Archive for October, 2012

Whose house is this?

October 29, 2012


Dear Friends and Fans of the Clark Library,

While doing some spring cleaning earlier this year, we ran across this photograph of a lovely home in what appears to be central or southern California. We’ve asked around and no one seems to know the significance of this house. There’s a name on the mailbox, but the quality of the photograph makes it illegible. If you know anything about the property, we’d like to hear from you.




Wilde Adventures in Cataloging

October 24, 2012

As anyone who has worked in the Clark’s Oscar Wilde collection knows, there is a lot of room for discovery.  One of these spaces for discovery is in the correspondence collection, where there are a large number of correspondents simply labeled as “unknown person.”  Sometimes, signatures on these letters are illegible (or seemed so to the original cataloger), while others are signed only with a first name, or with a confusing set of initials.

After this summer’s Oscar Wilde-themed NEH seminar, several scholars submitted corrections for items in the Wilde collection, including the identification of several letters written from Hungarian illustrator Willy Pogany to Ada Leverson.  These letters, written in both French and English, had been signed simply “Willy” and so were cataloged under “unknown person.”  In her search for letters related to French writer Rachilde, Petra Dierkes-Thrun came across these missives, and was able to positively identify Pogany as their author.

With this as inspiration, I recently went through many of the letters cataloged as being from “unknown persons” and realized that many names and signatures are actually completely legible (at least to my eyes!).  Moreover, the advent of the internet has made it much easier to confirm the identities of these “unknowns” — something that would have been almost impossible in the 1950s and 1960s when many of these letters were first cataloged.

This letter, written to Oscar Wilde from John Haden Badley, is perhaps the most egregious cataloging oversight.  Not only is Badley’s signature legible, but the letter is written on letterhead marked “Bedales,” the name of the famous coeducational school he founded in 1893.  Wilde’s older son Cyril was a student at Bedales in 1894, when this letter was written.  In it, Badley tells Wilde he “fully agree[s]” that “the power of reading and writing English” are of “far more importance than the mere acquirement of information,” but that 9-year-old Cyril was “full young yet to read the ‘Odyssey’ with appreciation” and that the question of starting Cyril on violin lessons should perhaps wait until it becomes clear whether or not he has any musical aptitude.  Badley does agree, though, that Wilde’s “Canadian canoe” would be a welcome addition to the school, but suggests that it perhaps should not arrive until the spring, when the water will be warmer.

J.H. Badley’s signature

Other newly identified letters include actress Emily Thorne asking Wilde to consider her for one of the old lady parts in his newest play (Box 67/Folder 66); Dublin solicitor John Doherty negotiating with Wilde terms of a lease or sale of the Wilde family hunting lodge, Illaunroe (Box 14/Folder 43); and a Wilde fan named Bertha Gent-Wood writing Robbie Ross in 1907 about the beauty of his friendship with Wilde (Box 28/Folder 59), among several others.  The descriptions for these letters have been added to our online finding aid to the correspondence in our Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection.  A full list of newly identified letters is below.


GT Atkinson to AJA Symons, 23 May 1931, Box 2/Folder 57
John Haden Badley to Oscar Wilde, 15 Sept 1894, Box 3/Folder 29
Thomas Balston to AJA Symons, 66 Apr 1926, Box 3/Folder 30
John Doherty to Oscar Wilde, 10 Dec 1883, Box 14/Folder 43
Bertha A Gent-Wood to Robert Baldwin Ross, 5 Feb 1907, Box 28 Fld 59
Willy Pogany to Ada Leverson, 1907 (3 letters), Box 51/Folder 47
Paul A. Rubens to Ada Leverson, 26 Feb 1912, Box 59/Folder 18
Emily Thorne  to Oscar Wilde, 19 Jan 1893, Box 67/Folder 66

