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We’re going to time travel today…back to 2007…when the SDSU Library presented an exhibit titled “Beyond the Batter’s Box: The Hall of Fame Life of Tony Gwynn.” It was the year Tony Gwynn was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the library celebrated that event with an exhibit featuring memorabilia, photographs, and awards from Gwynn’s stellar career and his time as a student and coach at San Diego State University. The items in the exhibit were selected and loaned to us by Gwynn himself.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here talking about Gwynn’s career…you probably already know that he was one of the greatest baseball players and a stand-up guy off the field…and if you don’t, there are countless news articles and Web sites where you can read about him. What I want to share is a more personal glimpse of the Tony Gwynn we knew at the library. Below are some photos of the 2007 exhibit and reception in Special Collections. He was then…and will always be…a larger-than-life presence.

Tony Gwynn exhibit
Item from the Tony Gwynn exhibit
Tony Gwynn exhibit
Tony Gwynn exhibit
Tony Gwynn and his wife
Invitation to Tony Gwynn reception with autograph
Tony Gwynn exhibit
Tony Gwynn and young fan at reception
Tony Gwynn speaking
Tony Gwynn

SDSU NewsCenter article about the Gwynn exhibit


edward goreyArtist/writer Edward Gorey would have turned 88 today. Known for his melancholy, sometimes surreal but also amusing illustrations, Gorey produced an amazing volume of work during his lifetime. He is perhaps best known for illustrating editions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Viewers of the PBS Mystery! series will remember Gorey’s eerie-yet-whimsical Edwardian-esque opening credits.

Blue Aspic

The SDSU Library has a large collection of Gorey’s work, thanks to SDSU alumnus Andreas Brown, who was a friend and benefactor of Gorey’s. The collection is housed in Special Collections and University Archives on the 4th floor of Manchester Hall/Library Addition. In fact, in spring 2004, the library presented an extensive exhibit of Gorey’s work titled “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.” The previous year, Special Collections featured a smaller exhibit titled “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”  I’ve included a few photographs of the exhibits below. Brown also donated Gorey’s personal library to SDSU, and it currently is being cataloged.

If you would like to spend some time with Edward Gorey, view our catalog entries for the Edward Gorey Collection and select some you would like to see. The staff in Special Collections can access the items for you.

Display case from the exhibit "From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey."

Display case from the exhibit “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.”


Display case from the exhibit “From Prodigy to Polymath: The Singular Journey of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Display case from the exhibit “Poetic and Poisoned: The World of Edward Gorey.”

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitTwenty years ago this year, the Bosnian-Serb siege of Sarajevo began. Lasting from 1992 through 1996, it is among the longest in modern history. With electricity, water, and food supplies cut off, Sarajevans had to learn to depend on each other. As the siege raged, a group of Holocaust survivors and their offspring turned a synagogue into one of the most effective humanitarian aid agencies operating inside a war zone. This agency, La Benevolencija, brought together Jews and Muslims, Serbian Orthodox and Catholic Croats—people from different ethnic groups who worked together for the benefit of all.

In remembrance and celebration of this anniversary, the Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies are presenting “Survival in Sarajevo: Jews, Muslims, Serbs and Croats Working Together During the Bosnian War.” The exhibit, which is based on the book by Edward Serotta, will run in the SDSU Library’s Reference Services Area through November 6, 2012.

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitThe exhibit features 10 aluminum-framed panels that contain images and text on both sides. The history of Jews in the Balkans is covered first, and their story is told through maps, old postcards, and archival photographs. Photographs of the Bosnian war were taken by Edward Serotta, who covered the conflict for Time Magazine, Die Zeitland, and Süddeutsche Zeitung and eventually published them in a book, Survival in Sarajevo. Other panels illustrate how the city survived during the shelling.

For more information about the exhibit and the Initiative for Moral Courage Symposium, please visit the symposium’s Website. Additional photos of the exhibit can be viewed on the library’s Flickr photostream. The exhibit is open during regular library hours.

magic lantern showLovers swing over the city on bell clappers, defend an Indian princess from the ghosts of Famine and Fever, battle rampaging billy goats, turn marble statues to living flesh, rescue Maidens-Fair from the Fearsome Fire, and send “Vinegar Valentines” to the people they hate.

