Archive for February, 2012

For Downton Abbey Fans

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

As devotees of Downton Abbey know, the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Lord Grantham’s estate have not been spared the horrors of World War I: the grand house has been pressed into service as a triage hospital for grievously injured officers.  The Great War impacted all strata of British society and the country moved to aid in the rehabilitation of a devastating number of maimed young men.  One of the more unusual fundraising items during the war, and its immediate aftermath, was the commemorative gift book. Gift books, or annuals, were originally aimed at adolescents who enjoyed reading.  Often lavishly illustrated, these anthologies featured original work by writers and poets and were must-haves for diehard fans; these special publications were ideal Christmas presents. However, even this niche area of publishing was repurposed for the war effort.

Among the many rare treasures of our Galsworthy book collection (Collection 1596) are fine examples of philanthropic literary keepsakes produced for adult and juvenile audiences. The gift books within this collection are all tomes to which Galsworthy, and other prominent authors, contributed an original work no doubt stoking greater public interest. The proceeds from three of the gift books pictured here were conceived to assist with the care and rehabilitation of Britain’s scores of wounded veterans. Especially poignant are the photographs in The Blinded Sailors and Soldiers Gift Book of patients in vocational training even as they adapt to their post-war physical challenges. Galsworthy also lent his name and pen to a fourth volume sponsored by the English Committee on behalf of the Belgian Princess Marie-José’s children’s charity for the nurture and care of Flemish youngsters. Written in English, this particular keepsake contains “sixteen color plates and a profusion of black and white illustrations,” was calculated to enthrall and delight the young who, like the Crawley clan, were not immune to the vagaries of the 20th Century’s first great tragedy.

John Galsworthy (1867-1933) was an astonishingly prolific, pre-eminent English author and dramatist of the early 20th century. He is perhaps best known for The Forsyte Saga, his multi-part chronicle of Edwardian upper-class social mores, a theme that will resonate with Downton Abbey aficionados. In addition to crafting bestsellers (and a potentially endless source for future Masterpiece Classics?) the industrious Galsworthy was a socially active citizen-artist who leveraged his name and passion on behalf of humanitarian causes. His novels, and especially his plays, explore class bias, women’s rights, the plight of workers, and the struggle for democracy. Much like his American contemporary Theodore Dreiser, Galsworthy was tireless in his devotion to social justice. He donated his 1932 Nobel award money to Pen International, an institution that he helped found.

By Lauren Buisson, Technical Services Division

1888 = 2012

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

If you are looking for a calendar for 2012, consider downloading and printing one from 1888!  A wallet- or baseball-card-sized double-sided advertisement would do just the trick.  A variety of image sizes are available through the Patent Medicine Trade Cards database at UCLA Library Digital Collections, and may be used to generate wallet-sized, desk-mounted, or wall-hanging calendar prints.  The Patent Medicine Trade Cards collection is especially strong in images of pain & suffering, as well as images of pain relief.  These cards comprise part of our John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection.

Unfortunately, the advertisement’s lovely mother-and-cooing-baby tableaux was not necessarily entirely accurate.  Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, which was used to quiet teething infants, contained one grain (65 mg) of morphine per fluid ounce (see: Before Prohibition, a pictorial history by the State University of New York at  Buffalo’s Addiction Research Unit).  The Journal of the American Medical Association minced no words in its reports about the product: “Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, as every physician knows, is one of the morphin-containing [sic] ‘baby-killers.’ Before the federal Food and Drugs Act [i.e., the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906] went into effect, no hint of the presence of this dangerous drug was given the purchaser. Since, however, the alcohol and morphin content has, perforce, been declared on the label.” (Journal of the American Medical Association, May 18, 1912).

The American Medical Association vigorously pursued what it called the patent medicine industry’s “nostrum evil and quackery.” Morphine was removed from Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup and the reformulated product was advertised as a laxative, instead of a painkiller (and remedy for diarrhea), before it disappeared altogether.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup trade card (1888)

To download:

Online viewer with zooming capability: 

Patent Medicine Trade Cards

(UCLA Library Digital Collections)

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

Timely Prescription for Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Some handy advice today comes as a handwritten “receipt” or “medical recipe” to cure love by Thomas Hodgson, Chaplain of Queen’s College, Oxford and Sub-Rector of Bletchington (also known as Bletchingdon).  This note [Biomed Manuscript Collection no. 5.101] was acquired recently from Douglas Stewart, an antiquarian bookseller in Australia.

“Take 3 Ounces of the Powder of Sense; 15 Grains of the Spirits of Reason; 5 Drachms of the Juice of Discretion; mix these with 2 Ounces of the Syrup of Advice; the best you can get; & 3 or 4 Spoonfuls of the cooling Water of Consideration; make this into Pills; take 3 at Night going to Bed; & three in the Morning; continue it as long as you find Occasion.”

A handful of manuscripts with similar titles and tongue-in-cheek purpose appeared in England throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century.  Mr. Hodgson apparently was elected to the Chaplain post in 1755, according to The Letters of Richard Radcliffe and John James of Queen’s College, Oxford, 1755-83.

By Russell Johnson, History and Special Collections for the Sciences

New Titles Added Daily to the Sheet Music Collection

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Sheet Music Collection consists of nearly 600,000 titles of popular American sheet music dating from the late 19th Century through the 21st Century. Be sure to check regularly for your favorite tune!

Martin Perlich Interviews Now Available Online

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

The Martin Perlich Interviews collection consists of interviews of prominent figures in the arts conducted by Martin Perlich. Interviewees include writers, directors, choreographers, and musical figures from jazz, world music, and classical music, including contemporary composers. His interviews and other programming were broadcast during Cleveland Orchestra intermissions, and on radio stations in Los Angeles and Cleveland, NBC television, and Public Television outlets in Los Angeles and New York. Recent video interviews include: Debora Borda, Mark Swed, Grant Gershon, and Lalo Schifrin. The many audio interviews also include: Yo Yo Ma, James Avery, Danny Elfman, Lang Lang, and Hillary Hahn. The interviews are available online in the UCLA Library Digital Collections. The collection of interviews is also held by UCLA Library Special Collections as collection 341 in the Performing Arts collections.