Raiders of the Lost Archives!

A new map of Texas BEST

There are several archives in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library: The Southwest Collection (of course!), the Crossroads of Music Archives, Rare Books Collection, Texas Tech University Archives, and Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World. And every single one of us just contributed artifacts to the final SWC/SCL exhibit of 2018: “Raiders of the Lost Archives.” Below is a mere sample of what currently decorates our halls.

Guitar-Sonny West

The guitar above belonged to Sonny West, a rock-n-rollin’ Lubbock, Texas, native whose principal claim to fame was that he wrote “Oh, Boy!” and “Rave On” for another famous Lubbock musician: Buddy Holly. This item is found in our Crossroads of Music Archive, which is also the official repository for the archival collections of Michael Martin Murphey, the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Tommy and Charlene Hancock Family, Jesse “Guitar” Taylor, Odis “Pop” Echols, and over 100 other music collections.

Tarahumara-Image67

Some collections deal with the indigenous peoples of the Southwest and Mexico. Among them is the Tarahumara Photograph Collection, consisting of over 25,000 photographs of this isolated people. Taken over the course of fifty years by Jesuit priest Luis Verplanken during his work in southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, many of the photographs were digitized and placed online for all interested researchers.

Milton Fore-edge BEST-Gold+

Few collections in our building rival the over 35,000 books, journals, manuscripts, maps, and other items in our Rare Books Collection. They range from 3,000 year old Assyrian cylinder seals to contemporary artists’ books, including this 1851 early edition of the poems of John Milton. It is adorned with a fore-edge painting, which was created by first fanning the page block of a book, then painting an image on the stepped surface. Many times the illustrations relate to the subject of the book itself; in this case, the rustic scene of a pond with an unknown town in the background that might refer to one of Milton’s poems.

GhostRider1941

The Texas Tech University Archives is the second largest archival unit in the Special Collections Library, boasting over 5,200 linear feet of manuscript and published material produced by the university, its staff, and students. Not a few items pertain to the Masked Rider, TTU’s oldest and most popular mascot. The precursor to the Masked Rider, the Ghost Rider, is depicted in this logo found in a 1941 game program.

John Lane Book-1

Although we don’t have a photo of it here, the Sowell Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World contributed a large wooden paddle used by John Lane during his travels, some of which led to writing Chattooga. In his words:

“. . . Silver Creek wooden paddles, made from local North Carolina mountain woods, were used by many great kayak and canoe paddlers all over the country. They are flexible, long lasting, tough, and just feel so right in your hand, like you are paddling with a living thing. I bought this one in 1984 and paddled with it for 20 years. I cracked it twice . . . . Once I was driving out I-40 to paddle in Colorado and the bungee holding the paddles snapped and they flew off the car.  The Silver Creek somehow survived. Another time I somehow got a blade of it lodged under a rock rolling in the middle of a rapid on the Chauga River in South Carolina and it was ripped out of my hands. It took up an hour but we were able to recover it.”

The Sowell Collection contains the personal papers not only of Jon Lane, but also some of the country’s most prominent writers, all of whom are deeply engaged with questions of land use, the nature of community, the conjunction of scientific and spiritual values, and the fragility of wilderness.

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The Southwest Collection’s 2015 Highlights

2015 is coming to a close, and the SWC is looking back at some of its favorite images of the past year. (Also, because no one is in the archive for the holidays, we shamefully admit to the necessity having to recycle content!) So here they are – the best of 2015!

The year is wrapping up, and so we bring the SWC’s favorite images from 2015!Back in July we noted that archives have nigh innumerable boxes. But when the Ag Movement tractors and I asked our Registrar to come up with a box-related joke, he replied “If they wanted us to use good grammar they should have made it more easier.”He stands by that statement to this day.

For example, back in July we noted that archives have nigh innumerable boxes. But when the Ag Movement tractors and I asked our Registrar to come up with a box-related joke, he replied “If they wanted us to use good grammar they should have made it more easier.” He stands by that statement to this day.

Less silly but equally entertaining is this footage of our Earth as seen through the first color satellite footage ever taken from space! Well, the footage of the earth is real. As a savvy user pointed out, however, the background and its immobile stars probably aren’t…

ranchers feed yard

Every other Wednesday around here is dubbed “Western,” y’all, but sometimes we eschew the rodeos, cowboys, and ranching for a classic Ford Fairlane station wagon.

title shot

In January, we installed an exhibit on Texas Tech’s Dairy Barn, a 90-year-old symbol of the campus, still preserved today just yards away from the Southwest Collection. Here’s a photograph of it today, surrounded by our crowded campus, and then, surrounded by…pretty much nothing!