It’s all from an age before television and movies, when the Victorians mixed boisterous fun and touching pathos in their Valentine’s entertainment. Now The American Magic-Lantern Theater has recreated a gay nineties “Victorian Valentine Show” that captures the wonder and hilarity of the period. The SDSU Library is presenting two performances—one at 10 a.m. and the other at 7 p.m.—on February 14 to celebrate both Valentine’s Day and the library’s magic lantern exhibit, “Sources of Wonder: The Homer and Betty Peabody Magic Lantern Collection.” The performances, which are appropriate for adults and children 6 and above, will be held in Room LL108, and admission is free.

The show uses an antique “magic-lantern”—the multimedia projector of 100 years ago. The lantern rapidly projects spectacular color slides on a movie screen. The slides, many of them animated, illustrate Victorian Valentine stories, songs, and comedy. They’re dramatized by a costumed showman, singers, musicians, and by the audience, which provides the sound effects, claps, stomps, and joins in chants and sing-alongs.

For more information, email

Magic lanternBefore television and motion pictures—before even filmstrips and slide projectors—magic lanterns entertained and educated people by projecting colorful and fantastic images on walls and screens. From the late 18th century through the early 20th century, showmen and conjurers traveled from town to town, their lanterns strapped to their back, performing in taverns, barns, homes, auditoriums, and churches.

Outside of antique stores and museums, magic lanterns are now scarce, but the San Diego State University Library and Information Access has a sizeable collection of these fascinating devices, as well as more than 4,000 glass slides. Through June 29, 2012, you can experience the marvel of magic lanterns at the library’s exhibit titled “Sources of Wonder: The Homer and Betty Peabody Magic Lantern Collection.” The lanterns and slides on display in the library’s Donor Hall were donated by Betty and Homer Peabody, for whom the collection is named.

magic lantern slide
The exhibit features around 30 professional, toy, and domestic lanterns dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries and a large sampling of the different types and themes of slides, including caricature and comic slides, narrative slides, medical slides, elementary education slides, travel slides, temperance slides, and advertisement slides. It also includes a case displaying the different types of slides, including mechanical slides, as well as chromolithographic, photographic, and hand painted.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the American Magic-Lantern Theater will perform “A Victorian Valentine Show” on February 14. The show will be held at 7 p.m. in Room LL108 of the SDSU Library, and admission is free.

For more information about the collection and exhibit, please contact Special Collections at (619) 594-6791 or visit the online magic lantern exhibit. For exhibit hours, visit the Hours page on the library’s Website.

Just a reminder: Check the library’s Hours page before you come to campus. We’ll be closed December 24-29 and December 31-January 2. Even on the days we’re open, some departments are closed or have abbreviated hours.

We have a lot of exciting things planned for the New Year! Our magic lantern collection will be on exhibit in the Donor Hall beginning January 18, and we’ll be featuring magic lantern performances on February 14. And speaking of February 14, we’ll be having a special Valentine’s Day event! More details next year!

Have a happy and safe New Years! We’ll see you in 2012.

Native People's of Mexico exhibit display caseSDSU’s Center for Latin American Studies has created a very nice exhibit that’s currently on display in the library’s Donor Hall. “Native Peoples of Mexico: A Glimpse of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, and Nahua Cultures” is geared toward K-12 level school children, but the photographs and cultural objects have plenty of appeal for adults as well.
Native People's of Mexico exhibit display case
The exhibit consists of “cultural discovery boxes” containing artifacts, such as textiles, games, dolls, and flutes, from Mexico’s four largest ancient, but still vital indigenous communities: the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, and Nahua. Stop and take a look the next time you pass through the Donor Hall. It’s a treat for your eyes!

Exhibit posterWe received some excellent news late this Friday afternoon: The City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board has selected the SDSU Library as a recipient of a 2011 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award for our Chicana & Chicano Archive Project! Is that cool or what? A display recognizing this year’s award recipients will be located in the lobby of the City Administration Building between May 16 through May 27, and the awards ceremony will be held on May 26.

You may remember the exhibit we held last fall titled “Unidos Por La Causa” that celebrated this collection. If you don’t, you can still take a look online.

This is quite an achievement. Kudos to the folks in Special Collections who created this project and to Interim Dean Mark Stover for nominating us. Can we get a round of applause!?!

