Home Movie Day

We are very excited in Special Collections to sponsor Utah Home Movie Day 2019 on October 26th from 12 noon – 4 pm in the Wilkinson Student Center, room 3223.

Viewing material together as a community is both very informative and very entertaining.  They reveal commonalities that we have across culture and unlock little time machines into the past.

This coincides with the month of October being National Family History Month and the third week in October being National Home Movie Day!

The Center for Home Movies has a wonderful website we invite you to explore.  And we have our own specific website for event information.

This celebration is a chance for people to see theirs and others home movies on the projectors they would have originally.  We have reconditioned and calibrated some 16mm, 8mm, and Super 8 projectors so that they can show film safely.  Old film does sometime shrink, and is not safe for projection on sprocket-driven projectors, so inspection by someone with expertise is absolutely necessary.  In order to facilitate this inspection, we invite you to bring in your film during the week leading up to Home Movie Day to Special Collections.  We will then have time to test and repair your film so that is it ready for projection on Saturday ( or too far gone for projection, but can still be scanned by a sprocketless scanner!).  You can bring things in that day as well, it just helps us to have a head start.

This year we are also entertaining some video formats. We have Hi-8 ready, but let us know your format, and we will work on getting that for the event!

We encourage discussion and narration!  We want to hear about who the people are, and what they are doing and a family story as you share your home movie.  We will have some brief presentations on:

  • How to create media in your home and why this is possibly the most important media in existence
  • How to create access copies of your old home movies to share with others
  • How to save and keep your home movies safe for future generations

Come join us for this wonderfully informal event, a celebration of media, memories, and community!


Hiram Mace journal

Hiram Mace (1811-1896)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Hiram Mace journal (MSS 8734).  This leather-bound journal kept by Mace was likely created in approximately 1860. Contents include genealogical information of Mace’s posterity, including birth and death dates. Also includes a brief autobiographical sketch of Mace’s life from his birth until 1885, including his childhood in upstate New York, conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, experiences in Nauvoo, Illinois, travels to Utah and eventual settlement and life in Fillmore, Utah. Also includes some entries of deaths of Hiram’s wife and son added by others up to 1913. The majority of the journal is blank. Dated approximately 1860-1913.

Hiram Mace Sr. was born on May 5, 1811, in Aurelius, New York, to Henry and Clarlia Dewaters Mace. He married Elizabeth Armstrong on April 4, 1837, in Michigan. He converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was among the pioneers travelling west. He was a man of many jobs in Utah, from farmer and orderly seargent, to missionary and mayor of Fillmore, Utah. He died on August 28, 1896, in Fillmore, Utah.

Beautiful bindings: the vellucent binding

In the 1890s, English bookbinder Cedric Chivers (1853-1929) introduced a new book decoration process which he called the “vellucent” binding. First, an artist would create a painting on a very thin medium. The design might include mother-of-pearl inlays, gold leaf, or other decoration. It would then be overlaid with a specially-treated sheet of vellum — a sheet of animal skin pared so thinly to be translucent. The vellum could be incorporated into a vignette inside a design leather binding or used to bind an entire volume. Vellucent bindings might incorporate gold tooling, mother-of-pearl inlays, and other decoration to achieve the desired effect. While Chivers’ associate H. Granville Fell designed most of these bindings, his shop employed a number of women artists, most frequently Dorothy Carleton Smyth, to paint the scenes.

Special Collections owns a few volumes bound in Chivers’ vellucent method, shown in this small gallery! They are available for study and research — just search the library catalog for the term”vellucent binding.” More information about vellucent bindings can be found in Marianne Tidcombe’s Women Bookbinders 1880-1920 (Oak Knoll, 1996).




Historic Clothing and Classic Literature

If you’re a fan of 19th and early 20th century literature, you won’t want to miss Special Collections’ newest reading room exhibit! “A Century of Style: Historic Clothing and Classic Literature” pairs rare editions from the The L. Tom Perry Special Collections with original pieces from BYU’s Historic Clothing Collection, which is now housed in the library. Come see the styles that Jane Eyre, Jo March, or Jay Gatsby might have worn alongside some of their earliest appearances in print! The exhibit will be on display in the reading room through the end of October 2019.

