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Harvard College Library

Notable Events

Notable Events

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A description of a sampling of the exhibitions, publications, milestones, and other significant activities in HCL this past year follows:

  • The 2010 Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting was awarded to first-place winner Charles Santiago Palau Hernandez '11 and second-place recipient Zoey Orol '10. Each received a cash prize and a copy of Nicholas Basbanes's Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book Hunter in the Twenty-First Century.

  • Five Harvard students received this year's Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art, an annual award given to students whose collection of books or works of art fulfill "the traditions of breadth, coherence and imagination" exemplified by former Houghton curator Philip Hofer '21. The jury of five for the Hofer Prize included staff from Houghton Library and curators from the Fogg. First prize went to Philipp Penka, graduate student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' (GSAS) literature program, for his collection entitled "Temporary Spiritual Sustenance: The Print Culture of Russian Displaced Persons in Post-War Germany (1945–1951)." Second prize went to GSAS students Rhae Lynn Barnes and Céline Leboeuf; third-prize winners were Elizabeth Gish of the Divinity School and Andrea C. Rutherford of the Law School. Each winner received a cash award and was invited to lend representative books or works of art to an exhibition at Houghton.

  • In April 2010, HCL and MIT Libraries launched a pilot program to extend reciprocal borrowing privileges to undergraduate students. An extension of a 1995 reciprocal borrowing agreement for faculty and graduate students, this program offers students the best of both libraries' collections, with MIT's rich in science and engineering and HCL's in humanities and social sciences. Not only will this pilot provide an opportunity for our undergraduates to explore and make use of expanded collections, but it also builds on an existing collaboration with MIT, and may serve as a model for service relationships in the future. Both HCL and MIT libraries are collecting data, and the pilot for undergraduates will be assessed after 14 months.

  • Highlights of the Harvard Film Archive (HFA) cinematheque program this year include: Z32 by Avi Mograbi, presented in conjunction with the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard, Balagan Films, and the Consulate General of Israel to New England, September 2009; An Evening with Kamal Aljafari, co-presented with the Boston Palestine Film Festival and the Film Study Center, Harvard; and Under the Skin: The Films of Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, presented with support from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis, the ILEX Foundation, the Film Study Center at Harvard, Harvard College Women's Center, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

  • A sampling of the poetry readings under the auspices of the Woodberry Poetry Room (WPR) includes "The School of Philosophy: An Afternoon of Poetry & Transcendentalism," co-sponsored by the Library of Congress and the Massachusetts Center for the Book; "Poets for Haiti," which featured Jericho Brown, Jorie Graham, Fred Marchant, Robert Pinsky, Kim Stafford, Daniel Tobin, Afaa Michael Weaver, Rosanna Warren, and others; "WPR Works in Progress: Langdon Hammer on James Merrill"; "Critical Contexts: WPR Roundtable on Contemporary American Poetry"; and "Fugitive Sparrows: An Emily Dickinson Installation" by Zachary Sifuentes.

  • The Harvard Map Collection's exhibition "Mapping Discoveries in the Heavens and Controversies on Earth" was timed to coincide with Galileo's first "observing campaign" and the publication of Sidereus Nuncius, which recounted his findings.

  • The exhibition "Books in Books: Reflections on Reading and Writing in the Middle Ages" was a joint project of the Houghton Library and Jeffrey Hamburger, Kuno Francke Professor of German Art and Culture and chair of the Medieval Studies Committee, and was designed as a complement to his General Education Program course Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 16, Openings: The Illuminated Manuscript.

  • The Harvard Theatre Collection's featured exhibition this year was "Roosevelt Reading: The Pigskin Library, 1909–1910." During his 1909 post-presidency safari of British East Africa, Roosevelt traveled with more than 80 of his favorite books, bound in pigskin to protect them for the trip, housed in a 60-pound aluminum case. Dubbed the Pigskin Library, the famous literary collection celebrated its 100th anniversary this year and survives today in 55 volumes, including such works as The Iliad, The Odyssey, Faust, Don Quixote, and poetry by Keats and Shelley.

  • In spring 2010, Harvard Review launched its new online journal, HR Online. This new publication, which is separate from the print journal, features book reviews, poetry, and a special feature (interviews, essays, etc.), plus a short editorial, information about the staff and history of Harvard Review, archives, an author index, and information on how to subscribe and how to submit work.

  • The Judaica Division issued publications in connection with two public programs held this year. The first was the program brochure for Shulamis, issued as no. 11 in the Division's Harvard Judaica Student Research Paper Series. This included a section on Harvard's Yiddish theater collection, illustrated with facsimiles of early Yiddish theater posters and other materials related to Shulamis. A symposium was held in conjunction with the student production of the Yiddish opera Shulamis, and included a lecture by Joel Berkowitz (University at Albany, SUNY) on the topic Goldfaden's Coups de Théâtre in the Service of Jewish Affairs. The second publication was of the text of Justin Cammy's April 2010 lecture "The Untold Story of Yungvald: Inside Harvard's Leyzer Ran Archive." This lecture will also appear in the catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection, now in preparation.

  • Administrative management for Anthropological Literature (AL) was transferred to Harvard's Peabody Museum effective July 1, 2010. AL is a bibliographic index to articles in journals and edited works received by the Tozzer Library containing more than 570,000 entries dating from the early 19th century to the present.

  • HCL Imaging Services celebrated the 10th anniversary of its digital program in 2010. Over the years, the program has grown significantly, and HCL Imaging Services now processes hundreds of thousands of images annually, including pages of printed text, manuscripts, prints, maps, drawings, and three-dimensional objects, both very small and house-sized. Since the creation of its digital imaging program, HCL Imaging Services has completed nearly 60 major projects for various HCL libraries, as well as another 30 digitization projects for libraries outside HCL, and handles hundreds of over-the-counter requests from patrons annually. More than 5 million digital files have been produced to date.

  • Environmental Information Services' collecting efforts this year were informed by two areas of current importance: environmental films, and materials related to the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

  • A rare Soviet-era silent film, Miss Mend, is now available for the first time on DVD and is expected to be of particular interest to film scholars and other researchers. The recently released DVD was produced using the Harvard Film Archive's print of the film, considered the finest print available outside the former Soviet Union, and highlights a rarely seen dichotomy of Soviet culture—while the film portrays capitalists as evil, Soviet audiences of the era were hugely enamored with American film.

  • Tozzer Library "repatriated" a film, On the Tunica Trail, about the Tunica Indians of Louisiana, to the tribe. Originating as a local New Orleans television production in the 1980s, the film was downloaded from a WYES broadcast, with the permission of the station, by an anthropology professor here in preparation of a book he was writing. The taped film was donated to Tozzer after the book was published. Unfortunately, the archival copy of the film was subsequently destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, thus leaving only the copy here in Tozzer. The Library produced two high-quality copies of the film, one for the Tunica Tribe and one to replace the destroyed copy in the WYES film library.