The Lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library

Welcome to a visual feast of the king of the beasts, as seen in manuscripts and printed books of Lincoln Cathedral Library. Some of the images are realistic and some less so but still evidence of our long term fascination with the magnificent animal found at the top of the food chain.

Oldest Lions

illuminated initial showing a group of lions on a background of intertwined blue vines
Lincoln Cathedral MS 147 f.96r

One of our oldest lion’s is the 12th century decorated initial in  a manuscript of Peter Lombard’s Sentences (specifically, Psalm 52), described by Rodney Thomson as ‘white lions on square, coloured grounds edged with green’. Can you see them? Look closely!

medieval illuminated letter D, with a red lion in the centre of a green letter
Lincoln Cathedral  MS 193 f.27v

This lonely lion in a 13th century initial from Ivo of Chartres’ Decretum is much easier to spot!

Another 12th century depiction illustrates genealogies of the Counts of Flanders and Kings of France with a lion rampant.

a medieval drawing of a lion
Lincoln Cathedral MS 98 f.120r

It’s interesting to compare the medieval lions to each other!

Early Modern Lions

a woodcut of a lion
Conrad Gesener, Historiae Animalium (1551-1558)

Swiss physician Conrad Gesner is often considered to be the father of modern zoology. His three volume History of Animals was the first comprehensive reference work on the subject, covering quadrupeds, fish, and birds.   Illustrated throughout with fine hand-coloured woodcuts, this work attempted to include all the available information on each animal.  Although it was intended to be factual, there are many wondrous and mythical creatures scattered throughout each book, including a unicorn. This was the first attempt by anyone to describe the animals and their habitats accurately.  If you are visiting Lincoln please do not miss the new exhibition space at the Cathedral. An animated version of Gesner’s rhinoceros will be there in 2022!

painting of a shirtless man, sitting on a rock reading a book. A lion sleeps at his feet.
Illustration of St Jerome and the lion (undated drawing)

The story of the church father Jerome and the lion is a delightful story of a saintly scholar coming to the rescue of a limping lion, removing a thorn from his paw. The lion repaid his kindness by remaining by his side until his death around 420 CE and appears in many paintings with St Jerome. The cathedral owns a beautiful drawing of this story, a hand-coloured illustration with no provenance but visible pin holes where it has been displayed in the past.

The earliest printed book held in the Cathedral Library is a copy of Jerome’s Epistles printed in 1468.

Lions of the Nineteenth Century

illustration of two lions, one crouching facing left, and a lioness surrounded by three cubs
Oliver Goldsmith, A History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1857)

Oliver Goldsmith’s History of the Earth and Animated Nature was first published in 1774, describing the history of the earth, geographical features and many species of animals in eight volumes. The Cathedral has a two volume abridged version, which appeared in 1853. It is mentioned in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, read and enjoyed by Maggie Tulliver.

a black and write print of a man tying prone with a lion pouncing on his back
David Livingstone, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa (1857)

Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873) was not enamoured of the artist’s impression of him being attacked in by a lion, which was published in ‘Missionary travels and researches in South Africa; including a sketch of sixteen years’ residence in the interior of Africa’ in 1857 and tried to have it banned. The attack took place in 1844 during a journey to Mabotsa, Livingstone survived the encounter but the lion did not.

The cathedral library also holds a letter from Livingstone addressed to Col Winyard in 1862, detailing the trials and tribulations of travel in Africa at that time, which featured in Lincoln’s Black History Trail in October’s Black History Month, as part of the University of Lincoln’s Reimagining Lincolnshire project. You can learn more at https://reimagininglincs.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk

Lions Today

Throughout the cathedral’s history, lions have sparked the imagination and interest of the people who illustrated, wrote, and collected its books. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know the lions of Lincoln Cathedral Library.

Images shared with the permission of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral. Blog written by Claire Arrand with help from Hope Williard.

Exploring LGTBQ+ History in an Online Archive

February is LGTBQ+ history month in the UK and library blog is celebrating by featuring posts about resources for exploring LGTBQ+ lives in the past, present, and future. This first post in our series is about one of our online archives. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

Adam Matthews Explorer (AM Explorer), is one of the library’s newer databases, and contains a huge range of online archives organised around a wide range of themes. Queer histories  A collection that might be of particular interest for exploring LGTBQ+ histories in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries centuries is Sex and Sexuality. The archive collects the research papers, notes, and interviews of people who have researched sex, sexual behaviour, sexuality from an academic and medical perspective, such as Alfred Kinsey and Norman Haire; and archival collections which focus on lived experiences of individual people.

