Stockholm | From Sweden to Italy : Through Eastern Europe on Ferries, Busses, Planes & Trains

Stockholm bike share

Stockholm bike share

Series Background: I spent October traveling from Stockholm, Sweden to Rome, Italy. Though I’d been to Italy before, I hadn’t been to the other eight countries I explored – Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia. I’ll try to keep it brief, sticking to the cities I stayed in, their highlights and foods, and how I got around. And maybe a few photos… <Here’s Part 1, all about Stockholm.>

I flew into Stockholm – Arlanda (very nice restrooms). The airport is far from downtown, so a cab or train is needed. The train is inexpensive and fairly quick. I checked into my hotel on the Nybroviken bay, a few blocks from the Dramaten (Royal Dramatic Theatre). It was a quick 10 minute walk to Nalen Restaurant for dinner. The food and service were excellent. I tried local reindeer, a Swedish appetizer sampler with some amazing cheese pie, and fresh caught fish.

Next Day: explored Gamla Stan (Old Town), the Royal Palace, the island of Djurgården, the Vasa Museum and the Östermalm neighborhood. The massive wooden ship in the Vasa Museum from the 1620’s is more than 95% original and was preserved underwater for over 300 years. I spent most of the day walking. If the weather is good, the local bike rental would be a great option to cover more ground quicker. There were also street cars on Djurgården. Dinner at Prinsen tasted good, but was a bit stuffy and expensive.

Next Day: checked out the neighborhoods of Norrmalm and Vasastan, Sergels torg (new town Square), the Stockholm Public Library, the Kungsträdgården park and a farmers’ market showcasing Chanterelles outside the Royal Swedish Opera House (Kungliga Operan). The library’s reading room is completely round with book shelves that curve 360° around the inner walls, very unique. In the afternoon it was time to hop on the ferry through the Åland Islands (more than 6700 of them!) for the overnight ride to Helsinki. <Check out the next installment about Helsinki, Finland.>

Åland

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<Next post: Helsinki, Finland.>

Book Review | The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

book cover the strange library by haruki murakami english edMurakami followers are psyched about this month’s English release of illustrated novella The Strange Library. Previously released in Japan in 2005 as Fushigi na toshokan, the work was a revised edition of 1982 story Toshokan kitan. At just about 100 pages, this book is really a bedtime story for adults. The story follows a student to the public library. He’s looking for some books about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire when the librarian refers him to a research room that he hasn’t previously heard of. Upon entering the room, he’s greeted by an eerie old man who fetches the books he’s after, but then imprisons him deep in the bowels of the library.

Long time Murakami fans will be delighted with the return of the sheepman from the “Trilogy of the Rat”: Pinball, 1973, A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance. More recent fans will appreciate stylistic similarities and textual magical realism or surrealism. This book will get you laughing. Though this story could be thought of for children, it may also make them afraid of the library or older librarians – beware. Check to see if this book is available at a library near you. After you’ve finished reading it, hop over to the New Yorker’s page to read Murakami’s short story Scheherazade that they published in October.

Corning-Painted Post third graders visit Rakow Library

CPP group working on puzzle

CPP group working on puzzle

In addition to providing traditional library services, the Rakow Library understands the importance of inviting the local community into its home. Each spring or fall, third grade classes from the Corning-Painted Post school district visit the Museum. During the Library visit, librarians teach students why the Rakow Library is special, what types of materials it has, and what services it offers. In addition, librarians and docents work together to conduct two unique learning activities.

Children gaze in awe at a leather-bound 15th century manuscript that survived the 1972 flood. When we bring the oversized tome down to eye-level, their faces light up and a chorus of “wow” is generally audible.

De situ orbis (manuscsript)

De situ orbis

Two favorite activities are the glass matching game and completing the large 1882 Corning map puzzle. Using a word bank, students identify glass objects that used to be common, but today are a bit tricky. They are quick to identify the glass shoes, necktie and pen, but stumble most with small antique hair gel jars shaped like bears. Librarians explain that before hair gel became what it is today, people used to slick their hair back with bear grease. This draws comments of “ew” and “gross,” and then it’s time to move on to the map puzzle!

