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For Thanksgiving, we tried 3 historical pie recipes. How do they hold up today?

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. And you know what that means.

That’s right: It’s pie season. After all, mustering up the mental fortitude to feast alongside that obnoxious out-of-town uncle you see once a year should be rewarded with a decadent dessert, right?

We think so.

So we turned the clock back — way back — by baking and taste-testing three historical pie recipes from our collections to see if they would satisfy the modern palate.

The three recipes we chose come from books published in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries — well before Pinterest and the advent of the celebrity chef. That’s right — you won’t find Rachael Ray’s or, heavens forbid, Paula Deen’s names on any of these recipes.

Instead you’ll find three distinct, delectable desserts, each one holding its own historical significance — and each giving you a taste of the Library’s offerings and even, perhaps, baking inspiration for Thanksgiving.

A holiday classic

We started with the grandaddy of them all: pompkin pie. That’s no typo — “pompkin,” it turns out, is an old-timey way of saying “pumpkin.” And no Thanksgiving would be complete without this holiday favorite.

The recipe comes from The Bancroft Library’s second edition copy of American Cookery — one of about 900 cookbooks in Bancroft’s collection. It’s a modest-looking volume, published in 1796, that came to Bancroft within the past decade or so.

“It came in, and no one realized the significance of it,” said David Faulds, curator of rare books and literary manuscripts at Bancroft.

The book packs historical significance: It is the first known cookbook written by an American. “It was the standard American cookbook,” he notes.

It’s also incredibly rare.

Just how rare is it? Well, Bancroft’s copy is believed to be one of five or six copies in the world. After living a quiet life at the Northern Regional Library Facility in Richmond, it now is kept in Bancroft’s vault and was recently featured in New Favorites, an exhibit highlighting recent additions to Bancroft’s major collections.

Pumpkin is cut for a pie recipe from a book held by the University Library. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)
No canned stuff here: We cut whole pumpkins to make a “pompkin” (pumpkin) pie from a recipe in “American Cookery,” the first known cookbook written by an American. (Photos by Jami Smith for the University Library)

But let’s cut to the chase: How does this pompkin pie actually taste?

To find that out, we put the pie in front of a tasting panel including Faulds and four students (full disclosure: All are avowed pie fans) whose majors — and opinions — ran the gamut. All in the name of research, of course.

“It doesn’t taste quite modern,” one taster said, noting the lack of cloying sweetness.

It does, however, contain many of the hallmark pumpkin pie spices — nutmeg and ginger, among them — which have become ubiquitous in recent years. (Pumpkin pie spice potato chips, anyone?)

Perhaps the most notable difference is the lattice crust on top, which is absent in commonly used pumpkin pie recipes today.

But would the pie hold its own alongside more modern fare?

That’s a resounding yes, according to our panel.

Another classic — with a twist

Next up is another holiday staple: Sweet Potato Pie.

Like the pompkin pie, this one tastes familiar. But it also has an unexpected, zippy twist.

“I like the tang it has to it,” a taster said. “I’ve never had that in a pie.”

One panelist said it tasted like pumpkin and orange, while another swore it was carrot and lemon. (The “citrus-y” taste they noticed actually comes from orange juice and zest.)

The recipe traces back to What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, from 1881 — copies of which are held at both Bancroft and the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library.

Written by a former slave and plantation cook who moved from Mobile, Alabama, to San Francisco, it is thought to be one of the first cookbooks written by an African American. (It was believed to be the first known cookbook written by an African American until the rediscovery of Malinda Russell’s Domestic Cook Book, published in 1866.)

Students taste pie.
Students Lena Gavenas, left, and Trevor Hazen were among the brave tasters who tried pie made from old recipes found in the UC Berkeley Library’s collections.

And it was award-winning, too: At the San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute Fair in 1880, it won awards for best pickles and sauces as well as best assortment of jellies and preserves. (The author ran a pickle business.)

According to a later edition of the book, the namesake Mrs. Fisher — Abby Fisher — didn’t know how to read or write. Instead, she dictated the recipes to a group of prominent San Francisco and Oakland residents.

Of all the recipes, the terminology in this one had us scratching our heads the most. We felt that we could safely assume that a “cullender” was a colander. And “yelks,” it seemed, clearly referred to “yolks.”

