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.


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.

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.

Mark Twain House Employee Embezzled One Million Over Eight Years

An employee of the Mark Twain House and Museum in West Hartford, Conn., has admitted in court to embezzling $1 million from the organization that maintains the author's historic home. The Mark Twain House, like the homes of some of America's other best-known writers, has faced financial difficulties. Most, however, were not systematically plundered. Report from LA Times Jacket Copy.

Longtime (and now former) staffer Donna Gregory regularly raided the organization's coffers for eight years; she pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return, Reuters reports.

According to court documents, Gregory submitted false information over the Internet to the Mark Twain House payroll vendor between 2002 and 2010. The misinformation allowed additional pay to which she was not entitled to be deposited into her bank account, classified as payroll advances.

She then adjusted the ledgers to cover up the advances by reclassifying the amounts as utilities, maintenance and similar items. She also falsified the Mark Twain House's bank statements to hide the advances, authorities said. Gregory used the Mark Twain House's check-writing system to write checks payable to herself and forged her supervisor's signatures on those checks, authorities said.

In Paris, A Display From Hockney's Pixelated Period

David Hockney thinks his current exhibition may be the first one that's ever been 100 percent e-mailed to a gallery. The 73-year-old artist is standing in the space in question — the Pierre Berge-Yves St. Laurent Foundation in Paris — trying to talk about the works, when his iPhone rings.

More from NPR's Morning Edition.

Google Art Project

Google has done search, email, documents, video, and now...


From the Alte Nationalgalerie of Berlin to the Metropolitan in New York to the National Gallery of London, Google has taken extremely high resolution images of some of the most famous artwork and put it online. View the artwork online and create your own gallery of favourites.

Learn more at the Google Art Project.

Egyptians Remain Vigilant Guarding Libraries & Museums

From Discovery News: Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

UPDATE: Sun Jan 30, 14:40pm EST: In a faxed statement, Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that a total of 13 cases were smashed at the Egyptian museum, adding that other sites are at risk at the moment.


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