It’s Manuscript Map Monday today! This beautiful, hand-drawn map was tucked into a back pocket in the field notebooks of Benjamin Franklin Shumard, who conducted the first geological survey of Missouri in the 1850s. The map had long since fallen into pieces at the folds, but thanks to our Adopt a Book program, Jim Downey recently repaired it, and now we can show it to you.
This map shows the northeastern corner of the state of Missouri. Gregory Landing and the Wyaconda River are marked on this map, and they’re both in that part of the state. It’s quite detailed, and the cartographer added color coding in delicate watercolor washes to denote different geological features and systems.
image: An illustration of the White Rabbit by John Tenniel in the suppressed 1865 edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, rendered here in black and white. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Two comic books, and a story of censorship thwarted – “Judgment Day”
Originally printed in the pre-Code Weird Fantasy #18 (April 1953), “Judgment Day” tells the story of Tarlton, an astronaut who visits the planet Cybrinia which is inhabited by robots, to see if they should be admitted into the Galactic Republic. The robots are structurally the same, but sheathed in differently-colored skins. Though the same inside, the blue robots have fewer rights and privileges than the orange robots. Because of their prejudice, Tarlton decides that Cybrinia is not yet ready to be admitted into the Republic, but encourages the Cybrinians to learn to live and work together. When he returns to his space ship, Tarlton removes his helmet, revealing that he is African-American.
In 1956, when this story was reprinted in
Incredible Science Fiction #33 (Feb. 1956), Judge Charles Murphy, the Comics Code Administrator, ordered EC editor Al Feldstein to alter the ending of the science-fiction story, saying,
“It can’t be a Black man!” Feldstein insisted, “But … but that’s the whole point of the story!” Soon afterwards, owner Bill Gaines called the judge back and angrily threatened to sue, as the demanded change had no basis in the Comics Code.
The story was reprinted uncensored, but
Incredible Science Fiction #33 would be the last comic book that EC published.
You can view these, and many other historically significant comic books at Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library.
Samuel Howitt, Monkey Sketchbook [leaf 45], ca. 1817, watercolor over pencil, rendered here in black and white. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gilbert Davis Collection.
“On August 5, 1940, the independent country of Latvia was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. Thousands of Latvians were arrested for having anti-Soviet views, taking part in resistance movements, being farmers, belonging to political parties, or refusing to join a collective farm. Many were deported to Siberia.
People who were in prisons, concentration camps, or settlements in Siberia wrote letters to friends and relatives on birch bark, which was often the only available material at places of deportation. This was particularly the case during World War II, when paper was very scarce. Only 19 such letters, dating from 1941 to 1956, survive in Latvian museums. They are important documents for the history of Latvia and of the Soviet era and a vivid record of the effects of mass repression on individual lives.”
There’s a lot of #Caturday fodder in this 11th century manuscript of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy! Boethius’ assertion that wicked men “sink to the level of being an animal” is illustrated in the first image using The Odyssey as an example, as an angel guides Odysseus back to the safety of his ship as his immoral crew is turned into cats by Circe. A lovely lion also features in the tangle of animals that forms an initial D.
This fascinating manuscript has unfortunately been heavily mutilated throughout the years, removing a number of other illuminations and a great deal of text. However, the repairs done over the manuscript’s long history are beautiful in their own way, and show the care that has been taken to maintain it even after it was mutilated.
(MS Hunter 279, probably executed in Scotland, from the University of Glasgow Library special collections)
Here is our new series, vibrant graphic design from the early 1900s. We are introducing to you Jugend (“Youth” in German), a late 19th century German art magazine that featured many famous Art Nouveau and impressionist artists. Founded by writer Georg Hirth, it was published from 1896 to 1940.
Even though the initial idea was to share with you the famous covers of this fascinating publication, we decided to add some of the illustrations too, as they are simply irresistible and definitely deserve your attention.
If you heard the term “Jugendstil” before (“Jugend-style”) that became the namesake of the German Art Nouveau, now you know where it came from! The journal focused on the contemporary German Art and poetry, adding satirical and political spice to it. From the First World War, Jugend was becoming a national German and Bavarian magazine. That changed until the mid-1920s, when the issues began catering to the artists of the younger generation. After 1933, the magazine changed to fit in with the trend of National Socialism; nevertheless, it lasted until 1940.
When a librarian installs a security camera directly above the section of multimedia which keeps mysteriously disappearing, with a small note dangling from it that reads, “Drone Program Activated” and an upward facing arrow.