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Issue Date: September 2005 Issue

Cleveland Public Library Treasures


You can’t strike out with the winning combination of this city’s love of baseball and Cleveland Indians president Paul Dolan serving as an honorary co-chairman of this year’s event. Dolan has donated a special item for silent auction. And, although the collection — the only one to return from last year’s “Treasures” event — isn’t Indians-exclusive, you can bet it will have its share of Tribe memorabilia. Look for all types of literary materials — from books to magazines to periodicals — combined with box scores, instructional guides, photographs and taped interviews covering baseball history from 1853 to present. What makes this a grand slam? Guests will have the opportunity to “plug in” and listen to taped interviews with baseball giants from the Eugene C. Murdock Collection of interviews conducted with players from the Major Leagues in the 1910s, 20s, 30s and 40s.


Grab your magic carpet and plan your next voyage as the Library presents its collection of maps dating from as early as the 1600s to modern-day satellite images. The collection includes everything from sheet maps to atlases to globes to relief maps. The collection is a depository for topographic, geologic, hydrologic, land use, national forest and national park maps from the U.S. Government Printing Office, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency. Ohio county atlases and land ownership maps from 1841 through 1940 are also on display. Look for maps and atlases of other planets and the 1974 Earth Resources Technology Satellite Landsat image of Greater Cleveland.


Step off the elevator on the fifth floor of the Louis B. Stokes Wing and witness a reproduction of a magical sky direct from the Library’s alchemy collection. Recognized as a medieval philosophy of chemistry that sought to change base metals into gold, “how to” books are common in this collection. Look for texts rich in symbolism, allegory and imagery, including: “The Works of the Highly Experienced and Famous Chymist, John Rudolph Glauber: Containing Great Variety of Secrets in Medicine” and “Alchymy in the Working of Metallick Mines, and the Separation of Metals; Also, Various Cheap and Easie Ways of Making Salt-Petre,” and “Improving of Barren-Land and the Fruits of the Earth” dating from 1689. Guests will receive directions for making gold as taken from one of the library’s rare alchemy books.


In the spirit of the evening, don’t be surprised if you come across seldom-seen photographs of magician and escape artist Harry Houdini. Once you learn the earliest photographs were taken in France in 1826, you’ll recognize the importance of this formidable collection of more than 1.3 million photos dating from the 1850s to present. The collection is particularly strong in local history dating from the 1850s through the 1980s. Look for news photos documenting 20th century social and political history. Guests are invited to use a stereoscope to experience a three-dimensional effect with photographs.


Think of the doors that open to us when we can communicate. More than 45 languages are represented in the library’s foreign literature and languages collection. Everything from hands-on books in the areas of home repair, gardening and childcare to classic works in their original languages are exhibited here. Editions of “Harry Potter” printed in 20 different languages are available at the library, with 12 on display here. Look for recent Middle Eastern editions of guides for learning Arabic and make special note of their political overtones.


Cleveland’s theater history takes center stage with this collection, although everything from school plays to local and national theater is included here. This enormous range of materials includes theater programs, sheet music, scores, performance parts, “how to” materials, as well as photographs and posters. Drama, music and architecture all add to what ultimately details Cleveland’s incredible stage history. Keep an eye out for film “lantern slides,” which are viewed over a light box, and scrapbooks of child film star Jackie Cooper.


What does it take to become successful? Personal and professional success stories are documented in special collections of business, science, U.S. government documents and the social sciences. Review corporate annual reports, industrial standards, patents and trademarks and career guides. Discover patents dating from as early as 1890, including one for the mysterious black flower “Black Magic.” Explore the magic of chemistry, as detailed in a book connected to BP. Witness how companies tried to advertise using magic as a theme. Guests will enjoy handling magic tricks while examining their corresponding patent.


Discover the difference in newspapers and books that have not been treated and are in normal circulation versus those that have been encapsulated. This exhibit demonstrates the need for and the effects of preserving library materials. Learn how practical steps and highly technical and chemical-based processes aid in the science of preservation and how they aim to protect our cultural and literary heritage. Reflect upon the problem with electronic text. How can we preserve Web site information that could disappear tomorrow? View original lantern slides next to prints collected in book format from digitally scanned lantern slides. Guests may view the award-winning documentary, “Slow Fires: on the Preservation of Human Record,” narrated by Robert MacNeil. They may also participate in the creation of their own “book.”


Compiled by former Cleveland Public Library trustee and benefactor John G. White, this collection of folklore boasts more than 47,000 volumes. Primitive, peasant, native and folk cultures are all represented, as are research materials on occult sciences, magic, witchcraft, mythology and primitive religion. A book of magic spells and incantations printed on tree bark is but one example of how different parts of the world printed their materials in different formats. Guests will view the collection of Newbell Niles Puckett, a Western Reserve University sociology professor who studied the folk and religious beliefs of “Southern Negroes,” Ohio superstitions and African-American names. The collection includes photographs, sound recordings, correspondence and Puckett’s aids for teaching the subject, including a cat’s tail and other objects used in voodoo and conjuration.


Memories are made of this. Perhaps during no time in our personal history does literature have a greater effect than in our childhood. Learn how children’s literature captures the sense of wonder and how stories that we heard in our youth are passed on from generation to generation. The Library’s collection is rich in the history of children’s literature, housing classics from throughout American history and reflecting the tradition of fairy tales and folk tales from around the world. Adults will recognize books that were part of their childhood. Special to this exhibit are images of goblins, witches and sorcery, as they appear in rare and beautiful items selected for display, including the now popular “Pop-Ups.”


The collection in the visual arts covers the world’s cultures and all art media, including drawing, painting, ceramics, graphics, design, tapestry and sculpture. Included are catalogue raisonne, price guides and auction sales records. Look for museum-quality Beatrix Potter ceramic characters from her “Peter Rabbit” stories. Guests are invited to explore rare art books containing original prints.


They are the things that came from a different time and place. Items that have a magic of their own — historical travel books, some written in first-person accounts, and unique works such as papers from the East India Company, Korans hand-done by the owner, and books made of unusual materials, such as fabric and leather, are a sampling of this rich selection.��

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