Handwritten notebook page
Page from the Diary of Anne Lister (1791-1840)

You can do a keyword search within the archives represented in the collection (the take a tour page gives you a good overview of the collection as a whole) or browse specific parts of it. One particular part of the collection lets you explore the diaries of Anne Lister, a nineteenth century gentlewoman who wrote about her relationships with women and travels across Europe. An introductory essay offers some context and background on who Anne Lister was and her importance in lesbian history.  You can also explore the papers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century gay rights advocate Edward Carpenter. To explore twentieth century gay and lesbian history, you can explore the responses given by participants in the National Gay and Lesbian Survey.

Orange paper with typed letter to National Gay and Lesbian Survey Participants, 1996
National Gay and Lesbian Survey, Letter to Participants, 1996

The Sex and Sexuality archive also focuses on a wide range of collections from specific libraries,  such as the Kinsey Institute, which has collected a large library and archive of material relating to sex and sexuality–you can explore collections ranging from romantic and erotic pulp fiction to an archive of materials on cross-dressing in the nineteenth century and much more besides. You can also explore collections from the ONE Archive at the University of Southern California Libraries, including papers, photographs and letters which provide a firsthand view of queer lives, relationships and advocacy in twentieth century America. On the other side of the pond, archivists have collected a huge range of material from the UK’s National Archives relating to sex and sexuality–you can see some of the highlights here

Image of two white women wearing glasses standing on a hillside
Photograph (Sue Gaff and M Doyle) from Esther Herbert and Marvyl Doyle Papers and Photographs

Even if you have some experience researching for your studies, working with an online archive can sometimes be overwhelming! There are a range of ways to explore the collection in order to find material you are looking for or interested in. You can search for specific names or keywords–if you are searching for particular words and phrases keep in mind that our vocabulary around sex and sexuality has changed a lot (and continues to do so), so you might find it helpful to take a look at the research tools section for ideas. If you are interested in browsing specific topics, like gender identities or art and literature, there’s a feature that lets you browse by topic. And if you struggle to locate material that is relevant to your research or interests, do contact your subject librarian–we’re here to help!

How young adult literature is clapping back to misogyny

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. The third post in our series is by Emily Hanson, administrator for the School of History and Heritage. Thank you for writing for us, Emily! We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

How young adult literature is clapping back to misogyny (and how this supports those most in need of advocacy)

I recently found myself writing a defense of young adult literature on my blog. I have always argued for the importance of high quality, relevant teen literature (or YA–Young Adult), not just for teens but for all of ages. At first glance, literature written from a teenage perspective offers the potential for representation that young people may not find elsewhere in traditionally published writing, alongside facilitating empathy for the modern teen experience. Beyond this, however, I argue that YA is a fantastic vehicle for exploring some of life’s most challenging experiences through the lens of those in a life phase where these experiences are new and deeply felt. In the context of women’s history, YA writing provides an excellent opportunity to empathetically ‘clap back’ to misogynistic issues faced by the young women of 2020.

Continue reading “How young adult literature is clapping back to misogyny”

In Defence of the Trashy: The Significance of Popular Romance Novels for Women’s History

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. Our second post in our series is by Rebecca Norman, a third year student on the BA History course. She explains the topic of her dissertation and how it helps us understand the lives of lower and middle class British women. Thank you for writing for us, Rebecca! This post has been guest edited by School of History and Heritage administrator, Emily Hanson. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

When my grandpa found out I was writing my undergraduate dissertation on Denise Robins’ popular romance fiction, he commented that:

‘You don’t need to be paying to read that rubbish at University, your grandma has plenty on her kindle!’

Somehow, in his initial pride that his granddaughter was studying a ‘proper’ subject like History at university, he had not envisioned me carrying out a research project on what is widely regarded as ‘trashy’ fiction; but I’m about to finish off 10,000 words on the gender identities constructed and communicated in popular romance novels of the 1930s.

Continue reading “In Defence of the Trashy: The Significance of Popular Romance Novels for Women’s History”

1900: The Woman’s Exhibition

March is women’s history month and the library blog is celebrating by featuring guest posts from authors around the university about the lives and writings of women. Our first post in our series is by Emma Fox, a third year student on the BA History course. She explains the topic of her dissertation and offers advice to students beginning to think about theirs. Thank you for writing for us, Emma! We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post. 

For my dissertation, I have been writing about the Woman’s Exhibition held in 1900 at Earl’s Court. This was one of many commercial exhibitions held by London Exhibitions Ltd under Imre Kiralfy who was known in both Britain and the USA for his spectacles and shows. My dissertation explores the exhibition’s representations of women and if and how these appealed to the public.

