Most Influential Books

This fall, the Hatfield Library offered our first-year and transfer students free ghost mugs stuffed with candy and other items such as pens and stickers. We also conducted a voluntary, informal survey– included in each mug was a slip of paper with a QR code to a survey question: “Which two books have influenced your life the most?” 

A special thank you to all those who participated in this survey! Here are the results:

  • Witches by Roald Dahl; Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
  • Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien; The Shining by Stephen King
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven; and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell; and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus; Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter; Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • Demian by Herman Hesse; 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Awesome Autumn

birds on water in autumnal landscape

It’s raining, the leaves are falling, and there is a nip in the air–hooray, it’s fall!  Time to uncover your coziest sweaters, discover your favorite hot beverage at the Bistro, and revel in all things pumpkin!  There’s something magical about grabbing your rain gear, tromping around among the colorful leaves, and listening to the geese fly overhead. Fall tourism or “leaf peeping” is big business in the New England states, but Oregon puts on some pretty impressive leaf shows as well. Fall bird migration is also in full swing so it is the perfect time to explore bird watching–take a walk at Minto Brown or visit nearby wildlife refuges like Ankeny or Basket Slough. And if you just feel like curling up in a comfy chair with a good book, check out the interesting selection of autumn-related print and e-books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Wild is the music of the autumnal winds amongst the faded woods. –William Wordsworth


Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month

pride flagsIn 1994, Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher in Missouri, decided that a month should be dedicated to celebrating and exploring gay and lesbian history. Along with other teachers and community leaders, they chose October to coincide with National Coming Out Day, which falls on October 11th. Several national organizations endorsed the idea and in 2006, Equality Forum, “a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus,” took on the responsibility for coordinating the month-long celebration. LGBTQ+ History Month provides us with the opportunity to recognize and discover the vital role of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in American history. Thirty-one important lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals are highlighted and celebrated throughout the month; this year, Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, was chosen as one of these icons and her achievements will be honored on October 10th. In celebration of  LGBTQ+ History Month, checkout these recently published books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

For more information:


Recycled and Improved?

A slightly belated welcome back from the Mark O. Hatfield Library. With the Claremont School of Theology leaving this summer and removing their book collection, we have made significant changes to the first floor.  If you look behind the “Art Wall,” you will see that in the last few weeks we removed much of the shelving where the CST collection had been located and created a new seating area that is a mix of tables and comfortable seating.  This area has a spacious, open feel to it and benefits from wonderful lighting from nearby windows.  We are excited by the opportunity to establish a new, creative, mixed-use space for all to enjoy.  Come on by, check it out, and let us know what you think.

In the future we hope to provide other kinds of furniture and/or services in this area, so please feel free to share any ideas you have with us at library@willamette.edu.

For those of you who are budget or sustainability minded, please note that the removed shelving was recycled and the current furnishings came from existing furniture already in the Hatfield Library that was simply relocated.

Evolution of the change

Empty Shelving:  After the removal of the CST titles.

 

The shelving is almost gone:  Notice the interesting stripe pattern on the carpet–the dark stripes were where the shelving was located and the light stripes were the aisles.

 

Opening Days: A few stray items of furniture have wandered into the space.

 

Day after Labor Day: Movers brought more furniture from upstairs. 

 

 

Later in the Day: It didn’t take long for students to find the new seating.

 

 

 


First, We Eat…

wooden bowl with potatoes and mushroomsWhat do potatoes, mushrooms, and rice have in common?  Besides being delicious (depending on who you talk to, of course) and nutritious, these three food sources share the same appreciation month.  That’s right–September is National Potato Month, National Mushroom Month, and National Rice Month.  Who knew?  And did you know that potatoes are grown in all 50 states?  And although often considered a vegetable, a mushroom is neither a plant nor animal.  In the world of biology, mushrooms make up their own kingdom–Fungi!  When it comes to rice, the average American eats 27 pounds of rice a year.  Rice constitutes 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, edging out wheat at 19%.  Food scarcity is a growing concern worldwide so it seems appropriate to take a moment to think about the food we consume and appreciate the nutritional value in unassuming food sources such as potatoes, mushrooms, and rice.  Checkout related sources from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

Potatoes have much more staying power than caviar.
— Mark Helprin

To find out more, see the following websites:

By the Numbers: Limited Edition Fine Press Gems in the Vault

Limited Edition books are a melding of fine literature and the art of fine printing.  Four books in our vault are lovely examples of an author’s and a publisher’s joint enthusiasm for a unique presentation of a text.

“A limited edition book is one where the number of copies in the print run has been strictly defined prior to its issue, and that number is substantially less than a standard print run, and then no further print runs are issued after the first printing has sold out… [These] books may also contain additional features such as better quality paper, extra illustrations, author signatures, different cover art, etc.” (“Limited Edition Books”).

