Sunday, March 21, 2010

From the Stacks: The Hooke Journal’s Catch Tunes

In the 18th century, paper was scarce. Journals and diaries were commonly used, and re-used, for multiple purposes and by multiple people. One of my favorite examples of this practice is the Hooke journal, which belonged to a British Army officer named George Philip Hooke, who served with the 1st Battalion Grenadiers. From 1779-1780, Hooke recorded his battalion’s movements from New York to Georgia, describing their landing at St. Simons Island, Georgia, and Siege of Charleston. While the military records were the journal’s primary purpose, what caught my eye were the 30 “catch tunes” copied in the back of the book.

A catch tune, according to the Oxford Companion to Music, is a humorous 3 or 4 voice round that was popular in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Typically for male voices, they were “designed to work well even if sung badly,” and were not intended for a formal audience. They were commonly sung in pubs and singing societies such as the Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s Catch Club in London, established in 1761.

The Hooke journal has catches composed by the physician and amateur musician, Henry Harington, and by the great English baroque master, Henry Purcell. Unlike many catches of the day, which were often obscene with lyrics full of drinking and carousing, the Hooke examples celebrate love, marriage, and laughing.

Two examples are pictured. The example above, marked Grazzioso (gracefully), is by Henry Purcell with the words by John Dryden from the opera King Arthur.

Fairest Isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasures, and of loves;
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian groves.
To the left is a comical 8 bar round called “Nose,” where the protagonist seems to promise his love that he will stop drinking:

Nose Nose, Nose, Nose,
Shall I never see thee Red
Oh Marry, that thou shall
if that you’ll stay

The Hooke journal was cataloged as part of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to create access for many of the Clements Library's most important manuscript collections. We would like to thank the NEH for its generous support.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Founder's Day Talk by Nicholas Basbanes, April 1, 2010

Nicholas Basbanes
The William L. Clements Founder’s Day Lecture
"Further Adventures Among the Gently Mad"

April 1, 4:00 p.m.
Main Room, Clements Library
909 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Nicholas Basbanes, an internationally syndicated columnist and author, on the joys and adventures of antiquarian book collecting. He will talk about the world of antiquarian books—collecting, curating, and the “gentle madness” that drives people to covet, accumulate and cherish old books. Nicholas Basbanes writes books about books, including the best-selling A Gentle Madness. Well-known for writing about books, bibliophiles, and various aspects of book culture, he has worked as an award-winning investigative reporter, a literary editor, a lecturer, and a syndicated columnist.

This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mister Clements and His Magnificent Library: A Documentary about the Clements Library

In 2007, the Clements Library commissioned a documentary, Mister Clements and His Magnificent Library, to commemorate the retirement of John C. Dann, the third director. Highlighting the achievements of the Library's founder and past directors, the documentary provides a history of the Library and its rich collections of historical materials.

In addition to the brief 8-minute version shown here, the longer 30-minute version was originally shown at John C. Dann's retirement event, and has aired periodically on the Michigan Channel. Created by Metrocom International, the film was made possible by the generosity of the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon, James and Joanna Schoff, James and Millie Irwin, the Frederick S. Upton Foundation, and David and Linda Upton.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lecture by William Cronon, Environmental Historian, March 25th, 2010

Prof. William Cronon
“The Portage: Time, Memory, and Storytelling
in the Making of an American Place”

Thursday, March 25, 4:00 pm

Main Room, Clements Library

William Cronon is the Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Cronon is recognized for his work as a commentator in Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and author of Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, which was awarded the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians.

Professor Cronon will talk about his current research project on the history of Portage, Wisconsin, to explore ways of integrating environmental and social historical methods with non-traditional narrative literary forms.

Jointly Sponsored by the Department of History and the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Talk by Julie Fremuth: "Preserving History: Engaging Today's Youth Through Historical Documents," March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Main Room, Clements Library
Julie Fremuth, a paper conservator and rare book binder at the University of Michigan's William L. Clements Library, uses the inspiration she gets from the amazing items in the library's collection to create projects she can teach young students. These projects teach the children historical origins as well as getting them to use their hands and minds creatively.

Her presentation will show not only original items from the Clements, but also project-models made by the students.

This event, part of the MLibrary Conservation Detective Series, is hosted by the Clements Library. For more information, see the MLibrary Events page.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Online Exhibit: "Honest Independence": The Life of Norton Strange Townshend

Norton Strange Townshend: An Online Exhibit at the William L. Clements Library

A new online exhibit featuring the papers of Norton Strange Townshend is now available on the Clements Library website. (For a list of other library exhibits, see the main Exhibits page.)

From the introduction to the exhibit:
Norton Strange Townshend (1815-1895) had a long and multi-faceted career in politics, medicine, social reform, and agricultural education. His accomplishments included antislavery activism, politicial involvement at the local level and in the U.S. House of Representatives, work on the Underground Railroad, a role as a Medical Inspector in the Civil War, and advocacy of scientific training for farmers. The latter earned him the nickname, "the father of agricultural education in the United States" and allowed him to shape Ohio State University as a co-founder and its first Professor of Agriculture. He also participated in the women's suffrage movement, had a deep interest in botany and archaeology, and was a co-founder and trustee of the Ohio State Asylum for Idiotic and Imbecile Youth, which educated and trained children with intellectual disabilities. Focusing his daunting energy and ever-present practicality on achieving reform in many arenas, he was able to bring his deeply humane and progressive views to bear on nineteenth century society.
This online exhibit illuminates many aspects of Townshend's career and life through biographical information and digitally scanned manuscripts, images, and printed materials from the Norton Strange Townshend Family Papers. The papers include a wealth of primary sources, such as the diaries of Townshend and his wife, Margaret Bailey Townshend, essays and lectures by Townshend on dozens of political, social and personal topics, correspondence between Townshend and his family members and colleagues such as Salmon P. Chase, printed matter, and rich visual resources, including daguerreotypes by Thomas M. Easterly, who was Townshend's brother-in-law. The materials document not only Townshend's life and work, but also the everyday lives of his immediate family and descendants, and this exhibit highlights many of its treasures.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Current Exhibit: "American Encounters: Sources for the Study of Native American History at the Clements Library," March 1 - June 4, 2010

Now on display in the Great Room of the Clements Library, until June 4, 2010. Open to the public Monday through Thursday, 1:00-4:45 or by appointment.

Sources for the Study of Native American History at the Clements Library

American Encounters highlights the great range and depth of the Clements Library’s collections related to Native American history. The exhibit features items drawn from many areas of the collection, including books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and photographs, which document over four centuries of history. These artifacts illustrate different types of cultural encounters over the course of American history and feature some of the library’s greatest strengths. Included are printed accounts of early encounters between indigenous peoples and European explorers, manuscripts and maps that record a long history of warfare and diplomacy, wampum and trade silver, peace medals, portraits of native leaders, and photographs of Indian schools. Many of these sources are filtered through a European perspective, representing those views and biases rather than the direct voices of Native Americans themselves. Where possible, we will attempt to provide context for such materials to explain the circumstances of their creation.

This exhibit highlights sources for further study, which we hope will enhance inquiry and scholarship on the University of Michigan campus and elsewhere. Much research remains to be done with these materials. The Native American experience is central to an understanding of American history as a whole.