Sunday, April 05, 2015

Links & Reviews

- Italian authorities said this week that some books seized from the library of former Italian senator Marcello Dell'Utri (now in prison for ties to organized crime) had been "removed from" from public and ecclesiastical libraries across Italy. The NYTimes piece on this is currently headlined "Politician's Books Came from Libraries Across Italy, Police Say." (Presumably some of the books might have been legitimately deaccessioned). Appended at the bottom is the following correction:

- The GAO has issued a 130-page report on the Library of Congress' IT strategies, and the title itself is pretty telling: "Strong Leadership Needed to Address Serious Information Technology Management Weaknesses." The Washington Post ran a long piece on the report by Peggy McGlone, in which top management at the library comes in for very strong criticism. An NYTimes editorial yesterday concludes that "Congress ... has been far too lax over the years in reviewing [Librarian of Congress James] Billington's leadership because of his status as a capital fixture. Lawmakers must hold him to his latest promises and much more if the institution is not to slip further behind in a world where smartly managed information should be the basic stuff of a library."

- Princeton has acquired the personal library of philosopher Jacques Derrida; many of the 13,800 volumes reportedly contain significant marginalia and insertions.

- Anthony Grafton's March talk at the New York Society Library, "Books & Barrels: Readers and Reading in Colonial America," is now available on YouTube.

- Yale's Beinecke Library has purchased the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of Lincoln material, including thousands of photographs, some 600 volumes from Lincoln's Springfield library, and much more.

- The Maine Antique Digest posted an editorial this week on the (currently-postponed) planned sale of highlights from the Edward Payson Vining collection by Gordon College. The college has reportedly requested an opinion from the state attorney general's office on the legality of any sale.

- A collection of manuscripts from the Syriac Orthodox Mar Matti Monastery in northern Iraq was saved from ISIS militants and is currently being housed in an apartment in Dohuk, according to an AP report.

- The NYPL broke ground this week on the expansion of underground storage space beneath Bryant Park.

- More than 15,000 new maps have been added to the David Rumsey Map Collection, bringing the total number of digitized maps on the site to 58,078.

- The ABAA blog reports that a cache of documents and other items relating to work on the Statue of Liberty were in Baltimore in late December. See their post for full information on the stolen materials.

- The Library of Congress has acquired some 540 Civil War stereographs from the Robert G. Stanford Collection.

- J.L. Bell notes the important discovery of a new poem by enslaved poet Jupiter Hammon. I agree with him that the full text will be very important in determining how the poem is read.

- Scholars working with the Black Book of Carmarthen have identified via ultraviolet light two erased portrait sketches, marginalia, and a "hitherto unknown Welsh poem."

- An odd volume of a 1543 Cicero set, with the badge of Elizabeth I on the boards, will be sold at Swann this week, estimated at $8,000-12,000.

- There's a Q&A with Hilary Mantel in the WaPo about upcoming stage and screen adaptations of Wolf Hall (the Masterpiece series begins airing tonight on PBS).

- Over at Manutius in Manchester, an account of a short-term fellowship at Harvard to examine books printed on parchment.

- Two archivists at the University of Oregon have been removed from their positions after turning over confidential university records to a professor.

- There's a piece in the Dallas Morning News about the construction of a 77-car underground garage at the estate of Harlan Crow, near Dallas. Crow told the paper that the garage will accommodate visitors to his library who would otherwise need to park on the street.

- Collector Reid Moon's exhibition of rare Bibles is now open in Provo, Utah.


- Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed; reviews by Janet Maslin in the NYTimes and Astra Taylor in the LATimes.

- Matthew Denison's Behind the Mask and Robert Sackville-West's The Disinherited; review by Amber K. Regis in the TLS.

- Massimo Bucciantini's Galileo's Telescope; review by Mark Archer in the WSJ.

- Abigail Swingen's Competing Visions of Empire; review by Donald MacRaild in the THE.

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