Mary Nimmo Moran is one of the most famous female etchers in history. Less well known is Washington D.C. artist Minnie Briggs Raul, who used the same medium. Although their artistic styles are noticeably different, they both utilized their extraordinary talents in the field of printmaking.
In 2018, Mary Rice, great-niece of Minnie Briggs Raul, donated a large number of her original prints, poems, correspondence, and newspaper clippings which span the many years of Raul’s success. Donald N. Briggs, Mayor of Emmitsburg, Maryland and grandson of Minnie Briggs Raul (1886-1955), donated fourteen of the artist’s etched copper plates, which correspond to the prints generously given by his cousin, Mary Rice.
When I was hired as the Curatorial Intern for Georgetown’s Art Collection, I had the privilege of sorting through this extensive donation of prints and other archival materials in order to catalog them for Georgetown’s records. Coinciding with this cataloging project, I was reading a few articles on Mary Nimmo Moran (1842-1899) for my American Landscape class, as part of my Museum Studies Masters Program.
I was immediately struck with comparative notes in my brain about the two female artists: although they were from different time periods, something about their styles just resonated with me, and I wanted to know more about them. As I dove deeper into my research into their respective lives and oeuvres (bodies of work), I noticed how although they stylistically contrast, Mary and Minnie showcase the spectrum of female printmaking abilities. Mary’s hard, bold lines and Minnie’s soft, graceful curves encompass a wide range of artistic skills and styles, and this made me really excited to write this comparative analysis.
Another connection was my mom’s Aunt Annie, a watercolorist in Texas. As soon as I unpacked the Minnie Briggs Raul collection I was immediately drawn to the similarities between them. Aunt Annie loved the Texas wildflowers and birds much like Minnie loved the D.C. wildflowers and birds, and they expressed this love through their art.
Although Aunt Annie and Minnie Briggs Raul used different creative media, their artworks are both delicate and pleasant to look at. However, Mary Nimmo Moran’s work strikes the viewer in a more emotional vein. They also differ in a conceptual sense. Mary Nimmo Moran evolved within the nineteenth-century Hudson River Landscape School of painting, which is evidenced in the panoramic scenery she depicted throughout her career, and she was strongly encouraged by her husband, the successful landscape painter Thomas Moran. As the daughter of noted horticulturist William Dennis Pyles, Minnie showed a talent for drawing wildflowers and trees from an early age, at their home in Camp Springs, Maryland.
These relationships stylistically shaped Mary and Minnie, and the influences are shown through their meticulously crafted artworks. While Mary Nimmo Moran employed the Hudson River School’s approach of depicting more wild, sublime scenery, Minnie Briggs Raul utilized her horticultural background and undertook small (but beautiful) artistic studies of individual flowers, trees, and birds.
Moran, Mary Nimmo Gardiner’s Bay 1881, etching
Mary Nimmo Moran initially began experimenting with etching through the encouragement of her husband. She is best known for her poetic, moody etchings of East Hampton landscapes, drawn from life, as she and Thomas built a home studio there on Long Island, where Mary created her artworks. A contemporary critic of Nimmo Moran stated that her prints “would never give away her sex,” due to her being stylistically more masculine than other female printmakers at the time, using deep lines, dynamic compositions, and thorough shading to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. As the first woman inducted into the New York Etching Club and the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in London, Mary Nimmo Moran is considered a pioneer of female engravers.
Raul, Minnie Briggs French Marigolds 1943-1955, etching
While Nimmo Moran was one of the first women inducted into multiple artistic societies, Minnie Briggs Raul both founded and was the Vice President of the Society of Washington Etchers in the 1930s, and was involved in many other artistic clubs in the District. She spent a lot of time in the countryside of the District, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV), where she drew native wildflowers, trees, and birds. Her artistic style is characterized by free-flowing natural forms, delicately fashioned compositions, and bright but soft colors, extremely different from Mary Nimmo Moran’s powerful lines. Her husband Harry Lewis Raul was a noted sculptor and the Art Curator for the Department of the Interior Museum from 1938 to 1958, and they were reportedly extremely supportive of each other’s artistic endeavors, much like Mary Nimmo and Thomas Moran.
