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The Activist Collector
Lida Clanton Broner’s 1938 Journey from Newark to South Africa
Christa Clarke
Rutgers University Press, 2023

Published by the Newark Museum. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.

“After twenty-eight years of desire and determination, I have visited Africa, the land of my forefathers.” So wrote Lida Clanton Broner (1895–1982), an African American housekeeper and hairstylist from Newark, New Jersey, upon her return from an extraordinary nine-month journey to South Africa in 1938. This epic trip was motivated not only by Broner’s sense of ancestral heritage, but also a grassroots resolve to connect the socio-political concerns of African Americans with those of black South Africans under the segregationist policies of the time. During her travels, this woman of modest means circulated among South Africa’s Black intellectual elite, including many leaders of South Africa’s freedom struggle. Her lectures at Black schools on “race consciousness and race pride” had a decidedly political bent, even as she was presented as an “American beauty specialist.” 

How did Broner—a working class mother—come to be a globally connected activist? What were her experiences as an African American woman in segregated South Africa and how did she further her work after her return? Broner’s remarkable story is the subject of this book, which draws upon a deep visual and documentary record now held in the collection of the Newark Museum of Art. This extraordinary archive includes more than one hundred and fifty objects, ranging from beadwork and pottery to mission school crafts, acquired by Broner in South Africa, along with her diary, correspondence, scrapbooks, and hundreds of photographs with handwritten notations.
 

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Acts of Possession
Collecting in America
Dilworth, Leah
Rutgers University Press, 2003
The success of internet auction sites like eBay and the cult status of public television's Antiques Roadshow attest to the continued popularity of collecting in American culture. Acts of Possession investigates the ways cultural meanings of collections have evolved and yet remained surprisingly unchanged throughout American history.

Drawing upon the body of theoretical work on collecting and focusing on individual as opposed to museum collections, the contributors investigate how, what, and why Americans have collected and explore the inherent meanings behind systems of organization and display. Essays consider the meanings of Thomas Jefferson's Indian Hall at Monticello; the pedagogical theories behind nineteenth-century children's curiosity cabinets; collections of Native American artifacts; and the ability of the owners of doll houses to construct meaning within the context of traditional ideals of domesticity.

The authors also consider some darker aspects of collecting-hoarding, fetishism, and compulsive behavior-scrutinizing collections of racist memorabilia and fascist propaganda. The final essay posits the serial killer as a collector, an investigation into the dangerous objectification of humans themselves.

By bringing fresh, interdisciplinary critical perspectives to bear on these questions, Dilworth and her coauthors weave a fascinating cultural history of collecting in America.
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African Art Reframed
Reflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture
Bennetta Jules-Rosette and J. R. Osborn; Foreword by Simon Njami
University of Illinois Press, 2020
Once seen as a collection of artifacts and ritual objects, African art now commands respect from museums and collectors. Bennetta Jules-Rosette and J.R. Osborn explore the reframing of African art through case studies of museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Africa.

The authors take a three-pronged approach. Part One ranges from curiosity cabinets to virtual websites to offer a history of ethnographic and art museums and look at their organization and methods of reaching out to the public. In the second part, the authors examine museums as ecosystems and communities within communities, and they use semiotic methods to analyze images, signs, and symbols drawn from the experiences of curators and artists. The third part introduces innovative strategies for displaying, disseminating, and reclaiming African art. The authors also propose how to reinterpret the art inside and outside the museum and show ways of remixing the results.

Drawing on extensive conversations with curators, collectors, and artists, African Art Reframed is an essential guide to building new exchanges and connections in the dynamic worlds of African and global art.

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Antiquarians of Nineteenth-Century Japan
The Archaeology of Things in the Late Tokugawa and Early Meiji Periods
Hiroyuki Suzuki
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2022
This volume explores the changing process of evaluating objects during the period of Japan’s rapid modernization.
 
Originally published in Japanese, Antiquarians of Nineteenth-Century Japan looks at the approach toward object-based research across the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods, which were typically kept separate, and elucidates the intellectual continuities between these eras. Focusing on the top-down effects of the professionalizing of academia in the political landscape of Meiji Japan, which had advanced by attacking earlier modes of scholarship by antiquarians, Suzuki shows how those outside the government responded, retracted, or challenged new public rules and values. He explores the changing process of evaluating objects from the past in tandem with the attitudes and practices of antiquarians during the period of Japan’s rapid modernization. He shows their roots in the intellectual sphere of the late Tokugawa period while also detailing how they adapted to the new era. Suzuki also demonstrates that Japan’s antiquarians had much in common with those from Europe and the United States.

Art historian Maki Fukuoka provides an introduction to the English translation that highlights the significance of Suzuki’s methodological and intellectual analyses and shows how his ideas will appeal to specialists and nonspecialists alike.
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Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance
A Contribution to the History of Collecting
Julius von Schlosser
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2021

For the first time, the pioneering book that launched the study of art and curiosity cabinets is available in English.

Julius von Schlosser’s Die Kunst- und Wunderkammern der Spätrenaissance (Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance) is a seminal work in the history of art and collecting. Originally published in German in 1908, it was the first study to interpret sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cabinets of wonder as precursors to the modern museum, situating them within a history of collecting going back to Greco-Roman antiquity. In its comparative approach and broad geographical scope, Schlosser’s book introduced an interdisciplinary and global perspective to the study of art and material culture, laying the foundation for museum studies and the history of collections. Schlosser was an Austrian professor, curator, museum director, and leading figure of the Vienna School of art history whose work has not achieved the prominence of his contemporaries until now.
 
This eloquent and informed translation is preceded by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann’s substantial introduction. Tracing Schlosser’s biography and intellectual formation in Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, it contextualizes his work among that of his contemporaries, offering a wealth of insights along the way.

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Basket Weavers for the California Curio Trade
Elizabeth and Louise Hickox
Marvin Cohodas
University of Arizona Press, 1997
The peoples of northwestern Califonia's Lower Klamath River area have long been known for their fine basketry. Two early-twentieth-century weavers of that region, Elizabeth Hickox and her daughter Louise, created especially distinctive baskets that are celebrated today for their elaboration of technique, form, and surface designs.

