Past Exhibits 2013

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Two Degrees and You

Northwestern University has approached climate change through science, innovative engineering, student initiatives and strategic imperatives to reduce greenhouse gases and develop clean energy. A new exhibit highlights these efforts and the vast book, map, digital and archival resources of Northwestern University Library.

Two Degrees and You: An NU Approach to Climate Change opened January 13 and ran through March 21, 2014.




“Tune in Again”:  How Three Northwestern Co-eds Created One of Radio’s First Soap Operas

An exhibit by the Northwestern University Archives February 3-March 21, 2014Deering Library Lobby (2nd floor), Northwestern University

From 1930 to 1946, the daily conversations of three ordinary, working-class housewives—exchanged over the back fence or during a kitchen-table kaffee-klatsch—fascinated thousands of radio listeners across the U.S.  Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em, with its midmorning timeslot and sponsorship by a dishwashing detergent, also inspired the name “soap opera” for this genre of radio broadcast, aimed at an audience of women.
But the true drama of Clara, Lu, ‘n’ Em lay in the fact that these gossiping  gals with their prosaic lives and sloppy grammar were invented and portrayed by accomplished alumnae of Northwestern University’s School of Speech (now School of Communication).  A further plot twist:  Clara, Lu ‘n’  Em was the first radio show created and performed by women, who wrote every script and negotiated the complex world of sponsorships and contracts.    
“Tune in Again” features scripts, newsclippings, posters, photographs, audio, and artifacts from the Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em show, received as a generous donation to the University Archives from “Em’s” family. While documenting the life of the program and its creators, the exhibit also illustrates how radio stations publicized their programs and how sponsors pushed their products.  Audio wands give visitors the opportunity to listen in and laugh along with original broadcasts of Clara, Lu ‘n’ Em programs.

Past, Paper, Scissors: Scrapbooks from the Northwestern University Library Collections
In an era of Facebook and Instagram, it’s important to recall that once we collected our own histories by pasting them into scrapbooks. Past, Paper, Scissorsexplores history at Northwestern and beyond as depicted by the photos, clippings, ticket stubs, faded flowers, and dance cards packed onto the scrapbook pages of a bygone era—and looks forward to the ways we can preserve our increasingly digital memories to create tomorrow’s history.
Visit the online exhibit at: to see many pages of these beautiful objects.


Homage to Khidekel

By Mikhail Karasik, St. Petersburg:  M.K. Publishers, 2012.  One of 12 copies.
According to the artist, Homage to Khidekel is an attempt to interpret designs and drawings of the artist and architect Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986).   Khidekel was a pupil of the Suprematist artist and theorist Kasimir Malevich and went on to formally study architecture.  While he tried to incorporate Suprematist and Futurist aspects into his architectural work, the cultural climate of Stalinist Russia turned against the avant garde and much of his commissioned work had to conform to state sponsored aesthetics.
In this suite of prints Karasik also pays tribute to the beauty he finds in simple tools such as a protractor and spears.
Born in 1953, Mikhail Karasik is one of contemporary Russia’s most famed and respected creator of artists books.  He has been producing artists books since 1987.  He recently had an exhibit in the State Museum of Architecture in Moscow and in September 2013 he will have a solo exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of the Avant Garde that will include another copy of Homage to Khidekel.  More of Karasik’s works may be seen on his website:

Viola Spolin : Improvisation & Intuition, April 1, 2013-September, 9, 2013

Viola Spolin was a pioneer in American Theatre.  She has been called “the high-priestess of improv” and is best known as the creator of theater games, originally created as a series of exercises to aid students in the study of drama.  Her games and approach to theatre inspired the creation of The Second City, other famous theatre projects, and was the fundamental impetus for Chicago’s improv theatre movement.   Beyond theatre, Spolin’s games provide a way to tap into the intuitive, freeing the players to truly experience the moment and a heightened creative state.   

Decorative Cloth: Publishers' Trade Bindings in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, 1820-1920
In the early nineteenth century, the development of case binding, a technique conducive to mass production, made the manufacture of books with uniform edition bindings possible.  Publishers eventually began using this convenience to their further advantage, decorating the covers and spines as a form of commercial enticement and an expression of house pride.   This continued throughout the nineteenth century and into the early years of the 20th century.
The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections holds thousands of examples of these publishers’ trade bindings from throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a selection of which are currently being displayed on the 3rd floor of Deering Library.  The exhibit is arranged chronologically by decade, ranging from the 1820s-1920s, and showcases some of the typical designs found during those decades.
The exhibit ran through June, 2013 on the third floor of Deering Library.

On Her Own Terms: Patricia Neal's Life and Legacy. January 10 - March 22, 2013
 A star on both the stage and screen, Northwestern alumna Patricia Neal was best known for her film roles in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), and Hud (1963), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. But she once told Larry King that she hoped she would also be remembered for what she thought of as her other starring roles: as mother to her five children, as the survivor of a disabling stroke from which she painstakingly made a complete recovery, and as a passionate advocate for other stroke patients.
Now a new exhibit at Northwestern University Library explores all these legacies, based on the extraordinary collection of personal papers, Hollywood souvenirs, photos, and other memorabilia held by University Archives. On Her Own Terms: Patricia Neal’s Life and Legacy is free and open to the public January 10 through March 22, 2013.
Curated by Benn Joseph, Manuscript Librarian for Special Collections and Archives, the exhibit is packed with artifacts from Neal’s childhood, school life, career, family, legacy, philanthropy and celebrity. Among them are a baby book with a lock of Neal’s hair; intimate letters from Gary Cooper, whom she met while starring with him in The Fountainhead; her Academy Awards tickets from 1964, the year she was nominated for best actress—unused because she was living in England, nine months pregnant, and couldn’t attend the ceremony. (The caption on a photo taken shortly afterwards of Neal looking at the Oscar with her young son Theo includes Neal’s explanation to Theo of what an Oscar is: “It’s a great golden boy who whispers in your ear what you’ve known all your life.”)
Her marriage to Roald Dahl, the celebrated author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other beloved children’s books, is chronicled in photographs of Roald Dahl and their five children; a letter Neal wrote about Roald’s work on James and the Giant Peach (“his elusive second (and probably last) children’s book”); and a profile Dahl wrote for Ladies Home Journal about Neal’s struggle to recover after the stroke. And there are letters from friends and colleagues including Paul Newman, Gene Kelly, Ronald Reagan, Anne Bancroft, Kirk Douglas and Andy Griffith.
The collection, established at University Archives by Neal’s daughters Lucy and Ophelia Dahl, is “an exceptional collection, the largest collection of personal artifacts ever given to the university by a celebrity alumna,” according to University Archivist Kevin Leonard.
“She made lifelong friends here who played an important role in her life,” says Leonard. “She was very fond of Northwestern.”