Minnie was also a noted author, known as the “poet-etcher of Washington.” She wrote many poems that correspond with her etchings, many of which are now in Georgetown’s collection. She published Go Lovely Road in 1949, a small illustrated book visually detailing and describing wildflowers of the Holy Land, and in 1951, she created an eighteen-week series of etchings and accompanying articles about specific but well-known trees in the DMV region and throughout the country.
Raul, Minnie Briggs The Four O’Clocks 1943-1955, etching
Mary Nimmo Moran undoubtedly paved the way for Minnie Briggs Raul in the artistic context. She broke the glass ceiling for female artists in the male-dominated field of etching, and Minnie Briggs Raul continued to broaden the field for women printmakers. In a way, Mary, Minnie, and my mom’s Aunt Annie are all connected through their overt love of nature. It is so beautiful that three very different women from very different time periods can be so connected through their depictions of the natural world around them.
--Frances Williams, University Art Collection Curatorial Intern
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Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
On April 11th, Lauinger library will be hosting the author, George Saunders, who will give the Annual Casey-McIlvane Memorial Lecture on the intersection of Catholicism, Buddhism, and writing. Saunders most recent book, Lincoln in the Bardo, is a text deeply indebted to religious themes found in Christian and Buddhist theology such as sin, salvation, dukkha, and samsara. Saunders uses the historical event of President Lincoln's midnight visit to the fresh grave of his son, Wille, along with an invented cast of ghostly residents of the cemetery, to beautifully explore these themes. In play-like dialogues, the reader is confronted by questions which stand at the heart of Christianity and Buddhism, questions regarding permanence, the good life, and ultimate truth.
For those interested in dialog between Christianity and Buddhism, the Woodstock Theological library has a great number of books worth checking out. God, Mystery, Diversity, by Gordon D. Kaufman, Zen and the Birds of Appetite by Thomas Merton are particularly fruitful. For a larger list of books related to Saunders, Literature Liaison and Reference Librarian, Melissa Jones, has created a book display on the third floor as well as a webpage for further reading.
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April 5, 2019
Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was a major American musical composer in the twentieth century. During his long career, Copland produced a wide array of compositions, including ballets, choral music, film scores, operas, and orchestral music. The Lawrence Gilman papers contain a remarkable letter from Copland to Lawrence Gilman (1878-1939), an important music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune. In it Copland pondered the relationship between musical composers and their critics.
The letter, dated May 3, 1932 was mailed from the First Festival of Contemporary American Music at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs. Copland began the letter by referring to a newspaper clipping (see right, click image to enlarge) reporting on the festival. The author of the clipping suggested that there was a “long-standing feud” between composers and critics. The article printed a quote from Copland: “I consider newspaper criticism to be a menace. We would be much better off without it.”
Writing to Gilman, Copland said that the clipping in question “cannot go uncommented upon.” He wrote that the purpose of the conference was not to attack critics but to make the composer/critic interaction “more vital and more important,” and that “the composer needs the critic (just as much as the critic needs the composer).” Copland lamented the fact that Gilman did not attend the event. He argued that modern American composers now seek more positive reviews from their critics. In the postscript, Copland granted Gilman permission to publish this letter. The composer also stated that his own works had generally been praised by critics.
Lawrence Gilman contributed to American musical criticism in many ways. He worked as a music critic for Harper’s Weekly from 1901 to 1913, the North American Review from 1915 to 1923, and the New-York Herald Tribune from 1923 until his death in 1939. He also annotated program notes for the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
American music was changing in the 1930s, as musicians adapted to new forms of technology such as film and radio. In addition to composing musical works, Copland was an author of articles and books on music. As this letter to a noteworthy music critic indicates, Aaron Copland sought to improve the relationship between composers and their critics.
--Scott S. Taylor, Manuscripts Archivist
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In celebration of Women’s History Month 2019, you are invited to view a new online exhibition honoring women who have led efforts to end violence and social injustice through peaceful means. This year, I profile twelve extraordinary women from the women’s collections at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. As writers, journalists, artists, and humanitarians each contributed and participated in the ongoing effort to promote a more just and peaceful world.