Marvin Cohodas now explores the various forces that influenced Elizabeth Hickox, analyzing her relationship with the curio trade, and specifically with dealer Grace Nicholson, to show how those associations affected the development and marketing of baskets. He explains the techniques and patterns that Hickox created to meet the challenge of weaving design into changig three-dimensional forms. In addition to explicating the Hickoxes' basketry, Cohodas interprets its uniqueness as a form of intersocietal art, showing how Elizabeth first designed her distinctive trinket basket to convey a particular view of the curio trade and its effect on status within her community.

Through its close examination of these superb practitioners of basketry, Basket Weavers for the California Curio Trade addresses many of today's most pressing questions in Native American art studies concerning individuality, patronage, and issues of authenticity. Graced with historic photographs and full-color plates, it reveals the challenges faced by early-twentieth-century Native weavers.

Published with the assistance of The Southwest Museum, Los Angeles.
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The Capitalist and the Critic
J. P. Morgan, Roger Fry, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
By Charles Molesworth
University of Texas Press, 2016

A skillful and fascinating retelling of the often testy relationship between J. P. Morgan and Roger Fry, two men who did more to establish the preeminence of the Metropolitan Museum of Art than any collector and curator before or since.

Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, the Metropolitan Museum of Art began an ambitious program of collection building and physical expansion that transformed it into one of the world’s foremost museums, an eminence that it has maintained ever since. Two men of singular qualities and accomplishments played key roles in the Met’s transformation—J. P. Morgan, America’s leading financier and a prominent art collector, and Roger Fry, the headstrong English expert in art history who served as the Met’s curator of painting. Their complicated, often contentious relationship embodies and illuminates the myriad tensions between commerce and art, philanthropists and professional staff, that a great museum must negotiate to define and fulfill its mission.

In this masterful, multidisciplinary narrative, Charles Molesworth offers the first in-depth look at how Morgan and Fry helped to mold the cultural legacy of masterpieces of painting and the development of the “encyclopedic” museum. Structuring the book as a joint biography, Molesworth describes how Morgan used his vast wealth to bring European art to an American citizenry, while Fry brought high standards of art history from the world of connoisseurs to a general public. Their clashes over the purpose and functions of the Met, which ultimately led to Fry’s ouster, reveal the forces—personal and societal—that helped to shape the Metropolitan Museum and other major American cultural institutions during the twentieth century.

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Collecting Mesoamerican Art before 1940
A New World of Latin American Antiquities
Andrew D. Turner
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2024
The untold chronicles of the looting and collecting of ancient Mesoamerican objects.

This book traces the fascinating history of how and why ancient Mesoamerican objects have been collected. It begins with the pre-Hispanic antiquities that first entered European collections in the sixteenth century as gifts or seizures, continues through the rise of systematic collecting in Europe and the Americas during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ends in 1940—the start of Europe’s art market collapse at the outbreak of World War II and the coinciding genesis of the large-scale art market for pre-Hispanic antiquities in the United States.

Drawing upon archival resources and international museum collections, the contributors analyze the ways shifting patterns of collecting and taste—including how pre-Hispanic objects changed from being viewed as anthropological and scientific curiosities to collectible artworks—have shaped modern academic disciplines as well as public, private, institutional, and nationalistic attitudes toward Mesoamerican art. As many nations across the world demand the return of their cultural patrimony and ancestral heritage, it is essential to examine the historical processes, events, and actors that initially removed so many objects from their countries of origin.
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Collecting Music in the Aran Islands
A Century of History and Practice
Deirdre Ní Chonghaile
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022

For more than 150 years, individuals have traveled the countryside with pen, paper, tape recorders, and even video cameras to document versions of songs, music, and stories shared by communities. As technologies and methodologies have advanced, the task of gathering music has been taken up by a much broader group than scholars. The resulting collections created by these various people can be impacted by the individual collectors’ political and social concerns, cultural inclinations, and even simple happenstance, demonstrating a crucial yet underexplored relationship between the music and those preserving it.

Collecting Music in the Aran Islands, a critical historiographical study of the practice of documenting traditional music, is the first to focus on the archipelago off the west coast of Ireland. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile argues for a culturally equitable framework that considers negotiation, collaboration, canonization, and marginalization to fully understand the immensely important process of musical curation. In presenting four substantial, historically valuable collections from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, she illustrates how understanding the motivations and training (or lack thereof) of individual music collectors significantly informs how we should approach their work and contextualize their place in the folk music canon.

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Collecting the Pre-Columbian Past
Elizabeth Hill Boone
Harvard University Press, 2011

The history of Pre-Columbian collecting is a social and aesthetic history—of ideas, people and organizations, and objects. This richly illustrated volume examines these histories by considering the collection and display of Pre-Columbian objects in Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Some of the thirteen essays locate the collecting process within its broader cultural setting in order to explain how and why such collections were formed, while others consider how collections have served as documents of culture within the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology, and as objects of fine art or aesthetic statements within the art and art historical worlds. Nearly all contemplate how such collections have been used as active signifiers of political, economic, and cultural power.

The thirteen essays were originally presented at a symposium commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Pre-Columbian Collection at Dumbarton Oaks. They continue to be groundbreaking contributions to the histories of collecting and Pre-Columbian art.

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Collecting the Weaver's Art
The William Claflin Collection of Southwestern Textiles
Laurie D. Webster
Harvard University Press, 2005
This is the first publication on a remarkable collection of sixty-six outstanding Pueblo and Navajo textiles donated to the Peabody Museum in the 1980s by William Claflin, Jr., a prominent Boston businessman, avocational anthropologist, and patron of Southwestern archaeology. Claflin bequeathed to the museum not only these beautiful textiles, but also his detailed accounts of their collection histories—a rare record of the individuals who had owned or traded these weavings before they found a home in his private museum. Textile scholar Laurie Webster tells the stories of the weavings as they left their native Southwest and traveled eastward, passing through the hands of such owners and traders as a Ute Indian chief, a New England schoolteacher, a renowned artist, and various military officers and Indian agents. Her concise overview of Navajo and Pueblo weaving traditions is enhanced by the reflections of noted artist and Navajo textile expert Tony Berlant in his foreword to the text.
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Collections in Context
The Organization of Knowledge and Community in Europe
Karen Fresco and Anne D. Hedeman
The Ohio State University Press, 2011

The fourteen essays that comprise Collections in Context: The Organization of Knowledge and Community in Europe interrogate questions posed by French, Flemish, English, and Italian collections of all sorts—libraries as a whole, anthologies and miscellanies assembled within a single manuscript or printed book, and even illustrated ivory boxes.

