Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities

The Laughable Game of What D’Ye Buy

Posted in Beinecke Library, Shirley Collection by beineckepoetry on October 31, 2011

A set of a popular card game.

This edition published around 1850 by S. Hart & Co. in Philadelphia.

No rules included.

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The Grandpère of the MAD Fold-in

Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on October 25, 2011

Shades of Al Jaffee and MAD Magazine . . .

A printed and folded novelty celebrating Louis XVIII, King of France, 1814-1824.
(Published by J.B. Verzy, circa 1814).

The piece unfolds to spell out the virtues of the man who ruled during the Bourbon Restoration.

Terry Tempest Williams Archive

Posted in Beinecke Library by beineckepoetry on October 20, 2011

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the papers of American writer, poet, naturalist, and activist Terry Tempest Williams.

The author of more than a dozen books including The Secret Language of Snow (1984), Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place (1991), Desert Quartet: An Erotic Landscape (1995), Leap (2000), and Finding Beauty in a Broken World (2008), Williams calls attention to the relationship between our natural environment and social justice. A fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has testified before Congress on women’s health, committed acts of civil disobedience to protest nuclear testing in Nevada, and served on the boards of The Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy’s Utah Chapter, the advisory board of the National Parks and Conservation Association, and on the President’s Council for Sustainable Development. She has collaborated with artists and photographers such as Mary Franks, Emmet Gowin, Richard Misrach, Meridel Rubenstein, and Debra Bloomfield. Her essays on ecological and social issues have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion, and The Progressive. In 2006, The Wilderness Society presented William’s with its Robert Marshall Award, the highest honor the society bestows.

Ms. Williams, whose ancestors were among the earliest Mormon pioneers to settle the valley of the Great Salt Lake, grew up in Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah in 1978 with a degree in English and a minor in biology. She taught on the Navajo reservation at Montezuma Creek, a settlement of fewer than 500 in the southeast corner of Utah, and earned a master’s degree in Environmental Education in 1984. From 1986 through 1996 she worked as curator of education and naturalist in residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History. Ms. Williams, who was recently a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Fellow in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

“For more than a quarter of a century,” observes George Miles, William Robertson Coe Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana, “Terry Tempest Williams has written lyrically about life and the landscape of her Utah home. She has joined with artists, writers, and scientists to increase our appreciation of the wonder and fragility of the world we inhabit and to make us more aware of how the damage we cause that world rebounds to harm us individually and to diminish our society. Her diaries, journals and drafts reveal the extraordinary originality of her creative process while her correspondence with colleagues from around the county illuminates the concerns and efforts of a generation of American environmental activists.”

Ms. Williams’ papers, which comprise 204 boxes, arrived in New Haven this summer. The library’s archivists are organizing the papers and preparing a guide to them, after which they will be opened for consultation.
Questions about the Williams’ papers may be directed to George Miles, Curator of Western Americana, at or to Nancy Kuhl, Curator of American Literature for Poetry, at

Photo: Terry Tempest Williams

The Game of Medicinal Herbs

Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on October 17, 2011

Jeu d’Herbes Medicinales par Kneipp [Germany, c. 1905]

A board game based on alternative medicine theories promoted by the Catholic priest Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) who became known for his herbal remedies.


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Posted in Beinecke Library, Yale Collection of American Literature by beineckepoetry on October 12, 2011

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University has acquired Eugene O’Neill’s “lost” one-act play, “Exorcism” (1919).  The play, along with a facsimile of the typescript, will be published in a cloth edition by Yale University Press in February 2012, featuring an introduction by the noted American playwright Edward Albee.  The New Yorker has acquired first serial rights and will publish the play in its entirety, with an introduction by theater critic John Lahr, in the magazine’s Fall Books issue, October 17, 2011 (on newsstands October 10). A short video of the actor Tommy Schrider reading from “Exorcism” will be featured onThe New Yorker’s website and iPad application: .

“Exorcism,” set in 1912, is based on O’Neill’s suicide attempt from an overdose of veronal in a squalid, Manhattan rooming house. The play premiered at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City on March 26, 1920. Following a few performances, however, O’Neill chose, abruptly, to cancel the production and to retract and destroy all known copies of the script. O’Neill biographers have speculated that the play, produced as O’Neill’s father was dying, was perhaps too revealing of O’Neill’s own demons and potentially distressing for his parents.

Despite long-held presumptions that the play was irrevocably lost, O’Neill’s second wife, Agnes Boulton, apparently retained a copy of the play, which she gave as a Christmas gift to the writer Philip Yordan after her divorce from O’Neill. Yordan is perhaps best known for his O’Neill-inspired play, and later film, Anna Lucasta, starring an all-black cast. The typescript, with edits and emendations in O’Neill’s own hand, was discovered by a researcher working in Yordan’s papers, together with the original envelope; the label is inscribed, “Something you said you’d like to have / Agnes & Mac” (Morris “Mac” Kaufman was Boulton’s third husband).

O’Neill, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the only American playwright to receive the Nobel Prize for literature (1936), returned to many of the issues that surface in “Exorcism” in his heavily autobiographical play Long Day’s Journey into Night, published posthumously in 1956 and considered to be his masterpiece. The discovery of “Exorcism,” after ninety years, adds significantly to O’Neill’s biography, intimating the overwhelming role that suicide would take in his personal life along with the issue’s influence and impact on his work. The play also marks a pivotal moment in O’Neill’s prolific career, providing further insight into the later works for which he is now revered.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the principal repository for the Eugene O’Neill Papers. A detailed description of the papers is available online:Eugene O’Neill Papers Finding Aid (YCAL MSS 123). Some materials from the collection can be viewed online: Eugene O’Neill Papers Image Guide. Related materials and collections may be located using the Beiencke Library’s various research tools: Guide to Research Tools.

For inquiries about the play, or the Eugene O’Neill Papers, please contact Louise Bernard (<>), Curator of the Yale Collection of American Literature for Prose and Drama, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

For inquiries about the play’s publication in book form this February, please contact Brenda King (<>), Publicity Director, Yale University Press.

Image: Photograph of Eugene O’Neill, inscribed to his son [1927].


Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on October 10, 2011

Selected images from a set of transparent playing cards.
When held to a light source, an image with a proverb can be seen.

Unknown maker, but likely US, circa 1870.

See all cards here: 

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Centroid envy

Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on October 6, 2011

A scrapbook of original designs and proof prints for early Victorian bindings done by R. A. Harrison, ca. 1840s.
Along with sketches for roundels and decorative borders, product labels, and a caricature, are a number of proof sheets for bindings, that retain, remarkably, their intense colors, making available to bibliographers for this period of book production, some of the most faithful hues (which can be described using the Centroid Color Chart).

A Woman’s Paradise

Posted in Beinecke Library, General Modern Collection by beineckepoetry on October 3, 2011

UNION FRANÇAISE DES INDUSTRIES EXPORTATRICES. l’Elegance Francaise. Paris Ateliers d’Impressions et de Cartonnages d’Art, [1940].

A deluxe book showcasing all of the beautiful products a woman can find in Paris. Intended for distribution at the World’s Fair in New York in 1940, this item never made in across the ocean, due to the occupation of Paris in June, 1940. Contributing authors include Marcel Prévost on Robes; Ferdinand Divoire on Chapeaux; Abel Bonnard on Bijoux; and Maurice Rostand on Parfums.