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New and interesting things in Special Collections

Colorado College faculty softball team, 1896

From left to right: Professor Lewis Ahlers (German), right field; Dean Edward S. Parsons (English), pitcher; Reverend Philip Washburn, first base; Professor Florian Cajori (Physics), left field; Professor Arthur Stearns (Elocution), catcher; Professor Francis W. Cragin (Geology), second base; Librarian Manly Ormes, center field; Telegraph Editor Charles Sprague, third base; President Slocum, shortstop; two unidentified men. The women in the coach include (in no particular order) Flossie Dickerman, Nina Lunt, Regina Lunt, Faith Gregg, Mary Noble (CC class of 1896), Sara Jackson, Mary Slocum at far right, possibly Mabel Stearns, and one unidentified woman. The connection of these women to the college is for the most part uncertain. Click the image for a high-resolution, downloadable version.


A 1536 Dante to go with our 1491 Dante

In August of 2011, we purchased a 1536 edition of Dante's Divine Comedy for use alongside our 1491 edition, a donation from Jane Carruthers Hale in memory of her father John A. Carruthers. A great many versions of the Comedy were published in the early years of printing, perhaps as many as 40 editions between 1472 and 1550. Both of our editions have woodcut illustrations: at right you can see two renderings of Lucifer devouring Brutus, Cassius, and Judas Iscariot.

The image on the left is from the verso of leaf 142 of the 1491 edition; the image on the right is from the verso of leaf 189 of the 1536 edition. Yes, the 1536 edition has some discolorations. How do you think we could afford it? We don't mind.



Mary Chenoweth, The Turn Book (ca. 1990?)

Artist Mary Chenoweth taught at Colorado College from 1953 to 1983. She was adept in many art forms, including collage, painting, woodcarving, printmaking, and more. Special Collections purchased her one-of-a-kind The Turn Book in July of 2011. It is long and thin (5 x 46 cm) with slipcover, canvas binding, and 18 paper or canvas leaves, all hand-painted.

The Turn Book is playful and inviting: at one point, Chenoweth suggests the reader might want to take part in the "turns," saying "Your turn."

Special Collections has one other Chenoweth book, Malaysia (copy 1 of 7) and a collections of Chenoweth papers.

Fortunio Liceti, De Monstris (1665)

In late 2010, Special Collections purchased a 1665 edition of Fortunio Liceti's De Monstris, an important work on human and animal abnormalities. Unlike his predecessors, Italian scientist Liceti (1577–1657) believed that physical anomalies occurred naturally, not as divine punishment for sin. This edition, printed in Amsterdam by Andrea Frisii, contains many engravings depicting both the possible (conjoined twins) and the impossible (human-animal hybrids such as the one in the image at left). More of Liceti's images are available at Yeeeeee.


Two manuscript Qur'an leaves

In August of 2010, Carky and Mary Rubens (CC classes of 1952 and 1953, respectively) donated two leaves (four pages front and back) from a 1743 manuscript Qur'an. Each leaf is in Arabic (black ink) and Persian (red ink) with gold decorations and notes on the text in the margins. Peter Wright (CC Religion faculty) tells us that the leaf shown at right shows part of Surat-al-Kahf (Chapter 18) or the Story of the People of the Cave.

We look forward to showing the leaves to students in the 2010-2011 school year, along with other manuscript and printed leaves from our collections, listed here and including, of course, a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible donated by the Rubens family in 2005.

Colorado College's first medieval manuscript book

For several years, Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts has been looking for an affordable codex for CC. In May of 2010 they found a late-15th century Breviary on vellum for us. We couldn't be more pleased with the purchase.

This Breviary, a collection of abbreviated prayers in Latin, was done in France circa 1490. It is in a 17th century binding of white silk and silver thread. Its first page has an illuminated initial B (not shown). It is quite small, just 11 cm tall. Its text is incomplete: it lacks at least 12 leaves and possibly as many as 20 or more.

We expect the Breviary to be useful to anyone interested in medieval history, the book as object, or CC's new thematic minor in The Book.

Pinsky poems with Kunc prints

In early 2010, the library purchased a copy of Robert Pinsky's Ephemera: Poems with prints by Karen Kunc (Avoca, Nebraska: Blue Heron Press, 2009). Our copy is number 4 of 50 copies signed by the artist.

Kunc's work was concurrently on display at CC as part of the Sugar, Sugar exhibition in the IDEA Space at the Cornerstone Arts Center, and within days of its acquisition several students visited Special Collections to view the book.

In support of Colorado College's new minor in The Book (the past, present, and future of the written word in its material form), we are slowly building our collections of artists' books and examples of different sorts of book structures; for more information on the minor, visit this page.