"Find Full Text @ GU" buttons appear in many Library databases, including Web of Science. Clicking the button should take you into HoyaSearch, where you can either obtain the full text from one of our online journals, or place an interlibrary loan request.
Unfortunately, the buttons are not working properly in Web of Science -- they direct into HoyaSearch, but then the page "hangs" or shows "dancing diamonds." We are working with Clarivate, the vendor, to resolve this issue. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Other databases are not affected and our "Find Full Text @ GU" buttons should work properly elsewhere. If you notice problems in other databases, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Electronic Resources Updates
In honor of the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, we're republishing a blog by Amy Phillips.
Today's feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas is often associated with the Dominican friars because Aquinas himself was a member of the order and stands out as one of the greatest scholastic thinkers of the 13th century. In the 19th century, however, it was the Society of Jesus that led the revival of Scholasticism and a renewed interest in the work of Thomas Aquinas. Pope Leo XIII's encyclicalAeterni Patriswas issued in 1879 and called for a renewal in the study of philosophy. Jesuits were already at work in establishing a Thomistic orientation in their own education and scholarship. In 1850 the Jesuits founded La Civiltà Cattolicaa scholarly journal devoted to philosophy, especially the promotion of Scholasticism.
Though engaged in this revival, Jesuits weren't committed to Thomas Aquinas in the same ways. Interpretations and applications of his philosophy varied widely among the Jesuits. One approach to Aquinas was known as Suárezianism. As the term suggests, this was a method or school that followed the Jesuit philosopher of the 16th century, Francisco Suárez (1548-1617). Though Suárez was trained in scholasticism, he developed his own philosophy that departed from Aquinas and which is often referred to as a "second Scholasticism." The Jesuits of the 19th century who revived Aquinas, balanced his work with that of Suárez, other philosophers, and socio-political phenomena of the time, such as the ascendancy of democracy. Thus, their Suárezianism was the approach of expanding or, sometimes, refining Aquinas's ideas, which could not always accommodate intellectual and cultural developments in the 19th century. Woodstock Theological Library has many rare copies of books authored by Francisco Suárez. Shown here is his Ad primam secundae D. Thomae tractatus quinque theologici published by Jacob Cardon of Lyon in 1628. It was edited by Baltasar Alvarez, S.J. (1533-1588) who was trained in theology and philosophy by Dominicans in Ávila. He is best known for being the spiritual director of Teresa of Ávila.
entry authored by Amy E. Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for WTL on 1/27/2017
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Esther Neira de Calvo (1890-1978) was a prominent Panamanian educator, women’s rights advocate, politician, and diplomat. The extensive Esther Neira de Calvo papers, housed here at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, document her extensive work as an advocate for women’s rights as well as her interactions with leading American women’s rights crusaders, including Carrie Chapman Catt and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Esther Neira de Calvo was born in Panama and studied at the Institut Pedagogique de Wavre-Notre Dame in Belgium, College of Mount St. Vincent, and Columbia University in New York. During her career in Panama, she served as Inspector General of Education (1923-1927), director of Panama’s Normal School for Women (1927-1938), and head of the Lyceum, a university preparatory school for women (1938-1945). In her native country, she also founded the National Society for the Advancement of Women (1923) and the Women’s Patriotic League (1945). As an elected delegate in 1945 to the Third Constituent Assembly, she contributed to the drafting of a new national Panamanian constitution, which was enacted in 1946. She moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States (OAS) from 1949 to 1965. The following year, the government of Panama appointed her Ambassador, Alternative Representative to the OAS. She held that position from 1966 to 1968.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was an important leader in the American women’s rights movement. In 1900, she replaced Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Owing to her efforts and those of her fellow suffragettes, the U.S. Congress passed the 19th Amendment in 1920 granting American women the right to vote in political elections. Moreover, Catt was instrumental in the creation of the League of Women Voters. After World War I, Catt participated in the peace movement.