Collecting became an increasingly important activity during the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries, when the decreased cost of producing books made ownership available to more people. But the act of collecting is never neutral: it gathers information, orders material (especially linear texts), and prioritizes everything—in short, collecting both organizes and comments on knowledge. Moreover, the context of a collection must reveal something about identity, but whose? That of the compiler? The reader or viewer? The donor? The patron?
 
With essays by a wide array of international scholars, Collections in Context demonstrates that the very act of collecting inevitably imposes some kind of relationship among what might otherwise be naively thought of as disparate elements and simultaneously exposes something about the community that created and used the collection. Thus, Collections in Context offers unusual insights into how collecting both produced knowledge and built community in early modern Europe.
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Collections of Nothing
William Davies King
University of Chicago Press, 2008

Nearly everyone collects something, even those who don’t think of themselves as collectors. William Davies King, on the other hand, has devoted decades to collecting nothing—and a lot of it. With Collections of Nothing, he takes a hard look at this habitual hoarding to see what truths it can reveal about the impulse to accumulate.

Part memoir, part reflection on the mania of acquisition, Collections of Nothing begins with the stamp collection that King was given as a boy. In the following years, rather than rarity or pedigree, he found himself searching out the lowly and the lost, the cast-off and the undesired: objects that, merely by gathering and retaining them, he could imbue with meaning, even value. As he relates the story of his burgeoning collections, King also offers a fascinating meditation on the human urge to collect. This wry, funny, even touching appreciation and dissection of the collector’s art as seen through the life of a most unusual specimen will appeal to anyone who has ever felt the unappeasable power of that acquisitive fever.

"What makes this book, bred of a midlife crisis, extraordinary is the way King weaves his autobiography into the account of his collection, deftly demonstrating that the two stories are essentially one. . . . His hard-won self-awareness gives his disclosures an intensity that will likely resonate with all readers, even those whose collections of nothing contain nothing at all."—New Yorker

"King's extraordinary book is a memoir served up on the backs of all things he collects. . . . His story starts out sounding odd and singular—who is this guy?—but by the end, you recognize yourself in a lot of what he does."—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

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Deadly Excitements
Shadows Phantoms
Robert Sampson
University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
This volume celebrates yesterday’s pulp magazines and their heroes and heroines. Readers will acquaint themselves with such famous magazine titles as The Shadow, The Black Mask, Weird Tales, and others as obscure as Scientific Detective Monthly and the sensuous Scarlet Adventuress of dim reputation. And more: Erle Stanley Gardner’s tough White Rings; Toffee the dream girl; Senorita Scorpion, a quick-trigger blond from Old Texas; Oscar Sail, protagonist of a pair of ferocious stories. And mediums, bandits, cowboys, detectives, vivacious characters, fascinating and vitally alive.
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Dime Novel Roundup
Annotated Index, 1931–1981
Michael L. Cook
University of Wisconsin Press, 1983

This book includes a chronological listing of issues of the Dime Novel Roundup, which was published for over fifty years. It also features an index to the contents of the Dime Novel Roundup.

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The English Virtuoso
Art, Medicine, and Antiquarianism in the Age of Empiricism
Craig Ashley Hanson
University of Chicago Press, 2009
Contrary to twentieth-century criticism that cast them as misguided dabblers, English virtuosi in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were erudite individuals with solid grounding in the classics, deep appreciation for the arts, and sincere curiosity about the natural world. Reestablishing their broad historical significance, The English Virtuoso situates this polymathic group at the rich intersection of the period’s art, medicine, and antiquarianism.
            At the heart of this profoundly interdisciplinary study lies the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, which from its founding in 1660 served as the major professional organization for London’s leading physicians, many of them prominent virtuosi. Craig Ashley Hanson reveals that a vital art audience emerged from the Royal Society—whose members assembled many of the period’s most important nonaristocratic collections—a century before most accounts date the establishment of an institutional base for the arts in England. Unearthing the fascinating stories of an impressive cast of characters, Hanson establishes a new foundation for understanding both the relationship between British art and science and the artistic accomplishments of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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The First Treatise on Museums
Samuel Quiccheberg’s Inscriptiones, 1565
Samuel Quiccheberg
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2014

Samuel Quiccheberg’s Inscriptiones, first published in Latin in 1565, is an ambitious effort to demonstrate the pragmatic value of curiosity cabinets, or Wunderkammern, to princely collectors in sixteenth-century Europe and, by so doing, inspire them to develop their own such collections. Quiccheberg shows how the assembly and display of physical objects offered nobles a powerful means to expand visual knowledge, allowing them to incorporate empirical and artisanal expertise into the realm of the written word. But in mapping out the collectability of the material world, Quiccheberg did far more than create a taxonomy. Rather, he demonstrated how organizing objects made their knowledge more accessible; how objects, when juxtaposed or grouped, could tell a story; and how such strategies could enhance the value of any single object.

Quiccheberg’s descriptions of early modern collections provide both a point of origin for today’s museums and an implicit critique of their aims, asserting the fundamental research and scholarly value of collections: collections are to be used, not merely viewed. The First Treatise on Museums makes Quiccheberg’s now rare publication available in an English translation. Complementing the translation are a critical introduction by Mark A. Meadow and a preface by Bruce Robertson.

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From Lapland to Sápmi
Collecting and Returning Sámi Craft and Culture
Barbara Sjoholm
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

A cultural history of Sápmi and the Nordic countries as told through objects and artifacts

Material objects—things made, used, and treasured—tell the story of a people and place. So it is for the Indigenous Sámi living in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, whose story unfolds across borders and centuries, in museums and private collections. The objects created by the Sámi for daily and ceremonial use were purchased and taken by Scandinavians and foreign travelers in Lapland from the seventeenth century to the present, and the collections described in From Lapland to Sápmi map a complex history that is gradually shifting to a renaissance of Sámi culture and craft, along with the return of many historical objects to Sápmi, the Sámi homeland.

