A Tearful Goodbye to Sandi Honnold

On March 15, 2017, Wilson Library said goodbye to Sandi Honnold after 38 years of service to the Libraries. Sandi began her career in 1979 and over the years has worn many hats. Since 2009, she has been part of the Special Collections Technical Services department, working behind the scenes to provide accurate resource description and access for rare books.

L to R: Nancy Kaiser, LeTroy Gardner, Sandi Honnold, Eileen Dewitya, and Elizabeth Ott

Sandi’s retirement comes at the end of a long and wonderful career. Colleagues past and present stopped by Wilson to say goodbye, giving speeches attesting to Sandi’s warm and friendly personality, as well as her deep institutional knowledge. Sandi brought an ethic of hard work and care to the RBC, and we are sad to say goodbye!

Jan Paris gave a tearful speech about Sandi’s years at Wilson Library

The following speech was delivered by Eileen Dewitya, Head of the Bibliographic Technical Services section for Special Collections:

Over the span of her career, Sandi developed into a talented rare book librarian as she learned each of the specific areas involved in rare book librarianship and became a resource to her colleagues. She was responsible for ordering/acquiring rare materials, accessioning once the items arrived at Wilson, cataloging up to national standards, working on exhibitions, participating in programming events, meeting with donors, and managing student employees (many of whom became librarians themselves). She always kept us moving forward with her attention to detail, incredible memory, infinite patience, and caring ways.

Sandi has been my partner in crime the past 7.5 years, offering constructive feedback, ideas, historical context, unconditional support, and a sense of humor. I always trusted in her ability to hire exceptional students, and I knew she’d jump in to take on more work when staffing needs shifted and left us short.  

Sandi has been a most thoughtful team player, not only for the Rare Book Collection and Technical Services, but also for the greater Wilson Library. She was always one of the first to volunteer for reference shifts when her colleagues needed assistance due to illness or scheduling conflicts. 

The national cataloging standard has changed over time, and Sandi has weathered pre-AACR2, AACR2, and RDA. We have laughed and commiserated along the way, but you have done it gracefully and successfully. When I looked at your official application form, your comment under Typing ability was, “a bit slow but accurate.” You always joked about your technical skills, but you were always willing to put the time in and learn something new.

Sandi, you have been the library’s constant for 38 years, and mine since July 6, 2009. You’ve done so much work and been a great friend along the way. Thank you for everything. We all wish you much happiness in the future!

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Recent Acquisitions feature: a textile text!

Our Recent Acquisitions Evening is tonight! We hope you’ll be there to examine some of our remarkable recent acquisitions, including the Library’s eight-millionth volume!

Livre de Prières

Livre de Prières, published in 1886, is a book of hours–a book of devotional literature used by laypeople to guide their prayers throughout the day.

Books of hours have been an important genre of book since the medieval period and are the most common type of surviving illuminated manuscript. The style of illustration used in Livre de Prières is a pastiche of many kinds of illumination and manuscript decoration from different eras and geographical locations across Europe.

Livre de Prières is the first and only illustrated book woven on a Jacquard loom. The Jacquard loom was invented in 1804; it employs a punch card system of programming to produce complex woven patterns of textiles. This punch card system inspired 19th-century inventor Charles Babbage, who examined the loom while working on his Analytical Engine. Employing an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 punched cards to complete its complex design, Livre de Prières is considered to be a precursor to computer programming.

Because the UNC Library’s eight million plus volumes now include electronic books, Livre de Prières was selected to mark the ever-evolving technological innovations in the Library’s collections.


See this incredible volume and more in just a few hours at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us for the unique opportunity to see these incredible items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: African postcolonial literature collection

Our Recent Acquisitions Evening is tomorrow. For the past couple weeks we’ve been featuring recently acquired individual items. This feature shines a light on a notable collection of works we’ve recently acquired.

African postcolonial literature collection

This collection of African post-colonial literature includes works published from the 1950s through the 1980s, primarily titles published in English and French, all by African authors. Most were published in the United States, London, and Paris, with some titles published in countries across Africa including Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria.

The three decades beginning in the 1950s found African literature flourishing in a post-colonial moment. African writers took to the pen, telling or retelling stories of African life, often in the languages of the colonial powers who had occupied their nations. Their work had a significant impact on the novel in the West and represented a global turn in literature.

Many of these works have long been read in academic departments at UNC and can be found elsewhere in the library’s collections–but not as preservation copies. The Rare Book Collection has acquired this collection to preserve the artifactual history of these important works, documenting how these works were marketed for a mass audience.


This collection and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Phantasmion

Our Recent Acquisitions Evening is tomorrow. Here’s one more fascinating item that will be on display — this one offers an intimate glimpse into the life of a 19th-century woman writer of increasing relevance.

Phantasmion

Sara Coleridge was a talented writer and translator whose work is often overshadowed by the biographical fact of her parentage: Her father was literary giant Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Many critics consider her Phantasmion, first published in 1837, to be an early precursor to the modern fantasy novel. Coleridge’s life has been little studied, though there has been increasing scholarly interest in her since the 2007 publication of many of her poems, the majority of them newly-discovered.

Phantasmion

This extensively annotated volume of Phantasmion holds special significance because its vast marginalia was written by Coleridge as a long letter to Aubrey de Vere, an Irish poet who Coleridge formed a close friendship with after the death of her husband. In it, she offers a look into her inner life, including remembrances of growing up in England’s Lake District, the anxieties of growing up with a famous writer for a father, and her experiences as an opium addict. More than just a presentation copy, this book represents a unique record of female authorship, written in Coleridge’s characteristically eloquent style.


