Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crest? Bookplate? Something else entirely?

Tipped in to a rare book, stamped on a piece of newsprint. We have our own theories, but want to know what you think! Is there an unspoken law about bookplates and "ex libris" or is it okay to say "fac et spera?" Cool, though, right?

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Royal Decree!

Our amazing volunteer manuscript processor James shared this cool little item he came across while processing the Mabel Smythe-Haith papers. Everyone loves a big fancy decree, deed, or diploma -- something with seals and stamps and stuff. Pretty cool. What’s even cooler? Mabel Smythe-Haith herself.

Mabel Smythe-Haith, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, was a brilliant student – leaving home to study at Spellman College in Atlanta at the age of fifteen. She left Spellman in her senior year, graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She went on to receive a Master’s degree in Economics from Northwestern and a PhD from University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Smythe-Haith was married to Hugh H. Smythe while he was an ambassador to Syria from 1965-1967 and ambassador to Malta 1967-1969. President Johnson appointed her the US envoy to UNESCO in Paris, France, in 1964. She was the U.S. ambassador to the United Republic of Cameroon concurrently with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea from 1977-1980. She worked with Thurgood Marshall on the preparations for Brown v. Board of Education. After a distinguished career as a U.S. ambassador and civil rights advocate, Ms. Smythe-Haith served as Melville J. Herskovits Professor for African Studies at Northwestern. Additionally, she was awarded two honorary law degrees and other academic honors. She later worked as deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs until 2000. She passed away in Tuscaloosa in 2006. There are additional papers at the Library of Congress, and the Mabel Smythe-Haith papers at the Hoole Library will be open to researchers shortly. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Margaret Armstrong, Myrtle Reed, and those Purple Books!

Six purple bindings designed by Margaret Armstrong, all from the Minsky Collection at the Hoole Special Collections Library, and all in Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of Books!

Publishers' Binding: Remembering Cuba (Week) Edition

So last week was Cuba Week at The University of Alabama. Here's a little Memories of Cuba (Week) binding for you to enjoy....

Memories of Cuba and other poems
by Janan Ewan
Boston, R.G. Bager, 1908.
pba01177, from the Hoole Alabama Collection

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Favorite Seasonal Publishers' Binding: Halloween Edition

If Tam O'Shanter'd had a wheel : and other poems and sketches

by Grace Duffie Boylan
Binding design by Blanche McManus (Signed binding: B.Mc.M)
New York, E.R. Herrick, 1898.
pba02560, from the Richard Minsky Collection, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library

and Witches!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Among Hoole's many fascinating treasures is this slim manuscript volume - eight pages of hand written text, which came to us as part of the T.P. Thompson Collection. The detail above gives us the words for rain, wind, sun, moon, star, earth, mountain, and stone -- first in French, then in Choctaw.

Written about 1885, this "Vocabulaire de la langue des Indiens Choctaw (lac Ponchartrain) Louisiane" is in the hand of Abbé Adrien Roquette, who was also known by many as "Chahta-Lma", Choctaw for "Like a Choctaw" -- a beautiful sentiment. This name was bestowed upon him by the Choctaw people as a sign of belonging and respect. In hindsight this can be viewed in many ways -- but the simplest notion of all is to see this expression as a reflection of everyone being connected as people -- to say that you are one of us. A pure expression of belonging and connection.

This manuscript volume has been digitized, and is available as part of our digital program here.

The original item is part of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library. To read more about Abbé Roquette, there is a 1913 biography available via Google Books.

No matter our language or our differences, we are one people. On one great, beautiful terre...