The Sámi objects first collected in Lapland by non-Indigenous people were drums and other sacred artifacts, but later came to include handmade knives, decorated spoons, clothing, and other domestic items owned by Sámi reindeer herders and fishers, as well as artisanal crafts created for sale. Barbara Sjoholm describes how these objects made their way via clergy, merchants, and early scientists into curiosity cabinets and eventually to museums in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, and abroad. Musicians, writers, and tourists also collected Sámi culture for research and enjoyment. Displays of Sámi material culture in Scandinavia and England, Germany, and other countries in museums, exhibition halls, and even zoos often became part of racist and colonial discourse as examples of primitive culture, and soon figured in the debates of ethnographers and curators over representations of national folk traditions and “exotic” peoples. Sjoholm follows these objects and collections from the Age of Enlightenment through the twentieth century, when artisanship took on new forms in commerce and museology and the Sámi began to organize politically and culturally. Today, several collections of Sámi objects are in the process of repatriation, while a new generation of artists, activists, and artisans finds inspiration in traditional heritage and languages.

Deftly written and amply illustrated, with contextual notes on language and Nordic history, From Lapland to Sápmi brings to light the history of collecting, displaying, and returning Sámi material culture, as well as the story of Sámi creativity and individual and collective agency.

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Gifts of the Great River
Arkansas Effigy Pottery from the Edwin Curtiss Collection
John H. House
Harvard University Press, 2005
In 1879 Edwin Curtiss set out for the wild St. Francis River region of northeastern Arkansas to collect archaeological specimens for the Peabody Museum. By the time Curtiss completed his fifty-six days of Arkansas fieldwork, he had sent nearly 1,000 pottery vessels to Cambridge and had put the Peabody on the map as the repository of one of the world's finest collections of Mississippian artifacts. John House brings us a lively account of the work of this nineteenth-century fieldworker, the Native culture he explored, and the rich legacies left by both. The result is a vivid re-creation of the world of Indian peoples in the Mississippi River lowlands in the last centuries before European contact. The volume's focus is Curtiss's collection of charming and expressive effigy vessels: earthenware bowls and bottles that incorporate forms of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and humans, including the Peabody's famous red-and-white head vase.
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The Great Art Hoax
Essays in the Comedy and Insanity of Collectible Art
Jon Huer
University of Wisconsin Press, 1990
The Great Art Hoax exposes the real fakery and hypocrisy of the art world: how art is manufactured and marketed; how the pathology of private possession drives up the price; and how false art is hyped as true art to the tune of millions of dollars. Jon Huer demonstrates convincingly that what the art market deals as art need not be “art” at all.
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A Head in Cambodia
A Jenna Murphy Mystery
Nancy Tingley
Ohio University Press, 2017

When the alluring, eleventh-century Cambodian stone head of Radha, consort to Krishna, shows up at the Searles Museum, young curator Jenna Murphy doesn’t suspect that it will lead her to a murder. Asian art is her bailiwick, not criminal investigation, and her immediate concern is simply figuring out whether the head is one famously stolen from its body, or a fake.

When a second decapitation happens—this time of an art collector, not a statue—Jenna finds herself drawn into a different kind of mystery, and the stakes are life or death. It turns out that the same talents for research and for unraveling puzzles—the bread and butter of an art historian—have perfectly equipped her to solve crimes. She’s certain the sculpture provides clues to help her solve the case, which takes her to Thailand and Cambodia. But the collectors, dealers, and con artists of the Bangkok art world only compound her questions.

A Head in Cambodia is the fiction debut of noted Asian art expert Nancy Tingley. Readers will delight in the rarified world of collecting, as well as getting to know Jenna, an intrepid and shrewd observer who will easily find her place among V.I. Warshawski, Kinsey Milhone, and other great female sleuths.

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High Art Down Home
An Economic Ethnography of a Local Art Market
Stuart Plattner
University of Chicago Press, 1996
How do artists, collectors, dealers, and curators whose lives and livelihoods are so intimately affected by the valuation of art manage to cope with such an intangible market?

To answer this question, Stuart Plattner eschews the spotlights and media-hype of glitzy New York galleries, and focuses instead upon the more localized, and much more typical, world of the St. Louis art scene. What emerges is the most comprehensive description ever published of a contemporary regional avant-garde center, where noble aesthetic ambitions compete with the exigencies of economic survival. Plattner's skillful use of in-depth interviews enables the market's key participants to speak for themselves, giving voice to the many frustrations and rewards, motivations and constraints that influence their interactions with their work, the market, and each other.

"Plattner analyzes the social and economic factors that govern art markets outside the long shadow cast by chic New York galleries. An insightful and fascinating work."—Library Journal

"Explains much about the conundrums and paradoxes of the art world as a whole."—Eddie Silva, Riverfront Times
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A Home of the Humanities
The Collecting and Patronage of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss
James N. Carder
Harvard University Press, 2010

Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss were consummate collectors and patrons. After purchasing Dumbarton Oaks in 1920, they significantly redesigned the house and its interiors, built important new structures, added over fifty acres of planned gardens, hosted important musical evenings and intellectual discussions in their Music Room, and acquired a world-class art collection and library.

The illustrated essays in this volume reveal how the Blisses’ wide-ranging interests in art, music, gardens, architecture, and interior design resulted in the creation of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Their collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and rare garden books and drawings are examined by Robert Nelson, Julie Jones, and Therese O’Malley, respectively. James Carder provides the Blisses’ biography and discusses their patronage of various architects, including Philip Johnson, and the interior designer Armand Albert Rateau. The Blisses’ collaboration with Beatrix Farrand on the creation of the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is recounted by Robin Karson, and their commission of Igor Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks Concerto and its premiere by Nadia Boulanger is examined by Jeanice Brooks. The volume demonstrates that every aspect of the Blisses’ collecting and patronage had a place in the creation of what they came to call their “home of the humanities.”

