Friday, January 28, 2011

Title Highlight: Instruments of Science : an Historical Encyclopedia

Instruments of Science : an Historical Encyclopedia

1 volume: Illustrations, drawings, charts

This interesting volume recounts the history of many scientific instruments. It includes the obvious instruments; microscope, telescope, centrifuge and seismograph, but also obsolete instruments such as the camera obscura, nautical sextant, sectors (a box invented by Galileo for use in mathematics) and slide rule, along with things that one wouldn’t think of as scientific instruments; the mouse and sun dial. It discusses instruments that have no name, but which were used for scientific purposes such as testing the strength of various materials and the hardness of an object. Each article has sources for further reading, although some of the sources are as old as the objects described; for instance several of the resources listed for the eudiometer (a failed instrument to test the air) date from the 18th century!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Title Highlight: Encyclopedia of the Arctic

Encyclopedia of the Arctic

3 volumes: Illustrations, maps, charts
Entries A-Z (listed at the beginning of each volume)
Thematic list of entries (volume 1 only)
Index (volume 3 only)

This three volume set tackles a wide variety of topics relating to one of the least inhabited parts of the planet, the Arctic regions. Not only the ecology and wildlife of the area are covered, but also international and national polar laws, explorers, history, peoples (over 44 different ones), languages, economics, physical geography, oceanography and many other topics. The entries are arranged alphabetically, but the thematic list of entries at the beginning of the first volume would probably be more useful for finding topics of interest. Each article has suggestions for further reading.

It is interesting to note that the book confines itself to the Arctic in some cases, but not all. For instance the entry on the polar explorer Richard Byrd only deals with his flight over the North Pole, while the entry on the explorer Roald Amundsen details his South Pole exploits along with his Arctic ones. It also contains an entry on the Dalton Highway, the only road access to the U.S. portion of the Arctic as well as the Dempster Highway in Canada, more well-known now as the road used on the series Ice Road Truckers on the History channel.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Title Highlight: Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment

Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment
1 volume: Bibliography, Illustrations, Timeline, Index

Beginning with the code of Hammurabi in the seventeenth century B.C., this book examines both the history and practice of capital punishment through the centuries. Stories of the executions of famous murderers are told, along with the societal and political debates surrounding the death penalty. Most articles have suggestions for further reading at the end. There is an interesting timeline at the end of the book highlighting both famous executions and the institution of various laws regarding the use of capital punishment including the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s 1641 laws that prescribed the death penalty for witches (think Salem witch trials) and blasphemy. The timeline also records 1790 as the date when Britain banned burning at the stake as a cruel and unusual punishment and substituted hanging as more humane. Two years later in 1792 the French came up with what was seen as an improvement on hanging, the guillotine. If nothing else, the book demonstrates that capital punishment has been around for a very long time and has undergone many changes in technique.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New ScotsRead Titles

A few more new ScotsRead titles recently arrived.  They are located with the rest of the collection near the New Books Display on the main level of the library.  ScotsRead titles check out to the students, staff, and faculty of Monmouth College for two weeks.

Recently arrived:
  • The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow
  • The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum
  • Love Letters: A Novel by Katie Ffrode
  • Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Einstein Bagels Hours Change

A little update on Einstein Brothers Bagels!  The shop will now close at 7:30pm in the evenings and be closed on Sundays.  Einstein Brothers Bagels will instead be open later on Friday afternoons until 3pm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Please help us celebrate 150 years as a Federal Depository Library! We need your responses to this FDLP survey in order to promote and understand the use of our Government Document Collection. The 16-question survey focuses on depository access, services, and collections. Results of the survey will contribute to the extensive efforts by GPO to address the value of FDLP membership.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to complete the survey!

