Non Solus Blog

Making Quills Part 1: Curing

by Katie Hartman Quills are part of the basic materials needed to create a medieval manuscript. Their use and creation were a basic part of the scribe’s daily work and the quill is usually regarded to be the symbol of the scribal trade.  Typically, medieval quills were taken from geese or swans. The best feathers for […]

Adventures in Cataloging: Arabic Manuscripts at RBML

In the cold rooms of the stacks, I walk through the smell of centuries-old books  As I scan the shelves, I notice a stack of books untouched, with white tags protruding from the covers. Some are wrapped with cloth strings and cardboard; others barely attached to their spines. The white tags all with the same […]

Many ways of reading a Proust letter

By Ana D. Rodriguez This week, which marks the 97th anniversary of his death (11/18/1922), we are digitizing a selection of letters from the collection of noted French author Marcel Proust (1871-1922). Besides offering a broad view of the genius of Proust and his milieu, correspondence from his collection is mostly characterized by a set […]

D.H. Melhem: Biographer and Friend of Gwendolyn Brooks

by Taylor Henning Writer D.H. Melhem was born to Lebanese immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York in 1926. During her career she authored eight books of poetry including Notes on 94th Street, Children of the House Afire (later turned into a music drama), Rest in Love, Country: An Organic Poem, Poems for You, Conversation with […]

Historic Data Visualization: A Pop-up Exhibit

Curated by Xena Becker Graphic representations of data are older than the written word. As the way that information is communicated developed and expanded with writing, graphic representations of information shifted to match them. Today, we call this representation “data visualization.” Data visualization re-frames the way data is presented to a graphic format as a […]

A Halloween History: Movable & Pop-Up Books

Pop-up books, also known as movable books (the umbrella term encompassing pop-ups, tunnel books, volvelles, flaps, pull-tabs, pop-outs, pull downs, and more), have been around for centuries. Children, however, were not the target audience until the late 18th century. Prior to then, the audience was primarily adults, and usually with a scholarly purpose. Authors would […]

Edward Gorey: Granddaddy of Goth

by Kellie Clinton Edward Gorey (February 22, 1925-April 15, 2000) is an author and illustrator best known for his pen-and-ink illustrations in Victorian and Edwardian settings. Due to his illustrations generally grim, dark, and depressing content, Gorey’s works have found their home in a specific niche, and earned him the title of “Granddaddy of goth” […]

“A League of Their Own” Typescript

With the World Series in full swing it’s a good time to take a look at one of the many interesting baseball holdings in the collection: the first draft of the typescript for the 1992 movie A League of Their Own directed by Penny Marshal. This typescript, pictured below, was written in 1989 by Lowell […]

Exile Aisle: Challenged and Banned Books in Youth Literature

Curated By Kellie Clinton The American Library Association celebrated Banned Books Week from September 22 through September 28, 2019. Even though Banned Books Week is over, this display will remain up through the end of the week. This exhibit is meant to draw attention to the types of books that are being banned and the […]

RBML Rocks at the Illini Fest in Chicago

Last Thursday, July 19th, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the University Library participated in the first ever Illini Fest in Chicago. The gathering lasted 3 hours and was a celebration of the University and its alumni. The event was a huge success: hundreds of people stopped by to participate and learn, and enjoy […]