One of the main areas of focus at Special Collections is the history of recorded information. To add to our collection on recorded information, we’ve recently acquired a sampler made by 12 year old Elizabeth Herbert in the year 1778. Like most female students of the time, Herbert was required to have a working knowledge of sewing and cross-stitching before she could graduate from school and become a suitable wife.
In the early 16th century, cross-stitching and sewing were necessary parts of the feminine lifestyle. To make clothing and furniture unique and stylish, intricate colors and designs were sewn in. Because the internet, and IPads weren’t readily accessible to the Renaissance homemaker, it was difficult to find and replicate popular patterns of the time. For women to replicate their favorite stitches and patterns, they would need to quickly make an example of the design at the site of discovery. Long, narrow pieces of material were used by skilled cross-stitchers to copy miniature versions of their favorite patterns. These piece of cloth would eventually be referred to as samplers.
By the time Elizabeth Herbert was in school, the use of samplers had drastically changed. Due to the wide accessibility of print, samplers in their true sense had become somewhat obsolete; however, they still found wide usage in a female’s education. As mentioned about, most girls were required to be able to produce evidence of their ability to sew and cross-stich. Samplers proved to be the perfect medium through which they could prove their skills to both their instructors and their families.
Samplers became square shaped so that they could be easily displayed. Many sampler of Herbert’s day would feature the alphabet, several objects tactfully placed throughout the sampler, and a brief religious statement.
The different designs, and information featured on the Herbert’s sampler offer a unique perspective into the life of Elizabeth. An alphabet is etched into the top of the page. Floral designs are found in the middle, and on the bottom a scriptural reference “Commit not Sin But Fear the Living Lord” followed by a brief genealogical statement.
The alphabet Latin alphabet was chosen by Herbert. Due to its common usage in samplers during the time period, it appears as though the Latin alphabet was in vogue. The “J” is missing from the alphabet, and the “U” takes on a “V” shape in this particular sampler. When closely examining the spelling in our sampler, we find that many words were phonetically written. This gives us an interesting perspective on how English grammar was taught and practiced before it was standardized. Elizabeth Described herself as “dotor of Robert and Elizabeth Herbert”.
We are more than thrilled to have this piece in special collections, and would hope that you would stop by and take a look at this artifact and the many others that we house!
The inverted five-pointed star was first displayed on the exterior of the Nauvoo, IL Temple in the early 1840s. The five-pointed star is often represented as the morning star.
The descending ray of the Nauvoo Temple’s inverted five-point star stones (there is only one surviving example and it is damaged) was extended downward. Such an orientation suggests the rising morning star. This “star” is not a star at all, but the planet Venus. Venus’ brightness is a reflection of the sun, which invisible below the horizon. The extended ray portrays the source of the morning stars brightness, not the planet itself, but the sun’s brilliance.
Through a unique orbital characteristic Venus shares a relationship with the five-pointed star. Carl G. Liungman explains: “If one knows the ecliptic and can pinpoint the present position of the planets in relation to the fixed star of the zodiac, it is possible to mark the exact place in the 360 degrees of the zodiac where the Morning star first appears shortly before sunrise after a period of invisibility. If we do this, waiting for the Morning star to appear again 584 days later (the orbital time of Venus) and mark its position in the zodiac, and then repeat this process until we have five positions of Venus as the Morning star, we will find that exactly eight years plus one day have passed.
If we then draw a line from the first point marked to the second point marked, then to the third, and so on, we end up with a pentagram [five-pointed star]” No other celestial object, whether planet or star, has this orbital characteristic; it is wholly unique to Venus (the Morning/Evening Star).
Jesus Christ is called the “bright and morning star” (Rev 22:16). The star stones on the Nauvoo Temple, some with their unique lengthened ray, are a fitting symbol of Jesus Christ as the morning star. Additionally, the circle is a symbol of eternity and it is wholly fitting that the symbol of Jesus Christ in the circular windows (five-pointed stars) was framed by a circle.
Furthermore, between the star stones in the frieze were circular windows. The architect’s drawing of these windows repeated the motif of the star stones with inverted five-pointed stars, unifying the design of this part of the temple.
