Remembering Bob French

July 22nd, 2014 by Peter Gilbert

Bob FrenchRobert French ’48, a great friend of the Library and of Lawrence, died Saturday, July 13, 2014 at his home in Appleton. He was 90.

Bob had a wide range of interests but his passion was Abraham Lincoln. Bob felt that “if we follow Lincoln’s footsteps, we’ll learn to live with different races not only in our own country but in the world…I think that’s my great interest in Lincoln.” He bought his first book on Lincoln in 1941, with money he received as a high school graduation gift. From there his collection grew to include thousands of books, pamphlets, government documents, art work, sculpture, a Lincoln autograph, and more.

His excellent collection was made so by the fact that it was not collected willy-nilly, but strategically. Bob consulted many bibliographies including the Library of Congress Civil War bibliography, and systematically (with the help especially of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago) went about building his collection –  then gave it to Lawrence. In 1992, Bob made the initial gift of his collection and in 1998 he gave a gift for the construction of the Lincoln Reading Room in the Library which was dedicated in 2000 in the memory of Bob’s mother.

But that wasn’t the end of it. For the rest of his life, Bob was a regular visitor to the Library, coming in regularly to check on the collection, talk about it, and make additions to it. After the room was built, he continued to give current scholarship resulting in an impressive collection that includes significant works of contemporary Civil War and Lincoln scholarship as well as historical works.

Of course, Bob was more than a donor and a visitor. He was a good friend to many at Lawrence and we’d look forward to hearing his voice on the phone or seeing his face in the doorway. Since Bob never owned a computer, once Lincoln scholarship began moving online, he would regularly call or stop by the reference desk to ask us to check “on the computer” for this book or that article. He was great storyteller and would always have stories about his time at Lawrence or a report from up at the lake or one of his many world travels. He was eager and very willing to talk with others about Lincoln and the Civil War in general. If you were interested, the discussions were lively and the information he imparted was remarkable. He will be missed by many at Lawrence.

A memorial service will take place at 2 pm on Thursday, July 24, in the Nathan Marsh Pusey Room of the Warch Campus Center.

“Strength through Union:” Exploring the Consolidation 50 Years Later

July 18th, 2014 by Angela Vanden Elzen
A group of Milwaukee-Downer College students and faculty who transferred to Lawrence with the consolidation in the fall of 1964.

A group of Milwaukee-Downer College students and faculty who transferred to Lawrence with the consolidation in the fall of 1964.

If you know a bit about Lawrence history, surely you know about the consolidation between Milwaukee-Downer College and Lawrence College back in 1964. While the fact that it took place is common knowledge, not many know about the events leading up to the consolidation and why it took place.

Over reunion weekend, our Archivist, Erin Dix ’08, gave an excellent presentation about this consolidation- including how it continues to shape Lawrence University’s present and future.  She will be reprising this presentation on Wednesday, July 23rd at 10 a.m. in the Mudd Library. All are welcome and encouraged to come and learn about this fascinating period in Lawrence’s history. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Summer 2014 Coffeehouse Series

July 2nd, 2014 by Angela Vanden Elzen

Announcing the 2014 Summer Library Coffeehouse Series! The Mudd coffeehouses provide an opportunity to come to the library, enjoy a snack, and learn something interesting.

Wednesday, July 9: Summer Reads
What is summer in a library without reading? Come to this popular session to hear about the library staff’s favorite summer reads, and please share yours with us!

Wednesday, July 23: “Strength through Union:” Exploring the Consolidation
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the consolidation of Lawrence and Milwaukee-Downer colleges. Do you have questions about why or how the consolidation took place? Join us to learn more about the events leading up to the consolidation, about how it was carried out, and about how it continues to shape our present and future.

Wednesday, August 13: Special Sneak Peek: Films from the Archives!
A number of 16mm films from the Archives have recently been digitized, and we are so excited to share them! A public showing is planned for the fall, but attendees at this session will get a first look at two promotional films from the set: “A River, A College, A Town” (1957) and “This is Lawrence” (1972).