We use the Corning map to show what methods of transportation were available in 1882 and how they influenced the development of Corning as a glass production hub. Focusing on the railroads and Chemung River, we talk about shipping and the importance of being able to bring in raw materials and send out finished glass goods. Working in groups, children assemble the approximately three foot wide map puzzle. Upon completion, if there’s time remaining, students figure out where the Museum would be located.

1882 Corning map

1882 Corning map

Approximately 275 third graders will visit the Library this November and December, including the groups who visited us this past spring in March and April. Each librarian and docent pair covers the same material in a slightly different way. Working with the visiting school groups is an exciting part of our day that we really look forward to. This program has happened each fall and spring for the past five years, and we anticipate continuing the tradition. If you are interested in bringing a school or other group to the Rakow Library, request a program online or e-mail us for more information.


The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): rakow@cmog.org

Introduction to the Collection Series: A Sneak Peek of the Rakow Library’s Video Collection

The Rakow Library owns nearly 3000 videos with new titles constantly being added. Besides DVDs and online videos, this collection also includes VHS, super 8s, mini-DVs, 12” optical discs, 16 and 35mm films, and other formats. Some of the older formatted items have been migrated to DVDs and are viewable in the Library. We have DVD and VHS players in the Library for patrons to watch videos when they visit as this collection is non-circulating. Visiting artists and Studio students are some of the most avid users of these resources.

The Library acquires video materials in support of the instructional, research, and informational scope of its collection policy. Videos are purchased new and used and are often received as gifts from donors, artists or organizations. Some of the most unique videos are those created by artists which have been donated to the Library. Topics covered include glass in its many forms. Educational and instructional videos, documentaries, lectures, presentations, non-commercial productions, and other videos aid in the study and research of glass. The collection also contains a few fictional and animated features. Videos are collected in any language. When possible, we purchase two copies of videos so that one can be used by patrons and one can be placed in our secured stacks. All copies are stored in temperature and humidity controlled shelving areas for increased longevity.

Video section in the Rakow Library

Video section in the Rakow Library

Recently we received The automatic glass bottle blower: an end to an atrocity as a gift. This film, made by two high school seniors, documents child labor in the glass industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and examines how the invention of the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine led to a decline in child labor. The machine eliminated many positions that had previously been staffed by children. The film has won several awards and includes objects from the Library collection. The oldest video in the collection, from approximately 1910, is about the Owens Bottle Machine.

Another interesting work is Buster Simpson’s Pilchuck tapes 1971-1973. These tapes detail the creation of and activities at Pilchuck Glass school through Simpson’s footage of participants and instructors including Fritz Dreisbach, Dale Chihuly, Gianni Toso, Erwin Eisch, Toots Zynsky, Harvey Littleton and others. Unedited, these videos detail original studio concepts and the roots of Pilchuck.

In addition to the videos held in the Library, the Museum offers an extensive collection of videos both on our YouTube channel and our website.


This is the sixth installment of the Rakow Research Library’s Introduction to the Collection Series.
<< Book Collection | Documents >>

The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): rakow@cmog.org
Explore the collection online using the classic catalog or the Library’s collection browser.

Introduction to the Collection Series: Exhibition Catalogs, Price Guides, and Batch Books! Oh, my!

At the core of The Rakow Research Library is the book collection, numbering approximately 37,500 titles. We try to obtain every book on the history and art of glass and glassmaking, meaning new, old, and rare volumes are constantly being added to the collection. The acquisitions team is responsible for purchasing books and receives suggestions from reference librarians, curators, and other museum staff. There are three primary ways in which books are acquired. They can be purchased from a vendor, they can be received as an exchange from other libraries, museums or universities, or they can come in as donations. With “glassy” books, we try to obtain one copy for public use and a second non-circulating copy.