Person of the Week: Cataloging/Archives Intern Daniella Aquino

October 17, 2012

From Nina Schneider, Head Cataloger

This week we focus on Daniella Aquino, the second intern in our 30-week program. Graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in Anthropology from Cal State Fullerton, Daniella will be working on our extensive collection of Hannah More materials. More (1745-1833) was smart and well-educated. Early in her career as a writer and teacher she was friendly with Garrick, Johnson, Montagu, and others in the blue-stocking clubs. More later settled for a life of religious and societal reform, setting up Sunday schools, writing and publishing numerous moral pamphlets, as well as helping create the Religious Tract Society in 1799. The Clark owns many hundreds of More’s publications, published as the Cheap Repository Tracts and at the time selling for about a penny. Most of these tracts were printed on inexpensive paper, in two columns with a woodcut illustration on the first page. Each story included a moral lesson that proved so popular that each pamphlet was produced in thousands of copies.


Daniella will focus on these tracts, many of which have been languishing uncataloged for years, while also cataloging More’s correspondence. Daniella’s experience working as a Parish Secretary for Saint Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove, as well as her research experience in anthropology will enable her to put More’s work into the cultural and religious milieu of the long 18th-century in England, as well as glean lessons that can be used in her coursework and portfolio.

As she explains:

Through the MLIS program at UCLA, I have worked with rare books, special collections and archival materials. This hands-on work has inspired me to share this experience with others. In January, I began researching ways in which primary sources and rare materials can be used in K-12 education. Over the summer, I participated in a collaborative project involving local archivists, librarians, and elementary educators, exploring ways that primary source materials may be utilized in schools to promote inquiry and develop critical thinking skills. I want to incorporate my work at the Clark by developing a project that could be implemented into an elementary program.  The challenge will be making the highly abstract and theoretical materials in the Hannah More collection relevant and understandable to young children, and I am excited to see how this project will evolve. With my experience here in a special collections setting, I also hope to explore different ways of promoting greater collaboration between libraries, repositories and educators.

By cataloging individual letters, processing larger archival collections, and collectively cataloging printed tracts, Daniella will have the chance to make decisions about how and why materials are cataloged in a variety of ways. Her ability to read music and her fluency in Spanish are advantages for the rare materials cataloger and her goal of working in a special collections library or in a museum are certainly aided by these skills.

The next time you visit the Clark, please take a moment to welcome Daniella Aquino and Gloria Gonzalez. We are very glad they are here!



Celebrities at the Clark…

October 11, 2012

From Becky Ruud, Student Assistant

Nestled in our manuscript section is an intriguing book full of autographs and photos of celebrities from 1897.  This book was purchased by the Clark Library in 1950 and was unknown to me until I went through the bound manuscripts item by item. Featured in this book are many well-known — and some obscure — actors, authors, and artists of the later 19th century.

One of the first entries in the volume is for J. L . Tooles, an exceedingly famous farceur of the time. He was noted for his natural way with comedy, and often for being a brilliant dramatic actor as well. Dickens said of being struck by his, “power of passion very unusual indeed in a comic actor, as such things go, and of a quite remarkable kind”. His comedic acting was enhanced by his physique, being short with a broad face and his ability to command his deep cockney voice. A practical joker who, never forgot his trusty monocle, became an international sensation. The quote featured on his picture comes from his famous character Paul Pry, “I hope I don’t intrude”.

The book also includes photos and autographs of three theatre couples, the Bancrofts , the Terrys, and the Kendals. The three couples worked with each other from one time to another in their career. Marie Bancroft, having been born into the profession, was known for her ability to “play farce, tragedy, opera, comedy, melodrama, pantomime, ballet, change her costume, fight a combat, make love, poison herself, die, and take one encore for a song and another for a dance, in the short space of ten minutes” wrote Tom Robertson in 1860. Squire Bancroft was known for his acting, but proved to be a much more shrewd businessman. Together the Bancrofts managed many successful performances at the Haymarket Theatre and the Prince of Wale’s.

Madge Kendal, like Marie Bancroft, started acting at a very young age. Her husband, also much like Squire Bancroft, was an actor turned manager. When Squire asked for permission to mary Madge, Madge’s father, William Robertson, gave consent only if the couple would always act together. A promise they never broke.

