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Special Collections

50 Features of Special Collections: Interaction of Color by Josef Albers

January 20th, 2017 by Jenny Hodge

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Frequently requested by Design and Art classes, Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is an oft-used instruction piece held in Special Collections and is this week’s highlight for our 50 Features of Special Collections series.
Color is not static. It is constantly in flux due to the perceptions and context that surround its presentation:

The book “Interaction of Color” is a record of an experimental way of studying color and of teaching color. In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is–as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art. In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually. To this end, the beginning is not a study of color systems. (1)

Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is a large oversized portofolio, which includes introductions to over 20 color exercises, plates of sample studies and commentary on each plate. The initial text explains the exercise and presents an illustration of the way color was investigated. The plates are done within each exercise and present subtle relationships and presentations of color. The 80 folders of sample study plates visualize the ideas presented in each exercise. They reproduce the illusions and perceptions created by color interactions. These sample studies are the highlight of the book as they offer hands-on practice in the art of seeing. The point of the book is not to provide an answer to what color is but to provide a framework to aid in the study of color.

Below are two samples for Exercise IV- 1 Color looks Like 2

Plate IV-1 (b) yellow and blue flap down

Note the color of the square on the right and that it is actually equal to the square on the left.

Plate IV-1 (b) yellow and blue flap up

 

Plate IV-4 (b)

Note that the inner smaller violets are in fact alike as the ends of the same rectangle.

Plate IV-4 (b)

In 2013 for the 50th anniversary, a digital version was created as an App for the iPad. More information on Josef Albers and his work can be found on the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation website.

Works consulted:

  1. Albers, Josef. Interaction of Color. New Haven: Yale UP, 1963. Print.

 

New exhibit: Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community

January 18th, 2017 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is pleased to announce our latest exhibit, Davis 1917-2017: Celebrating 100 Years of Community. The exhibit, which is located in the display cases in front of Special Collections, can be viewed anytime that Shields Library is open.

2017 marks the centennial of the incorporation of Davis, California as a city. In this exhibition, 100 years of Davis history come to life through photographs, newspaper clippings and other archival materials from Special Collections.

You’ll learn about some of the people and stories that shaped the city of Davis, including:

Jerome C. Davis, a stock farm owner for whose family the city is named.

The disastrous fire that destroyed the downtown business district and brought attention to the need for city services.

The evolution of Davis real estate, from when you could buy a $9,250 home in Oeste Manor in 1950 to a community site map for the Cannery, which is still being built today.

The display draws from more than 15 separate collections, ranging from professional and personal photographs to the institutional archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper and UC Davis.

The collections include:

Alfred F. Smith Papers – Materials related to the 300-acre Stonegate development, designed and developed by Alfred Smith.

California Collection – Contains nearly 3,000 pamphlets, brochures, and flyers from various California cities and counties documenting events which played a role in the formation of the West.

City of Davis Collection – Records describing local politics, city administration, business activity, and more.

Davis Boy Scout Troop No. 1 Photographs – Featuring the troop during scout meetings, events, and construction of the Boy Scout cabin circa 1922-1927.

Davis Food Co-op Collection – This small collection includes brochures, fliers, and materials related to cooperatives and small farms.

Eastman’s Originals Collections – Photographs, negatives, and postcards of Northern California events such as dam construction, logging, mining, food processing, and community activities.

Harry Hazen Papers on the University Farm – Photographs and memorabilia collected by Harry Hazen, a student who studied at the University Farm (now UC Davis) from 1916-1918.

Institute of Government Affairs Collection – Clippings about Davis/Yolo County, Sacramento City/County, and the California State Government.

John Lofland Papers – Research materials on demonstrations in or near the California State Capitol building in 1977 for two of his books. Also included are materials relating to the formation of the sister city relationship between the City of Davis and the Ukrainian city of Uman.

Julie Partansky Papers – Reports, memos, clippings, and correspondence created during Partansky’s terms as Davis City Council member and Mayor.

Map Collection, Aerial photographs – Extensive collection of aerial photography for the Central Valley of California with special emphasis on the immediate area, i.e. Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, and San Joaquin Counties, California.

Norman Riley Photographs – Negatives and silver gelatin prints of scenes in the Davis and Sacramento areas.

Pierce Family Papers – George Pierce Jr. was the foremost advocate of Davis as the location for the University Farm (now UC Davis). Items include diaries, photographs, business records, travel guides, and more.

Robert Laben Papers – Materials related to the campus dairy herd and dairy operations as well as Laben’s personal photographs of the local area.