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House Of Cards
Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture
John Bloom
University of Minnesota Press, 1997

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The Indian Craze
Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890–1915
Elizabeth Hutchinson
Duke University Press, 2009
In the early twentieth century, Native American baskets, blankets, and bowls could be purchased from department stores, “Indian stores,” dealers, and the U.S. government’s Indian schools. Men and women across the United States indulged in a widespread passion for collecting Native American art, which they displayed in domestic nooks called “Indian corners.” Elizabeth Hutchinson identifies this collecting as part of a larger “Indian craze” and links it to other activities such as the inclusion of Native American artifacts in art exhibitions sponsored by museums, arts and crafts societies, and World’s Fairs, and the use of indigenous handicrafts as models for non-Native artists exploring formal abstraction and emerging notions of artistic subjectivity. She argues that the Indian craze convinced policymakers that art was an aspect of “traditional” Native culture worth preserving, an attitude that continues to influence popular attitudes and federal legislation.

Illustrating her argument with images culled from late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century publications, Hutchinson revises the standard history of the mainstream interest in Native American material culture as “art.” While many locate the development of this cross-cultural interest in the Southwest after the First World War, Hutchinson reveals that it began earlier and spread across the nation from west to east and from reservation to metropolis. She demonstrates that artists, teachers, and critics associated with the development of American modernism, including Arthur Wesley Dow and Gertrude Käsebier, were inspired by Native art. Native artists were also able to achieve some recognition as modern artists, as Hutchinson shows through her discussion of the Winnebago painter and educator Angel DeCora. By taking a transcultural approach, Hutchinson transforms our understanding of the role of Native Americans in modernist culture.

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James Loeb, Collector and Connoisseur
Proceedings of the Second James Loeb Biennial Conference, Munich and Murnau 6–8 June 2019
Jeffrey Henderson and Richard F. Thomas
Harvard University Press, 2022

James Loeb (1867–1933), one of the great patrons and philanthropists of his time, left many enduring legacies both to America, where he was born and educated, and to his ancestral Germany, where he spent the second half of his life. Organized in celebration of the sesquicentenary of his birth, the James Loeb Biennial Conferences were convened to commemorate his achievements in four areas: the Loeb Classical Library (2017), collection and connoisseurship (2019), and after pandemic postponement, psychology and medicine (2023), and music (2025).

The subject of the second conference was Loeb’s deep and multifaceted engagement with the material culture of the ancient world as a scholar, connoisseur, collector, and curator. The volume’s contributors range broadly over the manifold connections and contexts, both personal and institutional, of Loeb’s archaeological interests, and consider these in light of the long history of collection and connoisseurship from antiquity to the present. Their essays also reflect on the contemporary significance of Loeb’s work, as the collections he shaped continue to be curated and studied in today’s rapidly evolving environment for the arts.

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The Learned Collector
Mythological Statuettes and Classical Taste in Late Antique Gaul
Lea M. Stirling
University of Michigan Press, 2005
Inspired by a classical education, wealthy Romans populated the glittering interiors of their villas and homes with marble statuettes of ancestors, emperors, gods, and mythological figures. In The Learned Collector, Lea M. Stirling shows how the literary education received by all aristocrats, pagan and Christian alike, was fundamental in shaping their artistic taste while demonstrating how that taste was considered an important marker of status. Surveying collections across the empire, Stirling examines different ways that sculptural collections expressed not only the wealth but the identity of their aristocratic owners.

The majority of statues in late antique homes were heirlooms and antiques. Mythological statuary, which would be interpreted in varying degrees of complexity, favored themes reflecting aristocratic pastimes such as dining and hunting. The Learned Collector investigates the manufacture of these distinctive statuettes in the later fourth century, the reasons for their popularity, and their modes of display in Gaul and the empire.

Although the destruction of ancient artwork looms large in the common view of late antiquity, statuary of mythological figures continued to be displayed and manufactured into the early fifth century. Stirling surveys the sculptural decor of late antique villas across the empire to reveal the universal and regional trends in the late antique confluence of literary education, mythological references, aristocratic mores, and classicizing taste. Deftly combining art historical, archaeological, and literary evidence, this book will be important to classicists and art historians alike. Stirling's accessible writing style makes this an important work for scholars, students, and anyone with an interest in Roman statues of this era.

Lea M. Stirling is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Manitoba and holds a Canada Research Council Chair in Roman Archaeology. She co-directs excavations at the ancient city of Leptiminus, Tunisia.


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Little Big World
Collecting Louis Marx and the American Fifties
Jeffrey Hammond
University of Iowa Press, 2010

Jeffrey Hammond’s Little Big World: Collecting Louis Marx and the American Fifties is the story of a middle-aged man’s sudden compulsion to collect the toys of his childhood: specifically themed playsets produced by the Louis Marx Toy Company. Hammond never made a conscious decision to become a collector of any kind, so he was surprised when his occasional visits to web sites turned into hours spent gazing at, and then impulsively purchasing, the tiny plastic people and animals in the Civil War set, the Fort Apache set, Roy Rogers Ranch, and Happi-Time Farm—just a few of the dozens of playsets the Marx Company produced.

      Hammond interweaves childhood memories with reflections on what they reveal about the culture and values of cold war America, offering an extended meditation on toys as powerful catalysts for the imagination of both children and adults. Never sentimentalizing his childhood in an effort to get his old toys back, Hammond exposes the dangers of nostalgia by casting an unsettling light on the culture of the fifties and the era’s lasting impact on those who grew up in it.

      Writing in a lovably quirky voice, Hammond not only attempts to understand his personal connection to the Marx toys but also examines the psychology of his fellow eBay denizens. In this warm, funny, and contemplative work, the reader encounters an online community of serious adult collectors who, as the author suspects, are driven to obsession by middle-aged nostalgia. When Hammond questions this preoccupation with the past, he comes to realize that his own collecting has prevented him from moving forward. With this insight, he offers an insider’s take on the culture and psychology of collecting.

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Money in the Air
Art Dealers and the Making of a Transatlantic Market, 1880–1930
Gail Feigenbaum
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2024
This volume explores the crucial role of art dealers in creating a transatlantic art market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

“There was money in the air, ever so much money,” wrote Henry James in 1907, reflecting on the American appetite for art acquisitions. Indeed, collectors such as Henry Clay Frick and Andrew W. Mellon are credited with bringing noteworthy European art to the United States, with their collections forming the backbone of major American museums today. But what of the dealers, who possessed the expertise in art and recognized the potential of developing a new market model on both sides of the Atlantic?