First Vision exhibit opening and lecture by Steve Harper

The year 2020 marks a significant anniversary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Church remembers the sacred experience of the young boy prophet, Joseph Smith, in what is now referred to as the Sacred Grove in upstate New York. Joseph Smith’s First Vision of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ–the event that marks the beginning of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–occurred 200 years ago this coming Spring 2020.  L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce a new exhibit titled “‘A Pillar of Light’: Celebrating 200 Years of the First Vision” that commemorates the bicentennial of this event next spring.  The exhibit is in the 1st floor exhibit gallery of the HBLL, just inside Special Collections, and will be up until the end of June 2020.  This exhibit allows viewers to explore the historical context of this event; the different historical accounts that have been recorded by Joseph Smith and others; the acquisition of the land on which the Sacred Grove is believed to have been; and how this event has been received both by scholars, artists, and others over the past 200 years.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the library will be hosting a small lecture series over the next few months on various aspects of the First Vision. This coming Thursday, September 12, at 2:00pm in the library auditorium, Steve Harper, Church History and Doctrine professor and BYU Studies Editor-in-Chief, will deliver a lecture entitled, “Putting the First Vision in the Pensieve, or How Joseph Remembered”. Dr. Harper will share some thoughts from his new book First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins. A book signing will follow.

We hope that you will come see this new exhibit and attend this lecture.  It promises to be a great experience!

Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria

An original charcoal portrait of Prince Albert, ca. 1845, with Windsor Castle in the background. It has been attributed to artist Charles Turner. (VMSS 355, folder OS 4)

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria. Albert was the younger son of Ernest, ruler of the German state of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha; Victoria was his first cousin. They married in 1840.

As a foreigner, Albert was initially viewed with suspicion by the British public as well as the political establishment. However, opposition cooled as Albert began to take on a more public-facing role during Victoria’s first pregnancy. His influence grew alongside their family, which eventually grew to include eight children. Though he felt constrained by the role of prince consort, Victoria depended on him heavily for emotional support and to handle the administrative responsibilities of the monarchy. He handled the finances of the royal household and cultivated a strong sense of morals and religiosity which are still associated with the Victorian period today.

Albert’s largest public achievement was perhaps the Great Exhibition of 1851. As president of the Society of Arts, he helped to promote and organize an international exhibition of industrial arts — the first world’s fair — which included the construction of a huge glass and iron building in London’s Hyde Park to house the over 13,000 exhibitors.

When Albert died in December 1861 after a protracted illness, Victoria was devastated. She avoided public appearances for several years and wore black in mourning for the rest of her life. Throughout the decade after Albert’s death, Victoria authorized many public tributes for him, including the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, and official biographies like Charles Grey’s The Early Years of His Royal Highness, the Prince Consort, compiled under the direction of Her Majesty the Queen (1867). The library owns two specially-bound presentation copies of this book, one of which is shown here.


Moby-Dick Remixed: Celebrating Herman Melville’s 200th Birthday

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Herman Melville! The Lee Library is celebrating by highlighting some amazing versions of his best-known work, Moby-Dick, including a screening of the 1956 film starring Gregory Peck. Besides film and television adaptations, Moby-Dick has inspired fine art, comic art, children’s literature, sci-fi, and even an opera. You can see a display of selected adaptations and artwork, along with a first edition of the novel, in the Special Collections exhibit Moby-Dick Remixed. The exhibit will be on display in the Special Collections lobby all through the month of August.

The original 1836 Warren Ferris map now digitized!

Warren Ferris’s 1836 “Map of the Northwest Fur Country”

If you are making your plans to celebrate Pioneer Day, if you live in Utah, or just want to hear stories of hidden treasures, this one is for you!