“Gwilan’s Harp” is a story by Ursula Le Guin that was published by the Lord John Press in Northridge, California in 1981.  In the back of this book, you will find a page with a limitation statement, which in this case states that this book is number 298 of 300 copies printed.

Details about the paper used for printing this book, what type font was used, who designed the book, who printed the book, and who published the book may be listed.  In addition, the author’s autograph may be found on this page, too.
Herb Jellen of Boston, an avid collector of autographs and first editions, started the Lord John Press, which published Le Guin’s story.  From 1976-2006 Jellen published limited editions in printing runs of 150 or 300 copies, that were signed by the authors.  The name “Lord John Press” came from Jellen’s “love of [the] authors: John Barth, John Cheever, John Fowles, John Gardner, John Hawkes and John Updike. “Lord” is said to have come from his desire “to marry” Great Britain and America.”

Sometimes these texts travel widely before being published as a limited edition book, such as Place in Fiction, an essay by Eudora Welty.  Originally, it was a lecture she presented at Cambridge University in 1954, and was then published in The Archive (Duke University) in April 1955, the South Atlantic Quarterly in January 1956, and elsewhere.

Mrs. Marguerite Cohn heard Miss Welty read the essay on the Poetry Series of the Young Man’s Hebrew Association in New York and asked the author for permission to publish her essay as a limited edition book by her company, the House of Books, in 1957.  This is the edition that we have in our collection, which is number 63 of 300 copies printed.

In Dallas, Texas, Hank Coleman founded Pressworks, a small literary fine press publishing company. When Anne Dickson purchased Pressworks in 1981, she inherited short works and poetry by such famous authors as Robert Penn Warren, Joyce Carol Oates, and Donald Barthelme.

We own a copy of Barthelme’s work, Presents, (1980).  Its text consists of numerous brief sketches, most of which involve two naked women, and has four plates of collages done by the author. Our copy is number 150 out of 350 copies printed for sale.

Finally, we have a book of poetry by Oregon’s former Poet Laureate, William Stafford.  His book, You and Some Other Characters (1989) was illustrated by his daughter Barbara Stafford and published by Donnell Hunter of the Honeybrook Press.  Hunter was a prolific and significant Mormon poet, who ran the Honeybrook Press in Rexburg, Idaho.  Our copy of Stafford’s You and Some Other Characters, is one of 328 copies, but it is not numbered nor autographed by the author.  What makes this book special is that it was “designed & printed letterpress on Lana Laid paper by Donnell Hunter with hand-set Deepdene type & hand-sewn in Fabriano covers.” 
The loving workmanship of hand-set type on fine paper makes Hunter’s physical copy of Stafford’s poetry a tactile pleasure that complements Stafford’s words.

Limited Edition fine press books are works of art created jointly by the author and the publisher / printer.  Although these four books are recent publications, their scarcity and / or artistic nature classifies them as rare books, worthy of being shelved next to Shakespeare’s Second Folio, Medieval Books of Hours, and other treasures in the vault at the Mark O. Hatfield Library.  If you would like to see them for yourself, please contact Doreen Simonsen, dsimonse@willamette.edu

 

 

Bibliography

Barthelme, Donald. Presents. Pressworks, 1980.

Berryhill, Michael. “Booking Dallas.” D Magazine, January 1, 1982, https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/1982/january/booking-dallas/.

Book of the Week — Turkeys and Trees | J. Willard Marriott Library Blog. 19 Nov. 2018, https://blog.lib.utah.edu/book-of-the-week-turkeys-and-trees/.

Davis, Mary Margaret. “Ex-El Pasoan Binds ‘Fine’ Books.” El Paso Times, 29 Aug. 1982, p. 71.

Dickson, Anne. “Letters.” D Magazine, March 1, 1982, https://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/1982/march/letters/.

Donnell Hunter | Mormon Literature & Creative Arts Database | HBLL. https://mormonarts.lib.byu.edu/people/donnell-hunter/.

It Came from Beyond Pulp. Ursula K. Le Guin Reads “Gwilan’s Harp.” 2021. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzqjHIEE_vI.

Le Guin, Ursula K. Gwilan’s Harp. Lord John Press, 1981.

“Limited Edition Books.” AbeBooks, 3 June 2021, https://www.abebooks.com/books/rarebooks/collecting-guide/what_books_collect/limited-editions.shtml

“Lord John Press.” Worlds Without End, https://www.worldswithoutend.com/publisher.asp?ID=535 .

Newman, Lisa. “Collector Established Lord John Press.” The Clarion-Ledger, 20 Jun. 2015. https://www.clarionledger.com/story/life/2015/06/20/collector-established-lord-john-press/29040303/.

Polk, Noel. “A Eudora Welty Checklist.” The Mississippi Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, 1973, pp. 663–93.