BYU-Idaho has recently received the Lewis & Clark traveling exhibit. It will be here in Special Collections until November. Come see it while you can! Located on the 2nd floor of the David O. McKay Library.
Here are a few sneak peeks:
Captain Meriweather Lewis and Captain William Clark were charged by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and to chart the territory newly acquired following the Louisiana Purchase. Plant and animal life, geography, and local Nat
ive-American tribes were all sketched, studied, charted, recorded, and graphed along the way. A portable, permanent, and easily accessible method to document all of the expedition’s journeying was greatly needed, and thoroughly depended upon by Captains Lewis and Clark.
The primary writing utensil was the quill pen easily made from the primary wing-feather of a large bird (crows, owls, or turkeys for example). A good quill pen would need only infrequent sharpening, and would last as long as the feather itself.
The INK carried on the Corps of Discovery Expedition of Captains Lewis & Clark was kept as powder so as to allow for effortless transport and storage, and would be mixed into use when needed.
The tomahawk pipe was usually made from native wood, with the blade either being made from iron, or brass. This tool was mostly used mostly for smoking during ceremonies, councils, and rituals. It has also been referred to as the “peace pipe,” because they were given as gifts to seal treaties among different groups. Lewis and Clark took fifty tomahawk pipes on their expedition to use to trade, or to give as gifts. At times the tomahawk pipe was used for cutting, but this only happened periodically. The pipe was more symbolic, decorative item, and was usually held by Native American chiefs as a symbol of leadership.
After a long ‘hard’ summer of sweating through every pore – we finally have a few new exhibits on display!
The Deseret Alphabet
This is our main exhibit for the semester, so we (Paulina and Karen) wanted to give you a brief history of what all the mambo jumbo’s about!
Way back when (okay, the late 1800s) there were tons of new members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were all speaking various European languages and to have each of them learn English – the language with the most exceptions to the rules, and other problems – could be disastrous! So, a professor of shorthand, George Watt taught some classes when he came to the United States and one of his students was Brigham Young. Brigham was so excited about the idea of a universal, phonetic language he decided to give it a shot. (Well, he had Watt and a committee of other people do it.) The project began in coming up with a phonetic alphabet that early Saints could learn to help them transition into English. They printed newspaper articles, coins, handbills and even headstones in the Deseret Alphabet. With the extension of the railroad and no one really being that interested anymore, by 1862, the project had died and no one has really talked about it since.
Now, here in the SPC, we have a whole collection of items that contained the Deseret Alphabet to put on display for all of campus to see! Super awesome! Check out our website for more details on the formation and life of the Deseret Alphabet.
Ricks College & Sports
Tons of awesome stuff! Michael did a wonderful job on the research and putting this one together – and it’s still getting finished up! Coming here to BYU-Idaho, you’d never know that we had such a great league of sports teams back in the day. Marching band formations, cheers (some great, others not so great — ask Karen or Michael if you’re interested to know about how racist one of the cheers was), and other neat stuff. I mean, we had athletes that would become apostles on the teams, even athletes who would make it to the OLYMPICS! Sweet, huh? One of the saddest things that we learned while putting this exhibit together was that the first trophy that was ever awarded to any sports team was sitting in the basement of the Hart Building collecting dust. Thank goodness we have it out and on display for everyone to see now!
Teton Dam Flood Disaster
Really informational display that Erica put together. Be sure that you listen to the audio files of witnesses to the before, during and after the disaster. A map is on the wall that shows where the water all went – and boy, it went a long way! Around the map are tons of good photos and scans of newspaper articles from 1976 that help in the understanding of all that went on, and influential Ricks College really was in the putting back together of not only Rexburg, but the surrounding area as well. Make sure you find the couple of photos where Broulims is totally gutted! Or the lone slimmed chair.
Lots of restoration work went into putting this display together. Re-gluing photos, and bindings, oh my! Take a look through these scrapbooks to get an idea of just how diverse of a student and faculty body we’ve had on this campus through the years. You may even know a few people that went to Ricks College, or find that there may have been some seemingly interesting organizations students participated in. Or did you know that Spori Villa (currently Men’s Housing) was the home of the Manwaring’s? The scrapbooks on display are just a taste of what other scrapbooks we have here at the SPC.