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait!  You have treasure maps in Special Collections!”  Well…not exactly.  But some of our treasurers are maps, and some of them used to be hidden from the world, often for decades.  Such is the case of the original 1836 Warren Ferris map, which Ferris titled “Map of the Northwest Fur Country.”  Warren Ferris was one of many trappers, or mountain men, who traversed the Northern and Central Rocky Mountains in the 1820s and 1830s in search for beaver and other sources of fur. Through their travels across these wilderness areas, these men became intimately familiar with the topography of the land, and some, like Ferris, even created maps of the area. While the maps were done with rudimentary means, many were still quite detailed and accurate, to an extent.

In 1835 and 1836, Warren Ferris returned from a five-year sojourn as a trapper in the Rocky Mountains, and decided to draw, by hand, a map of a major portion of a largely unsettled portion of the West, with what would later be Utah at the center.  The map spans from the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies and extend west to include the junction of the Snake and Salmon Rivers, now in Idaho. It extends from the upper Missouri River down to the Grand Canyon area. Ferris intended to publish the map along with the journal that he had kept during those years. Most of the journal ended up being published through a small weekly publication out of Buffalo, New York, called the Western Literary Messenger. The map, however, was not published with it, and remained unseen by the public until the publication of Life in the Rocky Mountains in 1940 by Fred A. Rosenstock’s Old West Publishing Company out of Denver, which included Ferris’s journal from 1830-1835 in one publication for the first time.  Even then, it only included a copy of the map. So, where was the original?

In the process of creating this publication, the original map had come into the possession of Rosenstock, a collector of documents and books related to Western Americana, and owned Bargain Book Store in Denver. This map was part of a large collection of documents related to Warren Ferris and his family. This collection was purchased from Rosenstock by BYU’s Lee Library in 1982. It is unclear if those who purchased this collection knew what was in the collection at the time. But, the story goes that when going through the collection in Denver, there was a seemingly insignificant paper tube that was near the rest of the collection. When asked if this went with the collection, the Rosenstock staff assumed so, and it went with the papers to BYU. It was not until later that the tube was opened, and much to the surprise and delight of whoever made the discovery, inside was a beautifully preserved, hand-drawn map of the inter-mountain west–the original 1836 Warren Ferris map!  This map had barely seen the light of day since it was created in 1836, and a copy of it had only been released to the public about 40 years before.

Since it’s discovery, the map has been thoroughly examined, and even a Master’s thesis has been written on it. But all who have seen it agree that it is undoubtedly the best preserved fur trade map around, and the only existing map from the rendezvous era!  It provides amazing details of the rivers and lakes of the region, including some place names, often provided by Ferris himself. Included are early descriptions of the area that is now Yellowstone National Park. Ferris is actually thought to be the

first “tourist” to visit this area, doing so under the guidance of some local Native tribesmen. Much of the area can easily be identified today, although the map may not be to scale or accurate as we see today. More than anything else, it provides a window into the world of mountain men, allowing us to see this region through their eyes.

And, now, this map is available for the world to see online for all to explore!  To view this map, click on the linked text to the right, or go to the following website: https://cdm15999.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15999coll31/id/14973.

Maybe this week you can spend some time trying to find features of this area of that you know and love, and get a sense for what it may have been like to see this area as a mountain men, more than a decade before Brigham Young and his pioneer wagon train entered the Salt Lake Valley.

New acquisitions: Printing proofs for the Kelmscott Chaucer

Special Collections recently acquired five printing proofs of wood engravings from William Morris’ masterpiece, the 1896 Works of Chaucer. The illustrations were designed by Victorian artist Edward Burne-Jones, and then would have been transferred to blocks of wood by Robert Catterson-Smith and then engraved by William Harcourt Hopper. These proofs would have been created as drafts of creating and printing the entire page composition, which includes the illustration, woodblock borders, and type. The proof shown here corresponds to page 452 of the Chaucer, from “The House of Fame.” The proof has been initialed by Burne-Jones and includes small penciled comments about the image in the margins. The proofs are available for research in the Special Collections reading room, as is our copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer and other works from the Kelmscott Press.

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