Lubbockhistorichomes - need to chop up - 1988 for tumblr4

While every other Wednesday is “Western Wednesday” around here, all the remaining Wednesdays are “Map Day!” One of our most popular maps this year was, curiously, this 1988 map of historic homes and buildings in Lubbock, Texas, produced by the Lubbock Heritage Society and some of their partners.

keep on streakin

We see many bizarre advertisements in our newspaper collections, but few are like the one we found in the spring of 1974: an obsession with streaking in Texas Tech University’s University Daily. No one knows how it started. Some say that streaking had been popular on campus for years already. Others claim that Ray Stevens’ hit, “The Streak,” which debuted in March 1974, was responsible. All we know for sure is that by the time the campus got good and warm, t-shirts featuring the logo above were widely available.

3.l-54.80 female and baby in rebozo beside removable plank door- near village of Wawatzerare

Finally, we have an image from one of our favorite blogs this year. It described our photograph collection of the Tarahumara, a people of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico, who’ve weathered centuries of attention by Spanish, French, and Mexican governments. They still hold on to many of their original cultural traditions. In the village of Wawatzerare, for example, this woman still carries her baby in a rebozo. This shot was snagged by Father Luis Verplancken, a Jesuit who served in Chihuahua for decades, and who created all of these photographs.

So there you have it: a taste of our favorite images of the year. Keep an eye out for next year’s stuff. It’s bound to be as good (or even better!)

2nd Year Anniversary!

blueboxes

The Southwest Collection’s blog, Tumblr, and Facebook have been around for a full 2 years now. Thousands of blog visitors later (not to mention 8,500 Tumblr followers! Thank you all!) we are still going strong. It’s an honor (and really, really fun) to share all sorts of oddities from our interesting collections. To celebrate this accomplishment (and to give us time to dig up more cool stuff…) for the next two weeks (June 8 through June 19) we’re going to be sharing one highlight per day from our last year of entertaining you. There’s some good stuff, from parakeet-powered cars to Texas Tech football victories, maps of Snake Country to the itinerant toy tractors that roam our archival stacks (and every other place they can devise that might annoy us.)

Mapa correspondiente al diario que formo Elp.F. Pedro Font del viage que hizo a Monterey y puerto de San Francisco... arizona 1878

Thanks for all your support! And don’t hesitate to click around through all our images weeks, months, and years to see if there’s something in there that enlightens you. Or, more likely, holds your interest long enough to look it over. That’s why we do this!

1954-12-27parakeet2

“Picturing the Sky” – An Exhibit of Rare Maps at the Southwest Collection

4259This winter and spring the Southwest Collection’s Rare Books collection is proud to display its new exhibit, “Picturing the Sky.” Our Rare Books collection is phenomenal to say the least, containing over 37,000 items, including one of (if not the) largest collection of author Joseph Conrad’s works. It also preserves texts concerning science, religion, philosophy, and a host of other topics printed from the 15th century onward. This exhibit showcases one of its little-known but unique features: over 500 years’ worth of star charts and celestial maps!

The illustration above is the constellation Ursa Major, hand-drawn and colored in 1490. It is emblematic of the end of an era in which scientific accuracy played a secondary role to artistic expression. It emphasizes the forms of the constellations rather than accurately representing the locations of individual stars. Even the seven prominent stars of the Big Dipper, the most familiar stellar pattern in the northern sky and a hallmark of the constellation, are nowhere to be found.

2-Albrecht DurerOnly 25 years later in 1515, the German artist Albrecht Dürer produced this star chart, the first of its kind to be printed in Europe. Not only was the Big Dipper correctly represented, but twelve radiating lines at 30 degree intervals, corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac, helped position all 35 constellations depicted. So accurate was Dürer’s 1515 chart that it could actually be used to find the positions of stars.

4-Apian, Peter

Dürer’s chart was of such importance that Peter Apian (aka Petrus Apianus), a prominent 16th century mathematician, astronomer, and cartographer, copied much of it verbatim in his own star charts of 1540, shown above. While Apian added additional figures to his chart, such as a pack of three dogs to the right of Ursa Major, its chief feature was that it could be revolved to show how the sky would look at any date between 7,000 BCE to 7,000 CE. This was managed through 21 volvelles, which are a layered series of intricately produced paper discs which can be freely spun. The volvelles shown here move the North Star through roughly half of its 25,000 year precession, which is caused by a slight wobble in the earth as it spins on its axis.

