In light of the library’s importance in teaching and research at Princeton, the University has committed to a comprehensive renovation of the Firestone Library that began in 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in September 2018. With classes finished for the academic year, the renovation work will ramp up significantly this summer. A list of summer projects can be accessed on the Library’s Renovation Update page: http://libblogs.princeton.edu/renovations/renovation-update/.
Visiting Rare Books and Special Collections During the Construction
The current phase of summer construction includes work in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, and from the middle of June until the first week of September, there will be asbestos abatement and contractor work in areas of the Cotsen Children’s Library, the Main Exhibition Gallery and Reception Area. Accommodations will be made to assure continued reading room and paging services throughout the construction. The Department’s Dulles Reading Room will remain open during normal summer hours (Monday-Friday, 8:45-4:15).
Every effort is being made to schedule the most disruptive construction work during off hours, but some noise and minor inconveniences are to be expected. Ear plugs will be available and the doors to the Dulles Reading Room will remain shut to minimize disruptions. If you have questions or concerns regarding an upcoming visit to the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, please contact us at (609) 258-8497 or email@example.com.
The Renovation Vision
The plans for the renovation of Firestone are focused on creating a building that is well-suited to support modern library services and contemporary approaches to scholarship while also providing the proper environment for one of the world’s great book and manuscript collections. For a master plan of the renovation, a photo gallery of completed and ongoing work, as well as renovation updates, see the Firestone Library Renovation website.
An extraordinary collection of world maps, dating from 1472 to 1700, has found a permanent home in the Historic Maps Collection of the Princeton University Library. Collected by Henry Wendt, Class of 1955, and his wife, Holly, the thirty items have been traveling around the country for the past three years as an exhibition, “Envisioning the World: The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700.” Firestone Library’s Leonard L. Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts hosted the show in early 2010.
As Wendt explained in the catalogue that he wrote for the exhibition, “Three major strands of thought—classical Greek geography, new scientific concepts augmented by the dramatic expansion of geographical information obtained from the early voyages of discovery, and the durable medieval theocratic representation of the world—appear alone or in combination on printed maps for more than 200 years.” By the end of the seventeenth century, the cascading scientific work of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), Joannes Kepler (1571–1630), and Edmond Halley (1656–1742) had begun to change the look and purpose of world maps. To support his narrative, Wendt grouped his maps into four historical periods:
• 1472–1502: “Printing, the Bible, and Ancient Wisdom” (8 maps). Included is the first printed map, Saint Isidore’s simple woodcut (1472) showing three continents in the form of a T, encircled by an ocean, an O—hence, the beginning of what became known as T-O maps. At the center is Eden, and the continents reflect the dispersal of Noah’s sons (Shem, Ham, Japheth) after the Great Flood.
• 1504–1548: “The Age of Exploration” (7 maps). “Typus Cosmographicus Universalis” (1532) by the German cartographer Sebastian Münster belongs to this group. Coming ten years after Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage of circumnavigation, the map reflects the curvature of the Earth and contains rudimentary shapes for North and South America. Sea monsters still ply the oceans.
• 1570–1640: “Worldviews Collide” (8 maps). The golden age of Dutch mapmaking art is represented by the world map of Willem Janszoon Blaeu, “Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula” (1630). Superb copperplate engraving and hand coloring offer a cartographic feast. Surrounding the Mercator projection of the world are insets of the seven wonders of the world and figures representing the four seasons, the four elements, and seven astronomical bodies (the sun, moon, and five planets)—illustrating the carte-à-figures style of border decoration.
• 1657–1700: “The World Measured: Science Comes of Age” (6 maps). “Nova & Accuratissima totius terrarum orbis tabula nautica variationum magneticarum . . . ,” by the English astronomer Edmond Halley, typifies a more modern approach to mapmaking: a thematic overlay of the known geography with objective data—in this case, isogonic lines indicating variances in the Earth’s magnetic field—to interpret natural phenomena. No wind heads, monsters, or religious imagery embellish the science. As Wendt noted, this scientific method endures in cartography with global positioning systems, satellite photography, and space exploration.
Wendt’s collection also includes Abraham Ortelius’s historical map “Tabula Peuteringeriana,” more commonly known as the “Peutinger Table.” First printed in 1598 and based on a thirteenth-century manuscript scroll now housed in the national library of Austria, the map presents the cursus publicus, the network of roads originally created for couriers of the Roman emperors. In eight AAA TripTik–like sections, the map provides a compressed, linear view of the world similar in function to a subway map today. Only the essential elements for travelers remain: distance in terms of a day’s hike, symbols for places to stop for food and shelter, only the rudiments of rivers and other topography. A fascinating world view from the perspective of the Romans.
