Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Portable Likeness: Selected Portrait Miniatures and Their Literary Context

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new exhibit in the Hodges Reading Room. A Portable Likeness: Selected Portrait Miniatures and Their Literary Context, features selected portrait miniatures, both in the portable form as well as in a literary context.

Portrait miniatures emerged from the pages of manuscripts and appeared in portable form during the early 16th century. They were originally painted on vellum, card, wood, or copper and were considered a luxury item, often framed in precious metals or jewels. The images were painted with watercolors, oils, and enamels. Ivory became a more popular surface for artists around 1700, but portraits continued to appear on paper and card as well.

The earliest miniatures depicted royalty and were given as signs of favor and patronage. The late 16th century saw loyal, wealthy subjects wearing the images of Queen Elizabeth I of England as a sign of fidelity. Attempting to imitate the royals, members of the nobility began to commission miniature portraits to commemorate births, marriages, deaths, or the long departure of a loved one. By the 18th century, they were widely available to the rising middle class. These portable items were owned and carried by men and women alike, often on rings, in lockets and cases, on chains, and
incorporated into pins, necklaces, bracelets, and hair pieces.  Larger images were often displayed in a cabinet or “treasure room.”  While portrait miniatures usually show only the upper torso of the sitter, hairstyles, hats, and jewelry are often prominently featured and can help date paintings that have no provenance.

This exhibit will be featured in the Hodges Reading Room from May 12 until August 28. The Reading Room is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Exhibit in EUC Connector

A new exhibit in the EUC connector focuses on the university's dual personality. Namely, Minerva and the Spartan.
The two part exhibit explains the origins of our patron goddess, Minerva, and how she grew to become the symbol of the university. You'll also find out why the Spartan was picked as the mascot for our athletic teams (a hint-it happened after we became co-educational!), while showing some of the changes the mascot has undergone through the years. The exhibit will be up through August 30th and we hope it helps with any confusion our SOAR students may be having in reconciling UNCG's split personalities.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dust Jackets to Die For

Stories of murder, suspense, and horror fill the shelves of the American Women’s Detective Fiction Collection in the Martha Blakeney Special Collections & University Archives. It is the dust jacket artists’ struggle to convey the authors’ foreboding tales of intrigue and vengeance in book covers enticing to potential readers. Sometimes, these attempts fall short of their intended purpose. From ice skating skeletons to murder by baking soda, this exhibit features the best of the worst dust jacket art of the collection. The exhibit can be found in the displays next to the the Jackson Library reference desk from June 8th to September 1st.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Darlinettes on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

On Saturday, May 30, NPR listeners around the country were treated to a story about the Darlinettes, a big band composed of students from Woman's College (now UNCG) in the 1940s and early 1950s. The piece aired as part of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. WFDD's David Ford used resources in University Archives (as well as interviews with Darlinettes members and Steve Haines of UNCG's Jazz Studies Program) to discuss the issues the Darlinettes faced as an all-woman jazz band during the 1940s and 1950s.

You can listen to the NPR piece online at http://www.npr.org/2015/05/30/410531268/a-band-of-their-own. The site also includes some photographs and a link to a recording of the Darlinettes' original song "You Don't Get it from Books."

You can learn even more about the Darlinettes in this Spartan Stories blog post from September 2014: http://uncghistory.blogspot.com/2014/09/darlinettes-and-rhythmettes-big-band.html.