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365 Books to Celebrate Black History Month Year-Round

October is Black History Month and Black history happens every day. To celebrate this, the library has put together a list of 365 books by authors of colour from our catalogue and e-book collections.  The list was inspired by the website Black History 365 and the list of 365 Books By Women put together for International Women’s Day by the New York Public Library. It has been assembled through searches inspired by the Black British Writers wikipedia category page, as well as the African-American writers catalogue page. It also draws lists of books by Black and BAME writers published online, such as this one from Stylist. We hope you find it interesting!

Our More Books service is open for students and staff to request the purchase of items we do not have in our collections, so please do get in touch if you notice any errors or omissions.

Continue reading “365 Books to Celebrate Black History Month Year-Round”

Libraries on the Move: Innovating Services for Research, Learning, and Publishing

This year has been the first year the University of Lincoln Library has participated in Erasmus+ International Staff Training Week programmes for librarians. It’s been absolutely wonderful to read and hear about the fantastic experiences my colleagues Oonagh and Ella had on their staff exchange trips! This is the third and final post in our series about GCW librarians’ experiences of Erasmus programmes around Europe.

Introduction

My Erasmus programme, ‘Libraries on the Move: Innovating Services for Research, Learning, and Publishing’, took place at the Freie Universität Berlin, a large and prestigious research university, with 11 departments, around 38,000 students and 336 professors. The Freie Universität (Free University) was founded in 1948 by students and staff who felt they could not learn and teach as they wished in the Soviet sector of the city. The programme consisted of a general day of introduction, three days of sessions and activities specific to the four international programmes running concurrently (libraries, career services, personnel development, and internationalisation), and a final morning of wrap-up and goodbye. It was an extraordinary week and I am delighted to share it with you.

Welcome: 17 June 2019

Tucked away in one of the university buildings on Otto-von-Stimson Straβe is the Ristorante Galileo, where all participants in the international programme were treated to a welcome and an excellent lunch. Dr Herbet Grieshop, head of the Office of International Affairs, introduced us to the international scope of the Freie Universität. I was impressed by the way the university prioritises the internationalisation of non-academic staff, providing them with a package of training and external activities including intercultural training, language instruction, and staff exchanges which leads to a certificate and formal recognition by the university. Continue reading “Libraries on the Move: Innovating Services for Research, Learning, and Publishing”

Online Resources for Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month and the library will be celebrating with a series of posts on resources for the study women’s history. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

Why use online resources to study women’s history?

In my previous post, I introduced two of the library’s databases for studying women’s history. These databases are available by subscription–the University Library pays for them, and all staff and students at the university are able to access them. In this post, however, I will introduce some databases that are freely accessible to all. There is no one reason for using an online database as opposed to one built by subscription. Historians who study women’s lives have (and still do) push back against the stereotype that there’s no evidence for women of the past, which has led to a concern with gathering and sharing sources to enable research. Sometimes research touches on the concerns of past or contemporary communities and so researchers want it to be freely available to all who are interested, or sometimes research involves participants and investigators outside of the university and so for practical reasons an online resource is best. Online resources can be built with or by primary and secondary school students and teachers in mind. And sometimes an open access online database is simply the best resource available for a particular subject you are interested in!

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Library Databases for Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month and the library will be celebrating with a series of posts on using our resources to study women’s history. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

Introduction

In the first post in this series, I introduced various kinds of e-book databases and how to search them. Books provide both primary and secondary sources for women’s history (think of the autobiography of writer, such as Zora Neale Hurston’s Dust Tracks on a Road or a study of Hurston’s life and writing, Wrapped in Rainbows by Valerie Boyd) but for additional primary research, you may want to consider looking at a database relevant to the time period, geographic region, or themes of women’s history which you are interested in studying. This post will spotlight two of the library’s databases which focus specifically on women’s history: British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries; and Women War and Society 1914-1918. Continue reading “Library Databases for Women’s History”

Using E-book Databases to Research Women’s History

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!

You can find a programme of events sponsored by the Student Union, engage with inspiring stories from the Lincoln International Business School, or read a book about women’s lives, past and present from the library.

March is Women’s History Month and the library will be celebrating with a series of posts on using our resources to study women’s history. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at library@lincoln.ac.uk, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.

This first post will cover the books and chapters you can find using our e-book databases. You can access some of our ebooks via our the ‘find books’ search on our main page: just select ‘electronic resource’ to focus on e-books.

Continue reading “Using E-book Databases to Research Women’s History”