Salons—a gathering of people at a residence or hall to converse and to listen to works of literature and philosophy—were popular during the 17th and 18th centuries in France. However, considering the list I’ve included below, I believe the SDSU Library could rival even the most famous French salon, the Hotel de Rambouillet! At the Salon de Malcolm Love, you don’t have to know French to enjoy the brilliant writers and lecturers we’re hosting this spring. You just need a thirst for knowledge and a taste for literature.

In an earlier post, I promised you an updated list of our happenings, and here it is:

March 15: Glover Davis will give a poetry reading at 7 p.m. in Room LL108. Davis is a professor emeritus of creative writing at SDSU, where he taught for almost 40 years. His books of poetry include Bandaging Bread, August Fires, Legend, and Separate Lives. His most recent collection is Spring Drive. For more information, call (619) 594-6054. This event is part of the Spring 2011 Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series.
March 22: Poet Shadab Zeest Hashmi will be the featured artist at the Laurie Okuma Memorial Reading at 7 p.m. in Room LL430. Hashmi has been the editor of the annual Magee Park Poets Anthology since 2000. Originally from Pakistan, she now lives in San Diego. Her work has appeared in Nimrod International, New Millennium Writings, The Bitter Oleander, Poetry Conspiracy, San Diego Poetry Annual, and Pakistani Literature. Her book of poems, Baker of Tarifa, was published in 2010.
March 24: Author David Kirby will present a poetry reading at 7 p.m. in Room as part of the Poetry International Spring Reading Series. Kirby is a professor of English at Florida State University and the author of more than 20 books, including Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, The House on Boulevard St., and The Ha-Ha. His work has won numerous awards, including four Pushcart Prizes, the James Dickey Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Art, and the Guggenheim Foundation. For more information, call (619) 594-1522 or email
April 13: Harold Jaffe will read from two recent books (Paris 60 and Induced Coma) at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 as part of the Spring 2011 Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series. Jaffe is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at SDSU and the author of 19 volumes of fiction, docufiction, and nonfiction. His books include Jesus Coyote, Terror-Dot-Gov, False Positive, and his most recent, Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories. He is the editor of Fiction International. For more information, call (619) 594-6054.
April 14: In conjunction with the SDSU Library’s Civil War exhibit, Ed Blum will discuss “Satan and the Civil War: Considering Ultimate Evil in the War that Shaped America.” The lecture will be held at 4 p.m. in Room LL430. Blum is an assistant professor of history at SDSU and the author of Reforging the White Republic and W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet.
April 18: Nikola Madirov will present a poetry reading at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 as part of the Poetry International Spring Reading Series. Madirov is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Locked in the City, Somewhere Nowhere, and Relocated Stone. He was the poetry editor for the Macedonian e-magazine Blesok and lives in Macedonia and works as a poet, essayist, and literary translator. For more information, call (619) 594-1522 or email
April 20: “Neither Historian Nor Novelist: Captain Francis Moore & The Making of Civil War Memory” is the topic of a lecture to be given by Thomas Bahde, visiting scholar in the Department of History at UCSD, at 7:30 p.m. in Room LL430. Bahde is a specialist in nineteenth-century U.S. history with a focus on race, slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.The lecture is in conjunction with the library’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.
May 9: Writers Rikki Ducornet and Katie Farris will present a reading at 7 p.m. in Room LL430 as part of the Poetry International Spring Reading Series. Ducornet is the author of five books of poetry and eight novels, including the Fan Maker’s Inquisition and The Jade Cabinet.
Farris has been widely published in literary journals, and her first book, Boysgirls, is due out in spring 2011. For more information, call (619) 594-1522.

All of these events are free and open to the public. We’d enjoy hearing your feedback if you attended any of these events, so please leave a comment by clicking “Leave a Comment” under the post title.

Every year around this time, librarian Cecilia Puerto creates an altar in the Chicano Collection (Room LL126) to celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. And every year, people place such lovely, tender, and sometimes even amusing mementos on the altar as their way of remembering a deceased loved one. Here are a few photos of the 2010 altar. It’s going to be up through November 4. Perhaps there’s someone special you’d like to remember this year?

Day of the Dead altar 2010
Day of the Dead altar 2010
Day of the Dead altar 2010

Flickr Photos

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