Stafford, William. You and Some Other Characters: Poems. Honeybrook Press, 1987.

“The House-of-Books Edition of ‘Place in Fiction.’” Eudora Welty Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 1, 1977, pp. 5–5.

Welty, Eudora. Place in Fiction. House of Books, 1957.


Dog Days of Summer

puppy playing with a hose in the sun

We’ve all heard of the “dog days of summer” but what does that phrase really mean and where did it come from?  Many of us would define the term as referring to the hottest days of summer, but after just a little investigation, it is clear that there are a lot of different theories floating around about this phrase.  The Farmers’ Almanac is pretty specific; according to this source, the “dog days” run from July 3 through August 11 and they are typically the “hottest and most unbearable days of the season.”  The Almanac mentions that some think this term came about because these hot days aren’t “fit for a dog.” Other people speculate that the phrase comes from the notion that during the hot days of summer, dogs become less active and laze about in the sun or that the extreme heat during this part of the year causes some dogs to go mad.  But the term has more to do with the stars than dogs, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: “The hottest part of the summer, associated in ancient times with heliacal rising of the Dog Star in the Mediterranean area, and formerly considered to be the most unhealthy period of the year and a time of ill omen.”  Yikes!  And Merriam-Webster defines “dog days” as “the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.”  In any event, the Hatfield Library would like to celebrate the “dog days of summer” by highlighting books related to our furry, four-legged, canine friends on our WU Reads Reading Guide. Head on over to the library and “fetch” one of these titles for your reading pleasure!

More information:

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/why-are-they-called-dog-days-of-summer-21705

https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/56426?redirectedFrom=%22dog+days%22#eid

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dog%20days

https://www.milkbone.com/national-dog-month


Talk to the Animals

child feeding an alpacaDid you know that the oldest zoo in the United States (in operation since 1874) is the Philadelphia Zoo?  And one of the biggest aquariums in the U.S. is located right here on the West Coast at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The Oregon Zoo, situated on 64 acres in Portland, features over 2,500 animals and attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year.  Zoos and aquariums have been around for centuries, and they have often been the center of controversies.  Some of the common and well-founded criticisms revolve around treatment of animals, space concerns, etc.  But at their best, zoos and aquariums prioritize animal welfare, conservation, research, and education.  June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month and we’re celebrating by featuring a diverse assortment of zoo and aquarium-related titles from our collection on our WU Reads Reading Guide.

 

For more information on zoos and aquariums see:

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (https://www.waza.org/)

Oregon Zoo (https://www.oregonzoo.org/)


The Brain Behind Japanese Mail Art

Ryosuke Cohen and his involvement in the global mail art movement

By Emily Zuber ‘23

Sometimes when conducting research, it is unknown what will be found or which items will pique interest the most. As I dug through the Claudia Cave papers within the Mark O. Hatfield Library Archives learning about the wide world of mail art, I found a variety of artists’ pieces; specifically, a collage of colorful stamps from a Japanese mail artist. After reading the papers about him, I wondered: who is Ryosuke Cohen, and how did he become one of the leading figures in the history of the mail art movement in Japan? How did Claudia Cave, an artist from the Pacific Northwest, obtain his art? What is this artist up to now, and how has other mail art influenced his current work? In further research, I discovered some answers to these questions along with a better understanding of how mail art is adapting within the age of the Internet.

Ryosuke Cohen was born in 1948 and became an art teacher in Osaka, Japan. His early work consisted of traditional Japanese imagery mixed with contemporary styles until he was introduced to Western mail art in 1980 by his friend Byron Black. This art intrigued Cohen, because, according to him at that time, “Japan is known only for the classics, like Kabuki, Noh plays, bonsai plants, Zen…People misunderstand that the exhibitions in the authorized gallery are the best works.” The mail art movement consists of materials like stamps, collages, paintings, postcards, intricately decorated envelopes, newspapers, etc. that can be sent to a plethora of other artists who may choose to keep it, send it to another, or add onto the piece and return it. In the archives, I found that Claudia Cave even had multiple eggs with a stamp on it, so it is assumed that this ‘art’ can be interpreted freely by all; this freedom is what enticed Cohen to create and continue creating a variety of mail artwork. 

To participate in international mail art, Cohen began Brain Cell in 1985, which he continues with today. He explains that the reason why he titled this project Brain Cell is because “the structure of a brain seen through the microscope, with thousands of neurons grouped together and stratified, really resembles a diagram of the mail art network.” Using Gocco, a unique printing process for Japanese greeting cards, he creates a collage of logos, stamps, stickers, drawings, etc. on A3 paper. Then, he mails the result along with a list of addresses and a typed article to around 60 artists and keeps additional copies that are put into books. Cohen is said to have made 3 issues every month, now totaling over 1,000 Brain Cell papers. Unique materials are sent to him to be used for each issue so no two pieces are alike; all are different and made due to the wide array of images provided by other artists. This is perhaps how Cave was able to have 2 of the Brain Cell collages in her international mail collection. The cells I located inside the archives contain a wide array of images, including an insect, ocean landscape, bigfoot, ocean sunfish, Big Ben, the statue of liberty, random Hirigana letters and so on. The multiple ‘C’s found on some cells are Cohen’s signature stamp. These Brain Cell mail art papers are a unique assortment of art created by many artists from around the world and it is amazing just how many pieces Cohen has been able to create with his community.

