Archive for the ‘Exhibits’ Category

In the News: The Last Passenger Pigeon—Centenary of an Extinction

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

On September 1st, 1914, Martha, the last surviving Passenger Pigeon, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her remains were put on ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where she resides and is displayed as perhaps the most famous individual member of an extinct species.

“The passenger pigeons or wild pigeon belongs to the order Columbiformes. Its scientific name is Ectopistes migratorius. Ectopistes means ‘moving about or wandering,’ and migratorius means ‘migrating.’ The scientific name carries the connotation of a bird that not only migrates in the spring and fall, but one that also moves about from season to season to select the most favorable environment for nesting and feeding.”

Encyclopedia Smithsonian
http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_Si/nmnh/passpig.htm

Because the UCLA Library licenses The Birds of North America Online by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologists’ Union, researchers may read David Blockstein’s species-specific monograph, which begins:

“Legendary among ornithologists and laypeople alike as a symbol of staggering abundance on the one hand and of human greed and indifference on the other, the Passenger Pigeon is arguably North America’s best known extinct species.” (Blockstein, David E. 2002. Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/611).

In recent days, numerous news media have recounted the story of Martha (Smithsonian Magazine) and why the once-ubiquitous species (NPR blog, 1 September 2014) went extinct (Audubon magazine, May-June 2014), as well as hopes to resurrect some traits of the species (National Geographic, 31 August 2014). The Wikipedia entry for the term (Passenger pigeon) blossomed with citation-supported details in time for the extinction centenary.

Project Passenger Pigeon, from the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum,  includes news about its film documentary project (From Billions to None) as well as K-12 lesson plans and printable panels for an exhibit (A Shadow Over the Earth: The Life and Death of the Passenger Pigeon) by the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

An exhibit at the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library for September 2014 starts with early-19th century depictions by Alexander Wilson and James Audubon, and traces the story of the passenger pigeon’s overwhelming presence to its demise, through books selected from the UCLA Library’s Donald R. Dickey Library of Vertebrate Zoology and Reese and Rosemary Benson Bird Books.

“Open the (Exhibit) Cases” opportunities to view the Wilson and octavo edition Audubon volumes close-up—along with Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1747) and the reprint edition of Audubon’s double elephant folio-sized  Birds of America—will be held in the Biomedical Library lobby at 1:00p.m. on Fridays, September 19 and 26.

This exhibit is part of an occasional series, In the News, which draws on items from the historical collections to inform current events.

Russell Johnson
Curator/Librarian
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections
speccoll-medsci@library.ucla.edu

Well, Well, and What Have We Here: Optical Cards created by Mary Lewis in 1828

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Card 55: The magic lantern. Optical cards by Mary Lewis, Camp Hill, December, 1828  (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE)

A mini-exhibit for August 2014 asks (but does not answer) the question: Who was Mary Lewis of Camp Hill (Birmingham, England?) and, in 1828, why did she make 58 carefully handwritten, illustrated flash cards which addressed problems, phenomena, and experiments in optics and vision?

Card 2: A ray of light. Optical cards by Mary Lewis, Camp Hill, December, 1828  (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE)

Mary Lewis’s cards (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE), each with a standard embossed border, were purchased by the History & Special Collections for the Sciences section of UCLA Library Special Collections from Samuel Gedge, a dealer in antiquarian books, manuscripts, and ephemera. They are on display at the Louise M. Biomedical Library (1st floor lobby/research commons) through Labor Day, 2014.

Card 33: The angle of vision. Optical cards by Mary Lewis, Camp Hill, December, 1828  (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE)

This mini-exhibit is part of an occasional series, Well, Well, and What Have We Here, which brings to light (no pun intended) surprising, unexplained, and sometimes unexplainable items from or added to the collections.

Explanations are welcomed.

Card 38: To find what proportion the size of the picture (card 36) bears to the size of the object. Optical cards by Mary Lewis, Camp Hill, December, 1828  (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE)

The cards are titled:

