Banned from the Library

This week, libraries across the country are celebrating Banned Books Week (September 25 – October 1) which honors the freedom to read. Hundreds of books are challenged or removed from the collections of libraries and schools across the United States every year. In 2014, the American Library Association documented at least 311 cases of books being challenged, and estimates that between 70-80% of challenges are never reported.

You don’t have to look hard to find banned books in the Special Collections Research Center. On the shelves of the SCRC, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway sits next to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. Both have been challenged, and remain important pieces of literature as well as records of American history. These classics help faculty, students, and researchers learn more about our history.

Highlighted here are two notable examples of banned and challenged books found in Special Collections Research Center.

First, a peek at an 1852 copy of the abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

An 1852 illustrated edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

An 1852 illustrated edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

In her “Preface” Stowe writes, “Good books, like good actions, best explain themselves; they most effectually storm both heart and head, their virtues drape them with greatest dignity, the less they are cumbered by eulogistic comment.”

Frontispiece from the 1852 illustrated edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Frontispiece and title page from the 1852 illustrated edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

With its marbled cover and leather binding, this 1852 edition looks innocuous. But for over 100 years, Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been challenged or banned because of its contextual, historically accurate depiction of slavery in the United States. It is also seen as popularizing stereotypes.

The Special Collections Research Center also holds a first edition of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Front cover of Beloved by Toni Morrison

Front cover of Beloved by Toni Morrison

A discussion on Banned Books that Shaped America says “Again and again, this Pulitzer-prize winning novel by perhaps the most influential African-American writer of all time is assigned to high school English students. And again and again, parental complaints are lodged against the book because of its violence, sexual content and discussion of bestiality.”

You can find these “banned” books and many others by searching the catalog on our website.

For more information or to view these books, visit the Special Collections Research Center in Fenwick Library 2400.

Email: speccoll@gmu.edu

SCRC Open House

Special Collections Research Center will be having an open house on September 7, 2016, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM and September 8, 2016, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of the public are all invited to stop by and learn about our collections, how you can use our materials, and how to search finding aids. A number of our materials will be placed in our seminar room for individuals to view. There will also be light refreshments.

 

For questions, please contact speccoll@gmu.edu or visit our website, sca.gmu.edu.

 

“Some books are lies frae end to end, And some great lies were never penn’d”

August 21st is Poet’s Day and we are celebrating by calling attention to just a few of our poetry books. The quote in the title comes from “Death and Doctor Hornbook: A True Story” by Robert Burns, featured in The Poetical Works of Robert Burns shown below.

Burns, Robert, Poetical Works of Robert Burns , PR4300 1850 B6, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Burns, Robert, The Poetical Works of Robert Burns, PR4300 1850 B6, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Dickinson, Emily, Letters of Emily Dickinson , PS1541 .Z5 A3 1931, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Dickinson, Emily, Letters of Emily Dickinson, PS1541 .Z5 A3 1931, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Yeats, W. B., The Secret Rose , PR5904 .S3 1897b, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Yeats, W. B., The Secret Rose, PR5904 .S3 1897b, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner , PR4479 .A1 1910b, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, PR4479 .A1 1910b, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Chaucer, Jeffrey, The Works of Our Ancient, Learned, & Excellent English Poet, Jeffrey Chaucer , PR1850 1687, Special Collections Research Center.

Chaucer, Jeffrey, The Works of Our Ancient, Learned, & Excellent English Poet, Jeffrey Chaucer, PR1850 1687, Special Collections Research Center.

 

Johnson, Samuel, The Works of English Poets , v.29 of 75, PR1171 .J6, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Johnson, Samuel, The Works of English Poets, v.29 of 75, PR1171 .J6, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Miyamori, Asatar?, An Anthology of Japanese Poems , PL884 .M585 1938, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Caption reads, “Cherries and pines in the foreground. From a larger picture presented to Fuhrer Adolf Hitler by the Department of Education.” Miyamori, Asataro, An Anthology of Japanese Poems, PL884 .M585 1938, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Alighieri, Dante, Dante's Hell , PQ4315.21 .P43 1857, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Alighieri, Dante, Dante’s Hell, PQ4315.21 .P43 1857, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

T?ayyib, ?Abd Alla?h, al-H?ama?sah al-sughra? , PJ7641 .T37 1964, Special Collections Research Center.

Tayyib, Abd Allah, al-Hamasah al-sughra, PJ7641 .T37 1964, Special Collections Research Center.

 

Scaligero, Giulio Cesare, Iulij Caesaris Scaligeri viri clarissimi poematum , PA8575 .S3 P37 1591, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Scaligero, Giulio Cesare, Iulij Caesaris Scaligeri viri clarissimi poematum, PA8575 .S3 P37 1591, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

Ovid, Les Metamorphoses , PA6523 .M2 B35 1732b v.1, Special Collections Research Center.

Ovid, Les Metamorphoses, PA6523 .M2 B35 1732b v.1, Special Collections Research Center.

 

Juvenal, Mores Hominum , PA6447 .E5 S7 1660, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Juvenal, Mores Hominum, PA6447 .E5 S7 1660, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

For more information:

Poet’s Day

To schedule an appointment to view collections, contact Special Collections Research Center. Walk-ins are also welcome.

E-mail: speccoll@gmu.edu

Phone: 703-993-2220

From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki

Document from scrapbook 14 of the Arthur E. Scott Photography Collection #C0096, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Document from scrapbook 14 of the Arthur E. Scott Photography Collection #C0096, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

On August 6, 1945, the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city, Hiroshima. A few days later on August 9th, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. It has been estimated that the total casualties from both bombs was under 230,000 individuals.

 

Japan was fighting for control over land in the Pacific before World War II, leading Japanese naval and air forces to strike Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This surprise attack left an estimated 3,500 American casualties, less than 100 of them civilians, and many sunken or damaged ships. There were significantly fewer Japanese casualties and the attack overall was a failure. For the next couple years, the United States of America began creating an atomic bomb to use during World War II since it was known that other countries were also experimenting with the creation of a nuclear weapon.

 

Document from scrapbook 14 of the Arthur E. Scott Photography Collection #C0096, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Document from scrapbook 14 of the Arthur E. Scott Photography Collection #C0096, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

The attack on Pearl Harbor was the beginning of the war between Japan and the United States. The U.S. government officially declared war with Japan on December 8, 1941. Only days later did the United States add Germany and Italy in their declaration of war, entering into World War II. As the war waged on, the United States of America, wanting Japan to surrender and end the war, dropped two atomic bombs. Shortly after the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan surrendered and the war was over.

 

Canning, John, 50 True Tales of Terror, PR1309 .H6 A13 1972, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Canning, John, 50 True Tales of Terror, PR1309 .H6 A13 1972, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

“Hiroshima — Death and Rebirth” by C.E. Maine in 50 True Tales of Terror, is a story of a young man named Yoshio who experiences the devastation brought on by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The narrator describes the “blinding white flash” and “searing heat” that Yoshio will always remember. The rest of the tale follows Yoshio as he stumbles over rubble, finds his cousin badly injured, desperately searches for his family, and helps the local hospitals by finding medical supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

Hiroshima Day

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Testimonies

Pearl Harbor Survivors

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 to schedule an appointment or request materials.