Sacramento Union Records – Archives of the Sacramento Union newspaper, which was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi until it closed its doors in 1994.

University Archives Photographs – A visual record of the history of UC Davis, including images of campus grounds, staff, annual events, classrooms, student clubs, and sporting events.

Every Tuesday through June, we will share another archival item about Davis history — using the hashtag #DavisCA100. Look for them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or use the same hashtag to share your own memories.

If you have materials related to the history of Davis that you would like to donate to Special Collections, please send an email to SpecColl@ucdavis.edu.

Exhibit visitors are welcome to take home a free souvenir postcard that depicts what downtown Davis looked like in 1945.

50 Features of Special Collections: Chinese Cookery in the U.S.

January 13th, 2017 by Christine Cheng

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Special Collections holds one of the largest English language Chinese cookbooks collection in the U.S. – second to Stony Brook University’s Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection. The collection at UC Davis, established in 1991, of over 1,100 books was donated by Gardner Pond and Peter Hertzmann. Pond from Santa Cruz and Hertzmann from Palo Alto met while working as docents for Chinatown walking tours in San Francisco.

The reason Pond began gathering cookbooks was to answer tourists’ questions while Hertzmann collected them during his travels. Pond selected UC Davis as the home for his collection due to the fact that one of his favorite authors of Chinese cooking, Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook fame, graduated from Davis in 1977 with a master’s in food science (his thesis was about rice). Hertzmann donated his cookbooks to Davis at Pond’s suggestion.

The oldest cookbook in the Chinese Cookbook Collection is from 1901 and the most recent is from the early 2000s. The collection offers a way to study the history of Chinese cuisine and how it has evolved since Chinese workers provided a significant source of labor in 1849 during the time of the Gold Rush and railroad construction. Interest in Chinese food and culture developed after Nixon’s historic visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Previously in the 1970s, it was difficult – if not impossible – to find bean sprouts to add to Chinese dishes since they were mainly available canned rather than fresh in grocery stores.

Chinese cuisine did not gain popularity until the 1980s, so the cookbooks from our collection published in the earlier part of the 20th century do not contain the familiar type of dishes found in Chinese American food today, such as Mongolian Beef and General Tso’s Chicken (there are plenty of chop suey recipes though!). According to Dr. Newman, more authentic Chinese recipes did not start appearing in Chinese cookbooks until around 1940. The recipes in cookbooks published before 1920 contained much simpler recipes. What follows is a recipe for pepper steak from a booklet published in 1924:

PEPPER STEAK

Beef tenderloin, 1 cup

Green pepper, 1 cup

Slice meat about 1/8 inch and cut into one inch squares. Slice green pepper same size as meat. Fry meat, to which add a pinch of salt, in a well greased pan not more than a minute; add green pepper and ½ cup of water or meat stock in which are dissolved ½ teaspoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon chop suey sauce, 4 drops sesame oil; stir thoroughly in all together, let simmer a minute, then serve with hot rice.

How Long Chinese Chop Suey Cook Book

 

Here’s a recipe for one of this blog post’s author’s favorite Chinese dishes, mapo tofu:

Szechuan Dishes to Be Demonstrated: Western series A

Mapo Tofu from SimonQ on flickr.

Works consulted:

How Long & Co. How Long Chinese Chop Suey Cook Book. New York: How Long & Co., 1924.

Szechuan Dishes to be Demonstrated: Western series A.

Jung, Carolyn. “Department of Chinese Cooking: Huge UC-Davis Cookbook collection offers a Feast of Cooking Lore.” San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, CA), Oct. 23, 2002.

50 Features of Special Collections: The Most Popular Book

December 22nd, 2016 by Christine Cheng

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As a “bestseller of the Middle Ages,” the Book of Hours is a prayer book intended for use by ordinary people who are not part of the clergy. The Book allowed Catholics to follow and express their devotion to the Virgin Mary by setting aside certain times throughout the day to recite services. While the Book of Hours may vary from volume to volume, it usually consists of eight different sections: 1) a Calendar, 2) the Gospel Lessons, 3) the Hours of the Virgin, 4) the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, 5) two prayers to the Virgin: Obsecro te (“I beseech thee”) and O intemerata (“O undefiled one”), 6) the Penitential Psalms and Litany, 7) the Office of the Dead, and 8) Suffrages.

