Archive for December, 2013

A Slipcase Showcase: Items from the Arion Press

December 17, 2013

by Cataloguing Assistant Alejandro Sanchez Nuñez

Aside from libraries wishing to protect valuable materials, avid book collectors, and Folio Society aficionados, slipcases are not usually regarded as vital to a book’s anatomy.  These box-like enclosures, often fashioned out of paperboard, cardstock, or cloth are used to maintain the physical integrity of books protecting them from light and dust. One or two of the sides of these custom-fitted cases is left open to allow the book to slide out when needed and also to display the book’s spine while it is shelved.

In recent times, many independent and private printers have used slipcases not only as a protective agent but also as an important element to embellish a book’s appearance. Browsing through the Clark’s Fine Press collection, perhaps the most interesting types of slipcases are those of the Arion Press.

The press was established in San Francisco in 1966 through a partnership between Robert Grabhorn and Andrew Hoyem. Renamed Arion in 1974, it began publishing artists’ books and limited editions in 1975. Hand craftsmanship and the use of artisanal materials characterize all Arion publications. In crafting these, usually two or three per year, Arion uses original type sets from Mackenzie & Harris, the oldest surviving type foundry in the United States, which Arion has owned since 1989.

The following selection from the Clark’s holdings of the Arion catalog shows how slipcases can surpass their ephemeral nature and become an integral part in the design of their corresponding books.

A Travel Book by Fred Martin. (1976)

Travel Book 2Travel Book 1

Arion’s first livre d’artiste is a collection of travel journal entries from noted artist and former dean of the San Francisco Art Institute, Fred Martin. Additional pieces of text include quotations from 19th century travel writings. The nature motifs of the silk-screened purple and orange cloth covers stand out as the book is housed in its plexiglass slipcase.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott, with art by Andrew Hoyem. (1980)

Flatland 1Flatland 2

The 1884 science-fiction novel receives a futuristic look with some unique design elements. The aluminum covers slide out of a clasped aluminum case. Also, the whole book, or volume, can be unfolded from its tri-dimensional form into a two dimensional plane that extends to thirty feet.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, with art by Michael Graves. (1984)

Gatsby 1Gatsby 2

The Arion edition of the Fitzgerald classic includes drawings by famous architect and designer Michael Graves. On the covers and slipcase, and also throughout the book, we find drawings of the buildings, automobiles, and even the cocktail glasses described in the novel.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with art by Michael Kenna. (1985)

Basker 1Basker 2

The front and back covers, as well as the slipcase, of this edition of the Sherlock Holmes novel include photographs by famous English photographer Michael Kenna. The black and white landscape photographs capture the eerie atmosphere of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s description of mysterious Dartmoor.

CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Early Modern Studies

December 12, 2013

Readers’ Annotations and the Early Modern Book

The University of California, Los Angeles welcomes applications for a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in data curation for early modern studies. Awarded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, this post is based at UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, which houses many unique pre-1770 rare book collections of American, English, and European sources.  All cultural and scholarly activities at the Clark Library are administered by the Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies. The fellowship also involves working closely on data curation with senior members of the UCLA library staff based on the main campus at Westwood. For information about UCLA Library policy on humanities data curation, see

The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library belongs to the UCLA Library system. Consistently ranked among the top ten academic research libraries in North America, the UCLA Library system comprises eight major libraries and thirteen library-wide departments and the Southern Regional Library Facility, the remote storage facility for the southern UC campuses. In addition, there are twelve affiliated libraries and library units located on the campus

The CLIR postdoctoral fellow’s research will focus on the challenges for data curation posed by the different types of readers’ annotations on early modern books. To date the guiding principle in digitizing early modern texts has been to provide “clean” copy. But where does this leave the common phenomenon of those books that readers have annotated, sometimes in painstaking detail? The Clark owns books so heavily annotated that they straddle the divide between published book and manuscript. As a consequence, our received histories of the transition between manuscript and print no long appear adequate. The annotations in many Clark volumes contain a trove of information on their circulation and consumption. How might metadata address the methodological and conceptual challenges presented by these objects, recording the level and type of annotation? How might recent work in the field of material studies/history of the book impact curatorial decisions? If, as seems likely for these texts, the study of annotation shifts the focus of understanding early modern volumes from authors to readers, how might this influence our description and cataloguing of the volumes?

Candidates should be recent recipients of the PhD in an appropriate humanities discipline (such as English, history, European literatures, or Classics) or in library and information science, and have demonstrated knowledge about the history of the early modern book. The appointed fellow will be provided with support from both faculty members and library staff to identify suitable sources that relate directly to the fellow’s areas of expertise.