But what is a “gill” of milk?

It turns out, it’s an antiquated measurement equaling half a cup — and does not, as one taster guessed, involve filling a fish with milk.

Presidential treatment

Then there’s the Quince Pie.

This one comes from the family cookbook of our very first first lady, Martha Washington. That’s right — move over, Melania Trump.

A quince, if you’re not familiar, is a yellow fruit that looks like a pear but tastes like a “woody apple,” as one taster put it.

A note: We’re using the word “pie” loosely here, because, although it looked beautiful in the pie tin, our attempts to cut it turned it into a crumble. That combined with the reddish tint of the cooked quinces seemed to confuse our tasters — and the resulting presentation looked almost gorey.

“It looks like body horror,” as one taster subtly (yet accurately) put it.

Other responses included that it looked like rhubarb, grapefruit, papaya, or even sashimi.

Though the texture was firm, the tasters agreed the pie was better than it looked, with at least one panelist declaring it the best of the bunch.

The recipe comes from 1940’s The Martha Washington Cook Book, adapted from Washington’s family cookbook. It’s one of the more than 5,000 cookbooks housed at the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library.

Notably, it’s the only recipe we tried that includes exact measurements. According to Faulds, the old practice of omitting measurements was actually quite common.

“That was the standard,” he said. “They assumed we knew what we were doing. They weren’t thinking about 200 or 300 years later.”

The recipe is straightforward enough, with the filling calling for just three simple ingredients: sugar, water, and quinces.

The pie, once ready, can be topped with whipped cream, but, as the recipe sternly notes, “Martha Washington did not do this.”

But this is not the time for holding back. Go ahead and pile on some whipped topping, and enjoy. After all, Thanksgiving happens only once a year.

Martha Washington would understand.

We made three pies from our Library's collections. Shown clockwise from top left: Crust is pressed into a pie tin; the "pompkin" pie recipe from the Library’s copy of "American Cookery" from 1796; a quince pie was made from “The Martha Washington Cook Book“; and the sweet potato pie recipe from the Library's copy of “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking“ from 1881. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)
Shown clockwise from top left: Crust is pressed into a pie tin; the “pompkin” pie recipe from the Library’s copy of “American Cookery” from 1796; a quince pie was made from “The Martha Washington Cook Book“; and a sweet potato pie recipe from the Library’s copy of “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking” from 1881. (Photos by Ho Young Won and Jami Smith for the University Library)



Note: We used recipe No. 1. This recipe refers to other recipes that can be found in the digitized version of “American Cookery,” found here.

No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.
No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.

From: American Cookery, 1796

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Sweet Potato Pie

Two pounds of potatoes will make two pies. Boil the potatoes soft; peel and mash fine through a cullender while hot; one tablespoon of butter to be mashed in with the potato. Take five eggs and beat the yelks and whites separate and add one gill of milk; sweeten to taste; squeeze the juice of one orange, and grate one-half of the peel into the liquid. One half teaspoonful of salt in the potatoes. Have only one crust and that at the bottom of the plate. Bake quickly.

From: What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking, 1881

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Quince Pie

8 quinces
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cups water

Wash the quinces. Cut in quarters, remove cores, and peel. Put in a pan together with one cup sugar and water, and let stew very slowly until tender. Turn fruit often. Line a pie plate with pastry and arrange the quinces in it in a neat design. Pour on the syrup and sprinkle with remaining one-fourth cup sugar. Lay criss-cross pieces of pastry on top and bake until a golden brown. The top pastry may be omitted and the pie covered with whipped cream before serving. Martha Washington did not do this.

From: The Martha Washington Cook Book, 1940

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Life, gene editing, and rock ’n’ roll: 5 things we learned from Jennifer Doudna’s talk

Jennifer Doudna, left, professor and co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, speaks with Susan Koskinen, head of the Life and Health Sciences Library Division, at the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library on Nov. 14, 2017. (Photo by J. Pierre Carrillo for the University Library)
Jennifer Doudna, left, professor and co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, speaks with Susan Koskinen, head of the Life and Health Sciences Library Division, at the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library on Nov. 14, 2017. (Photo by J. Pierre Carrillo for the University Library)

When Jennifer Doudna was in high school, a guidance counselor called her into his office to talk to her about her career.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Doudna recalls him asking.