  1. [Title]
  2. A ray of light
  3. In the same medium, the rays of light are in straight lines
  4. Rays of light may be bended
  5. The same joining of mediums will bend some rays and not others
  6. A ray passing obliquely through a plane glass goes on afterward parallel to its first direction though not in the same line
  7. An angle
  8. The angle of incidence
  9. The angle of reflection
  10. To see an object reflected from a plane looking glass
  11. Parallel rays of light
  12. Converging rays
  13. Diverging rays
  14. The eye sees an object by rays diverging from all the visible points of its surface
  15. A pencil of rays, and a radiant point
  16. A focus
  17. A double convex lens or glass, seen edgewise
  18. A plano-convex lens seen edgewise
  19. A double concave lens seen edgewise
  20. A plano-concave lens seen edgewise
  21. A meniscus or concavo-convex lens seen edgewise
  22. The radius of convexity of concavity of lenses
  23. A triangular prism seen end-wise
  24. The focus of the sun’s parallel rays when transmitted through a double convex lens
  25. Parallel rays become parallel again by passing through two convex lenses placed parallel to each other & at double their focal distance
  26. The focus of the sun’s (or any other) parallel rays, transmitted through a plano-convex lens
  27. Rays diverging from a radiant point in the focus of a lens are parallel after passing through the lens
  28. Rays diverging from a radiant point between a convex lens and its focus will continue to diverge, though in a less degree, after passing through the lens
  29. Rays from a radiant point beyond the focal distance of a convex lens will, after passing through the lens, converge to a point or focus on the other side of the lens
  30. Parallel rays passing through a double concave lens
  31. Parallel rays passing through a plano-concave lens
  32. Parallel rays passing thro’ a solid sphere or globe of glass
  33. The angle of vision
  34. Why an object appears smaller and smaller as we recede further and further from it
  35. A convex lens magnifies the angle of vision, and why
  36. Rays from an object passing thro’ a convex lens, will make a picture of the object in a dark room
  37. To form the picture mentioned on card 36, the object must be farther from the lens than the focal distance of the lens
  38. To find what proportion the size of the picture (card 36) bears to the size of the object
  39. The camera obscura
  40. The multiplying glass
  41. An artificial eye
  42. The human eye, with its coats and humours
  43. The sclerotica & cornea of the eye
  44. The choroides and ligamentum ciliare of the eye
  45. The retina and optic nerve of the eye
  46. The pupil and aqueous humour of the eye
  47. The crystalline and vitreous humours of the eye
  48. The manner of vision
  49. Why an object appears large when it is near the eye, and small when far from the eye
  50. Three patches being stuck on a board, to lose sight of the middle one, whilst both the others are visible
  51. The use of convex spectacle
  52. The use of concave spectacles
  53. Single microscope
  54. Refracting telescope
  55. The magic lantern
  56. The phantasmagoria lantern
  57. The polyphantasma
  58. Prismatic colours.

Card 48: the manner of vision. Optical cards by Mary Lewis, Camp Hill, December, 1828  (BIOMED Ms. Coll. no. 347 RARE)

Russell Johnson
Curator/Librarian
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

Chocolate: from pod to package

Friday, April 18th, 2014

A mini-exhibit of old favorites and recent acquisitions in the History & Special Collections for the Sciences section of UCLA Library Special Collections is on display at the Louise M. Biomedical Library (1st floor lobby/research commons) through 30 April 2014.

Chocolate: from pod to package begins with the work of Francisco Hernández (1515-1587) and runs through items on loan from an extensive local collections of Peeps and Peepsiana. A highlight is the recently-purchased (from Zephyr Used & Rare Books in Vancouver, Washington) 1905 salesman’s sample travel case and book from Walter Baker & Co., the Dorchester, Massachusetts company which was awarded Grand Prize in St. Louis at the 1904 World’s Fair for its educational exhibit about the making of chocolate.

This exhibit is part of an occasional series, “This Just In: Recently Acquired Gifts and Purchases”.

 

Russell Johnson
Curator/Librarian
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

This Just In: Recently Acquired Gifts and Purchases

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

A mini-exhibit of recent acquisitions in the History & Special Collections for the Sciences section of UCLA Library Special Collections is on display at the Louise M. Biomedical Library (4th floor public reading room) through 30 April 2014.

Items are headlined:

  • Collecting all sides of an issue
  • Everyone’s first book must be a book of verse
  • Failed separation of monozygotic (cow) twins
  • History of toilets
  • It’s a book … it was a book … it’s an artist’s book
  • Vaccination armband

This exhibit is part of an occasional series, “This Just In: Recently Acquired Gifts and Purchases”.

Russell Johnson
Curator/Librarian
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

Grow(ing) Up! The UCLA Library Baby Record Books Collection

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

 

Selections from the UCLA Library’s Baby Record Books Collection are on exhibit in the UCLA Powell Library Rotunda through April, 2014.

“Grow(ing) Up!” celebrates the 10th anniversary of the collection’s founding.

Baby books contain categorized headings and spaces to guide parents to record memories about developmental milestones and activities in a child’s first few years. The memory books provide places to gather photographs, locks of hair, and other mementos.

In March, 2004, local antiquarian bookseller and UCLA alumna Barbara Rootenberg donated a copy of a London physician’s brief work from 1885, The Parents’ Medical Note-book. She asked us, “What medical information do baby books collect?” A lot, as it turns out, from physical developmental milestones to details about vaccinations, illnesses, and accidents.

No other libraries were collecting the books with vigor, so we bought a few (mostly through eBay, some at swap meets, some from booksellers) and accepted books as donations.  A decade later, we haven’t stopped, even at 1400 copies spread across more than 750 titles and editions since the 1870s.

