Exciting days are ahead as the Thomas Cooper Society begins its 2015-2016 year — interesting programs, special exhibits, wonderful speakers, new acquisitions and more. We invite you to join the Society and help us in our efforts to support and enhance the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

As the Society’s new president, I look forward to building on the hard work and dedication of our immediate past president, Lynn Robertson. Under Lynn’s leadership the Society has this new, redesigned web page and a full-color newsletter, two important information tools for sharing the Society’s work with the community-at-large. She also gave her time and expertise as a member of the Audubon Committee, which is working toward the conservation of the library’s 435 engravings of John Audubon’s Birds of America and developing a special place within the library to exhibit them. Thanks for all you have done for the Society, Lynn.

We also give our sincere “thanks” to outgoing board members Dennis Kennemur and Rodger Stroup for their contributions and also welcome four new members to the Thomas Cooper Board — Lisa Burgess, Bruce Cole, Ginny Grose, and Jenny Maxwell. Each of our board members brings special talents, insights, and expertise to the Society that help the organization achieve its mission.

The work of the Thomas Cooper Society would not be possible if it were not for the marvelous staff of the University Libraries. We are fortunate to have dedicated, creative, and talented professionals working at the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and assisting the Thomas Cooper Society. Thanks for all you do.

I look forward to working with the board, library staff, and the Society’s members as we expand our membership and share our programming and resources with the community. One of the special events scheduled for mid-April 2016 is a chance to see an exhibit of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first collected edition of the Bard’s works published in 1623. The traveling exhibit from the Folger Shakespeare Library will be housed in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library for four weeks and will be open to the public. In addition, the University Libraries and other partners, such as the Richland Public Library, will offer many special events, programs and other initiatives throughout the community.

I’m honored to be president of the Thomas Cooper Society. I will work hard to help this wonderful organization, founded 25 years ago, continue to grow and prosper. I hope you will attend the exciting programs, exhibits and other activities planned for this year and get involved in the Society’s initiatives.

Maureen Lee
President 2015-2016
Thomas Cooper Society

 

As most of us know, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the onset of World War I. The Irvin Department of Rare Books is marking this event with a most thought-provoking exhibit, “The World in 1914.” Jeffrey Makala, curator for this exhibit, has chosen to present not the war itself but the socio-cultural, technological, and international context within which the so-called great powers found themselves in the year 1914. It is fair to say that nobody at the beginning of the year envisaged what lay ahead.

Jessica Kross pauses for a moment in the Brittain Gallery in Hollings Library. Photo courtesy of University Creative Services.

Jessica Kross pauses for a moment in the Brittain Gallery in Hollings Library. Photo courtesy of University Creative Services.

By 1914 an old order was already dying. Women and labor in both England and America were demanding equal rights. The automobile was promising greater mobility for everyone as industry mechanized assembly lines pushing out skilled labor. The old European empires in Africa and elsewhere were being challenged and America was faced with border instability from its Southern neighbor Mexico.

War itself was changing. The exhibit features a quote by Winston Churchill, himself a war correspondent during the Boer War, that we must above all remain gentlemen. The Boer War had already undermined such an assumption and WWI would soon end it. Technology, if nothing else, made mass indiscriminate killing possible. A visual of horse-mounted lancers being machine gunned down by an armed automobile clearly makes the point.

While “The World in 1914” remains on display through December 12, it has already sparked two presentations open to the public. Curator Jeffrey Makala led a tour through the exhibit. His knowledge of the exhibit’s artifacts, all from the library’s collections, augmented what was there. The talk by Dr. David Snyder of the History Department invited the audience to think about parallels between 1914 and 2014 — an unsettling exercise as it turned out. The Irvin Department’s holdings and the willingness of University experts to present and enhance their value provide a rich resource for us in the community, and one that I am most thankful for.

 

 

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It is an honor to assume the presidency of the Thomas Cooper Society. I remember the founding of the Society and have looked at the succeeding presidents with admiration, never thinking that I would one day hold this office. I am reminded of the often-cited observation of Bernard of Chartres in the 12th century: I am but a puny dwarf perched on the shoulders of giants.

One of those giants on whom I am perching is immediate past president Ardis Savory. I look forward to continuing the many significant initiatives started under her watch. The mission of the Society, as approved at the annual meeting, is now fully focused on supporting the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Dean of Libraries, Tom McNally, engaged us in a long-term project to establish a gallery for the department’s outstanding natural history collections and three Society members assisted with the first step toward that goal, the conservation of the 435 engravings of John Audubon’s Birds of America.

We are also continuing to expand the ways in which area teachers and students use library resources. The pilot project with Dreher High School was successfully initiated last year and will continue to grow in the coming one.

There are also some new and exciting initiatives. A collectors group within the membership has just been launched. It will provide educational and social opportunities to learn more about collecting and collectors. Probably the most immediately noticeable change is in your hands. It is the new design for our newsletter. What better way to communicate the look and feel of Society events, and Irvin Department holdings, than color?

In closing I will return to my giants and dwarf metaphor and acknowledge the huge presence of the Libraries’ staff, and in particular Elizabeth Sudduth, in helping to make the work of the Society both easy and meaningful.

 

For the Thomas Cooper Society our new year begins July 1, and this coming year is off to a strong and promising start thanks to the leadership of the immediate past president, John Dean.

Four new members have been elected to the TCS Board of Directors: James Baker, Charles Israel, Ginny Newell, and Susie Thorpe.  Each brings a special talent to the Board and a history of strong community and professional involvement.   Bringing another burst of energy to the Board was the decision by the membership at the annual meeting in May to add an undergraduate and a graduate student member, Katelyn Hayworth and Robert Smith.

Right now you are participating in one of the most recent initiatives, a new webpage for TCS.  Be on the lookout for TCS news, photos, event announcements, and new activities of the Society.  Along with the webpage you will begin to notice an upbeat change in the format of the TCS Newsletter, new membership forms and information material about the University Libraries.

New is interesting, but so is old.  Have you attended one of the recent Open Galleries at the Hollings Library?  They are held throughout the year on selected Saturdays from 10 until 2.  There are fascinating exhibits and interesting gallery talks. Or perhaps you would like to visit the vault housing rare books and manuscripts.  Bring a sweater and a friend.  Spend some time with MIRC, the online (sc.edu//mirc) film collections.  I had several hours of fun with the Fox Movietone News Collection.

Old or new, there is one constant factor that makes everything happen, and that is the remarkably talented, creative, energetic and dedicated staff of the University Libraries.  They will play a major role in making this a good and interesting year for The Thomas Cooper Society.