Monday, August 29, 2011

Remembering Sue Allen

We are mourning the passing of Sue R. Allen, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 93. Sue was an inspiring scholar and teacher of book history and an exceptional and gracious individual. She will be missed by all who were lucky to have known her. Sue was a member of the advisory group for the Publishers' Bindings Online project, and it was through taking her Rare Book School course Publishers' Bookbindings, 1830-1910 that my own passion and obsession with the 19th and early 20th century book blossomed. Sue Allen was a personal hero, whose enthusiasm and exuberance were contagious. When she called a book "charming" -- you saw it too. And you were charmed.

The following memorial statement was written by her son, and shared with the Rare Book School community.

Born in Natick, Massachusetts, on August 2, 1918, and raised in the Boston area, Sue was graduated from Girls’ Latin School and the Massachusetts College of Art. As the graphic artist at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, her calendars and other pieces delighted readers with their clarity and spirited liveliness. In 1955, she married Greer Allen, then a designer at the University of Chicago Press, and subsequently University Printer at Yale; their marriage lasted almost 50 years, until his death in 2005.

When Sue came upon nineteenth-century American bookbindings in the early 1970s, she found a small, poorly organized field, dealing with a little-appreciated subject matter. Seeing the importance of preserving and valuing the books that brought mass literacy to the American people, Sue single-handedly defined and structured the field as it stands today. With her artist’s eye, she identified the changing styles of book covers and endpapers over the decades from 1830 to 1910, and placed these styles in the context of broader changes in the decorative arts and the technology and economics of publishing. She also highlighted the work of artists, designers, binders, and publishers, particularly the hitherto little-known work of engraver John Feely and agricultural publisher Orange Judd.

Among the longest-serving instructors at Rare Book School, having taught from its founding at Columbia University, Sue inspired hundreds of librarians, conservators, book dealers, and collectors as she taught them about the bookbindings that became her passion. Her deep knowledge of the subject matter and her lively, engaging style won her the love, admiration, and loyalty of her students and others in the field.

Author and coauthor of several articles about nineteenth-century American bookbindings, Sue was nearing completion of her long-awaited book on the subject at the time of her death. In accordance with Sue’s wishes, her son John will be contacting several friends and former students familiar with her work to assist in finishing the book.

At her son’s instructions, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Sue Allen Fund, Rare Book School, Attn: Danielle Culpepper, P. O. Box 400103, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4103 via check payable to Rare Book School.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sounds Like Alabama!

The Year of Alabama Music at Hoole! Sounds Like Alabama

The Alabama Tourism Department has named 2011 the “Year of Alabama Music” and the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library is jumping on the celebration band wagon. Our new exhibit is opening soon -- one that will that will show music of all genres and from all corners of the state of Alabama that are held in our collections. We're calling it Sounds Like Alabama: Alabama's Contributions to American Popular Music from the Hoole Library's Collections.
You can learn more about Alabama music and the exhibit through a series of Twitter (@coolathoole) and on the Cool@Hoole Facebook page (Like Cool@Hoole: The Blog of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library) posts, we will feature songs written by Alabama natives that have gone #1 on the Billboard charts, along with tidbits about various artists and songwriters. So follow us daily to get your toes tappin’ to some true Alabama sounds of every conceivable stripe.

Here’s a preview of just a few of the songs from the past century that might be featured in our tweets and posts! Enjoy!!!

Here’s a preview of just a few of the songs from the past century that might be featured in our tweets and posts! Enjoy!!!

1920: St. Louis Blues, written by W.C. Handy and performed by Marian Harris:

1944: Smoke on the Water, written by Zeke Clements and Earl Nunn, performed by Red Foley. This song also went #1 when performed by Bob Wills in 1945.

1955: Wallflower, written by Hank Ballard, performed by Etta James.

1966: When a Man Loves a Woman, written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, performed by Percy Sledge. This song also went #1 in 1991 when Michael Bolton covered it.

1978: Too Hot Ta Trot, written by Lionel Richie, performed by the Commodores.

1980: Tennessee River, written by Randy Owen, performed by the band, Alabama.

1993: Nuthin’ But A G Thang, written by Frederick Knight, performed by Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg

2002: The Good Stuff, written by Craig Wiseman, performed by Kenny Chesney.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alabama Music Exhibit Coming Soon! Tweet!

Be sure to follow @coolathoole on Twitter and look for cool blog posts here about our upcoming Alabama Music exhibit!