3. Schickard, Wilhelm

Wilhelm Schickard’s star chart of 1623, above, was one of the first to employ a conical section in a celestial map. That being said, his simplistic chart lacked the zodiac and instead incorporated Biblical references for the constellations. In another chart published in 1655, he changed the Big Dipper into Elijah’s fiery chariot while transforming the constellation Perseus into King David by replacing Medusa’s severed head with the giant Goliath’s.5. Bode, Johann

Lastly we have Johann Bode’s 1782 depiction of Ursa Major. Astronomy and scientific illustration had clearly advanced in 300 years. Derived from earlier charts, Bode’s detailed drawing included a classification of stellar magnitude based on the Greek alphabet. The precise system of coordinating lines that bisects the constellation located celestial objects relative to the Earth’s equator as if it were projected out to infinity.

All the images in this exhibit are facsimiles reproduced from books found in our Rare Books collection. For assistance in locating and using this material, please visit the Holden Reading Room or contact our ever-helpful Reference Staff.

– Bruce Cammack

 

The Coronelli Globe!

2AFL1380The Southwest Collection/ Special Collections Library is home to a variety of incredible artifacts, but none compare to our most prized possession: the historic Coronelli Globe. The only one of its kind on permanent display outside of the Library of Congress, the globe was first purchased in Italy during the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst. In the 1950s Dallas oilman Robert Moody acquired the globe, and through the efforts of Texas Tech President Grover Murray and Library Director Ray Janeway the globe became the Texas Tech Library’s one millionth acquisition in 1968. The globe was then displayed in the Library foyer until 1996, when it underwent conservation. Finally, in 1997 the globe was installed in the Southwest Collection’s rotunda where it remains on permanent display.

Franciscan monk and cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli, from whom the globe takes its name, designed and created this artifact in the 1680s. Coronelli spent most of his life in the city of his birth, Venice. At the age of twenty-eight, he constructed his first globe in his Venetian workshop in 1678. By the time of his death in 1718 he had designed more than twenty different globes with diameters ranging from less than two inches to over thirteen feet. At forty-two inches, the Southwest Collection’s globe is an example of Coronelli at the height of his powers, combining a keen artistic sense with his extensive knowledge of astronomy and geography.

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The globe is also a window into the late seventeenth century world, illustrating the extent of European exploration. For example, while the coasts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas are depicted in great detail, the continents’ interiors include regions with fanciful drawings rather than geographical features. It also contains errors, such as Australia’s inaccurate size, blank east coast, and illustration of an elephant as an inhabitant of that continent.

california

One of the more glaring misrepresentations is in regard to California. Although earlier maps had correctly depicted the region as a peninsula, descriptions given by several early seventeenth century explorers mistakenly claimed that California was an island. These tales soon became widely accepted, and as a result Coronelli depicted the North American west coast as separate from the mainland.

mississippi

Another interesting detail is the placement of the Mississippi River. On the globe, it lies far to the west of its actual course. This may result from the documentation by French explorer Robert de La Salle, who had explored the river in 1682. His confusion as to the river’s exact location would soon result in more than incorrect maps, for in 1684 La Salle attempted to form a French colony at the mouth of the river but located it instead on the coast south of present day Victoria, Texas. For years historians have portrayed La Salle as veering off course and shipwrecking on the Texas coast. Some cartographic scholars, however, believe that the globe shows that La Salle arrived precisely where he thought he was going. Either way, the settlement lasted only until 1688 when Karankawa-speaking Indians massacred the last remaining colonists. In the meantime, relying on La Salle’s information, cartographers such as Coronelli depicted the Mississippi’s location inaccurately.

Globe half clean

The Coronelli globe underwent conservation in 1996. This required an often difficult decision process. All repairs were undertaken only when they would stabilize and strengthen the artifact. The globe’s surface is covered in some fifty paper sections called ‘gores.’ As these—as well as the globe’s layers of dirt, varnish, and overpaint—were removed to reveal its true beauty, part of its history was also erased. For example, two layers of material existed: the original dirty top layer and a foundation layer of coarse burlap. In order to properly preserve the globe, some portions had to be permanently removed. Fortunately, such decisions did not always result in historical tragedy. The globe’s installation also revealed another layer of engraved paper inside the outer one. Hidden for centuries, this layer is evidence that this globe might have been Coronelli’s own experimental working model, making it of enormous importance to research.

If you ever visit the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, you would be well-served to take a look at the Coronelli Globe. And, as always, give our many archival collections a look, too!