the guillotine. David had two months to sketch the queen while she was still alive and living in her cell. Even after she had long fallen from grace, David proceeded to imbue her image with the likeness of an angel or a saint. After all, she was the mother of France and what was a son to do?131125_12: [Portrait of Marie Antoinette] [art original]. 179-?

David’s sketches are fascinating and thanks to Professor Todd L. Larkin at Montana State University they have been the topic of discussion here at The Clark. Larkin contacted us requesting a reproduction of the sketches to which he encountered as a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara. On November 24th his request was fulfilled when a photographer came to The Clark to capture a couple of shots of the jail-bird queen. Unlike most pieces in our collection, the David sketches cannot simply be removed from their frames. A couple of years back, the library decided to bolt the frames to the walls in case of an earthquake to avoid any harm or damage to the sketches.

David’s Marie Antoinette sketches will permanently remain on display and we welcome our guests and scholars to stop by and admire them.

Napoleon (not at the Clark!)

Napoleon (not at the Clark!)

 


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