Non Solus Blog

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

In mid-November, No Blue Memories premiered at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. The paper puppet show, performed by Manual Cinema, focused on the life of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. The show was written by Dr. Eve. L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, featured live music by Ayanna and Jamila Read More

The Double Life of the Letter “U”

The letter “u” is a workhorse of the alphabet. It occurs so frequently that it will earn you only one point in Scrabble. Even so, it flies under the radar, escaping our notice. Now, texting threatens to elevate it to a pronoun. Have we underestimated this unassuming letter? The time has come for a closer Read More

Shakespeare’s Scribe and Skull & Cross Bones?

While we were improving the minimal cataloging of our medieval and early modern manuscript holdings, we came across a hand-written copy of one of the earliest specialized English Dictionaries, Henry Manwayring’s Seaman’s Dictionary.  Since our library boasts an amazing collection of early English dictionaries, we were not overly surprised.  It is always pleasant to see Read More

Victorian Scrapbooks Rediscovered

Here at The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, seemingly simple reference questions often turn into much deeper discoveries.That was the case when a patron enquired about our material concerning one Martin F. Tupper. If you aren’t familiar with Martin F. Tupper (1810-1889), then you probably didn’t live in the mid-19th century; if you did, you likely Read More

A Birthday Card for Albert Camus

Albert Camus, the French novelist, playwright, journalist, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner was born on this day, November 7, one hundred years ago. This is a good occasion to highlight a small manuscript fragment from Camus’s 1951 essay L’Homme révolté (Paris: Gallimard, translated in English as The Rebel) which was recently re-discovered on the shelves Read More

Marcel Proust on Writing

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Du côté de chez Swann (Swann’s Way), the first part of Marcel Proust’s lengthy literary masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, also known as Remembrance of Things Past. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is celebrating this milestone with an exhibition drawn from its renowned Proust Read More

William Paul Schenk Papers: A New Acquisition Related to Carl Sandburg

The Rare Book Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of the William Paul Schenk Papers from his estate early in 2011. In addition to many of his own manuscripts, the William Schenk papers contain a treasure trove of articles, correspondence, and photographs concerning Carl Sandburg and his family. Schenk greatly admired the famous poet Read More

Congratulations to our Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin!

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Illinois now has even more reason to be proud of being the home of William S. Merwin’s papers: on Thursday, July 1, it was announced that William S. Merwin would be named the next poet laureate of the United States. The duties of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Read More

A Collection of Letters to Barnard Gregory

“Satire’s my weapon. I was born a critic and a satirist; and my nurse remarked that I hissed as soon as I saw light.” In the vault of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we recently rediscovered a correspondence collection of the London actor and journalist Barnard Gregory Read More

An anonymous manuscript tract found in the Incunabula collection

While updating the catalog records for the Incunabula collection, a copy of the Pseudo-Augustinian work Sermones ad heremitas was recently re-cataloged. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has three fifteenth-century imprints of this work, two from Venice and one from Strasbourg. The copy printed by Paganinus de Paganinis on 26 May 1487 is the smallest Read More