Author Archive

Reading Your Future at the Clark

July 22, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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L’archive du tombeau de Louis Menard

July 3, 2014

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 –

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– 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.

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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.

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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.

 

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray

May 23, 2014

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

Happy Birthday, Las Vegas!

May 15, 2014

From Nina Schneider, Head Cataloger

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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.

 

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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.

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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

Marie Antoinette and Jacques-Louis David at the Clark

April 16, 2014

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!)

 

Job Instructions for our Defense Contractors

April 2, 2014

By Nina M. Schneider, Head Cataloger

Recently, the news has been filled with reports of the possibility of a new Cold War, while at the same time updating us about the ongoing search for Malaysian Airlines’ missing jet. It might be a coincidence then, that while cataloging Ward Ritchie’s Library, our interns ran across job instruction booklets from the early days of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Three-quarters of the way through her 30-month internship, Patricia Garcia discovered an incomplete set of printed instructions published in 1943 by the Education Department of The Douglas Aircraft Company. Job Instruction No. 1: Safetying with Cotter Pins explains the right way to “safety a bolt” and “how to safety a clevis pin” with hand-drawn illustrations, printed in red and black.

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Job Instruction No. 2: Riveting, emphasizes the importance of the matching the tool to the rivet and the deadly consequence of laziness, inattentiveness, or hiding a broken part.

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The Clark has two copies of the second pamphlet, one produced for Douglas Aircraft, the other for the Education Department of the Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corp, Vultee Field Division. Both covers feature a photograph of a female employee (the original Rosie?) using a rivet gun. Interestingly, the copy produced for Douglas Aircraft has an altered cover. The woman’s hair is covered by a hairnet, but a hairnet that is printed letterpress.

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The Clark also has two copies of Job Instruction No. 3: Drilling. This time, the model is wearing an actual hairnet for the cover photo as she wields what looks like a 40-pound drill while wearing a cashmere cardigan over a lace-edged blouse. In fact, many of the booklets that we have from the defense contractor feature instructions for women.

womenworkers

Job Instruction No. 9: Hints to Women Aircraft Workers stresses the importance of workplace safety and life-style practices. Looking at this book seventy years later makes us cringe. Of course, some of the advice is common sense; new working habits and different types of physical labor will likely result in sore muscles and fatigue. However, the manual warns that fatigue should be avoided because it leads to mistakes, and mistakes can be deadly. Their advice: Eat something sweet for a boost of energy, stretch, or take a hot bath, and “don’t wear yourself out on exercise.” This booklet also shows some stretches that can be done for “menstrual adjustments.” In the mix of diagrams and cartoons about the proper way to lift heavy loads, work ergonomically, and properly handle tools, are hints on makeup, shoes, and jewelry in the workplace, the importance of daily baths and using deodorant, and the types and proper amounts of food consumed in a daily diet.

Contrast this booklet with Job Instruction No. 11: X Marks the Spot. Fully illustrated in black, red, and blue, employees are menaced on every page by the lurking presence of caricaturized monsters from Japan and Germany.

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Long, loose hair can be caught in moving drills bits, zoot suits have too many pockets, neckties invite disaster when operating lathes, and wedding rings can get caught in a revolving chuck.

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In fact, all sorts of disasters can happen when employees don’t follow regulations or improperly use heavy equipment. The enemy is just waiting for disaster to happen!

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The font is a modern, bold, sans serif face for each booklet. Uniformly sized in an 8×5” format, with rounded fore-edge corners and a stapled spine, these booklets were likely designed and printed by Ward Ritchie.

As stated in the biographical sketch for the Ward Ritchie collection of papers: Ritchie became one of the principal figures in the fine-printing movement in Southern California. [A native of Los Angeles, he studied at Occidental College and Stanford and spent a semester at Frank Wiggins Trade School learning to print. After an apprenticeship in France, he returned to Los Angeles and] printed for the Primavera Press, [while taking] commissions as the Ward Ritchie Press, which he incorporated in 1932. Gregg Anderson entered into partnership, and the printing firm was subsequently called Anderson & Ritchie, with the name Ward Ritchie Press being retained for publishing ventures. At the outbreak of World War II, Anderson joined the Army (he was killed in 1944), and Ritchie left the press for Douglas Aircraft, where he produced technical manuals. … Between 1943 and 1950 Ritchie worked as production manager at the advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, though he remained associated with the press and did designs for them. In 1950 he returned to the press full-time, and the firm (renamed Anderson, Ritchie & Simon) kept growing until Ritchie retired in 1972. … In his retirement, in Laguna Beach, he bought a hand press and began printing small editions himself under the name Laguna Verde Imprenta. He died early in 1996 [leaving behind two wives, two children, three step-children and his close friend, Gloria Stuart].

