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Friday, February 23, 2018

Exhibit of Early Medical Illustrations

A new exhibit on first floor, Waldo Rotunda from Special Collections and Rare Books

From Hellenistic Greece to the early Arab empire, we have the first era of illustration. The earliest medical illustrations recorded in history are Islamic, where body parts were represented as geometric shapes accompanied by descriptions of their functions. Very early on when humans transitioned from scrolls to codices, medical illustration was very crude and favored being aesthetically pleasing rather than accurate. Fortunately, coming into 300 BC, there are the first medical examinations on human cadavers in Alexandria, Greece, which helped to improve drawing skill. The bodies were also depicted wearing Greek style clothing well into the 15th hundreds, where modern dress as implemented. However, the posing of the body and its individual parts tented to lack a natural look, as there were depicted as squatting. The middle ages attempted more realistic-to-life posture, as well as adopting the zodiac into its medical terminology. Humanity has improved and perfected the art of anatomical illustration since then, but the history behind this practice is rich and full of insight to the past.

Included in the exhibit:

World War II era German booklet on health and military hygiene. Containing five separate views, the plastic anatomical views were used to educate soldiers.

A facsimile of a publication from the early 18th. It came with a packet from the publisher describing John Browne, who was a sixth generation surgeon who served in the royal navy as a doctor.

A book specializing in muscular placement in action. The illustrations and plates are clean and exact, with both images of the muscles exposed and the human figure to demonstrate how the muscles work.

Another charming little book on the anatomy of the brain is 7th edition in a series exploring all different areas of the body.

Andreas Vesalius of Brussels was famous for his medical illustrations. Living in the 1500s, his drawings were incredibly popular and numerous. He worked hard to make art that could be accessible to the general reader, and not just for scholars. His illustrations are the standard of popular posing in medical illustration. The bodies were stood up in action, often being the ones to peel back their own layers and expose themselves.

A history of medical illustration translated from German: It provides a detailed history of not only medical illustrations, but also scientific illustrations in general. Tracking artwork from the BC era through the Renaissance. The open page contains illustrations by Leonardo Da Vinci. 

A German facsimile contains medieval illustrations of medical procedures and ailments. At this point in time, it was quite common not only to draw the afflicted in their sickbed, but also illustrate as many injuries as possible. Rather often, people would be depicted with swords, clubs, arrows, and even tree branches jutting through them. It was less so to demonstrate what to do in case of emergency, but to serve as covers of books or chapters to illustrate what sort of things the text would covering. 

The exhibit will be on display several weeks.

History Hullabalooza

What is History Hullabalooza at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, Archives and Regional History? Part of an educational program that brings students together with local, state and national history. The Historical Society of Michigan chooses and a theme and school children are encouraged to conduct research. Here they are assisted by WMU student library/archives employee, Suzanne Grimmer a member of Phi Alpha Theta. On a recent Saturday they learned how to explore archives, museums and oral history sources and then interpret their findings into a presentable project. One of the goals is to be able to present their project at the state level on Michigan History Day.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

GRAND Opening of Virtual Reality Lab in Waldo

It will be grand with extra VR set-ups, inspiring words and food! Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 - 7 pm. Lower Level, Waldo Library.

Set up as a place of exploration for this popular new technology, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to try out the virtual reality games and immersive software - over 20 titles available.

Typically associated with gaming, virtual reality (VR) also offers significant potential in the areas of teaching, learning and research. The VR Lab provides a space to explore this revolutionary technology. It is a joint project of the WMU Office of Information Technology and University Libraries. Additional hours each week are listed here:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bestiary. How do you know this?

Special Collections and Rare Rooks Room reveal that the perceptions you probably already have about animal attributes are from Bestiaries. The common characterization of animals like foxes being deceptive or elephants being afraid of mice, originate from Bestiaries.

An exhibit of Bestiary in books is now available in Waldo, second floor, rotunda, into mid February.

What is a Bestiary?
Made popular in the medieval time, a traditional bestiary is a compiled selection of information and illustrations of not only ordinary creatures, but often mythical creatures.

As a part of the portrayal of each animal, it is commonplace that there are religious correlated messages and ideas worked into the text where moral truths based on Christianity are revealed. In fact, even many of the beasts from the Harry Potter series arose straight from bestiaries, as do many other mythical creatures from early and modern authors, so you are most likely already familiar with much of the information contained in bestiaries.