“I want to be a scientist,” Doudna said.

“Girls don’t do science,” she remembers him saying.

She has been proving him wrong ever since.

For one, the UC Berkeley professor co-invented CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, hailed as the biggest biological breakthrough since the discovery of DNA’s molecular structure in the 1950s. The technology comes with the possibility of curing devastating diseases and improving lives but also raises ethical questions.

“If you have a tool that allowed precision changes to DNA to be made,” she said, “that provides a way that, in principle, one could alter human evolution by making changes that could become inherited by future generations.”

In the years that followed, Doudna has become instrumental in raising awareness and broadening understanding — within the scientific community and beyond — about the technology. It’s a duty Doudna doesn’t take lightly. “It’s something I feel deeply passionate about,” she said.

Doudna sat down in front of an audience Tuesday in the Bioscience & Natural Resources Library for a chat about her book (“A Crack in Creation” is out this year), her life, and her scientific breakthrough.

Here are five things we learned.

1. Her upbringing in Hawaii influenced her career path.

Growing up, Doudna lived in Hilo, a “small, rural town,” on the big island of Hawaii. It was living in Hawaii, surrounded by diverse wildlife (“blind cave spiders and all kinds of interesting plants,” she said) that sparked her lifelong love of science.

“When I think back on how I got interested in science and biology and chemistry,” she said, “it really, I think, stems from growing up in that island environment and wondering about how organisms can evolve to live in a setting like that.”

And in 10th grade, Doudna’s interest in science deepend, thanks to a chemistry teacher, Miss Wong, who “taught us kids that science was about solving puzzles — it was about asking questions and figuring out how to answer them.”

“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “It was fun, and I started imagining that it would be really great to grow up and have someone pay me to do what I thought was just kind of fun — playing around in a lab.”

2. Even bioscientists get the blues.

In her 40s — and well into her second decade of running her lab — she started to question whether her work was going to have an impact.

“I really almost had sort of a midlife crisis,” she said.

She took a leave of absence at Berkeley for an opportunity at a company — which, in retrospect, was the wrong move.

Although it was a great company, she began to realize, “It was just the wrong fit for me,” she said. “I felt it in my gut. This is not where I’m meant to be.”

“I realized that I just loved working with students. I loved being at a public university,” she said. “I really believed in that mission of having education available to anyone who can come and wants to learn and wants to work at this wonderful place that we have here.”

She asked her former colleagues at UC Berkeley if she could return.

“They took me back,” she said.

3. She didn’t like the name of her book at first.

Neither Doudna nor co-author Samuel Sternberg liked the title “A Crack in Creation,” which their editor suggested.

“It sounded very ominous, somehow,” she said.

Neither could think of a better title, and they were eventually won over.

“It does sort of convey this idea that … we’re sort of at a fork in the road, in a way, and it really does feel kind of profound at times to me.

“We’re at a point where now we as a species have a tool that will allow us to control … who we are.”

4. She has a complicated relationship with the spotlight.

“People have called me the public face of CRISPR, and I’m sort of shocked by it,” she said.

But with glare of the spotlight comes the opportunity to raise awareness and educate the public.

“I feel sort of a sense of honor that I’ve been sort of thrust into this position of being a spokesperson for science, and it’s something that I feel deeply passionate about,” she said.

5. She had a brush with rock royalty.

With her profile having reached new heights come opportunities that she had never previously imagined.

“I was at a thing in London not long ago, and I turned around, and behind me was (rock guitarist) Jimmy Page,” she said. “We just struck up a conversation. We started talking about science, and about guitars, and Led Zeppelin.

“And I said to him, ‘I’m such a fangirl. I mean, I listened to your music growing up. Would you mind if I took a picture with you?’

“And (now) I have a picture with Jimmy Page.”

Beyond Día de los Muertos: Curator comes full circle with exhibit on Mexican celebrations

The walls are splashed with vibrant, multicolored hues. A centuries-old map of Mexico City, stretching 7 ½ feet wide and 5 feet tall, graces the back wall.