Recent acquisitions in the Rakow Library

Recent acquisitions in the Rakow Library

Along with the obvious glassy subjects such as glassmaking techniques, stained glass, glass artists, and glass company histories; topics range from architecture to Christmas ornaments to neon and beads. Fiction, children’s books, craft instruction and pattern books, glass dictionaries, and identification and price guides are here, too. We have unique materials that are self-published by contemporary artists. In addition to those, we also collect in subject areas that support glass research, including archaeology, ceramics, and other decorative arts, to name a few. Materials in our collection can be found in more than 50 different languages. The oldest book dating back to approximately 1150 is the Mappae Clavicula, which was hand-copied by monks and contains formulae for making colored glass.

Rakow Library rare books in secured stacks

Rakow Library rare books in secured stacks

Kelly Bliss is in charge of cataloging the book collection. Nearly 50% of the book cataloging that Kelly does is original, meaning that no other library reports holding that item. Kelly’s favorite book in the Library is a William Leighton Batch book, which was donated by the family in 1993. A batch book is a glassmaker’s recipe book for different types and colors of glass. Dated October 1850, this miniature book inside a leather case was written by hand and contains 46 pages of recipes that easily fit in the palm of your hand. Additional miniature pages contain typed up recipes. Like many other items in our collection, it is one-of-a-kind.

William Leighton batch book

William Leighton batch book. Bib. #44510

Though we used to microfilm rare books for preservation and circulation, they are now being digitized for increased accessibility. Some books have been put on “page turning” software and are available on our website allowing patrons to read the digitized versions. We are happy to lend any books through Interlibrary Loan provided that we hold at least two copies, and we encourage you to visit and see the collection first hand. Kelly says, “People can’t imagine what we have . . . to look at all of the different topics we have, they would be amazed.”

The Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library Open Stacks

One aisle of the Rakow Library open stacks


This is the fifth installment of the Rakow Research Library’s Introduction to the Collection Series.
<< Article Index | Videos >>

The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): rakow@cmog.org
Explore the collection online using the classic catalog or the Library’s collection browser.

Introduction to the Collection Series: Trade Catalogs for Glass Research at The Rakow Research Library

The Rakow Library is home to an extensive collection of glass company trade catalogs. Approximately 17,000 trade catalogs in various languages, representing firms worldwide, are housed in our temperature and humidity controlled secure stacks with preservation in mind.

19th century Silber and Fleming glass trade catalog. Bib. #89888

19th century Silber and Fleming trade catalog. Bib. #89888

A trade catalog is issued by a manufacturer, distributor, wholesales, or retailer with the intention of promoting business. Trade catalogs are invaluable resources for identifying manufacturer’s styles, patterns, dates of production, and original prices. They also provide background on economical and social circumstances for the times in which they were published.

Trade catalogs are primarily used for identification purposes by an audience of collectors, researchers, curators, and members of the public wanting to identify glass objects. For ease of access, we have categorized trade catalogs into the following subject areas: bottles and druggists’ glassware, cut glass, flat glass (including stained and architectural), laboratory ware (including industrial and optical), lighting glassware and lamps, tableware, tools (glass blowing and working tools), glass art, paperweights, and glass jewelry, among others.

1923 McKee Glass Company cut glass lamp trade catalog. Bib. #28854

1923 McKee Glass Company trade catalog. Bib. #28854

19th century F. and C. Osler glass chandelier trade catalog. Bib #92821

19th century F. and C. Osler trade catalog. Bib #92821

The Rakow Library is committed to acquiring and preserving these materials and pursues expansion of the collection. Sheila Tshudy, in charge of trade catalogs, contacts firms, works with rare and second hand book dealers, and searches eBay to find new additions. The ever-growing collection is also supplemented by gifts from generous donors.