Besides having an affiliation with a suitable academic department, the fellow will also be mentored by a library staff member who previously held a CLIR award. This award will enhance the fellow’s knowledge of both rare book collections and the material history of the early modern text. Since the Clark Library hosts both undergraduate and graduate classes in archival study, the fellow may have the opportunity to take up responsibility for designing and teaching a course whose syllabus derives from his or her research. The following blog post discusses one type of annotated early modern text held at the Clark: Catalogue searches indicate that over 500 pre-1700 volumes at the Clark contain various degrees of annotation.

The postdoctoral fellow will report to both Professor Barbara Fuchs, Director of the Center for 17th-and 18th-Century Studies, who will advise on publishing the results of the fellow’s research, and to the Clark Librarian. The fellow will have the opportunity to assist in academic programming at the Center/Clark that directs attention to the significance of data curation for early modern studies. The Center will supplement the stipend with a research grant to cover travel, conference, and equipment expenses of $1,500 per annum.

Contract: two years. Salary: $60,000 (plus benefits). Position is from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2016. Applications should include the following documents: letter of application; curriculum vitae; writing sample of scholarship (up to 30 pages of typescript or 25 pages of published article); and three letters of recommendation. Applicants should have graduated with the PhD after 1 January 2009, and, if currently ABD, should have received the doctorate before the fellowship begins on 1 July 2014. Applications need to be postmarked by 27 December 2013 to The review of applications will begin on December 27, 2013 but applications will be accepted until all positions are filled

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA or University) is an equal employment opportunity employer. It is the policy of the University not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed by or seeking employment with the University because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (as defined by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994). This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, demotion, merit increases, salary, training and development, separation, and making reasonable and appropriate accommodations for persons with disabilities.

Please welcome the Clark Library’s new interns for 2013-2014

December 5, 2013

By Nina M. Schneider, Head Cataloger

201314_groupshot_internsPlan of attack (l to r: Kate Papageorge, Becky Fenning Marschall, Patricia Garcia)

Once again, the Clark is lucky to host two interns from UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, Patricia Garcia and Kate Papageorge. Both students will be here for the academic year focusing on the library’s Press collection and archive. Specifically, they will be processing and cataloging items in the Ward Ritchie and Patrick Reagh collections. The book cataloging will focus on Ward Ritchie’s library which includes antiquarian books, printed ephemera, serials, specimens, and realia focused on printing, typography, and book history that Ritchie collected during his lifetime and bequeathed to the Clark in 2005.


Patricia Garcia is a PhD candidate with previous experience in archival processing and cataloging of digital resources and photographs. Pat comes to us from Austin, Texas where she earned her Bachelor’s from St. Edward’s University and her Master’s at the University of Texas, Austin, both in English Literature. She just completed her MLIS degree from UCLA. She is fluent in Spanish and swam in the ocean for the first time last weekend.

In her application, Pat explained her interest in this internship:

When I entered the archival studies PhD program in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, I decided that I wanted to earn an MLIS degree as I completed my PhD. Thus, I have been simultaneously taking masters and doctoral level courses in the department for the past two years. The ability to participate in classes at both levels has revealed a difference in professional expectations regarding one’s relationship to theory and practice. When I sit in a doctoral level course, the conversation revolves around theory and abstract ideas about the significance of information objects and institutions, such as the role of archives in society. When I sit in a master’s level course, the conversation is practice-­‐based and highly particular, such as the appropriate subject headings to use when cataloging a particular material.

However, since my terminal degree will be a PhD, I am often advised not to worry about the particulars of practice; I’m told, “You don’t need to know that kind of stuff. Worry more about the theory and research.” I disagree. How can an archival studies scholar develop effective theory, teach courses to future practitioners, and undertake worthwhile research projects if they don’t understand the everyday realities of working in an archive or special collections library?

We can offer Pat lots of reality! Her first task was to intellectually reorganize the Ward Ritchie archive before adding more materials that haven’t yet been processed. She’s now working on cataloging Ritchie’s printed collection and enhancing records of duplicate copies already in the library.


Kate Papageorge is a second-year MLIS student who has already had a taste of the cataloging world. After receiving degrees in Dance from Saddleback College and Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz, Kate participated in the Library Technology Program at Palomar College in San Marcos. She worked for a while at the San Diego County Library before starting at UCLA. In addition to studying full-time and participating in the Clark’s internship program, she volunteers once a week at the Museum of Natural History’s library, helping with some cataloging, preservation re-housing, and reference requests.

Kate’s interest in history, literature, fine press, and bibliographic description guided her to focus on library special collections and rare books. During this internship she will be organizing, arranging, and describing the Patrick Reagh collection, as well as cataloging the printed works from Ward Ritchie’s bequest. Kate became engaged over the Thanksgiving weekend, which, as she says, is her “favorite news of the week.”

Please make sure to say hello to Pat & Kate the next time you are here.