The heart of the Book of Hours, originally named after the Hours of the Virgin or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, consists of eight short services:

These services are actually shortened versions of much longer and more demanding services – the Divine Office – contained in the Breviary, which the clergy were required to recite daily. Both the Breviary and the Book of Hours include prayers, hymns, psalms, and scriptural text. As the language of scholarship during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Books of Hours were typically in Latin; however, special prayers and entire Books could be found in the vernacular. For owners who were illiterate, many could recite most of the prayers in the Book of Hours by memory and use the pictures as reference points.

Since the Book of Hours was initially expensive to produce, it was often handed down and became part of family history. As examples of great works of art, the Books served as objects of religious devotion as well as status symbols. Depending on the wealth of the owners, the Book could include extravagant details such as illuminated initials, decorated borders, and miniature paintings dividing major sections of text, or remain plain with little to no decoration. In more luxurious Books of Hours, owners sometimes paid great amounts to include portraits of themselves or their family emblems in the illustrations. The process for creating a fancy Book of Hours follows:

The material used was vellum, calfskin or sheepskin which had been soaked in a caustic lime solution, scraped and shaved to an even thinness, rubbed smooth with pumice, stretched till dry, and then cut to size. A Book of Hours was prepared by a group of professionals, often in a single workshop under a master. First the text – lettered in uniform calligraphy – was written with a quill pen by a scribe. Then the ornamental borders of styled sprays and branches, of leaves and of flowers, were drawn by a specialist, using red and other colors. The pictures were then painted by another artist, usually the master, and they were sometimes major works of art within the small size of a miniature.

    

The use of gold was applied as gold leaf to decorate the frames of and objects in miniatures, leaves in borders, and to illuminate initials. The Book of Hours in Special Collections was acquired by UC Davis in 1972 at the 8th California Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco. In our Book of Hours, there are two miniatures illustrating the Office of the Dead: one shows a king lying in a freshly dug grave in a churchyard while Death, carrying a coffin, stabs his spear at one of the two mourners; the other features Heaven and Hell. Another miniature, the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to St. Anne, shows an angel attending to the Virgin, illustrating the hour of Lauds. We believe our Book was originally owned by Chachere who recorded the births of his 15 children between 1497 and 1520 on additional leaves at the end. For more information about the Book of Hours in Special Collections, please contact speccoll@ucdavis.edu. View our Book of Hours online at the Digital Scriptorium.

    

Works consulted:

Marmion, Simon. Book of Hours. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 2004.

Backhouse, Janet. Illumination from Books of Hours. London: British Library, 2004.

Backhouse, Janet. Books of Hours. London; Dover, NH: British Library, 1985.

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified: the Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. New York: G. Braziller in association with the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1988.

50 Features of Special Collections: The Sacramento Union Records

December 16th, 2016 by Daryl Morrison

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The Sacramento Union was a daily newspaper founded in 1851 in Sacramento, California. It was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi River before it closed its doors after 143 years in January 1994. For further information about the history of the paper, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacramento_Union

The Union’s early years are also recognized for its famous contributors who included Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Dan De Quille. A large bronze of Mark Twain was donated along with the archives. See blog post: Mark Twain Bronze Scuplture

In 2000 a back run of hard copy newspapers and the surviving company archives, including a newspaper clipping subject file and photographs, were donated to UC Davis library. Researchers should know that to access the newspaper articles, they will be referred to microfilm versions of the Sacramento Union available in California libraries as the original newspapers are held in preservation storage.

The Sacramento Union Records at UC Davis do not include the early years, but provide a wealth of information for researchers interested in the Sacramento region in the last quarter of the 20th century. The collection contains some accounting and business records of the newspaper including records that cover the last eighteen months of the newspaper’s struggle to survive. The photograph files run from 1966 to 1994. Many can be accessed back to their articles by the date of the newspaper itself. Possibly one or two photographs were published but a number of images might have been taken by a photographer on his scheduled assignment and not published but are to be found here in negative film strips. Of particular interest are the notes by the editor to the photographer on the photograph file envelopes, indicating exactly what should be photographed and providing insightful notes on the emphasis. These provide an interesting view of photo-journalism.

The clipping files provide subject access for 1972 through 1992. Dates are stamped on most of the clippings and would also be a guide back to the paper. Clippings are arranged alphabetically by subject and evident in the files are the many topics of interest in a city’s history including national and state news, politics, murders, accidents, fires, visiting VIPs, and social and theater and art events.