Though our trade catalogs do not circulate, they are all available for use in the Library and we do loan microform copies, if available, through Interlibrary Loan. A large part of this collection was microfilmed and we have over 1,000 microform catalogs which were filmed with permission while on loan to us from other institutions and private individuals. The earliest dated catalog is a price list from 1722, from the firm Manufacture Royale des Glaces de France (Saint-Gobain) entitled Tarif du prix de glaces de la Manufacture royale.

Digitization of select trade catalogs from the collection allows us to provide access to these unique resources via our website. The digital collection is continually growing, and currently more than 200 trade catalogs are available digitally to be viewed in their entirety. We encourage you to visit The Rakow Research Library and consult these valuable resources.


This is the third installment of the Rakow Research Library’s Introduction to the Collection Series.
<< Prints & Drawings | Article Index >>

The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): rakow@cmog.org

Glass Research at The Rakow Research Library: Introduction to the Collection Series

When you hear the word library, the first thing that comes to mind is likely books. With a little more thought, you may come to digital collections, videos, sound recordings, microfilm or archives. You might think of periodicals and articles. If you’re familiar with the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Research Library, you’ll also think of auction and trade catalogs, photographs, prints and drawings, patents, ephemera and a host of other documents.

Rakow Library reading room

Rakow Library reading room

The Rakow Research Library is the world’s foremost library on the art and history of glass and glassmaking. We want to share our collection with you piece by piece and we hope this Introduction to the Collection blog series will increase your awareness of the different types of materials that can be found in the Library.

De la pirotechnia by Biringucci. Bib. #93699

De la pirotechnia by Biringucci. Bib. #93699

The Rakow Library has books ranging from a 12th-century manuscript to the latest exhibition catalogs of contemporary glass artists. Beside the glass-centered books on art, business, objects, history, people and science, we collect texts to support research in related fields of study. Virtual books make up part of the digital collection, which is also comprised of digitized slides, rare books, trade catalogs, photographs, oral histories, design drawings, works of art on paper, notebooks, and sketchbooks. Making this part of the collection easily accessible serves to support teaching and research while helping to preserve original materials.

Watercolor of Chestnut leaves by Alice Gouvy for Tiffany. Bib. #88922

Watercolor of Chestnut leaves by Alice Gouvy for Tiffany. Bib. #88922

To aid in the study and research of glass, educational and instructional videos, documentaries, lectures, presentations, non-commercial productions, and other films are available. Sound recordings, slides and transparencies also hold useful information for researchers. Unique to the Rakow Library, over 130 archival collections from individual artists, galleries, companies, scholars and organizations consist of primary materials such as personal papers, notebooks, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, drawings, blueprints, ephemera, posters, cartoons, photographs, slides, and transparencies. In addition, works on paper include art originals, drawings, prints, photographs, and posters ranging in date from the 16th century to the present.

Littleton in his office at his farm in Wisconsin. Digitized from Lipofsky slide.

Littleton in his office at his farm in Wisconsin. Digitized from Lipofsky slide.

With over 850 active subscriptions and over a thousand titles from the 18th to the 21st century, the Library houses a large periodical collection to support the study of glass. Online subscription databases also give library patrons on site access to articles, many in electronic full text. Auction and trade catalogs comprise a good part of the library’s collection at approximately 27,000 items. The catalogs are unparalleled resources in providing primary source information for scholars researching glass in its artistic, historic, economic, and sociological aspects.

Robert Florian Negative of June 1962 Toledo workshop. Bib. #105709

June 1962 Toledo workshop (Film Negative by Robert Florian) Bib. #105709

Finally, the Library houses patents, documents, such as glass factory correspondence and other miscellaneous records, and ephemera including postage stamps, calendars, and other glass-related resources.

We hope that this general introduction to the collection helps you understand the different types of resources that are available in the Rakow Library. Be sure to check back for upcoming installments of the Introduction to the Collection series that will focus on specific areas of the collection.


This is the first installment of the Rakow Research Library’s Introduction to the Collection Series. Read the next post: Prints & Drawings >>

The Rakow Research Library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Telephone: 607.438.5300 | Email (general inquiries): rakow@cmog.org