The maps are in the process of being catalogued and scanned; high-resolution copies will be available to the public, linked from the library’s online catalog records.
Collecting maps and producing fine wines have been passions of the former SmithKline Beecham chairman/CEO and proprietor of Quivera Vineyards and Winery; Princeton is certainly another. The Historic Maps Collection has been greatly enriched by this thoughtful and generous donation, just one in a long list of significant gifts and endowments to the university from Holly and Henry Wendt.
Beginning Friday, May 17, and continuing through Saturday, June 1, 2013, the public is invited to the Firestone Library to view the original art for the dust jacket of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first edition of The Great Gatsby. The gouache painting by Francis Cugat (1896-1981) along with a copy of the final published novel in its original dust jacket will be on view in the Rare Books and Special Collections 18th century gallery just off Firestone’s main lobby.
Thanks to the generous donation of Charles Scribner III, Class of 1973, the Princeton University Library owns this original dust jacket art. Writing for the Princeton University Library Chronicle in 1992, Scribner explained how he came by the drawings. His cousin, George Schieffelin, discovered the Cugat gouache sketch in a trash can of publishing “dead matter” and took it home. Passed down through the family, the art eventually came into the hands of Charles Scribner III, who kindly donated it along with hundreds of other books, papers, and works of art to Princeton.
According to Scribner’s research, Francis Cugat was born in Spain and raised in Cuba along with his brother, the musician and orchestra leader Xavier Cugat. Francis worked in New York City as an illustrator in the 1920s and 1930s, before moving to Hollywood. The Great Gatsby commission came in 1924, while the book was still unfinished. Originally titled “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires,” Fitzgerald also toyed with calling it “Trimalchio in West Egg,” “On the Road to West Egg,” and “Gold-hatted Gatsby.”
Fitzgerald liked the design Cugat proposed (for which the artist was paid $100) and wrote to his publisher, “For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me. I’ve written it into the book.” Cugat called his design “Celestial Eyes.” The novel was first published with this jacket in 1925 and again in 1979 for the Scribner Library paperback edition.
This display is free and open to the public Monday to Friday 9:00 to 5:00 and weekends noon to 5:00.
The film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, premieres this evening in New York and arrives in theaters on May 10. Thanks to the movie, the Princeton University Library and its Fitzgerald holdings—which include the original manuscript of The Great Gatsby as well as extensive correspondence and other manuscripts by F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda—have been frequently mentioned in the news:
A recent article and accompanying video in The New York Times, ”Judging ‘Gatsby’ by Its Cover(s),” discusses various book jacket designs and their influence on sales, including the famous original cover art by Francis Cugat which is housed at Princeton.
“What Baz Luhrmann Asked Me About The Great Gatsby,” an article in The Huffington Post by James West, Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and general editor of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, mentions DiCaprio’s interest in Trimalchio, Fitzgerald’s early version of The Great Gatsby, and Carey Mulligan’s visit to Princeton to read letters from Fitzgerald’s first love, Ginevra King, who became an inspiration for Daisy’s character. Both the Trimalchio manuscript and Ginevra King’s letters are held at Princeton.
“What Did F. Scott Fitzgerald Think of The Great Gatsby, the Movie, in 1926? He Walked Out,” by Anne Margaret Daniel, Class of 1999, makes use of the Zelda Fitzgerald Papers at Princeton. Professor Daniel, who has taught at Princeton, the New School, New York University, and Bard College, writes frequently on the subject of the Fitzgeralds for The Huffington Post: Fitzgerald entries.
For more news coverage on the movie, the book, and Princeton’s Fitzgerald holdings, see:
The Hudson Review celebrates its 65th anniversary next month. One of the most notable and influential American literary quarterlies of the post-World War II era, it was co-founded in 1947 by Princeton graduates Frederick Morgan (Class of 1943), Joseph Bennett (Class of 1943), and William Arrowsmith (Class of 1945). Its archives, comprising 250 linear feet worth of correspondence, manuscripts, proofs, journals, and other materials, are held in Princeton University Library’s Manuscripts Division. Among the numerous prominent authors, critics, intellectuals, and translators represented in the files are Saul Bellow, Isaiah Berlin, Yves Bonnefoy, Kenneth Burke, Hayden Carruth, E. M. Cioren, T. S . Eliot, Robert Fitzgerald, Northrop Frye, Wyndham Lewis, Robert Lowell, Hugh MacDiarmid, Thomas Mann, Marianne Moore, Saint-John Perse, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Allen Tate, William Carlos Williams, and Yvor Winters.
The Hudson Review is profiled in The Wall Street Journal this week: “The Quarterly Wins the Race” by Pia Catton.