Archive for the 'Events, Announcements, & Information' Category

Summer Graduate Fellows at the Beinecke

Each year, the Beinecke Library hosts a summer graduate research fellowship program for Yale graduate students in the humanities and professional schools whose work draws on the Library’s collections.   This summer, seven graduate fellows will be working on projects in the Beinecke’s Early and Early Modern collections.  Over the course of the summer, Beinecke Early Modern will introduce the graduate fellows and their research projects, giving a sense of the daily bustle of the Beinecke reading room and the tremendous breadth and scope of the Library’s early and early modern holdings.

I’m very happy to welcome the following five graduate fellows in the Early and Early Modern collections in June and July:

Julia Doe, a graduate student in Yale’s Department of Music, draws on the early modern opera and music collections for her project, “French Opera at the Italian Theater (1762-1793): Nationalism, Genre, and Opéra-Comique”.”

Justin DuRivage, a graduate student in Yale’s Department of History, has worked across the early modern British and American print and manuscript collections for his project, “Taxing Empire: American Revolution and Clash over Imperial Political Economy, 1748-1776.”

Hadi Jorati, a graduate student in Yale’s Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department, is working in the Beinecke’s Arabic manuscript collections for his project, “Medieval Arabic and Islamic Civilization: Intellectual history of the medieval Middle East.”

James Macdonald, a graduate student in Yale’s English Department and Renaissance Studies Program, draws on the early modern British manuscript collections for his project, “Popular Religion and Literature in Early Modern England.”

Ying Jia Tan, a graduate student in the Yale History of Medicine and Science Program, will be working in the early modern cartographic holdings for his project, “The History of Printing and the Map: European Composite Atlases between 1600-1800.”

Beinecke Early Modern European Essay Prize

Beinecke Early Modern is pleased to announce the award of this year’s Beinecke Early Modern European Senior Essay Prize to Elisabeth Mallin, a Yale history major, for her “Sisterhood in Early Eighteenth-Century Scotland: The Bruce Women’s Virtual Household.”  Established in 2007-08, the Beinecke Library Prize for Early Modern European Studies is awarded annually to the Yale senior essayist whose research makes best use of the Library’s early modern British and European collections, 1500-1800.

Drawing on the Lady Betty Bruce archive in the Beinecke’s Boswell Family Papers, Mallin examined the correspondence between Lady Betty Bruce, wife of James Boswell (1672-1749), Laird of Auchinleck, and her sisters and niece over a near twenty year span from 1698-1717.  In making close and extensive use of this correspondence archive, Mallin offers a new contribution to the study of Scottish correspondence, household, and kinship networks in the period, while exploring the idea of correspondence networks as a form of “virtual household.”

As Mallin argues, “the virtual household, as exemplified by the Bruce women, is a mode of communication that serves to negate the disadvantages of distance, and to increase the interdependence and resources of a group of people–in this case, a group of women who have no patriarchal head to tie them to each other, and who might otherwise have been absorbed entirely into their husbands’ families and away from each other.  … The letters that they wrote went beyond simple accounts of day-to-day life…; they served to reinforce the interdependence of the sisters’ families in a way that enhanced their social, economic, physical and emotional security.”

The Lady Betty Bruce letterbooks are held in the Beinecke’s Boswell Family Papers, call number: Gen MSS 89, Box 104.    Portions of the archive (primarily those relating to James Boswell) have been scanned and can be found in the Beinecke’s Digital Images Online.

Beinecke Lectures in the History of the Book—Spring 2010

Beinecke Lectures in the History of the Book
Spring 2010

Please join us at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library for the Spring 2010 series of the Beinecke Lectures in the History of the Book. This series explores our historical understanding of the book as a cultural object, a discussion made all the more relevant as text becomes an increasingly electronic medium.

All are welcome; lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are held at 4:00 pm at the Beinecke Library, 121 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06510. For more information on the Beinecke Lectures in the History of the Book, please visit our web-site.

Tuesday, March 23, 4:oo pm
Medieval Manuscripts and Literary Forms

Jessica Brantley is Associate Professor in the Yale University Department of English and the author of Reading in the Wilderness: Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England (2007). She received a National Humanities Center fellowship in 2009 for her current project, Medieval Ways of Seeing: Image, Text, Artifact. Look here for more on Professor Brantley’s research.

