Archive for the ‘History and Special Collections for the Sciences’ 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

This Just In: Recently Acquired Gifts and Purchases

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Public health and hygiene broadside for children, Aleluyas de higiene general dedicadas a  los niños de las escuelas primarias (Madrid?, ca. 1930s)

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 September 2014.

These materials were acquired from aGatherin’ (West Sand Lake, NY), Deborah Coltham Rare Books (Sevenoaks, UK), Marc Selvaggio, Bookseller (Berkeley, CA), and eBay.

Items include:

  • A Spanish public health and hygiene poster for children (1930s)
  • Ink blotter advertisements (1930s-1950s)
  • Pay for a Summer vacation – sell your dental gold scrap (1934)
  • Children’s science books from the 1939 New York World’s Fair
  • Pharmaceutical trade catalog (1930)

Goldsmith Bros. Smelting and Refining Co. postcard, postmarked from the 1934 Chicago  World’s Fair

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

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

Call for Applications: 2015 Library Special Collections Short-term Research Fellowships

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

The UCLA Library Special Collections Short-term Research Fellowships Program supports the use of special collections materials by visiting scholars and UCLA graduate students. Collections that are administered by UCLA Library Special Collections and available for fellowship-supported research include materials in the humanities and social sciences, medicine, life and physical sciences, visual and performing arts, and UCLA history. (more…)

History of Medicine work-in-progress (June 6): “Making LSD a Psychotomimetic”

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

UCLA History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum is a series which provides opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and visiting researchers to present recent work or unfinished work-in-progress in an informal, presentation-and-discussion format. Programs are held at lunchtime (sandwiches provided to those who make reservations), one or more Fridays per quarter during the academic year, in the Rare Book Room on the 4th floor of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

The next program, on Friday, June 6, at 12:30 p.m., will be a presentation by Rob Schraff (PhD candidate in History, UCLA Department of History) on “Making LSD a Psychotomimetic”:

(more…)

History of Medicine Forum: Gil Eyal on “Looping Genomes: Diagnostic Expansion and the Genetic Makeup of the Autism Population”

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

UCLA History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum is a series which provides opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and visiting researchers to present recent work or unfinished work-in-progress in an informal, presentation-and-discussion format.

The next program, on Monday, June 2, at 4:00pm, will be a presentation by Gil Eyal (Professor of Sociology, Columbia University) on “Looping Genomes: Diagnostic Expansion and the Genetic Makeup of the Autism Population”:

(more…)

History of Medicine work-in-progress (May 16): “Blind in Palestine: Stories of Treating Trachoma”

Friday, May 9th, 2014

UCLA History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum is a series which provides opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and visiting researchers to present recent work or unfinished work-in-progress in an informal, presentation-and-discussion format. Programs are held at lunchtime (sandwiches provided to those who make reservations), one or more Fridays per quarter during the academic year, in the Rare Book Room on the 4th floor of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

The next program, on Friday, May 16, at 12:00 noon, will be a presentation by Anat Mooreville (PhD candidate in History, UCLA Department of History) on “Blind in Palestine: Stories of Treating Trachoma”:

(more…)

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