The final couple, the Terrys, Fred (brother of Ellen Terry) and his wife Julia Neilsen grace the pages of this book. Fred Terry, began his career in a Bancroft production at the age of sixteen. Later he played the Sebastian to his sister Ellen’s Viola, in Henry Irving’s Twelfth Night. A production I could only wish to have seen in person!Neilsen was also a famous actress. In fact was W.S. Gilbert who encouraged Julia Neilsen to begin acting, where she would later meet Fred.

Perhaps my favorite photograph is one of Linley Sambourne, illustrator for Punch. His outstanding 43 years at Punch included mostly full page illustrations in realistic style. Sambourne’s early years feature many grotesque and whimsical drawings, while his later years are full of realistic and well-developed illustrations. His “Fancy Portraits” of the 1880s mocked the celebrities of the day; and perhaps his humourous included picture is made in homage to his cartoons. Today his home in London at 18, Stafford Terrace (as is engraved on his signature page) is open for visitors, displayed in the state that Sambourne and his family had decorated it many years ago.

Further pictures include:

Author W.B. Yeats, with two signatures included

Poet and artist Richard le Gallienne

Alfred Austin, poet laureate of Great Britain

Queen Victoria’s favorite vocalist, Madame Albani Gye

In addition, this lovely portrait of artist Solomon J.Solomon in his studio is included. Solomon is a known English portrait artist who trained at the Royal Academy of Art. During the first world war, he advocated the importance of camoflauge and began the camouflage school in Kensington Gardens.

Edward J. Poynter, President of the Royal Academy of Art.

The charming Charles Solomon, at the time the oldest living English composer, who included his signature on a line of sheet music he had composed for his own 83rd birthday. It is documented that Solomon composed a song for each of his birthdays.

Finally a portrait of the Victorian version of the Partridge Family, the Field-Fishers, who were a family of singers and entertainers

All of these entries, and many more exciting characters, can be found in this volume!

Celebrities, MS.1950.006.

All information on the artists and authors was found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Person of the Week: Cataloging/Archives Intern Gloria Gonzalez

October 8, 2012

From Head Cataloger Nina Schneider

The Clark Library is fortunate to welcome two UCLA Information Studies students for a 30-week internship in the Cataloging Department. Conceived as a program that will provide hands-on experience to graduate students interested in a career in special collections librarianship (and a head start when they enter the job market) while simultaneously assisting the Clark librarians process some of our acquisitions, the interns will spend fifteen weeks working with an archival collection and creating a finding aid that will be mounted on the Online Archive of California. The other fifteen weeks will be spent cataloging rare books related to the archives they’ve processed. The internship will culminate with a capstone project of the interns’ choice. Whether it’s an exhibition, a lecture, a website, or a paper, the final project will provide a chance for the intern to share what they’ve learned about the collections they’ve cataloged and serve as a major project for inclusion in their portfolio.

This week we focus on Gloria Gonzalez. Gloria has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, where she also majored in Religious Studies. It seemed appropriate for her to focus on the collection of the late philosophy historian Professor Richard Popkin. She will be working with his research papers and antiquarian books from his personal library. Gloria comes to us with excellent skills. In addition to this internship and taking classes full-time, she’s working for the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT) at UCLA Special Collections. She describes her work there:

I worked on the [Margaret A.] Porter papers and other collections from the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive until May, and then began working with accessions (still under the CFPRT). Using an “accessioning as processing” method, I create accession records, determine appropriate levels of MPLP, process collections, and then create brief cataloging records. I also serve on the YRLSC Digital Projects Committee, under which my work is currently centered on researching emerging best practices and technology needed for accessioning, processing, and providing access to born-digital materials in special collections.

Summer of 2011 was spent as a Junior Fellow for the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress. While an undergraduate she processed and digitized archival materials in the department of Special Collections in the University of Mississippi’s J.D. William Library. When we asked her what she would most like to accomplish in her career and how an internship at the Clark Library would relate to that goal, she stated that she wants to make an impact on access to rare and unique items in special collections. That’s a goal that seems within her reach.