The Esther Neira de Calvo papers contain a photograph depicting both Catt and Neira de Calvo in Panama (box 6a, folder 23). In the image, dated Tuesday, March 13, 1923, Catt stands at a podium addressing the crowd at a conference at the National Institute in Panama. Catt spoke about feminism in her address titled “For the Women of Panama.” This speech was a follow-up to the Pan-American Conference of Women held in Baltimore in April 1922, which Neira de Calvo had attended as a delegate of Panama. In the photograph, Neira de Calvo, the President of the National Society for the Progress of Women, is seated to Catt’s right at the head table. Christine Bradley South, the wife of the U.S. Minister to Panama, is seated to Catt’s left. The man at the head table is most likely Minister South.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), the wife of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, worked actively for equal rights for women throughout her lifetime. She served in the League of Women Voters on the Legislative Affairs Committee. She is also known for her work with the United Nations, and she helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Roosevelt often traveled to visit leaders around the world.
The papers also include a photograph of Neira de Calvo with Eleanor Roosevelt (box 7a, folder 116). In the picture, dated October 10, 1941, Neira de Calvo shakes hands with the First Lady, who awards her an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, for her achievements in women’s education. The event took place at an Inter-American convention. At that time, Neira de Calvo was Director of the Women’s Lyceum in Panama and Delegate of Panama to the Inter-American Commission of Women.
As demonstrated by these two photographs, which are 18 years apart, Neira de Calvo’s work on behalf of women’s rights spanned decades. She tirelessly advanced her goals. In the process, she met and cooperated with some of the leading luminaries of women’s rights in the twentieth century.
—Scott S. Taylor, Manuscripts Archivist
January 15, 2019
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O'Reilly Media has launched a new platform for Safari Books Online (also called O'Reilly for Higher Education), which is now available in HoyaSearch. The new platform contains over 40,000 books, plus videos, learning paths, and O'Reilly Conference videos. The book title list contains over 98% of the most popular titles from the classic Safari collection.
The collection is moving to a completely new platform, featuring new searching and reading functionality. You'll notice some of the following major points:
Unlimited simultaneous users (a change from the 10 simultaneous users on the old Safari platform)
Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication for users (not through EZproxy), permitting users to automatically create reading lists, set language preferences, and subscribe to email updates without manually creating an account. Users will be asked to enter their Georgetown email address before being directed to the familiar Georgetown NetID login screen.
Note: This change eliminates access to walk-in users.
Access to video and text-based "Learning Paths," or curated modules on concepts and technologies, previously unavailable in the classic Safari.
O'Reilly Media will be sunsetting the classic Safari platform for Georgetown users on January 19, 2019. At that time, all titles directly linked to the classic platform will cease working - O'Reilly is not providing redirecting services. URLs will need to be swapped out for those pointing to titles on the new platform. O'Reilly is not providing a shortcut for recreating URLs from the old platform to the new. Between now and the sunset date, the classic Safari will be available in HoyaSearch in parallel with the new Safari.
Access and Linking
Access to the new Safari Books Online package is available now in HoyaSearch. Links to the classic Safari Books Online platform in the Databases A-Z list will be swapped out at the close of the Fall 2018 semester.
Direct links are possible on the new Safari platform. As the new Safari platform uses SSO authentication, the proxy URL should not be added. To link to a specific title in the new Safari platform, the characters "/?ar" must be added to direct users through the SSO system. For example, a book with the following URL:
We recognize that this is migration affects a significant, high-use collection of materials in the middle of the academic year. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the E-Resources & Serials Unit at email@example.com
Posted 20 December 2018, 14:13 ET
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Electronic Resources Updates
From long tables displaying bright covers of contemporary bestsellers to late 19th-century gift books within Special Collections, students, readers, and scholars are surrounded by eye-catching bindings. I long assumed decorative bindings like these were bound up in marketing efforts—a book needs to attract sufficient attention to encourage reading, conversation, and of course purchase of the title. “Cottonian bindings” refined my perspective on these relationships.
“Cottonian” binding refers to a portion of the books (still numbering well over a thousand) in the personal library of Romantic poet Robert Southey. These books were covered in pieces of patterned cloth over their plain paper bindings to protect them from wear, at a much lower cost than the calf or gilt morocco leather bindings in which wealthy book owners often had their paper books rebound. The term “Cottonian” was a sly riff on Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, whose extensive and priceless personal library became the foundation for the British Library. The paper-bound portion of Southey’s library was not even sent out to respected binders or covered by the poet himself. The books were covered by some of Southey’s own daughters, as well as other daughters of British Romantic luminaries—Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge.