Exhibit depicts: traditional medieval bestiary - the open page contains a phoenix with attributes; another book for children shows a unicorn; a modern pop-up book unfolds a bloomworm; and a super modern bestiary is a compilation from many artists with new creatures. Photos here are in this order.

Friday, February 2, 2018

WMU Librarian helps bring Latvian Celebration to Campus

Two art exhibits on WMU’s campus are a part of Latvia’s 100th anniversary as a country. The Richmond Center just had openings for the Sniedze Janson-Ruņģis: Altars & Myths and the Rita Grendze: Signs for Those Seeking Light shows.

Maira Bundza, the ScholarWorks Librarian at Waldo Library and a strong advocate for her heritage country helped secure funding from the Latvian government and associations to help make this happen. The photos show her speaking at the opening event. Exhibit information.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Art Exhibit: Art Prints from Sutton Hoo Press

Special Collections and Rare Book Room at Waldo Library present artwork and poetry from Sutton Hoo Press.  It is a literary fine press named after the famous Anglo-Saxon archaeological dig of a royal ship burial. The name signals our editorial mission: to bring to light the work of promising young writers and poets, as well as to publish work by well-known authors, in order to define exacting standards of writing in contemporary fiction and poetry. Examples are typical of the many fine holdings at WMU Libraries.

The primary mission of the press is to publish contemporary literature in handsomely designed limited editions.

In the exhibit are two mounted broadsides: "The Ditch" copy 1, 2002;

Poem by David Dodd Lee, Image by Ladislav Hanka, Sutton Hoo Press;

"The Office of Homeland Security" Printed by C.M. Oness at Sutton Hoo Press with the poet James Armstrong and artist Ladislav Hanka;

Art prints: Proofs, "Sutton Hoo: Decorations"; Sutton Hoo, "Syphon";

Ephemera/proofs: "Speaking of Accidents: Poems" (Peter Evenwine); Ephemera/proofs "Evolution: a Prose Poem Sequence" (Anthony Butts);

Located in tall display case, Waldo Library, third floor, rotunda area through February.

Items from the The Ladislav R. Hanka Book Arts Archive and The Fine Press Ephemera Collection: The Ladislav R. Hanka Book Arts Archive centers on the artist Ladislav R. Hanka (1952- ) a graduate of WMU and resident of the city of Kalamazoo. Mr. Hanka's art is primarily concerned with the flora and fauna of forests and lakes. His background in biology and zoology reflects his artistic interests. He received a BA in Biology from Kalamazoo College (1975), an MS in Zoology from Colorado State University (1979), and an MFA in Printmaking from Western Michigan University (1981). In addition, Mr. Hanka was a guest student at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität in Bonn, Germany (1973) and at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Austria (1979-1980). His art may be found at the Fogg Museum of Art in Cambridge, MA., the Princeton University Print Collection in Princeton, NJ, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress. The archive also contains correspondence between Mr. Hanka and writers and publishers, sketches, trials, artist's proofs and numbered copies of his art, reviews of shows, exhibition booklets, and hand-bound volumes of his books printed under the imprint of the Rarach Press.

The Fine Press Ephemera Collection is comprised of correspondence, brochures, greeting cards, postcards, illustrated folios, etc. produced by or relating to Arion, Bergamot, Black Sparrow, Bloodroot, Janus, Kat Ran, Ninja, Sutton Hoo and many other American fine presses which were operating in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Welcome Marianne Swierenga

Marianne Swierenga earned a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI in 2009. She also earned a Master of Fine Arts from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI in 2002 and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hope College in Holland, MI in 1999. 

 Since 2011, Ms. Swierenga has worked at Western Michigan University Libraries as a Metadata and Digital Resources Specialist. In this role, Ms. Swierenga has been involved in cataloging and creating metadata for library archival and digital collections, helping to make these unique materials more accessible to the local, national, and global scholars. In addition, Ms. Swierenga has served as a member of the Local Digital Collections committee, helping to shape the current and future direction of digital project initiatives at the University Libraries. She has also served on several committees focused on engaging the WMU community with library collections and the arts.

Previously, she worked as an Archivist and User Education/Experience Librarian at Kellogg Community College and the Managing Editor of New Issues Poetry & Prose at Western Michigan University. Ms. Swierenga’s recent scholarship includes publications and presentations on library programming for the arts and digitally preserving audio recordings. A fun fact is that she used to bake pastries for a local, popular coffee shop.