The Bancroft Library Gallery has transformed for a new exhibit, featuring materials from Bancroft’s Latin Americana Collection dating as far back as the 16th century. The show, called ¡Viva la Fiesta!: Mexican Traditions of Celebration, explores the cycles of traditions that have been woven into Mexican culture for generations.

“I thought it would be fun to show a lighter (side) of Mexico we’re not getting because of the news,” said José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez, who curated the exhibit.

Student Marina Henriquez, left, looks over the opening of the "Viva La Fiesta" exhibit, along with other visitors, in Bancroft Library on Oct. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)
Student Marina Henriquez, left, and others attend the opening of ¡Viva la Fiesta! at The Bancroft Library on Oct. 12. (Photos by Jami Smith for the University Library)

‘Let’s go to Bancroft’

Although he started here last year, as the curator for Latin Americana, Bancroft is familiar territory to Barragán-Álvarez.

He was introduced to Bancroft when he was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, double majoring in Spanish and Latin American studies.

William B. Taylor taught José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez in a few Latin American history classes, and Barragán-Álvarez considers Taylor a mentor. (Courtesy of Jim Block)
William B. Taylor taught José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez in a few Latin American history classes, and Barragán-Álvarez considers Taylor a mentor. (Courtesy of Jim Block)

He remembers professor William B. Taylor, who taught him in a few Latin American history classes, encouraging students to take advantage of the library’s vast collections. “Let’s go to Bancroft and do some research,” he recalls the professor saying.

Barragán-Álvarez took him up on the offer.

“I remember several sessions at the round table in the old reading room watching him learn to read the script from different periods and make sense of what he was reading,” Taylor recalls.

Barragán-Álvarez, who considers Taylor a mentor, remembers it fondly: “It was really fun for me as a 19-, 20-year-old to be able to play with a (primary) document,” he said.

Decoding the manuscripts was “like a little puzzle,” he said. “And who doesn’t like that?”

A visitor looks at the collection during the Bancroft Library opening of the "Viva La Fiesta" exhibit on Oct. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)
A visitor looks at the collection at the ¡Viva la Fiesta! exhibit.

‘Where all this began’

¡Viva la Fiesta! — the first exhibit that lists Barragán-Álvarez as the sole curator since he started — takes a multifaceted approach, exploring patriotic celebrations, Christmastime rituals, and the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe — among other traditions.

The exhibit highlights Día de los Muertos, which, contrary to popular perceptions, is not like Halloween, Barragán-Álvarez said.

“Halloween is about dressing up as ghouls and witches and ghosts,” he said. “Día de los Muertos is sort of the opposite of that. It’s about remembrance.”

An altar, complete with books, papier-mache food, and flowers, illustrates how families honor the dead. The altar represents the ones families set up in their homes, which, Barragán-Álvarez said, provide a “pathway” for departed loved ones to return to visit.

Left to right: Kenny Grove, Peter Hanff, and Bo Wreden chat at the opening of the "Viva La Fiesta" exhibit in Bancroft Library on Oct. 12, 2017. (Photo by Jami Smith for the University Library)
From left, Kenny Grove; Bancroft Deputy Director Peter Hanff; and Bo Wreden chat near the altar at the opening of the exhibit, in The Bancroft Library Gallery.

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibit by writing down and displaying the name of their lost loved ones on paper tags, which become part of the exhibit and, ultimately, part of the Library’s collections.

As for the huge map? Made in 1807, the hand-colored artifact has long been a treasure of the collection at Bancroft, but it was too fragile to handle.

“Large sections of the map were literally in tatters,” said Elaine Tennant, director of The Bancroft Library. Starting in 2015, the map was faithfully restored by Karen Zukor and her team at Zukor Art Conservation in Oakland in an extensive process that took more than a year.

Visitors near a map
Visitors look at photographs near an 1807 map of Mexico City on Oct. 27.

Among the other notable materials on display in the exhibit include early baptismal records and, sprinkled throughout the gallery, vivid broadsides by artist José Guadalupe Posada, who went on to influence famed painter Diego Rivera.

That Barragán-Álvarez is curating this particular exhibit seems “especially fitting,” Taylor notes.