Money in the Air investigates the often-overlooked role of these dealers in creating an international art world. Contributors examine the histories of well-known international firms like Duveen Brothers, M. Knoedler & Co., and Goupil & Cie and their relationships with American clients, as well as accounts of other remarkable dealers active in the transatlantic art market. Drawing on dealer archives, scholars reveal compelling findings, including previously unknown partnerships and systems of cooperation. This volume offers new perspectives on the development of art collections that formed the core of American art museums, such as the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Frick Collection.
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More Important Than the Music
A History of Jazz Discography
Bruce D. Epperson
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Today, jazz is considered high art, America’s national music, and the catalog of its recordings—its discography—is often taken for granted. But behind jazz discography is a fraught and highly colorful history of research, fanaticism, and the intense desire to know who played what, where, and when. This history gets its first full-length treatment in Bruce D. Epperson’s More Important Than the Music. Following the dedicated few who sought to keep jazz’s legacy organized, Epperson tells a fascinating story of archival pursuit in the face of negligence and deception, a tale that saw curses and threats regularly employed, with fisticuffs and lawsuits only slightly rarer.

Epperson examines the documentation of recorded jazz from its casual origins as a novelty in the 1920s and ’30s, through the overwhelming deluge of 12-inch vinyl records in the middle of the twentieth century, to the use of computers by today’s discographers. Though he focuses much of his attention on comprehensive discographies, he also examines the development of a variety of related listings, such as buyer’s guides and library catalogs, and he closes with a look toward discography’s future. From the little black book to the full-featured online database, More Important Than the Music offers a history not just of jazz discography but of the profoundly human desire to preserve history itself.
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Mystery Fanfare
A Composite Annotated Index to Mystery and Related Fanzines 1963–1981
Michael L. Cook
University of Wisconsin Press, 1983

This work is a composite index of the complete runs of all mystery and detective fan magazines that have been published, through 1981. Added to it are indexes of many magazines of related nature. This includes magazines that are primarily oriented to boys' book collecting, the paperbacks, and the pulp magazine hero characters, since these all have a place in the mystery and detective genre.

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Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century
Kin, Community, and Collectors
Ann Lane Hedlund
University of Arizona Press, 2004
According to the Navajos, the holy people Spider Man and Spider Woman first brought the tools for weaving to the People. Over the centuries Navajo artists have used those tools to weave a web of beauty—a rich tradition that continues to the present day.

In testimony to this living art form, this book presents 74 dazzling color plates of Navajo rugs and wall hangings woven between 1971 and 1996. Drawn from a private southwestern collection, they represent the work of sixty of the finest native weavers in the American Southwest. The creations depicted here reflect a number of styles—revival, sandpainting, pictorial, miniature, sampler—and a number of major regional variations, from Ganado to Teec Nos Pos.

Textile authority Ann Hedlund provides an introductory narrative about the development of Navajo textile collecting—including the shift of attention from artifacts to art—and a brief review of the history of Navajo weaving. She then comments on the shaping of the particular collection represented in the book, offering a rich source of knowledge and insight for other collectors.

Explaining themes in Navajo weaving over the quarter-century represented by the Santa Fe Collection, Hedlund focuses on the development of modern rug designs and the influence on weavers of family, community, artistic identity, and the marketplace. She also introduces each section of plates with a description of the representative style, its significance, and the weavers who perpetuate and deviate from it. In addition to the textile plates, Hedlund’s color photographs show the families, landscapes, livestock, hogans, and looms that surround today’s Navajo weavers.

Navajo Weaving in the Late Twentieth Century explores many of the important connections that exist today among weavers through their families and neighbors, and the significant role that collectors play in perpetuating this dynamic art form. For all who appreciate American Indian art and culture, this book provides invaluable guidance to the fine points of collecting and a rich visual feast.
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A Noble Pursuit
The Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection from Iron Age Slovenia
Gloria Polizzotti Greis
Harvard University Press, 2006

In 1905, to the consternation of her family and in defiance of convention, the 48-year-old Duchess Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg took up the practice of archaeology. In the nine years leading up to the First World War, she successfully excavated twenty-one sites in her home province of Carniola (modern Slovenia), acquiring the patronage of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I and German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Mentored by the most important archaeologists of her time—Oscar Montelius and Josef Dechellette—the Duchess became an accomplished fieldworker and an important figure in the archaeology of Central Europe. Gloria Greis incorporates previously unpublished correspondence and other archival documents in this colorful account of the Duchess of Mecklenburg and her work.

The Mecklenburg Collection, the largest systematically excavated collection of European antiquities outside of Europe, resides in Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The sites excavated by the Duchess, which encompass the scope of Iron Age cultures in Slovenia, form an important resource for studying the cultural history of the region. A Noble Pursuit presents a selection of beautifully photographed artifacts that provide an overview of the scope and importance of the collection as a whole and attest to the enduring quality of the Duchess’s pioneering work.

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Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs
Bird Conservation Comes Out of Its Shell
By Carrol L. Henderson
University of Texas Press, 2007

Before modern binoculars and cameras made it possible to observe birds closely in the wild, many people collected eggs as a way of learning about birds. Serious collectors called their avocation "oology" and kept meticulous records for each set of eggs: the bird's name, the species reference number, the quantity of eggs in the clutch, the date and location where the eggs were collected, and the collector's name. These documented egg collections, which typically date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, now provide an important baseline from which to measure changes in the numbers, distribution, and nesting patterns of many species of birds.

In Oology and Ralph's Talking Eggs, Carrol L. Henderson uses the vast egg collection of Ralph Handsaker, an Iowa farmer, as the starting point for a fascinating account of oology and its role in the origins of modern birdwatching, scientific ornithology, and bird conservation in North America. Henderson describes Handsaker's and other oologists' collecting activities, which included not only gathering bird eggs in the wild but also trading and purchasing eggs from collectors around the world. Henderson then spotlights sixty of the nearly five hundred bird species represented in the Handsaker collection, using them to tell the story of how birds such as the Snowy Egret, Greater Prairie Chicken, Atlantic Puffin, and Wood Duck have fared over the past hundred years or so since their eggs were gathered. Photos of the eggs and historical drawings and photos of the birds illustrate each species account. Henderson also links these bird histories to major milestones in bird conservation and bird protection laws in North America from 1875 to the present.

