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Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

This month’s recommended reading, divided into three semi-useful categories:

Inspiring

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Roger Fenton, Hardships in the Camp, 1855. Image courtesy of George Eastman House www.eastmanhouse.org

Roger Fenton, Hardships in the Camp, 1855. Image courtesy of George Eastman House www.eastmanhouse.org

When it comes to modern warfare, we’ve seen so much through photographs: mass graves, explosions, the faces of soldiers the instant they’re shot. And we’ve also seen the aftermath of war–devastated landscapes, soldiers carrying their dead, and returning home to their families. We’ve become accustomed to a depth of visual coverage that has brought deep familiarity with the realities of war from start to finish, a stark contrast to the experience of civilian audiences prior to the advent of photography. Continue Reading »


Our friends at JSTOR Daily remind us that this year marks the centennial of the cacophonous beginnings of the Dada movement in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire.

An anarchic response to the ravages of World War I, the movement is notoriously difficult to pin down. Matthew Wills writes, “Dada combined absurdity and nonsense, radical politics and anti-politics, outrage and outrageousness in the mediums of spoken (more often shouted) word, theatre, collage, photomontage, cut-ups, assemblages, and readymades…”

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Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the United States in 1954. While the holiday is also known as Remembrance Day in other countries and celebrates the end of World War I, the name change in the United States reflects its emphasis on honoring military veterans.

The two objectives were mentioned in a speech on the first Armistice Day, November 11, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson:

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Donkey-Elephant Display Base, ca. 1956

Donkey-Elephant Display Base, ca. 1956. Cornell University Library, Rare & Manuscript Collections, Susan H. Douglas Political Americana Collection

Take a deep breath, the presidential debates are finally over. But brace yourselves, we still have a couple of weeks of campaigning left until the actual elections. Why the negative tone? Well, the Washington Post reported that “59 percent of Americans are sick and tired of the election”–and that was way back in July! And we’re not just sick and tired, we’re also stressed: in a more recent poll by the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of American adults said the upcoming election is a significant source of stress.

Can we interest you in a tour of more innocent days from Cornell University’s Political Americana Collection in Shared Shelf Commons? Days in which campaigns featured such lighthearted items as songs like “Grant is the Man,” promoting Ulysses S. Grant, or “Let’s O-K, I-K-E,” about Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.

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William G. Bowen, October 6, 1933 – October 20, 2016

The world has lost a uniquely gifted leader and friend. Bill Bowen passed away peacefully at 83 on October 20, 2016. He dedicated his entire professional life to the world of education, and was founding chairman of JSTOR and ITHAKA and founding trustee of Artstor. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Learn more about Bill Bowen’s extraordinary life here.

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:

  • O Brazil first showed up on maps in the 14th century. For the next five centuries its size and shape often morphed, its location wandered from Ireland to North America, and its name varied. Which is not so weird considering it never existed.
  • Finally, you can cook conger eel of the rising sun and frog pasties–Salvador Dalí’s surreal cookbook is being reprinted!

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