Image from

Anne Scholfield Banfield, ca. 1913

Ann Scholfield Banfield photograph album

In early 2009, Special Collections acquired an album of photographs of Ann Scholfield Banfield, sister of Helen Hunt Jackson. Colorado College has the single largest collection of papers of HHJ, 19th century writer and activist for the rights of American Indians. This album, dated 1913, includes photographs of HHJ’s northeastern relatives, including Banfield’s grandchildren, born to HHJ’s widow William S. Jackson and his second wife, HHJ’s niece (and ASB’s daughter) Helen Banfield Jackson.

The Jackson family had close ties with CC from its beginning: William S. Jackson donated money to establish the first dormitory on campus, and five of his children attended Colorado College. The album contains never-before-available photographs of those children, including several photographs of a college-age Edith Banfield Jackson, who later trained with Freud and became a noted pediatrician and psychoanalyst. Special Collections purchased this album with funds from the Archer Butler Hulbert fund.

Fine Press Books from Yolla Bolly Press

In April of 2008, Special Collections received three books published by the Yolla Bolly Press: Andre Gide's Theseus (translated by John Russell, drawings by Sidney Goodman, 85 copies printed); Robinson Jeffers's Roan Stallion (woodcuts by Karin Wikstrom, 135 copies printed) and Samuel Beckett's translation of Bread of Days: Eleven Mexican Poets (notes on the poets by Octavio Paz, commentary by Paz and Eliot Weinberger, etchings by Enrique Chagoya, 141 copies printed, sample illustrations at right). The donor, a CC graduate, wishes to remain anonymous.

The Yolla Bolly Press, a letterpress in Covelo, California, has been in business since 1974. Their books are sumptuous and beautifully made. We invite you to visit Special Collections and see these books and other fine press and limited edition artists' books in person.


Recipe Box and Scrapbook

In August of 2007, the Residential Life office donated a box of recipes and a scrapbook found in the basement of Bemis Hall, CC's women's dormitory built in 1908. Bemis had its own dining hall until 2001. This new acquisition gives us a taste (so to speak) of what CC women students might have eaten around 1920. Index cards show recipes for dishes such as Ham Balls, Raw Parsnip Salad, and "Fluffy Surprise" (pictured). The scrapbook contains handwritten breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus for 1919-1920, along with recipes clipped from newspapers and a list of dormitory rules such as "Students are asked not to turn the bath room into a laundry."

Arion Press subscription

In February of 2007, Special Collections received a generous gift from an anonymous donor: a subscription to the Arion Press. The Arion Press, founded in 1974 by Andrew Hoyem, is a fine press in San Francisco. It produces two or three books a year, often printed by letterpress (that is, with hand-set type) and lavishly illustrated.

One of the first books to arrive is William T. Wiley's pictorial staging of Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot," done in honor of Beckett's hundredth birthday. It has unusual, cartoonlike illustrations in black, blue, and yellow, representing characters as hourglasses.

We welcome visitors to Special Collections to view this and other examples of modern-day fine press work.

Colorado College Zine Collection    
A small sample of the CC zine collection

Colorado College Zine Collection

Inspired by Barnard College, Colorado College Special Collections has begun collecting zines from Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Visit our zine page for more information!

"A Noble Fragment" donation

In the spring of 2005, Carky Rubens (CC class of 1952) and his family donated a single leaf from the Gutenberg Bible to Colorado College: A Noble Fragment: Being a Leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, 1450-1455. With a bibliographical essay by A. Edward Newton. New York: Gabriel Wells, 1921.

The Gutenberg Bible is the first book printed with movable type in the western world. In the mid-15th century, Johann Gutenberg printed about 180 copies in Mainz, Germany. 48 copies have survived and are preserved in libraries. In the early 20th century, a bookdealer bought a damaged copy of the Gutenberg Bible, dismantled it, and sold the leaves individually as "noble fragments." CC's leaf contains chapters VIII-X of Kings I. For a good overview of Gutenberg and movable type, see Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press.

Initial letters on the recto and verso of the leaf. Click for full-page images.

Homecoming 1967 photo from CC yearbook
The Doors at the Broadmoor, CC Homecoming 1967
photo from 1968 CC yearbook

The Doors at CC Homecoming, 1967

On October 21, 1967, the Doors played at Colorado College's homecoming dance at the Broadmoor Hotel. CC alumnus Tom Reynolds donated his tape of the concert to Tutt Library in 2005. It contains four Doors songs: "Break on Through (to the Other Side)," "People Are Strange," "Back Door Man," and "Light My Fire." It also contains two songs by the Broadway Shell and Muse Band (formerly the Ceeds).

We cannot make copies of the recording, but visitors are welcome to listen to it here in Special Collections.

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