Where and When?
All coffeehouse sessions will take place on the first floor of the Mudd Library. They will begin at 10 a.m. and last until 10:45 a.m. Coffee and some variety of yummy refreshment will be provided at each session. All Lawrence faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

Visit our coffeehouse guide for more details about this summer’s sessions and to learn about past coffeehouses.

Collection of Indian Rabari Objects on Display

June 17th, 2014 by Angela Vanden Elzen

Currently on display in the library display cases is a beautiful collection of ornate textiles and other handcrafted objects made by the Rabari people of India. This eye-catching display was curated by Beth Zinsli and Leslie Walfish of the Wriston Galleries.

The objects are a selection from the larger Judy Frater, ’74 Collection of Indian Rabari Objects. The collection was assembled by Lawrence alumna Judy Frater during her travels in India, and later curated by her into a traveling exhibit. This exhibit was donated to Lawrence by Ms. Frater and displayed in the Wriston Galleries in 1987.

In her original traveling exhibit notes, Ms. Frater describes the culture from which these objects were created:

The Rabaris are an ancient nomadic people who slowly migrated from Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent around twelve centuries ago… One of these groups, the Kachi Rabaris, lives in the desert Kutch. Kachis are herders of goats and sheep and are semi-nomadic. In their leisure time the women make mirrored embroideries for their childrens’ dress and their daughters’ dowries. Embroidery is a part of their way of life.

Judy Frater is author of the book, Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris and has extensively researched the art of Indian textiles and crafts. She is the founder and former director of Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, an organization dedicated to preserving traditional crafting by educating artisans about how to promote their goods in today’s markets.

In recognition of her contributions to the preservation of crafting traditions, Ms. Frater will be receiving the George B. Walter ’36 Service to Society Award during this weekend’s Reunion Convocation.

Interested in learning more about Indian artisan designs? Ms. Frater and Kudecha Dayalal Atmaram, a traditional weaver, will be presenting a trunk show and informal talk on Sunday, June 22nd from 2-5 p.m. The show will be held at the office of Peterson, Berk, and Cross, located at 200 E. College Avenue.

The collection will remain on display in the library through June 30th.

Display Highlights History of the Conservatory

June 11th, 2014 by Allison Wray


As part of a project for an independent study, graduating senior Dakota Williams has put together a display on the library’s first floor.  Titled “A Brief History of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music,” the display chronicles the extensive history of the Conservatory, exploring its different ensembles, noteworthy deans and professors, and the different buildings that have housed the Conservatory.  With aid of the Lawrence University Archives, Williams has assembled an intriguing display exploring some of the rich history of Lawrence.

The project is on display in the cases on the first floor of the library, and will be up until June 13th.

Canine Therapy at the Library!

June 6th, 2014 by Allison Wray

The term is coming to an end and finals are looming closer…must be time to pet some dogs!


For the past few years, the Mudd has hosted canine therapy for students to de-stress for a bit and take their minds off the pressure of spring term finals.  Faculty, staff, and students bring their dogs for Lawrence students to get some puppy love!

It’s a whole lot of fun and this year it will be on Monday, June 9th from 2-3pm, outside of the Mudd. Pictures from past years’ canine therapy events can be found on our Flickr page!

Pianist Catherine Kautsky Concludes the 2013-2014 Convocation Series

May 28th, 2014 by Allison Wray

Professor of Music Catherine Kautsky was chosen to speak as the recipient of Lawrence’s Faculty Convocation Award, which honors a faculty member for distinguished professional work. Her address, “Whispered Doubts and Shouted Convictions: What are These Composers Saying?” will explore the ways in whDSC02325ich composers speak through their music.

As the final convocation in the 2013-2014 series, the Honors Convocation publicly recognizes students and faculty for excellence in many different concentrations.  The convocation will be held Thursday, May 29 at 11:10AM, free and open to the public.  It will also be livestreamed here.

On display in the library is a selection of Kautsky’s work, along with other ensemble recordings.

Highlighting Lawrence’s Architecture

May 16th, 2014 by Allison Wray

The newest display on the Mudd’s first floor features photos and information about the architecture and design of Lawrence University buildings.  The buildings featured are the design of architect George Mattheis, who has worked on the construction and remodeling of campus buildings from 1971 to his retirement in 2008.


