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In South Florida, A Lover and Donor of Unique Books

It all started with his work as a library volunteer. From The Sun Sentinel:

For Arthur Jaffe, books weren't just to be read. They were to be treasured as works of art. Jaffe, who donated a lot of money and his vast collection of hand-crafted books to Florida Atlantic University, died Sunday. He was 93.

Though he passed away this week, his legacy will live on through the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts at FAU's Wimberly Library, where he spent 13 years as curator before retiring in 2011. The collection has grown from Jaffe's original donation of 2,800 handmade books to 12,000 today.

The Jaffe collection includes children's pop-ups, wood cuts and lithographs. There are several versions of the Bible, classics like "Moby Dick" and "Hamlet," and more unusual volumes, such as "Ghost Diary" by Maureen Cummins, a rare book made of glass. Even after retiring in 2011, he continued to visit the center on a regular basis. In 2012, he launched a project that seemed unusual for the book arts center: a documentary on the tattoos of FAU students.

"Here was a 91-year-old looking at all these tattooed kids and saying, 'they're all walking books,'" Cutrone said. "Sometimes you think of older people as being set in their ways, but that was not Arthur. He was willing to see the other side of things."

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian's Design Museum Reopens

From The New York Times:

On Friday, Dec. 12, 1902, Andrew Carnegie moved into his just-finished home at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, with his wife, Louise, and his 5-year-old daughter, Margaret, to whom he handed the key. Carnegie lived there until his death in 1919; Louise until hers in 1946. Margaret was married there but moved next door. When she died in 1990, her childhood home had long since become headquarters for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Lovely slideshow on the renovation by Gluckman Mayner Architects which include a new, wide-open gallery space, a cafe and a raft of be-your-own-designer digital enhancements.

The Architecture of American Literacy

Article from CityLab about Washington, DC's Spy Library proposed additions to the classic Carnegie Library. The request however was denied by District preservationists.

Across the nation, the libraries that Andrew Carnegie built have been transformed and reused as historical museums, city halls, art centers, and even bars and restaurants, sometimes by dramatic means.

It is a testament to Carnegie's philanthropic investment in cities—the largest in U.S. history—that so many of these buildings are still in use. Yet no one can say exactly how many are standing now.

"As far as I'm aware, the last person to conduct an inventory of Carnegie libraries was Theodore Jones, back in 1997," says Ron Sexton, librarian for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Almost 20 years later, Jones's book, Carnegie Libraries Across America: A Public Legacy, still offers the best estimate to a question that may not have an exact answer.

Marks of Genius at The Morgan Library & Museum

In a New York Times review by William Grimes, entitled "A History of Awesome in One Room", the JP Morgan Library's new exhibit from Oxford's Bodleian Library is described as featuring "some of the loftiest texts ever recorded"; the poetry of Sappho, the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Shelley's Frankenstein and an illustrated score by Felix Mendelssohn.

"Marks of Genius” works hard at its theme. Stephen Hebron, the Bodleian’s curator of the exhibition, carefully traces the changing meanings of genius since antiquity in a concise but wide-ranging catalog essay. The exhibit runs through mid-September at The Morgan Library.

Nazi Era Book Left in Illinois Library Book Drop

From The Chicago Sun-Times: LaGrange Park Public Library officials are brimming with curiosity over who dropped off a rare book stamped “Secret!” from notorious Nazi Commander Hermann Goring, which is now under study at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a great mystery,” library director Dixie Conkis said. “We had the book in our possession for a while not knowing quite what to do with it, but felt that because it was marked ‘secret’ it was probably a rather important book.”

The book, “1938-1941: Vier Jahre, Hermann Goring-Werke,” likely was left in the library’s book drop. It easily could have been discarded if not for Ursula Stanek, circulation services director, who grew up in Mannheim, Germany. The book sat on her desk for several weeks in the spring until she noted the inside cover was stamped “Geheim!” meaning “Secret!” with letterhead from Goring, the Nazi state secrete police commander.

Thanks to the librarians, the book now has a permanent home in Washington DC's Holocaust Museum, which had only previously had a reprinted copy.

I am a Pole and Ulysses, Side by Side

from NPR:

Talk show host Stephen Colbert's foray into children's books has landed him alongside some exalted literary company.

A playful new exhibit at Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum & Library pairs priceless material by James Joyce and Maurice Sendak with, um, perhaps less valuable items used by Colbert to write "I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)."

Colbert's pens, beer bottles and lunch remnants are certainly not the usual fare for the Rosenbach, the Philadelphia institution that houses the only complete manuscript of Joyce's "Ulysses."

But museum officials say the display reinforces their mission to engage and inspire visitors with collections that include papers from Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker and Miguel de Cervantes.

"If I can do that by having Stephen Colbert make a joke about 'Ulysses,' why not?" said Rosenbach director Derick Dreher.

Mark Twain House in Hartford adopts a Google map of Twain's America

Terry Ballard, Systems librarian at New York Law School's Mendik Library has spent years on a project of creating a Google map that reflects the places in America where Mark Twain lived and worked. The map follows him from his childhood home in Hannibal, Missouri to his years as a teenager visiting the great cities of the east coast. As a young man he was in New Orleans booking passage to South America in search of wealth and adventure. He decides at the last minute to become a riverboat pilot instead. When the Civil War brought down that occupation, he headed west to live in Nevada - pursuing mining unsuccessfully and writing very successfully.

In San Francisco, his writings about police injustice got him in trouble with the law, and he had to hide out for a time in Calaveras County, where he discovered the story that would cement his career as a writer - "The celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County." As a successful author, he lived most notably in his mansion in Hartford, but had repeated stays in Manhattan, the Bronx and Upstate. The map makes extensive use of photographs from members of the Mark Twain Forum.

Ballard is extremely grateful for the adoption of his work by the Mark Twain House & Museum. Steve Courtney from the Twain House wrote: "Terry Ballard, librarian, Twain collector, and Google Earthling extraordinaire, has built a guide to the many, many locations that Samuel L. Clemens visited during the course of his long life and varied travels." Eventually, Ballard hopes to integrate images from the museum's enormous collection into the map.

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A Food Truck & a Bookmobile Walk Into a Museum

This is an essay I wrote last month and am having trouble finding an audience. I think LISnews readers and I would find it mutually beneficial.

http://grawlsy.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/a-food-truck-a-bookmobile-walk-into-a-museum/

A Changing Turkey, Reflected in Author Orhan Pamuk's Novel Museum

ISTANBUL — The first thing you see are the cigarette butts. There are thousands of them — 4,213 to be exact — mounted behind plexiglass on the ground floor of the Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s new museum, named for and based on his 2008 novel, “The Museum of Innocence.” Story and multi-media from The New York Times.

It’s a fittingly strange beginning to a tour of this quirky museum, tucked away in a 19th-century house on a quiet street in the Cukurcuma neighborhood, among junk shops that sell old brass, worn rugs and other bric-a-brac.

But it is also, like everything else on the museum’s four floors, a specific reference to the novel — each cigarette has supposedly been touched by Fusun, the object of the narrator’s obsessive love — and, by extension, an evocation of the bygone world in which the book is set.

“The Museum of Innocence” is about Istanbul’s upper class beginning in the 1970s, a time when Mr. Pamuk was growing up in the elite Nisantasi district. He describes the novel as a love story set in the melancholic back streets of that neighborhood and other parts of the European side of the city. But more broadly it is a chronicle of the efforts of haute-bourgeois Istanbulis to define themselves by Western values, a pursuit that continues today as Turkey as a whole takes a more Islamic turn.

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