Thursday, April 29, 4:00 pm
Bookishness & Digital Literature

Jessica Pressman, Assistant Professor in the Yale University Department of English, works on the intersections of literary culture and digital media. Her current book project, Digital Modernism: Making it New in New Media, charts a relationship between electronic literature and literary modernism. Look here for more on Professor Pressman’s research.

Questions? Contact Kathryn James, Assistant Curator for Early Modern, at:

Exhibition Opening: Starry Messenger, April 8 – June 30



Starry Messenger: Observing the Heavens in the Age of Galileo
An exhibition at the Beinecke Library, April 18 – June 30, 2009

In the autumn of 1609, the Italian mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens, deciphering the cratered face of the moon, the four satellites of Jupiter, and other previously opaque features of the heavens. When, in 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, or Starry Messenger, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler responded with enthusiasm, praising the significance of Galileo’s observations with his own Dissertatio cum Nuncio Sidereo, or, Conversations with the Starry Messenger (1610).

To whom else did the stars speak in the early modern period? This selection of engravings, charts, diagrams, and texts reveals the furred and cratered faces, the portents and instruments in European observations of the heavens from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. Drawing in part on a recently acquired collection of early modern comet literature, these items explore the fascination and anxiety with the world, its state, and its possibilities of imperfection that infused the early modern European discussions of the stars.


Galileo’s illustration of the constellation of the Pleiades, in the first edition of Sidereus Nuncius.  At top: Galileo’s illustrations of the surface of the moon, also from the first edition of Sidereus Nuncius.


Above: images of the moon from the first pirated edition of Sidereus Nuncius, issued in Frankfurt in 1610.


Above: portrait of a cheerful Galileo, included as the frontispiece to the posthumous Opere (1666).


Hevelius’s image of the astronomer at work (above) and of the phases of the moon (below) in his exquisite lunar atlas, the Selenographia (Danzig: Hünefeld, 1647).



Novelists, as well as astronomers, began to colonize the landscapes of the heavens, as can be seen in this wonderfully witty satire by de Bergerac.  Selēnarhia, or, The government of the world in the moon : a comical history [Histoire comique des états et empires de la lune]. London: J. Cottrel, 1659.

A collection guide, containing further images and works scanned from this exhibition, can be found in the Beinecke Library’s digital library.     This exhibition is one event in Yale University’s celebration of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, and a calendar of lectures, viewings, concerts, and other events has been posted by the Yale Office of Public Affairs.

An exhibition opening will be held at Beinecke Library on Tuesday, April 28, following a lecture by Dava Sobel, author of Galileo’s Daughter and Longitude.  The lecture, sponsored by the Yale University Department of Astronomy, will be held at 4 pm in the Yale Law School Levinson Auditorium.  Both lecture and exhibition opening are free and open to the public.

The Year of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary


In celebration of the three hundredth anniversary of Johnson’s birth in 1709, a definition from the first edition of Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) will be posted each day for readers’ lexiconic delight on Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary, the Beinecke’s new word-a-day dictionary blog. Words will be taken from the annotated proof copy of the first edition, extra-illustrated with Johnson’s and his helpers’ manuscript corrections, held in the collections of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The Paleographical Commons


This image is taken from Beinecke’s Osborn b349, a commonplace book of the 1620s, signed by one Francis Grosvenor and containing notes in secretary and italic hands on a broad range of topics, including witchcraft, geography, aphorisms, cosmology, and fee tables, as in the example above.

This commonplace book, and a range of other examples, have been uploaded as high-resolution scans on the Beinecke’s Paleographical Commons, a resource for examples of early modern British paleography. The site can be found on flickr, as part of the Beinecke’s Flickr Laboratory, a project to provide open access to public domain images from the Beinecke Library collections.

From The History of a Book to ‘the history of the book’

Please join us on Monday, November 17, for a lecture by Dr. Leah Price in the Beinecke History of the Book lecture series: “From The History of a Book to ‘the history of the book’: readers and users in Victorian Britain.”

Leah Price, Professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University, works in the fields of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century culture. She is the author, among other works, of Compiling Authority: the anthology and the novel in modern Britain (1998) and the co-editor with Seth Lehrer of a special issue of PMLA entitled The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature (2006).

Please join us at 4PM in the Beinecke Library, rooms 38/39. For further information, please contact or visit the History of the Book Lecture Series web-site.