New term news round-up

Welcome back to those returning after the summer, and a warm welcome too to new students!  Our term time hours start today (Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm; Saturday, 10am-2pm), and we look forward to seeing you all in the library soon.

Here’s a round-up of various bits of news from over the summer that you may have missed:

New electronic resources
We have been able to acquire (or contribute to the acquisition of) four major new electronic resources for US studies this summer, as follows:

All are now available through SOLO/OxLIP+ and listed in our online guide. Click on the links above for more information.

Improvements to SOLO: clustering, display of locations
Various changes were implemented to SOLO over the summer, as follows:

Click on the links above to learn more. 

History Faculty Library move
The move of the History Faculty Library to the Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link took place as planned over the summer vacation. The old HFL on the corner of Catte St and Holywell St has now closed. All the details, including information on where and how to access HFL books now, can be found on the HFL website and blog. HFL staff are also offering tours throughout 0th and 1st weeks for returning tutors and students.

Less directly relevant to VHL readers, the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library has also moved this summer, and is now open in its new location in the Radcliffe Humanities Building on Woodstock Road.

Annual ILL price rise
Charges for inter-library loans increased by 25p per request on 1st August.

RAI Elections 2012 blog
If you are avidly following the US elections, you may be interested to know that the Rothermere American Institute has launched a blog in partnership with Politics in Spires, designed to bring together contributions from scholars from a range of different fields to discuss the upcoming elections. The blog can be read on the RAI website and will run until mid-November.

Events in RAI garden, Thursday 10th and Saturday 12th May

Mansfield College will be using the RAI’s garden as part of an arts festival on two occasions this week, and it’s possible that this may cause a small amount of noise disruption in the library. The garden will be in use in the afternoons of Thursday 10th May between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, and Saturday 12th May after 12 noon.

RAI Seminar – Inside the Workings of the American Historical Review

VHL readers may be interested in the following Special Seminar, to be held on Wednesday 22 February (16.00-17.30) at the Rothermere American Institute.

Inside the Workings of the American Historical Review

The American Historical Review (AHR) is often regarded as the leading history journal of the Anglophone world. Certainly it has the highest ‘impact factor’ among history journals, according to the Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters, which measure how often articles are peer-cited. As the official publication of the American Historical Association, since 1895 it has been the journal of record for the history profession in the United States – the only journal that brings together scholarship from every major field of historical study. The most recent issue, for example, includes articles on piracy in the Indian Ocean, colonial governance in three frontiers of the British Empire, the understanding of ‘freedom’ in nineteenth-century Japan, and US imperialism, and an AHR Conversation on the circulation of information across time and space.

Former editors Konstantin Dierks and Sarah Knott (RAI Senior Visiting Research Fellows) will lead an informal discussion about the inner workings of the AHR, from the journal’s ambitions to its article review process to its book review practices. All are welcome.

American Literature exhibition: Marilynne Robinson and the American Family Home

To accompany the Esmond Harmsworth Annual Lecture, which will be given by Marilynne Robinson at the Rothermere American Institute on Monday 23rd May, we have set up a small exhibition in the library. The exhibition places Robinson’s work in the context of the American literary and artistic tradition, and includes works by John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Erskine Caldwell, Edward Hopper and Dorothea Lange, as well as Robinson’s major novels.

The exhibition will remain in place until the end of next week (27th May). Thanks to Dr. Sally Bayley for her help in selecting material and writing the text.

Annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture: C.K. Williams

The 2010 Esmond Harmsworth Letter in American Arts and Letters will be given at the RAI next week by the major American poet C.K. Williams.  The VHL has bought a volume of Williams’s collected poems, as well as his two most recent works, Repair (which won the Pulitzer Prize) and The Singing.  These books are all currently on display on the ground floor in the library, just outside the group study room, for anyone interested in taking a look before the lecture.

For more information on the lecture, visit the RAI website. Please note that places at the lecture are limited and must be reserved in advance.

Posted in RAI

Common room unavailable Tuesday 27th-Wednesday 28th April

The downstairs common room area will be temporarily unavailable throughout Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th April, due to a major conference taking place in the RAI.   Apologies to all of our readers who like to use the common room for refreshments or to eat lunch!   There is a water fountain in the library (on the first floor, near the toilets) which is available as an alternative to the water machine downstairs.

Posted in RAI

US Elections Campaigns Archive: Exhibition and Event


Starting today, there is an exhibition in the library of selected material from the Philip & Rosamund Davies US Election Campaigns Archive. This archive has been donated to the library over many years by Professor Philip Davies, and includes all sorts of ephemera and memorabilia from American election campaigns of all levels. Material on display now includes buttons from the 19th century to the present, leaflets, bumper stickers, commemorative plates, and some more unusal items like a Reagan cigar, a book of matches, rain bonnets, a cap, mug, Obama doll, a 1976 edition of Playboy and a 1952 bar of soap!

The exhibition has been set up to accompany the forthcoming visit of Professor Davies to the RAI. He will be speaking about the archive, and what campaign material can tell us about elections in the US and the wider political climate, this Thursday at 4.30pm. All welcome to come along to hear about this fascinating collection.

Special seminars in US politics at the RAI

(posted on behalf of the RAI)

The Rothermere American Institute is holding three special seminars in US politics during seventh week:

Senator Russ Feingold: The Politics of Healthcare Reform
Tuesday 24th November, 11.30-12.30

Professor Philip Davies (The Eccles Centre, British Library), with materials from the Philip & Rosamund Davies US Elections Archive of campaign memorabilia
Thursday 26th November, 16.30-17.15

Professor Byron Shafer (University of Wisconsin, Madison): The American Public Mind
Thursday 26th November, 17.15-19.00

Professor Shafer will also be speaking at the American History Research Seminar on Wednesday 25th November, 16.00-18.00, on The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Post-War American South.

All welcome.

The Annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in Arts and Letters at the RAI, 21st May 2009

The Annual Esmond Harmsworth Lecture in American Arts and Letters will be given this year by Christopher Bigsby, Professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. Professor Bigsby has published numerous books on aspects of English and American culture, including the acclaimed Arthur Miller: the Definitive Biography.

The title of the lecture will be “Arthur Miller: Un-American”. It will take place at the RAI on Thursday, May 21st 2009 at 5pm, and be followed by a wine reception.

Places are free but must be reserved. Please contact Lucy Dugmore, Academic Programme Administrator, to make a reservation, by email at academic.programme@rai.ox.ac.uk or by telephone on 01865 282 711.