See this remarkable volume and more at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these incredible items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: William Webb’s journal

Our Recent Acquisitions Evening is in just two days. As we eagerly await the event, we continue our blog feature of recently acquired items that will be on display on Wednesday evening.

William Webb journal

William Webb’s A Record of My Journey from London Bridge to Berlin Thence to Persia via the Baltic Volga & Caspian Sea is the only known copy of Webb’s travelogue documenting his travels through Persia in 1870.

William Webb traveled to Tehran from London to begin a new job as a signaler for the Indo-European Telegraph Company. The title of the book references a stop in Berlin, where Webb was trained to use cutting-edge high-speed telegraph equipment.

Webb’s diary records an arduous two-month-long journey from Berlin to Tehran, during which Webb faced hardships including being thrown from his horse and having two teeth pulled.

William Webb journal

This illustration, done by a Persian artist, depicts Webb (on the right). The person on the left is identified in a caption as Mirza M. Hussein, “who gained the highest no. of marks at the college for the English language under examination of Capt. Pearson.”

The book’s text, in a beautiful script, was done using lithographic printing at the Royal College of Tehran, also known as Dar al-fonun, the first modern university in Persia. Lithographic printing was the primary method of publishing in Tehran at that time because lithographic printing was better suited to Arabic scripts than movable type.

No record of an earlier lithographed English-language book printed in Persia has been found.


This and many other unusual items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Opuscula Anatomica

With only five days until our Recent Acquisitions Evening, our parade of recently acquired items continues.

book open to medical illustration

Bartolomeo Eustachi’s Opuscula Anatomica is a medical classic, first published in Venice in 1565. This book ticks off an impressive list of medical text firsts:

  • First monograph on the kidney, including the first account of the adrenal gland
  • First correct description of the Eustachian tube in the ear (which bears his name)
  • First description of the thoracic duct and the Eustachian valve in the heart (also named for the author)
  • First detailed account of the teeth in a medical text

book open to medical illustration

But what makes this book particularly interesting is the way Eustachi uses a grid system, similar to those used on maps, as a way of marking the location and scale of the parts. In the first edition of Opuscula Anatomica, Eustachi advised using rulers to find the grid references. This edition supplies a separate scale that is attached to the book by a thread. Editions in which the original scale remains attached are rare.


See this and other intriguing items at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these incredible materials up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening

With our Recent Acquisitions Evening less than a week away, we’re continuing to feature items that will be on display during that event.

illustration: english estate

Have you ever wondered how your estate would look with some minor improvements?

Maybe a few Gothic details on the facade?

illustration: english estate

Perhaps a stately pond?

illustration: english estate

Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening has you covered.

Humphry Repton was an English landscape designer who anticipated the home and garden before-and-after photo shoot long before its time.

In Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, published in 1816, he discusses relationships between architecture and landscape design. In an effort to show the aesthetic power of elements like color, water, and fences, he implemented a paper-engineering solution to the problem of being able to show just one image at a time: Repton used a system of hinged panels that are nearly hidden at first glance, but can be lifted to reveal his dramatic proposed changes to several English estates. One estate featured in the book is Harleston Park, which is thought to be the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Repton is also mentioned by name in Mansfield Park by the genial but easily led Mr. Rushworth, who chats at length about his passion for estate improvements throughout the novel.


See this remarkable first edition volume at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these incredible items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Chumbe

As our Recent Acquisitions Evening approaches, we’re continuing our series of posts featuring items that will be on display.

This chumbe, created by Mamá Pastora Juajibioy, an artist from the Camëntsá Nation in Colombia, is a woven sash that tells a story. Its narrative is communicated using semasiographic writing rather than a phonetic-based alphabet. In semasiographic writing, a symbol represents a concept or idea instead of a phoneme or syllable. Other examples of semasiographic writing include mathematical notation and musical notation. This chumbe and the writing it uses are emblematic of the oral tradition of the Camëntsá people.

The Rare Book Collection holds one of two chumbes in the UNC Library system; the other is in the Sloane Art Library. The copy in the Rare Book Collection is housed with two CDs, which hold recordings of an event related to the chumbe, including a poetry reading and oral literature history given by Hugo Jamioy Juagiboy of the Camëntsá Nation and a chumbe weaving and storytelling history given by the artist who created this chumbe, Mamá Pastora Juajibioy of the Camëntsá Nation. The recordings include information about how the chumbe is made and what stories it encodes.


This and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Guerrilla

As our Recent Acquisitions Evening on March 22 approaches, we’re offering a preview of some of the items that will be on display.

This serial publication, Guerrilla, is a 1947–48 French military guide published for French soldiers fighting in Vietnam. At the time, the Việt Minh were engaged in a war of resistance against French occupation.

While the French Army had access to better equipment and modern military technology, the Việt Minh trained diligently in guerrilla tactics. Guerrilla uses text and illustrations, many of them done in a cartoon style, to educate French soldiers on Việt Minh defenses, patrols, organizational structure, politics, diet, and more.

Illustrations show Việt Minh arms and munitions, camouflage, booby traps, uniforms, and insignia.

The Rare Book Collection holds four of six known volumes of Guerrilla.


These and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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Recent Acquisitions feature: Psalter

As we prepare for our Recent Acquisitions Evening on March 22, we continue to feature some of the items that will be on display.

This diminutive volume is a psalter — a book, used in private devotion, containing the biblical Book of Psalms. This copy is actually is two psalters bound dos-à-dos , or back to back, with the front covers opening in opposite directions.

Published in the late 16th or early 17th century, this volume has an embroidered binding done in silk thread in a variety of colors. The silver-colored threads are actually made of silver.

This miniature format is the smallest and rarest in which psalters were issued.


This and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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