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Out of the Attic
Inventing Antiques in Twentieth-Century New England
Briann G. Greenfield
University of Massachusetts Press, 2009
In this era of Antiques Roadshow and eBay, it is hard to imagine a time when Americans did not treasure the home furnishings of elite early American families. But as this book demonstrates, antiquing—particularly the practice of valuing old things for their aesthetic qualities—is a relatively recent invention whose origins can be found in the early years of the twentieth century. Although nineteenth-century Americans did appreciate heirlooms, they saw them as memory markers, tangible representations of honored ancestors or local history.

In Out of the Attic, Briann G. Greenfield traces the transformation of antiques from family keepsakes to valuable artistic objects, examining the role of collectors, dealers, and museum makers in the construction of a new tradition based on the aesthetic qualities of early American furnishings. While recognizing the significance of antiques as symbols of an enduring American culture, Greenfield also delves behind popular rhetoric to examine the development of a retail structure specifically designed to facilitate the buying and selling of old wares. With antique shops proliferating all over New England, pickers going door-to-door in search of "finds," and forgers taking illicit advantage of growing demand, antique owners and collectors found themselves trying to navigate a retail market characterized by escalating prices and high stakes purchases. In this sense, antiques functioned as more than remnants of a treasured past; they became modern consumer goods.

The book is divided into a series of case studies, each intended to illuminate some aspect of "the dynamic of consumer history." One chapter examines the role of Jewish dealers in promoting American antiques; another profiles Jessie Baker Gardner, a small-time collector and would-be museum maker from Providence, Rhode Island. Greenfield also looks at the institutionalization of antiques, with chapters focusing on Henry Flynt of Deerfield, Massachusetts, who embraced the "aestheticization of antiques" in the 1940s and 1950s, and on Smithsonian curator C. Malcolm Watkins, who challenged the decorative art market during the 1950s and 1960s by purchasing old tools and crude furniture for the nation's museum.
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Pioneers of the Blues Revival
Steve Cushing
University of Illinois Press, 2018
Steve Cushing, the award-winning host of the nationally syndicated public radio staple Blues Before Sunrise, has spent more than thirty years observing and participating in the Chicago blues scene. In the expanded second edition of Pioneers of the Blues Revival, Cushing adds new interviewees to the roster of prominent white researchers and enthusiasts whose advocacy spearheaded the blues' crossover into the mainstream starting in the 1960s. Rare interview material with experts like Mack McCormick supplements dialogues with Paul Garon, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Paul Oliver, Sam Charters, and others in renewing lively debates and providing first-hand accounts of the era and movement. Throughout, the participants chronicle lifetimes spent loving, finding, collecting, reissuing, and producing records. They also recount relationships with essential blues musicians like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, and Bukka White—connections that allowed the two races to learn how to talk to each other in a still-segregated world.
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Pioneers of the Blues Revival
Steve Cushing
University of Illinois Press, 2014
Steve Cushing, the award-winning host of the nationally syndicated public radio staple Blues before Sunrise, has spent over thirty years observing and participating in the Chicago blues scene. In Pioneers of the Blues Revival, he interviews many of the prominent white researchers and enthusiasts whose advocacy spearheaded the blues' crossover into the mainstream starting in the 1960s.
 
Opinionated and territorial, the American, British, and French interviewees provide fascinating first-hand accounts of the era and movement. Experts including Paul Oliver, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Sam Charters, Ray Flerledge, Paul Oliver, Richard K. Spottswood, and Pete Whelan chronicle in their own words their obsessive early efforts at cataloging blues recordings and retrace lifetimes spent loving, finding, collecting, reissuing, and producing records. They and nearly a dozen others recount relationships with blues musicians, including the discoveries of prewar bluesmen Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, and Bukka White, and the reintroduction of these musicians and many others to new generations of listeners. The accounts describe fieldwork in the South, renew lively debates, and tell of rehearsals in Muddy Waters's basement and randomly finding Lightning Hopkins's guitar in a pawn shop.
 
Blues scholar Barry Lee Pearson provides a critical and historical framework for the interviews in an introduction.
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Postcard America
Curt Teich and the Imaging of a Nation, 1931-1950
By Jeffrey L. Meikle
University of Texas Press, 2016

Extensively illustrated with representative images, this unique book illuminates the cultural significance of the highly colorized “linen” postcards that depicted a glowing America in the 1930s and 1940s and that fascinate collectors today.

From the Great Depression through the early postwar years, any postcard sent in America was more than likely a “linen” card. Colorized in vivid, often exaggerated hues and printed on card stock embossed with a linen-like texture, linen postcards celebrated the American scene with views of majestic landscapes, modern cityscapes, roadside attractions, and other notable features. These colorful images portrayed the United States as shimmering with promise, quite unlike the black-and-white worlds of documentary photography or Life magazine. Linen postcards were enormously popular, with close to a billion printed and sold.

Postcard America offers the first comprehensive study of these cards and their cultural significance. Drawing on the production files of Curt Teich & Co. of Chicago, the originator of linen postcards, Jeffrey L. Meikle reveals how photographic views were transformed into colorized postcard images, often by means of manipulation—adding and deleting details or collaging bits and pieces from several photos. He presents two extensive portfolios of postcards—landscapes and cityscapes—that comprise a representative iconography of linen postcard views. For each image, Meikle explains the postcard’s subject, describes aspects of its production, and places it in social and cultural contexts. In the concluding chapter, he shifts from historical interpretation to a contemporary viewpoint, considering nostalgia as a motive for collectors and others who are fascinated today by these striking images.

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Rare Books and Special Collections
Sidney E. Berger
American Library Association, 2014

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The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection
A History and Catalog
David Shields
University of Texas Press, 2022

50 Books | 50 Covers Award, The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)

A beautifully illustrated exploration of the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection.


The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection is a comprehensive collection of wood type manufactured and used for printing in nineteenth-century America. Comprising nearly 150 typefaces of various sizes and styles, it was amassed by noted design educator and historian Rob Roy Kelly starting in 1957 and is now held by the University of Texas. Although Kelly himself published a 1969 book on wood type and nineteenth-century typographic history, there has been little written about the creation of the wood type forms, the collection, or Kelly.