On display is information on Briggs Hall, Björklunden Lodge, the President’s house, and the Lincoln Reading Room (which can be found in the library). There are also many photographs to view. In addition to these buildings, Mattheis was instrumental in working on the majority of prominent campus buildings- especially the Seeley G. Mudd Library!

Make sure to stop by the display and to learn more about Lawrence’s architectural history!

Update: Miss the display? Take a look at our Flickr album, George Mattheis Architecture Displays, to see detailed images of the display content.

Meet the Staff, Student Worker Edition: Allison Wray

May 7th, 2014 by Holly Tuyls

003 (Large)We are pleased to introduce Allison Wray, the library’s new Student Social Media Assistant! In the short while that she’s held this position, she’s impressed us with her skill and talent, and we are so grateful to have her social media acumen here at the Mudd. You may have already noticed that Allison has been writing some wonderful posts for this blog, and she is also helping us maintain all of our social media sites.  She recently shared with us that Lawrence students tend to use tumblr more than any other social media site; thanks to her insight, we’re now aiming to reach more of the Lawrence community through our tumblr page.

We’re looking forward to continued collaboration with Allison, who also shares her talents at the Circulation desk. Read on to learn more about this multifaceted and talented student worker.

What’s your major?

English, but I’m thinking about adding art history as well.

Where are you from?

West Bend, Wisconsin

How long have you been working at the Mudd?

Fall term of this year.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I really like being a part of the “behind-the-scenes” work of a central campus spot. It’s so cool to see how the library operates!

Share something you’ve done at work that has made you especially proud.

I redesigned the theme on the tumblr page! It’s not awfully difficult, but I’m really glad with how it turned out. Designing a nice theme is very satisfying for me.

As a student, where is your favorite study/relaxation/hang-out spot in the Mudd?

I don’t usually stick to one spot, but as long as there’s a big window, I’m happy. I am a fan of the upper floors, though.

What are your hobbies?

Knitting, watercolor and oil painting, reading, sleeping, and binge watching television on Netflix.

What’s the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

It’s been so long since I read a book for fun! I can’t name one, but I just started Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O’Keeffe and I’m excited to get into it.

What are your favorite bands or performers?

I really enjoy folk and indie music; some of my favorites are Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Laura Marling, and Johnny Flynn.

List your favorite blogs and/or magazines.

I really love and Nylon magazine.

What groups and/or organizations are you active in (on or off campus)?

I’m involved in Tropos (the literary magazine) and the Downer Feminist Council, and I adore both!

When will you graduate? What are your post-graduation plans?

2017. I don’t know yet, but I think I’d like to go to grad school for library sciences or museum studies.




Senior Experience Addresses Wisconsin Mine

May 2nd, 2014 by Allison Wray

For her senior experience project, geology major Steph Courtney ’14 decided to approach an issue that hits close to home.  In a series of four posters and tangible display accessories, Courtney explores the geology and hazards associated with GTac’s planned taconite mine near Mellen, Wisconsin.  The goal of the posters is to provide an information source about these topics because it is fairly difficult to find accessible scientific information from scientists in today’s political climate.DSC022381

In her project’s mission, Courtney states, “In my time at Lawrence, I’ve discovered that I have a passion for science public outreach, education, and communication.  Coupled with my interests in conveying information visually, I’ve found that one of the ways I most enjoy working on this passion is through museum-type displays, such as this one.  I’ve found a number of ways to exercise and refine that passion through LU-garnered opportunities, but feel that…public engagement and feedback is always helpful.”DSC022401

Courtney isn’t the sole part of the geology department who is addressing this topic, professors Andrew Knudsen and Marcia Bjornerud have been working on this issue as well, and collaborated with another geology student to write a paper about it.  In addition, Bjornerud has been working with the Bad River tribe and has testified to the state legislature about the planned mine.

Steph Courtney’s display can be viewed on the second floor of the Mudd Library through May 9th, 2014.  There will be a public reception (with snacks!) on May 4th from 3-5pm.