Barragán-Álvarez grew up in a small ranching community in the Mexican state of Michoacán for the first years of his life. Of the celebrations explored in the exhibit, the one he remembers the most vividly from his upbringing is Las Posadas, a Christmastime tradition where a group travels from house to house, reenacting the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn. Participants are turned away until they reach the designated house that lets them inside. “Then there would be a big celebration at the house,” Barragán-Álvarez said.

“He is more than a student of these traditions,” his mentor said. “They are deeply rooted in his life.”

Barragán-Álvarez agrees: “I think I’m attached to just about everything (in the exhibit).”

A ‘great feeling’

What has it been like working on this exhibit?

Barragán-Álvarez said it deepened his familiarity with the Latin Americana collection, which is Bancroft’s second-largest.

José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez, curator of Latin Americana for Bancroft Library, poses for a portrait in October 2017.
José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez curated the ¡Viva la Fiesta! exhibit.

“It’s rewarding, but, more importantly,” he said, “it gave me a better sense of what we have.”

“Each (Bancroft Gallery show) is a selected sample of Bancroft materials organized around a theme,” Tennant said. “As it tells its particular story, the exhibition attempts to signal the breadth and depth of the Bancroft collections and to encourage visitors to come back and ask us to show them more!”

“I hope this exhibition, focused on Mexican celebrations, reminds visitors that Bancroft documents the many cultures and communities of the American West,” she said.

Although Barragán-Álvarez’s path has diverged from that of his former professor — with Taylor retiring as a professor in 2008 and moving to Maine, and his former student graduating from Berkeley in 2000 and going on to participate in the Ph.D. program in Latin American history at the University of Texas at Austin — Barragán-Álvarez “has stayed in touch all these years, now as a colleague, friend, and curator in the library where all this began,” Taylor said.

How does it feel for Barragán-Álvarez to be back at Berkeley — this time as a curator?

“There will always be this great feeling,” he said. “I’m at a real place, and we have a great collection.”

¡Viva la Fiesta! is on display in The Bancroft Library Gallery through February 2018. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Summer reading: Design, When Everybody Designs

Design, When Everybody Designs

Design, When Everybody Designs: An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation
Ezio Manzini
Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015

A book that challenges people to use design methods and to work together to solve complex social issues. It includes case studies, like a collaborative housing program and community-supported agriculture (CSA).

That’s it for 2017 Summer Reading posts! See you next summer!

Movies @ Moffitt: Life After Life

Life After Life

Wednesday, November 1
Doors @ 6:30pm, show @ 7:00pm
405 Moffitt Undergraduate Library
Free; open to UCB students only (UCB student ID required).

Life After Life follows the stories of Harrison, Noel, and Chris as they return home from San Quentin State Prison. After spending most of their lives incarcerated, they are forced to reconcile their perception of themselves with a reality they are unprepared for.

Each struggles to overcome personal demons and reconstruct their fractured lives. Grappling with day-to-day challenges and striving for success, they work to reconnect with family and provide for themselves for the first time in their adult lives.

Told in an unadorned verite style, we experience the truth of their heartaches and triumphs. As their stories unfold over weeks, months and years, the precarious nature of freedom after incarceration in America is revealed.

Check out the website and view the trailer.

Summer Reading: The World We Made

The World We Made

The World We Made: Alex McKay’s Story from 2050
Jonathon Porritt
London: Phaidon Press, 2013

The book works from a visioning perspective to show a future state of the world in an upbeat, dynamic way, and that allows the reader to visualize a more sustainable planet and how we might get there.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Mystery, murder, mayhem: Meet the man behind the Library’s detective fiction collection

Crime doesn’t pay.

But for Randal Brandt, it does.

For the past few years, in addition to Brandt’s primary job as the head of cataloging at The Bancroft Library, he has curated Bancroft’s California Detective Fiction Collection, numbering about 3,000 mystery novels set in the Golden State or written by California authors.

Of those, nearly 1,700 are Bay Area mysteries.

A particularly significant item? A first-edition copy of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Although the book, which inspired the 1941 movie of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart, doesn’t have its original dust jacket, “the title page is beautiful,” Brandt said.

“That’s definitely one of our collection highlights,” Brandt said.