Hewes Library, Monmouth College
United States Federal Depository Since 1860

May 1882: The dismissal of Miss Lizzie Gowdy, art instructor

Monmouth College History: Archival Discoveries by J. Richard Sayre, Library Director

May 1882: The dismissal of Miss Lizzie Gowdy, Art Instructor

Last fall while reading through some of the Faculty Minutes from the 1880s for a trustee, I ran across a series of faculty meetings from May 1882 in which the faculty passed a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Miss Lizzie Gowdy, Art Instructor. Miss Gowdy was apparently observed by the faculty as sporting a Kappa Kappa Gamma pin on her blouse or jacket which was in violation of the college’s “well-defined” policy concerning “secret fraternities” on campus. The first two women’s “fraternities” in the nation were formed on the Monmouth College campus in 1869 (Pi Beta Phi) & 1870 (Kappa Kappa Gamma). Yet by 1874, both men and women’s fraternities were banned from the campus due to concerns from the Presbyterian Church. Nevertheless, through the early 1880s, there were still “secret” fraternity activities and the ban on fraternity pins worn by students towards the end of the 1870s had not been strictly enforced - according to Dr. William Urban’s History of Monmouth College through Its Fifth Quarter-Century (c1979). However, young Lizzie Gowdy, former student, now art instructor, proudly wore her Kappa pin on a regular basis in defiance of college policies, and refused to resign when pressured by the MC faculty. Because of Gowdy’s refusal to resign voluntarily, the matter was referred by the faculty to the board of trustees, where, according to Urban’s History of Monmouth College (p.82), Miss Gowdy was eventually dismissed.

Shortly after reading these entries in the faculty minutes, I shared this bit of interesting information with Hollie Casteel, Hewes Library Acquisitions Manager. Intrigued about what might have become of Miss Gowdy, Ms. Casteel found a reference to an Elizabeth Gowdy Baker via Google, born in 1860, Xenia, Ohio, graduated Monmouth College, with further schooling at Cooper Union and other art schools. This discovery started both of us on a search for more information on the Monmouth College alumna and instructor who left Monmouth under difficult circumstances and went on to make a name for herself in the art world.

Elizabeth Gowdy Baker became a rather well known watercolorist in late 19th, early 20th century America, the first portrait artist to successfully use watercolor as her medium. She was initially well known for her work with children’s portraits, but soon became a sought-after portrait artist of the wealthy and prominent citizens of New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. Photographs of a number of her portraits appear in American Art News from 1897-1920. And there’s a library connection - she painted a rather impressive portrait of Melvil Dewey, father of the Dewey Decimal Classification and founder of the first school for training librarians at Columbia University. The portrait is found in the Lake Placid Club, New York, and was reproduced in a 1968 article in The Journal of Library History. She also served as president of the Society of Aquarellists and the Daughters of Ohio. There are many articles in the JSTOR database mentioning Elizabeth Gowdy Baker and several websites that include some of her paintings up for auction.

So did the Monmouth College faculty’s call for Miss Gowdy’s resignation do this young art instructor a favor in the end? She could have been no more than 22 years old at the time, probably hired to teach following her graduation from Monmouth College. It would appear that she landed on her feet, studied in prominent art schools, married, and eventually became a very successful portrait artist for the rich and famous of society in some of America’s largest cities. Yet I still wonder if Elizabeth Gowdy Baker was able to forgive the Monmouth College faculty and trustees for their actions which may have helped to launch her successful career as an artist.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Items at Hewes Library

New items are added to the Hewes Library Collection on a continual basis. Recent titles have included:

  • Elizabeth Packard: A Noble Fight by Linda V. Carlisle
  • Manual Communication by Dean A. Christopher
  • Advertising Empire by David Ciarlo
  • Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  • Wonder of Genetics by Richard B. Knowles
  • Nature's New Deal by Neil M. Maher
  • Climate of Uncertainty by William Stewart
  • 100 Most Influential Women of All Time by Kathleen Kuiper
  • Knowing Yellowstone by Jerry Johnson
  • Oxford Companion to the Book by Michael F. Suarez

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome back for spring semester!

Welcome back to Spring Semester!  The library has returned to regular hours and we are open throughout the week until midnight.  For the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, the library will have shortened hours.  On Saturday, January 15th, Hewes Library will be open from noon until 5pm and on Sunday, January 16th, from noon until 9pm.