This may not be as exciting as, say, acquiring the original Book of Commandments or a Gutenberg Bible, but we’re thrilled. After years (at least it felt that way) of seeing backpacks piled near the front desk, we finally have space for students to store their belongings in an organized way. Archivists are supposed to know how to organize things, and having backpacks tossed without any respect to order (at least group them by size or color!) was gnawing at my soul. No longer will I need to tap down the urge to reshuffle student property. The chaos and dysfunction that occurred near the front desk every time we welcomed a class to the reading room will be replaced with peace and calm as each student happily slides his or her bag into a cubby. Better organization, that’s how we achieve world peace.
All is well. My life is complete, for one day.
Now we need some classes to use it. If you’d like to bring your BYU-Idaho class in for an orientation, please click here for more information.
We’d like to announce the arrival of our new website, named the Special Collections Website, coming in around 8.2 KB (a totally made-up figure). You can follow its actions here: www.byui.edu/special-collections
Here’s a picture of its first step onto the Internet:
The new website provides information on our collecting areas, the services we offer, how to schedule a class visit, and information on searching and finding important primary resources accessible only through Special Collections. The site also lists the permanent and rotating exhibits in our reading room.
We welcome any feedback you have to offer, simply contact us by linking to the staff list within About Us or use the form below.
Traditionally, the summer months for Ricks Academy were a time for summer vacation so few events were held on campus. It wasn’t until Ricks College became BYU-Idaho that enrollment in June was as high as enrollment in the fall and winter months. Needless to say, finding a noteworthy event from campus history is slim. How about a seemingly less-than-noteworthy event?
Looking through the minutes of the Bannock Stake Board of Education revealed this little piece of information. On June 11, 1909, the executive committee of Ricks Academy met to discuss bills for the summer months. What a raucous good meeting it must have been. One favorable outcome on bills was that the school had negotiated water rental rates with the city. The clerk, W.E. Gee, reported that the city had agreed to reduce the rate from $10.00 to $2.50 for the summer vacation. But the city had one condition: the water fountains in the Academy Building were to be shut off (from the Minutes of the Board of Education in Bannock Stake, Special Collections & Archives, David O. McKay Library).
Currently, the Library’s air conditioning is down, causing us to rely more on the water fountains in the building. Fortunately our fountains work and provide cool water. We hope no one negotiated a special A/C rate.
For more images of the Academy Building (a.k.a. the Spori Building), see our digital Campus Photographs Collection, or come to room 220 in the McKay Library.
The History of Printing Collection is one of high interest. The Special Collections and Archives houses samples of how man has advanced in writing and record keeping. It includes many of our old and rare items along with many artifacts and important books including a leaf from a Gutenberg bible. We also have a 1st edition of the Book of Mormon. We welcome all who come to view these special and important books.
History of Printing Images
Quick Facts about the History of Printing Collection:
- Oldest Bound Book:
- Sermonnes Pomerii de Sanctis
- -1505 A.D.
- Sermonnes Pomerii de Sanctis
- Oldest Artifact:
- Chinese Seal
- -1390 A.D.
- Chinese Seal
- Oldest Manuscript:
- Medieval Book of Hours
- -Leaf 1425 A.D.
- Medieval Book of Hours
- Cuneiform Items have not been added to this collection yet
- Around 4,000 Years Old
- Original Book of Mormon
- -$75,000 to $125,000
- La Bibbia di Borso d’Este
- -This is a facsimile but the original is considered to be one of the greatest examples of Renaissance miniaturistic painting. Of particular interest in this Bible is the scene depicting the creation of the world.
- Medieval Book of Hours Leaf
- -Pay special attention to the holes in this leaf and how the penwork has been deftly worked to feel the available space.
The Wow Factor:
- Of course all of the items listed above people find fascinating but here are a few more.
- 1611 King James Bible
- Indian Manuscript
- Legal Document
- Chinese Bamboo Scroll
- Palm Leaf Manuscript
- Biblia Sacra Mazarinea