1 of 2

2 of 2

Digital versions of the Union are available via the California Newspaper Project and the Library of Congress. The California Newspaper Project has digitized the Sacramento Daily Union for 1851-1899. Search for articles and browse available issues via their website. The Library of Congress Chronicling America Collection has digitized the Sacramento Daily Record-Union for 1880-1891 and the Record-Union for 1891-1899.

Shields Library holds microfilm of the Union for the years 1851-1854; 1856-1864 and 1869-1994.

Holiday hours

December 14th, 2016 by Sara Gunasekara

Special Collections is on intersession hours of 10am-4pm Monday-Friday from December 12-22, 2016 and January 3-6, 2017. We are closed from December 23-January 2, 2017.

 

Happy holidays from all of us in Special Collections!

50 Features of Special Collections: The “Preoccupations of a Generation”

December 5th, 2016 by Christine Cheng
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Protesting the Vietnam war, fighting for civil rights and women’s rights, drug experimentation, free love, and questioning human sexuality and gender roles are examples of some of the issues that people from the counterculture supported during the 1960s. “Counterculture” described the hippie movement and those whose lifestyles and views opposed established norms of society, such as the norms attributed to the traditional values of the American middle-class. Naturally, the art and music from the time period also reflected and expressed the attitudes of this movement.

The Counterculture Poster collection in Special Collections contains posters and cards announcing psychedelic rock concerts and other “happenings” of interest to the American counterculture of the 1960s, mostly in the San Francisco area featuring performances at the Fillmore Auditorium and Avalon Ballroom. Former Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian at Shields Library, Noel Peattie, felt it was important for the Library to acquire and highlight the work of local artists. As a result, the University Library started purchasing the posters as they were beginning to be produced in the ‘60s. Besides buying posters, the library also accepted donations from former faculty members whose students from that time period designed posters that represented the “preoccupations of a generation.” The Library envisioned the collection to be used in the study of graphic arts, art history, as well as researching the 1960s or the mindset and culture of the hippie movement.

Rebelling against the conventions of commercial design, the artists of the posters “went beyond art and advertising” and created a new style to communicate social and political statements of the movement. Messages on the psychedelic posters were hidden in plain view from outsiders through uses and manipulation of lettering, flowing typography, and bright, vibrant colors; text was not readily apparent until a black light was used on some of the posters.

Here are a few examples from the Counterculture Poster collection.

Posters protesting the Vietnam war:

 

silentmajority    nixonimpeachment    fruitsofvictory

 

Psychedelic posters advertising rock concerts:

 

peacock    sutter

 

Reprinted concert poster featuring the artistry of UC Davis undergrad alum, Thomas Morris, for a 1967 Picnic Day Dance with performances by Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape:

 

buffalospringfield

 

Work cited:

Bachman, Teri R. “Psychedelic Sixties Revisited.” UC Davis Magazine 10, no. 2 (Winter 1992): 22-24.

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

November 30th, 2016 by Jenny Hodge
Samuel Clemens

Samuel Clemens

50 Features of Special Collections: Mark Twain Bronze Sculpture

November 29th, 2016 by Daryl Morrison
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The famed author Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) better known by his nom de plume Mark Twain was born in Missouri on November 30th so it seems fitting to celebrate one of our “50 features of Special Collections” on the Mark Twain bust owned by the library.

The Mark Twain bust was created by artist Walter Bowman Russell (1871-1963) in 1935 and is located on the second floor of the library near the Main Reading Room.  The bronze bust of Mark Twain was donated by the Danel and Reboin families, owners of the Herald Printing Co. The bust plaque notes that it is a gift to the library by “Ralph and Daisy Danel, Sr., Ralph and Judee Danel, Robert and Rosemary Reboin, Stephen and Janice Danel, and the Herald Printing Company.” It was donated in 2000, along with the Sacramento Union Records held by Special Collections. The Sacramento Union was the oldest daily newspaper west of the Mississippi, until it closed its doors in 1994.

Twain is remembered for his wonderful novels but also for his contributions to the Sacramento Union.  The point was made  evident through  the large bronze bust of Twain, which sat just west of the State Capitol in the lobby of the Sacramento Union’s building at 301 Capitol Mall. Twain dispatched a series of articles on Hawaii for the Union in 1866. These were very popular, and many historians credit the series with turning Twain into a journalistic star.

Mark Twain, 1907

Inscribed on the bust were Twain’s words: “Early in 1866, George Barnes invited me to resign my reportership on his paper, the San Francisco Morning Call, and for some months thereafter, I was without money or work; then I had a pleasant turn of fortune. The proprietors of the Sacramento Union, a great and influential daily journal, sent me to the Sandwich Islands to write four letters a month at twenty dollars a piece. I was there for four or five months, and returned to find myself about the best known man on the Pacific Coast.”