The city of Berkeley makes appearances in a fair number of mysteries. For example, most of the action in Oakland native and longtime Berkeley resident Anthony Boucher’s first novel, 1937’s The Case of the Seven of Calvary, takes place on or near the UC Berkeley campus. (The Bancroft Library has a first-edition copy that the author presented to his mother.)

Even The Bancroft Library itself pops up in Julie Smith’s 1987 Huckleberry Fiend.

And in The Maltese Falcon, private detective Sam Spade sends his secretary across the bay by ferry to confirm facts with a UC Berkeley history professor.

“Part of what I love about mysteries is the sense of place — and what they say about the place,” Brandt said.

And it’s this place — in Berkeley at Morrison Library — that will serve as the backdrop for a night of mystery and intrigue Wednesday, featuring best-selling Northern California authors Laurie R. King, Sheldon Siegel, and Kelli Stanley. But more on that later.

Books, books, books

Brandt’s own journey to Berkeley began in the late ’80s.

Before moving here in 1989 — after graduating from Fresno State and right before the Loma Prieta earthquake  (“We had earthquakes, too, but nothing like that one”) — he came to Berkeley to visit a friend who was living here.

He remembers riding on the back of his friend’s motorcycle, checking out used bookstores.

But his interest in books goes back even further than that.

“One of my earliest memories of reading mystery fiction was reading Agatha Christie novels,” he said. “My mom would check them out from the library for herself, then pass them along to me.”

He also showed an interest early on in tales of adventure, devouring Walter Farley’s “Black Stallion” books, and, later, James Bond novels.

“I remember going to the library and getting an armload of books,” he said, “and returning them to get another armload.”

Brandt earned his Master’s in Library and Information Studies from UC Berkeley in December 1990, and he began working at the Library the next year. He’s been here ever since.

With his passion for mysteries, does Brandt think about penning his own?

“I have no inclination to write a novel,” he said, adding that he prefers writing about fiction. He has written introductions to works by the late David Dodge, his favorite author. (The Berkeley native wrote To Catch a Thief, which inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.)

But true crime? Well, that’s another story.

“I got this email from someone out of the blue,” Brandt said. “She had been a student here. She wanted to know if I knew about the murder.”

The murder she was referring to happened nearly six decades ago, in 1960.

The scene of the crime? Doe Library.

Brandt had known about it, albeit vaguely. But the email prompted him to dig deeper — and do some sleuthing of his own, uncovering information that he intends to draw on for an article he plans to write about the case.

The killer was a brilliant man — he began to read and write at age 3, and he skipped at least three grades in school, according to his mother’s testimony after the murder — but he suffered from mental illness and trauma, he later said, because of the racial differences in his family: His mother was black, and his father was white.

The victim was a woman with whom he was in love. The two had been students at UC Berkeley.

According Brandt’s research, the murder took place in what is now the Roger W. Heyns Reading Room, on the second floor of Doe Library. Based on photographs of the crime scene he dug up in the San Francisco Examiner Photograph Archive, and comparing them to contemporary photographs of Doe found in the University Archives, he now has a good idea of the exact spot in the room where it likely occurred.

As for the details? They’ll be explored in Brandt’s article.

Though the case is intriguingly layered — with elements of race, mental illness, and trauma — one thing is for sure: “It’s a tragedy from start to finish,” Brandt said.

A night of mystery

Brandt wears many hats — many of them the detective variety.

Brandt has created a bibliography, called Golden Gate Mysteries, that, although incomplete as yet, contains 2,300 titles set in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

In 2011, he co-curated an exhibit in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, called Bullets Across the Bay, which drew on the Library’s materials to highlight East Bay and San Francisco’s deep tradition with mystery novels, and he helped organize a night of readings by local mystery authors.

Wednesday’s event — called Crime Does Not Pay — Enough! — is part of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America’s slate of Mystery Week events. Current and former MWA NorCal presidents Laurie R. King, Sheldon Siegel, and Kelli Stanley will read from the works of some of the founding members of the Northern California Chapter — works that Brandt hand-picked from the Library’s collection — as well as selections of their own works.

“We’re lucky to have so much literary talent in Berkeley and the Bay Area,” said Stacy Reardon, Literatures and Digital Humanities Librarian at UC Berkeley. “That creativity is fueled by an amazing history, particularly for the mystery genre. The format of Crime Does Not Pay — Enough! underscores the legacy that twentieth century detective fiction writers continue to have on some of its most successful authors today.”