Ryosuke Cohen had found widespread success in gaining participation from international artists, but it seems that the wonders of mail art in Japan had yet to be widely recognized. There had been a few Japanese postal artists who published works in Gutai magazine, though the publication died out in 1972. Ryosuke Cohen joined the Artists’ Union or Artists Unidentified (AU) in the ‘80s. This organization had a couple of Japanese postal artists at the time, like On Kawara, who is known for his postcard and contemporary art. Eventually, Cohen was able to collect work for exhibits at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, the Osaka Contemporary Art Center and the Kyoto City Museum. Though, it seems it would not be until later that he himself would travel outside of Japan.

Ryosuke Cohen ArtIn 2001, Cohen began his next art collection, The Fractal Portrait Project. With these works, he would travel to meet those who contributed to Brain Cell, including artists in the U.S., Italy, Korea, Holland, Belgium, England, and more. He would meet his correspondents and have them lay down on the Brain Cell papers where he would trace their silhouette in ink. Afterward, he draws a side-view portrait of their faces on smaller Brain Cell paper. Once finished, both pieces would be given to the artist. Cohen had to pause in 2010 due to cancer, but he continued the project until 2019. I found that since the pandemic began, he has been sending Brain Cell mail art. The latest piece is shown on his Facebook page as people tag him in posts thanking him for sending it to them. Unfortunately, he is unable to send any art to Ukraine at this time in 2022 due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

It astonished me to learn about the vast amount of art Ryosuke Cohen has produced within the last 40 years in collaboration with tons of artists all over the world. From fellow artists in Osaka to Claudia Cave, these collages of art in Brain Cell and The Fractal Portrait Project continue to be created and seen by many. Even today, the Japanese mail artist states on his website that “Mail Art is far from finishing,” and that the multiple methods of correspondence in the digital age gives way to a diversity of participation within the mail art movement. This is especially true in a world currently facing a global pandemic where people seek connections with loved ones online. I am intrigued to see what Cohen & fellow mail artists will be creating in the future. It seems that we will see a larger increase in younger postal artists via the era of the Internet where reaching out to numerous contributors is extremely easy and I look forward to how it will evolve further.

Resources

Baroni, Vittore. The Neural Collages of Ryosuke Cohen. Artpool, https://artpool.hu/MailArt/chrono/1998/BrainCell.html.

Cohen, Ryosuke. Mail Art – Brain Cell – fractal (1997). Artpool, https://artpool.hu/MailArt/chrono/1998/BrainCell3.html.

Cohen, Ryosuke. Mail Art – Brain Cell – fractal (1999). Artpool, https://artpool.hu/MailArt/chrono/1998/BrainCell4.html.

Cohen, Ryosuke. Ryosuke Cohen Official Site. http://www.ryosukecohen.com/.

Held, John, Jr. Interview with Ryosuke Cohen from the National Art Center In Tokyo, Japan. SFAQ / NYAQ / LXAQ. 19 October 2012. https://www.sfaq.us/2012/10/interview-withryosuke-cohen-from-the-national-art-center-in-tokyo-japan/.

Held, John, Jr. Japanese Mail Art, 1956-2014. SFAQ / NYAQ / LXAQ. 8 September 2014. https://www.sfaq.us/2014/09/japanese-mail-art-1956-2014/#:~:text=Mail%20art%20remains%20a%20means,Association%2C%20continued%20with%20participation%20in.

International mail art, 1983-2016, Subseries A, Box: 3, Folder: 1. Claudia Cave papers, WUA118. Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.


May Flowers

pink dogwood bloomsAs the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and that is certainly true all around the great Northwest!  Flowers, blossoms, and blooms are everywhere this time of year, delighting our eyes and our noses (unless we suffer from allergies).  From lilac bushes to dogwood trees, “everything’s coming up roses” right now.  Speaking of roses, they are just starting to open up in all their classic beauty and will brighten our lives all summer long.  And we can’t forget the delicate beauty of native plants such as trillium and camas.  So as the academic year winds down, remember to get outside, enjoy the glorious colors of the flowers that surround us, and “take time to smell the roses!”  And while you’re at it, why not check out the WU Reads Reading Guide for an interesting selection of flower-related books available from the University Libraries?

 

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” — Cicero


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