In this book, David Shields rigorously updates and expands upon Kelly’s historical information about the types, clarifying the collection’s exact composition and providing a better understanding of the stylistic development of wood type forms during the nineteenth century. Using rich materials from the period, Shields provides a stunning visual context that complements the textual history of each typeface. He also highlights the non-typographic material in the collection—such as borders, rules, ornaments, and image cuts—that have not been previously examined. Featuring over 300 color illustrations, this written history and catalog is bound to spark renewed interest in the collection and its broader typographic period.

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Sacred Relics
Pieces of the Past in Nineteenth-Century America
Teresa Barnett
University of Chicago Press, 2013
A piece of Plymouth Rock. A lock of George Washington’s hair. Wood from the cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born. Various bits and pieces of the past—often called “association items”—may appear to be eccentric odds and ends, but they are valued because of their connections to prominent people and events in American history. Kept in museum collections large and small across the United States, such objects are the touchstones of our popular engagement with history.

In Sacred Relics, Teresa Barnett explores the history of private collections of items like these, illuminating how Americans view the past. She traces the relic-collecting tradition back to eighteenth-century England, then on to articles belonging to the founding fathers and through the mass collecting of artifacts that followed the Civil War. Ultimately, Barnett shows how we can trace our own historical collecting from the nineteenth century’s assemblages of the material possessions of great men and women.
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The Star-Crossed Stone
The Secret Life, Myths, and History of a Fascinating Fossil
Ken McNamara
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Throughout the four hundred thousand years that humanity has been collecting fossils, sea urchin fossils, or echinoids, have continually been among the most prized, from the Paleolithic era, when they decorated flint axes, to today, when paleobiologists study them for clues to the earth’s history. 

In The Star-Crossed Stone, Kenneth J. McNamara, an expert on fossil echinoids, takes readers on an incredible fossil hunt, with stops in history, paleontology, folklore, mythology, art, religion, and much more. Beginning with prehistoric times, when urchin fossils were used as jewelry, McNamara reveals how the fossil crept into the religious and cultural lives of societies around the world—the roots of the familiar five-pointed star, for example, can be traced to the pattern found on urchins. But McNamara’s vision is even broader than that: using our knowledge of early habits of fossil collecting, he explores the evolution of the human mind itself, drawing striking conclusions about humanity’s earliest appreciation of beauty and the first stirrings of artistic expression. Along the way, the fossil becomes a nexus through which we meet brilliant eccentrics and visionary archaeologists and develop new insights into topics as seemingly disparate as hieroglyphics, Beowulf, and even church organs.

An idiosyncratic celebration of science, nature, and human ingenuity, The Star-Crossed Stone is as charming and unforgettable as the fossil at its heart.

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Twentieth-Century Popular Culture in Museums and Libraries
Fred E.H. Schroeder
University of Wisconsin Press, 1981
Although libraries and museums for many centuries have taken the lead, under one rational or another, in recovering, storing, and displaying various kinds of culture of their periods, lately, as the gap between elite and popular culture has apparently widened, these repositories of artifacts of the present for the future have tended to drift more and more to what many people call the aesthetically pleasing elements of our culture. The degree to which our libraries and museums have ignored our culture is terrifying, when one scans the documents and artifacts of our time which, if history in any wise repeats itself, will in the immediate and distant future become valuable indices of our present culture to future generations. As Professor Schroeder dramatically states it, “No doubt about it, it is the contemporary popular culture that is the endangered species.”
    The essays in this book investigate the reasons for present-day neglect of popular culture materials and chart the various routes by which conscientious and insightful librarians and museum directors can correct this disastrous oversight.
 
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Vietnam Zippos
American Soldiers' Engravings and Stories (1965-1973)
Edited by Sherry Buchanan
University of Chicago Press, 2007
We are the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful
—from an engraving on a Vietnam-era Zippo lighter
 
In 1965, journalist Morley Safer followed the United States Marines on a search and destroy mission into Cam Ne. When the Marines he accompanied reached the village, they ordered the civilians there to evacuate their homes—grass huts whose thatched roofs they set ablaze with Zippo lighters. Safer’s report on the event soon aired on CBS and was among the first to paint a harrowing portrait of the War in Vietnam. LBJ responded to the segment furiously, accusing Safer of having “shat on the American flag.” For the first time since World War II, American boys in uniform had been portrayed as murderers instead of liberators. Our perception of the war—and the Zippo lighter—would never be the same.

But as this stunning book attests, the Zippo was far more than an instrument of death and destruction. For the American soldiers who wielded them, they were a vital form of social protest as well. Vietnam Zippos showcases the engravings made by U.S. soldiers on their lighters during the height of the conflict, from 1965 to 1973. In a real-life version of the psychedelic war portrayed in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Sherry Buchanan tells the fascinating story of how the humble Zippo became a talisman and companion for American GIs during their tours of duty. Through a dazzling array of images, we see how Zippo lighters were used during the war, and we discover how they served as a canvas for both personal and political expression during the Age of Aquarius, engraved with etchings of peace signs and marijuana leaves and slogans steeped in all the rock lyrics, sound bites, combat slang, and antiwar mottos of the time.

Death from Above. Napalm Sticks to Kids. I Love You Mom, From a Lonely Paratrooper. The engravings gathered in this copiously illustrated volume are at once searing, caustic, and moving, running the full emotional spectrum with both sardonic reflections—I Love the Fucking Army and the Army Loves Fucking Me—and poignant maxims—When the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power, the World Will Know Peace. Part pop art and part military artifact, they collectively capture the large moods of the sixties and the darkest days of Vietnam—all through the world of the tiny Zippo.
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Vinyl Freak
Love Letters to a Dying Medium
John Corbett
Duke University Press, 2017
From scouring flea markets and eBay to maxing out their credit cards, record collectors will do just about anything to score a long-sought-after album. In Vinyl Freak, music writer, curator, and collector John Corbett burrows deep inside the record fiend’s mind, documenting and reflecting on his decades-long love affair with vinyl. Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is composed in part of Corbett's long-running DownBeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD. In other essays where he combines memoir and criticism, Corbett considers the current vinyl boom, explains why vinyl is his preferred medium, profiles collector subcultures, and recounts his adventures assembling the Alton Abraham Sun Ra Archive, an event so all-consuming that he claims it cured his record-collecting addiction. Perfect for vinyl newbies and veteran crate diggers alike, Vinyl Freak plumbs the motivations that drive Corbett and collectors everywhere.
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