The sculptor, Walter Bowman Russell (May 19, 1871 – May 19, 1963) was an American painter (of the Boston School), sculptor, natural philosopher, musician, author and builder. His lectures and writing place him firmly in the New Thought Movement. The New York Herald Tribune, called him “the modern Leonardo, a Renaissance man for the twentieth century.”

By Glenn Clark (Walter Russell - Vielfalt im Einklang)

Walter Russell

At age 56 Walter Russell turned to sculpture and fashioned portrait busts of Thomas Edison, General MacArthur, John Philip Sousa, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Charles Goodyear, and others. He rose to top rank as a sculptor. He won the commissions for the Mark Twain Memorial (1934) and for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s The Four Freedoms (1943).

Walter Russell successfully explored music, literature, architecture, painting, sculpture, natural sciences, new ways towards a healthy economy, philosophy and mysticism as well as figure skating, horse breeding and dressage. Together with his second wife Lao, he founded a private university for distance learning, the University of Science and Philosophy in Swannanoa, Virginia. You can find a summary of Walter Russell’s life and work at http://www.walter-russell.de/en/WalterRussell.php

50 Features of Special Collections: Pomo Feathered Baskets in the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center

November 22nd, 2016 by Daryl Morrison
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Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center is a collection of over 21,000 volumes on the American West.  Over the years Mike Harrison collected Native American baskets, pottery, silver, and other Native American art.  The majority of the artifact collection was donated to museums prior to the collection coming to UC Davis. However, some personal favorites were displayed in the Harrison home and were donated with the book collection.

https://www.library.ucdavis.edu/dept/specol/collections/harrison/

The Harrison Collection includes Native American handicrafts from the Southwest, Northwest Coast, California, and Alaska. There are approximately 30 pieces of pottery and 80 baskets including delicate Pomo feathered baskets. The Pomo baskets are of particular interest because of their beauty and fine workmanship.

In 1934 Mike Harrison worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and was transferred from the Southwest to San Francisco, California as assistant to the regional coordinator, Roy Nash.  In 1935 he was sent to Ukiah, California as agent in charge of Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties.  It was there that he connected with Pomo Indians and collected Pomo feathered baskets. The Pomo people are an indigenous people of California. The historic Pomo territory in northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point. Pomo baskets made by Pomo Indian women of Northern California are recognized worldwide for their exquisite appearance, range of technique, fineness of weave, and diversity of form and use. While women mostly made baskets for cooking, storing food, and religious ceremonies, Pomo men also made baskets for fishing weirs, bird traps, and baby baskets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomo_people#Basket_Weaving_Today

Pomo baskets are made with many details and many different designs. The materials used in making these baskets are harvested each year. Swamp canes, saguaro cactuses, rye grass, black ash, willow shoots, sedge roots and redbud are all used in the weaving of these baskets. After being picked, they are dried, cleaned, split, soaked and dyed. Sometimes the materials are boiled over a fire and then set in the sun to dry.

http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/all_roads_are_good/PomoBasket.htm

The intricately woven feathers worked into designs are spectacular works of art. This Pomo feathered gift basket by Carrie Davis of Upper Lake, ca. 1941 is solidly feathered in red, green and yellow, decorated with clam shell disc beads and abalone pendants.  It is edged with quail plumes; 4” in diameter and 1 ¾ inches high.

red_and_yellow

The thumbnail size miniature baskets are true examples of the patience and artistry of the designer.

full_box

Of particular interest are Michael Harrison’s ethnographic notes regarding his basket collection.  He notes the dates purchased (primarily from the 1930-40s), the name of the weaver, for instance one is noted as Mrs. Lydia Fought, a Pomo, from Upper Lake, California, and the materials used—one is described as Green (Mallard Duck), Yellow (meadowlark) and White Root-3 stick basket. Ms. Fought is noted as being full blood Pomo and born in the year 1887.  He then takes a photograph of the maker with her wares.

11_22_16_photo_description

11_22_16_photograph

This Pomo feathered gift basket by Lydia Fought of Upper Lake, circa 1941 is fully feathered in green and yellow; 4 ½ inches diameter and 1 ¾ inches high.

green_and_yellow

 

The beautiful baskets combined with the Mike Harrison descriptions make a wonderful small collection.