Although our collection development strategy focuses on infant development, health, and illness, we are collecting comprehensively—every title and edition we do not have, and multiple copies of some when they are filled-out.

The books and their handwritten and pasted-in contents have been used for research and teaching in pediatrics, printing history, economic and social status, material culture, linguistics, architecture, advertising, folklore, depictions of family, and other topics and disciplines.

Russell Johnson
Curator/Librarian
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

A Few Bones, Picked

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Just in time for October 31: a mini-exhibit on skulls and skeletons, at the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

In the lobby, spend time with patent medicine calendars based on the late-19th century “skeleton sketch” illustrations of St. Louis physician/artist Louis Crucius. In the adjoining case, a skeletal tribute to the UCLA Tobacco-Free Campus initiative sits next to Frederik Ruysch’s early-18th century bizarre natural history tableaux.

We just received the Ruysch work back from the UCLA Library Conservation Laboratory. Amanda Burr recounts her experience with the volume in her October 30th posting on Preservation, “a weblog about preservation, conservation, and the stewardship of the UCLA Library’s collections.”

Upstairs, on the 4th floor, find Albinus’ human skeleton posing with Clara the rhinoceros (1767), Cheselden’s vignette of using a camera obscura to accurately draw his skeletons (1733), Jacques Gamelin’s work on bones and muscles intended specifically for artists (1779), and Bern Dibner’s 1963 history of Roentgenology.

Russell Johnson
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

In the News: Stork Delivers Baby Boy; Need a Royal Record Book? (A new “flash” exhibit in the Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library)

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

In response to recent news out of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, we recommend a title or two from our UCLA Library Baby Books Collection to consider as the royal record book for George Alexander Louis.

Ethel Elaine Barr’s 1902 memory books—one (with a red cover, Biomed HQ 779 B268hi 1902 RARE) for a king, one (with a blue cover, Biomed HQ 779 B268h 1902 RARE) for a queen—are “illustrated in free-hand paper cutting” and include an appropriate coat of arms (or “diaper of arms”) for the nursery. (more…)

Labs on the Go: Scientific Tools for Collecting Empire, 1600 – Present

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Frontispiece portrait of the author from Georg Eberhard Rumpf’s Het amboinsch kruid-boek (Herbarium Amboinense), 1750 (Biomed * QK R937h 1750 v.1 RARE)

An undergraduate student-curated exhibition of scientific objects from UCLA Library Special Collections continues through September in two locations on campus: Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library (4th floor) and Powell Library Building Rotunda (2nd floor).

Marissa Petrou, the History of Science doctoral student whose GE Cluster students created the project from concept to completion, provided an introduction to the exhibit, which we share here with her permission: (more…)

The Hippocratic Oaths … Plural

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Portrait medal of HippocratesOn Friday, May 31st, students of the David Geffen School of Medicine Class of 2013 received their degrees and hoods, after which Dean/Vice Chancellor A. Eugene Washington administered the Hippocratic Oath.

But which “Hippocratic Oath”?

The pledge to practice medicine conscientiously and honorably comes in many varieties.  The current UCLA oath was adapted by now-Dean Emeritus Sherman Mellinkoff and differs significantly from the version recited by the first graduating class in 1955, for example.

A mini-exhibit by History & Special Collections for the Sciences, in the Biomedical Library (1st floor, in the lobby), includes six-century old texts, commencement programs, an academic medical badge presented by Nicholas II of Russia to a new doctor in 1915, portrait medals, and a leaf from “the” Hippocratic tree at Kos, to briefly illustrate the history of the Hippocratic Oaths … plural.

The Hippocratic Oaths … Plural (Six Centuries of Texts, Six Decades of Commencements) is on view through June 23rd.

[The portrait medal of Hippocrates (copper, 95 mm), seen above, was designed by Jacques Devigne for the Paris Mint in 1983. It is Sonnenschein #0650 in the Ralph R. and Patricia N. Sonnenschein Collection of Medical and Scientific Portrait and Commemorative Medals.]

 

Russell Johnson
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections

Smoking in the Library, the Lab, the Cafeteria … Before the UCLA Tobacco-Free Campus

Friday, May 10th, 2013

MEDUCLA 1958 (UCLA School of Medicine student yearbook)

On Earth Day, April 22nd, the whole of UCLA joined the hospitals and health science campuses to become tobacco- and smoke-free environments, according to an announcement from the UCLA Newsroom.

A mini-exhibit in History & Special Collections for the Sciences, in the Biomedical Library (4th floor, up the ramp from Stack level 9), uses yearbooks, archival photos, postcards, and advertisements to show the other side of the coin, when smoking and tobacco use were taken for granted in surprising (to us) circumstances.

UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Campus [facebook page]

UCLA Tobacco-Free Task Force

UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Policy

UCLA Policy 810: Tobacco-Free Environment

Russell Johnson
History & Special Collections for the Sciences
UCLA Library Special Collections