Summer reading: How to Thrive in the Next Economy

How to Thrive in the Next Economy

How to Thrive in the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today
John Thackara
London: Thames & Hudson, 2015

In each chapter, this book addresses a wicked problem like water scarcity and provides a case study of how one or more communities have addressed the issue and been successful. The case studies show how large complex problems can be approached and are not so intractable.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Vivid, vintage posters bring Bollywood exhibit to life

Students view the "Love Across the Global South" exhibit after its opening event on Oct. 6, 2017. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the University Library)
Students view the Love Across the Global South exhibit on opening night, Oct. 6, 2017. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the University Library)

The first thing you notice is its size.

Stretching across an 8-foot expanse, it features a blockbuster movie trifecta: crime, intrigue, a handsome leading man.

The six-panel billboard, digitally shrunk from its original size by about 30 percent, advertises the 1975 film Deewaar. (The movie, cited as a masterpiece of Bombay cinema — or Bollywood cinema, as it’s often called — influenced, among other works, Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.)

And it’s just one of the vibrantly hued, richly textured, and beautifully preserved movie posters on display in a new exhibit at Doe Library’s Brown Gallery, called Love Across the Global South: Popular Cinema Cultures of India and Senegal.

The posters, dating from 1957 to 2011, were collected by exhibit co-curator Sugata Ray on his travels in India, and they offer eye-catching portals into the genre and its influence.

“Every single piece is an integral part of the story we tell,” co-curator Ivy Mills said.

Read the full story at stories.lib.berkeley.edu.

Come Write In at UC Berkeley’s Doe Library

National Novel Writing Month 2017

Have you ever thought about writing a novel but just didn’t think you had the time? You’re not alone. A small group of friends from the East Bay dared themselves to finish their novels in 30 days back in 1999, creating the foundation of what has become National Novel Writing Month. Since then, this small nonprofit, NaNoWriMo, has inspired a global event of epic proportions! Fifty thousand words in 30 days! Quantity over quality is the name of the game. Turn off your inner editor, and win.

Are you working on a thesis, dissertation, or any other writing project (creative or otherwise) but could use a bit of support from the collective energy of fellow students or colleagues to help you stay focused and provide some inspiration? NaNoWriMo isn’t just for novels anymore — be a​ ​NaNoWriMo​ ​“Rebel,” and work on your academic projects, an article, a chapter, final research paper, memoir, screenplay, etc., and possibly find some new writing buddies along the way!

The amazing team over at NaNoWriMo created this worldwide community of writers and a support system of libraries, bookstores, and other neighborhood spaces all over the globe called Come​ ​Write​ ​In​, where “Wrimos” gather and forge ahead toward their word count goals during their quest to win this book-in-a-month contest. With all the positive energy of over 300,000 participants, all writing together, winning is possible. Novelist or academic, all are welcome. Since 2007, the incredible spirit of NaNoWriMo continues to motivate me to keep pushing forward, and I hope it will inspire you as well!

Come​ ​Write​ ​In​, ​Doe​ ​Library:
Nov. 5​, ​1-4 p.m.,​ ​Room​ ​180​ ​Doe
Nov. 12, ​1-4 p.m.,​ ​Room​ ​180​ ​Doe
Nov. ​19, 1-3 p.m.,​ ​Room​ ​180​ ​Doe
Nov 26, 1-4 p.m., Room 180 Doe
Nov. ​30, ​6-9 p.m.​ ​(Thank​ ​Goodness​ ​We​ ​Did​ ​It​ ​Party!),​ ​Room​ ​180​ ​Doe

Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org, and join the East Bay Home Region to see the calendar of events in our area and beyond.

The Library attempts to offer programs in accessible, barrier-free settings. If you think you may require disability-related accommodations, please contact Shannon Monroe at least two weeks prior to the event at smonroe@berkeley.edu, 510-643-6151.

Share your experience with the GALC!

The Graphic Arts Loan Collection (GALC) at the Morrison Library was created in 1958 by Professor Herwin Schaefer, who believed the best way to foster an appreciation of art was for students to live with actual art. With that in mind, we would love to hear about your experience living with your GALC piece.

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