The printed fabric bindings varied greatly in design and color, but as you can see were kept consistent across volumes of the same book. The relatively subdued deep red cloth covering Antiquarian and Topographical Cabinet first mimics a literal cabinet—whose purpose is to best feature the objects within it. I find it delightful the Cabinet itself becomes part of a larger cabinet of curiosities, because of the unique story of its binding. The book provides a contrast to the floral motifs encasing the other two-volume works next to it.
The vibrant floral covers of The Life and Errors of John Dunton and Narrative of a Forced Journey through Spain and France as a Prisoner of War visually present celebratory bouquets to the men whose military and literary achievements are praised within the pages. However, in a preface to The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, his son Charles shares that the bindings chosen by his sisters were “sometimes contriving a sly piece of satire at the contents of some well-known author by their choice of its covering.” For that reason, there is room for consideration of these floral bindings as more ironic commentary by these women toward men who write self-congratulatory autobiographies.
Cottonian bindings do more than uniquely present some of Robert Southey’s extensive collection, speak to the range of costs of bookbinding, or illustrate the role of young women in off-market book production near the beginning of the 19th century. For instance, The Life and Errors of John Dunton is marked with Robert Southey’s name at the bottom of the title page. Yet these volumes were not identified in Southey’s library by his name or even the label with the work’s title pasted to the spine. They became known by the cloth binding the daughters chose, affirmed by how they are referred to by their binding even now. Women rebound, even began to reclaim, these works by physically preserving and aesthetically making the books known by the bindings they fixed to the books.
The social influence of Cottonian bindings did not remain in the space of Southey’s library. According to Michael Sadleir, the bindings made such an impression on the influential literary figures who passed through the Southey library that publishers were inspired to produce their own cloth bindings with embossed floral work and elaborate designs into their books. With this, a female-driven means of thriftily reinforcing book bindings in the space of a home library made its way into the commercial realm of publishing.
If Sadleir’s argument stands, Cottonian bindings are direct precursors to the highly decorative bindings I was familiar with before. Not only are Cottonian fabric covers highly variable and beautiful, providing commentary on the texts within them, they also facilitate consideration from a range of critical angles. Through these bindings, the Southey influence stretches beyond the messaging and technical influence of Robert’s poems into and beyond the unique, re-covered containers of the wide range of books he owned.
--Anastasia J. Armendariz (C’2019), Paul F. Betz Collection Research Assistant, Booth Family Center for Special Collections
December 12, 2018
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Woodstock Library Rare Book Collection
The Jesuits at Woodstock College were trained in academic and spiritual disciplines. This was done in the spirit of Ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God. Their training in languages, world literatures, and global civilizations enabled them to live in different geographic locations and among diverse cultures and people. Thus, their work, or “missions”, took them all over the world where they contributed to, but most often gained from, the societies they inhabited.
In the 20th century, Woodstock Jesuits were sent to China, following a long tradition of Jesuits in China which began in 1582 with Matteo Ricci. While there, they not only taught and learned from the Chinese people but they consumed and enjoyed their traditions.
As any traveler can testify, souvenirs are important material markers of time spent abroad. Among the keep-sakes the Woodstock Jesuits brought back from their work in China were a group of prints depicting scenes from the The Three Kingdoms, the historical novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong (ca. 1330-1400) and set in the 2nd century at the close of the Latter or Eastern Han Dynasty.* The story centers around three characters, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei, who make an oath to become brothers and to defend the Han Empire in the Peach Garden.
The famous first line of the novel is: the empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. In the context of the prints obtained by the Woodstock Jesuits one can’t help but contemplate how closely it echoes the history of the Jesuits – from its extraordinary beginning and flourishing during 16th and 17th centuries, to its suppression and expulsion from Europe in 1773, to its restoration in 1814.
Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for Woodstock Library
* Many thanks to our colleague, Ding Ye, for helping us identify these prints.