Douglas Aircraft Company was founded in 1921 and was headquartered in Santa Monica. It became McDonnell Douglas when it merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967.

For more information on the Ward Ritchie Library, search “Press coll. Ritchie Lib.” as a call number in the UCLA Library catalog. See also the online finding aid for his papers.

For more information about Douglas Aircraft, see the Museum of Flight’s website.

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Bookplates, librarians and zombie literature…

March 27, 2014

ms.2014.001

The Clark recently acquired an early scribal manuscript of Pierre-Corneille Blessebois’ 1676 play L’Eugenie, a work based on the story of St. Eugenia.  Though there are many reasons why L’Eugenie is interesting as a text (onstage nudity, transgender themes, and a libertine author who wrote the first zombie novel, just to name a few), I am particularly interested in one small aspect of our copy’s provenance.

ms.2014.001

 

One of the former owners of this manuscript, whose red bookplate can be seen above, was the French writer and librarian Charles Nodier (1780-1844). As the director of the Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal in Paris, Nodier established a literary salon that brought together Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and other young Romanticists, and was a major influence on their work.  Nodier’s own literary work touches on similar themes of the Gothic and fantastic; he was also extremely interested in the vampire novel.  Though L’Eugenie is not part of this genre, it does make sense that he might be particularly interested in work by the author of Le zombie du Grand-Perou!

Though Nodier is best remembered for his influence on the young French Romantics, his work as a librarian was also significant — indeed a 2003 article by Matthew Loving asserts that he should actually be considered “one of history’s great librarians.”  Nodier was a bibliophile from a young age and learned the art of bibliography while working in his father’s personal library.  He made a name for himself by traveling to nearby estates to catalog and inventory their libraries, and worked as a professional librarian in France and in Ljubljana, Slovenia before his appointment as bibliothéquaire de l’Arsenal in 1824. In his work as a librarian, Nodier advocated for the importance of bibliographic control and accuracy in cataloging. In fact, he was one of the first librarians to advocate for better standards for bibliography and cataloging, comparing the “science” of bibliography to the classification of plants and animals (which he knew something about, as he was also an amateur entomologist).  Nodier sold off portions of his library several times over his lifetime and there was also a large sale of his remaining books after his death in 1844.  I haven’t yet been able to find a mention of this manuscript in sales catalogues, but it would be interesting to see how Nodier himself cataloged it — hopefully our cataloging lives up to his standards!

Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday at the Clark!

March 26, 2014
Shakespeare’s Bookshelf: New Additions to the Paul Chrzanowski Collection
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 4:00–7:00 p.m.
A Special Event at the  William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Please join the Center and Clark Library in celebrating the new additions to the Paul Chrzanowski Collection. Books from the collection will be on display during this special event, which also marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Paul Chrzanowski will give a short collector’s talk at 5:30 p.m., and scenes from Shakespeare plays will be performed by actors from the Independent Shakespeare Company on the library’s beautiful grounds.
shakespeare
The Paul Chrzanowski Collection is the largest gift ever made to the Clark Library. It contains books known or thought to have been read by William Shakespeare, as well as two Shakespeare folios and one quarto edition of a play (Henry the Sixth), among other fine books dated from 1479 to 1731. It also includes the first complete Caxton publication to enter any University of California collection, his Cordyal of the Four Last Thinges of 1479.
Registration Deadline: April 16, 2014
Admission is complimentary, but advance registration is requested:
Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. Confirmation will be sent via email.

UCLA Volunteer Day at the Clark

September 25, 2013

On Tuesday, the Clark was lucky to host a group of UCLA students who generously donated their free time for UCLA Volunteer Day.

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Working with our groundkeeper, the students helped to weed flower beds, clean up plant debris, and beautify our outdoor space!  We hope that they had a great time visiting and helping the Clark, and will look forward to next year’s UCLA Volunteer Day!

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