Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LaRC books-- Lost in the cosmos

Browsing the library catalog or the stacks, works by and about Southern author Walker Percy are plentiful, both in the main Howard-Tilton stacks and in Special Collections.   A number of his works have multiple copies in various locations within the library.   Walker Percy’s prevalent descriptive style and subdued mood appear in his famous mid-twentieth century New Orleans novel, The Moviegoer, winner of the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction.

But lesser known are his works classified as nonfiction.    Called “Walker Percy’s Weirdest Book” by Tom Bartlett in the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 10, 2010), Lost in the Cosmos is very unlike The Moviegoer.   However, categorizing this book as nonfiction is also imperfect, because the reader who persists through the first three-fourths of it is treated to a small, beautifully written science fiction story about space travel, astronaut couples, and children born in space who later travel to earth.  The bulk of the book concerns philosophy, semiotics, religion, science, sexuality, and commentary on the individual self and the precarious status of human life on earth.   His heavy use of lengthy scholarly footnotes is simultaneously somewhat serious and self-depricatingly humorous.   Many of the cultural references are now dated; the overall tone of the book ranges from matter-of-fact to humorous.

Lost in the cosmos : the last self-help book / Walker Percy.  New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, c1983.

PS3566.E6912 L6 1983

Multiple copies are located in:

      Howard-Tilton stacks, Louisiana Research Collection, Rare Books (William B. Wisdom)  

Posted by Susanna Powers

Friday, January 16, 2015

Martin Luther King holiday weekend

The Schiro Reading Room will be closed Saturday, January 17 through Monday, January 19, 2015, in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

The annual MLK Week for Peace will also be observed in the coming week.

Before coming for a personal visit to the Schiro Reading Room, it is always a good idea to check our hours page on the LaRC website.

Have a peaceful and good weekend.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Selling New Orleans

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 35 is made up of personal and professional papers of Robert Glenk (1870-1950), who was born in Germany and brought to the United States as an infant. He lived in Philadelphia and later New Orleans. After being educated as a scientist, Robert Glenk worked as a chemist with the Louisiana Sugar Experiment Station, 1899-1904. Mr. Glenk was a founder of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans in 1905, and was its curator from 1906 to 1935. He retired from the museum in 1948. His interests were agriculture, horticulture, fairs and festivals, and promotion of New Orleans. He was married to Dr. Clara Theresa Israel Glenk (b. 1873).

Included in the Robert Glenk papers are handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, telegrams, programs, certificates, diaries, wills, financial documents, items of social ephemera, Glenk family photographs, photographs of Louisiana exhibits at fairs and expositions, manuscripts, class notes, experiments, speeches, menu cards, items relating to professional societies, drawings, scrapbooks, pamphlets, clippings and other printed items. The correspondence received by Robert Glenk is from a wide variety of sources; correspondents include Martin Behrman, Sophie B. Wright, William Beer, Rufus C. Harris, Edmond Souchon, E. A. McIlhenny, Ellsworth Woodward, and Ethel Hutson. The collection also includes a compilation of printed items on growing ramie stalks as an alternative to cotton, items relating to state fairs and world's fairs and expositions, as well as a letter from Huey P. Long to Henry P. Dart.

The collection will be of interest to those researching international fairs, southern field crops, museum history, and the relative economic importance of New Orleans over time.    

Caption: Robert Glenk with Louisiana exhibits at the Panama Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 (coll. 35, v. 26).  One of the signs reads: "New Orleans is the greatest factory city in the southern states and the chief distribution canter of the south."   Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.  

Posted by Susanna Powers