Posts by Juli McLoone

Harvest Mice, Ponds on Chalk Hills, and the Torpidity of Swallows: Gilbert White's Natural History

Black and white wood engraving of a bird in tall grass.

First published in 1789, Gilbert White’s The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne describes the history and environment of the parish in eastern Hampshire where he lived for much of his life. The book offers gently reflective accounts of White's observations, structured as 110 letters to two friends - zoologist Thomas Pennant and amateur naturalist Daines Barrington. An immensely popular and influential work in the genre of nature writing, White's writings continue to inspire...

Fairy Tale Fridays: The Twelve Dancing Princesses

shoes strewn across the floor above the title

Shoes (and dancing shoes in particular) return again and again as a central motif of fairy tales - from the glass slipper that declares Cinderella to be the Prince’s ballroom crush to the red hot iron slippers in which Snow White’s evil stepmother is forced to dance till she dies. However, perhaps no fairy tale contains quite so many shoes as “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

From Ajem Pilaf to Yalanchi Dolma: Armenian Cookbooks Added to Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

Photographs of Armenian foods

The Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive (JBLCA) at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library documents American culinary history, defined broadly to include both influences upon American foodways and the influence of American culinary practices elsewhere. The recent acquisition of a small cookbook collection formerly belonging to Colonel Karnig “Carl” Mahakian (1926-2015) contributes to JBLCA's strength in immigrant culinary traditions and charity cookbooks.

Fairy Tale Fridays: Beauty and the Beast

The beast confronts the merchant

“Beauty and the Beast” is one of the most popular and frequently republished fairy tales. While it has roots and antecedents in animal groom folklore and classical mythology, such as the tale of Cupid and Psyche, the specific characters and narrative elements that compose the tale we know as “Beauty and the Beast” have their origin in the literary fairy tale “La Belle et la Běte” written in 1740 by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve.

Staff Favorites for Children's Book Week

Logo: Children's Book Week. Coast to Coast, Cover to Cover

The audience for children’s literature goes far beyond ages 2-12. The words and images of these books linger in our minds long after we’ve outgrown the suggested age ranges. Below are a few favorite children’s books from the staff of the Special Collections Library, featuring titles present in our Children’s Literature Collection. Celebrate Children’s Book Week with one of these suggestions, or share your own best-loved books in the comments!

Shakespeare’s Life after Death: The Ireland Shakespeare Forgeries

Forgery by William Henry Ireland, purporting to be a self-portrait of Shakespeare

The exhibit Shakespeare on Page and Stage: A Celebration (Audubon Room, January 11-April 27, 2016) showcases both the textual and performance history of Shakespeare’s plays. This post looks at a particularly dramatic instance of Shakespeare forgery in the late eighteenth century. William Henry Ireland, the son of publisher and Shakespeare collector Samuel Ireland. Samuel and William Henry Ireland had a relationship that was strained at best, and as a young man, William Henry wished desperately...

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