Winter Blog Post 2

Write a reflection on Special Collections pop-up exhibits!

It’s been very fun exploring Special Collections to find items that will fit the theme of “all around the world”. The article “Use of Special Collections as an Opportunity for Outreach in the Academic Library” by Valerie A. Harris and Ann C. Weller says that, “Outreach projects offer opportunities to highlight the collections and make them visible in innovative ways” and that’s what I’ve been hoping to do with my selections. Rebecca and I talked about how up until recently, Special Collections have been very focused on the western world, so this is an opportunity to show the old or rare books the library has that aren’t just from or about Europe or America. I tried to focus on books in languages I read or speak, so I started by searching “Arabic” and “Spanish” in the Special Collections search in Catalyst just to see what would pop up, which is how I found “Sulwān al-Muṭāʻ fī ʻudwān al-atbā'”, a facsimile of a 1100’s manuscript of Arabic wisdom literature by Ibn Ẓafar, Abū ʻAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Abī Muḥammad, an Italian born Arab traveling scholar. I also ended up finding a collection of poems by Mexican protofeminist nun Juana Ines de la Cruz, published in Spain in 1725 called “Fama : y obras posthumas del Fenix de Mexico, dezima musa, poetisa americana” or “Fame: and posthumous works of the Phoenix of Mexico, tenth muse, American poetess” in English. I also found a 1907 guidebook for English travelers looking to travel Turkey, which provides an interesting view into British perceptions of other cultures at the time. Finally, just by walking through the shelves, I happened upon a collection of chiyagami papers from the 1940’s and 50’s in Japan. Only 120 copies were made, because the book has samples of handmade paper as well as depictions of how it was made. Overall, this has just been a really indulgent and interesting experience thus far, and I can’t wait to research the books I found more before sharing them with whoever comes to the exhibit.