Year in Review: Significant Acquisitions

Opening the campus to in-person instruction gave us the joyful opportunity to reconnect students with physical artifacts. While we celebrate the innovative, meaningful ways with which we are able to share our collections virtually, the hands-on experience we provide in the special collections classroom adds an extraordinarily profound element to student learning and we were so glad to be able to share the magic of in-person encounters with history. Our acquisitions and gallery exhibitions this year reflect the happy collaboration between faculty in the classroom, student research, and our collecting and exhibition goals to promote greater inclusivity within our holdings.

Our long-time Robert and Miriam Kinsey Collection and the recently donated Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection have provided a rich foundation of Asian manuscripts, books, art and artifacts to share with courses such as ARHS 4307 “Arts of Japan,” ASPA 3200 “Masterpieces of East Asian Literature,” ASPA 4870 “Asian Mythology,” and THST 3282 “Buddhism.” This year, we enhanced this growing area with a number of late 19th/early 20th century Japanese fairy tales translated for the English-reading market, maps and pilgrimage routes to Buddhist shrines printed in the 1820s, and an amazing, five-volume “Illustrated Compendium of Buddhist Images.” First published in 1690, “Butsuzou Zui” 仏像図彙 is a landmark publication of Buddhist iconography in Japan. Our copy is the revised and expanded 1783 edition, and includes hundreds of black-and-white woodblock illustrations.

two gallery attendees
Two attendees at the exhibition for “Beneath the Banner of the Cross”

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the canonization of Sts. Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, we acquired an edition of “Relatio Facta,” a 1622 printed report of the formal arguments presented to Pope Gregory XV in favor of the two Jesuits. The papal review of these arguments, which include details of miracles worked by Ignatius and Xavier, resulted in their elevation to sainthood.

Katie Khojasteh, our English Department graduate student intern this year, researched 19th century book-bindings for her spring 2023 exhibition. Her work inspired us to seek more specimens of traditional binding from regions outside Europe and the United States. We added a Persian poetry manuscript with a gorgeously decorated Kashmir lacquer binding as well as examples of Islamic and Ethiopian Orthodox prayer books.

Katie’s research also helped us to find two unsigned bindings identified as likely the work of the Guild of Women Binders. Stay tuned for Katie’s beautiful exhibition next year.

To help contextualize the moving history highlighted in the Ichikawa Family Papers that were donated to us during the early months of the pandemic, we added a large run of the “Heart Mountain Sentinel” (above). It consists of 40 issues of the Wyoming incarceration camp newspaper in English and 22 in Japanese, together spanning from July 1944 to July 1945.

Loyola University letterman jacketOne of our favorite donations this year brought an artifact “home” when Margaret Dugan donated an early 1960s Loyola University letterman jacket (right). Jay McDonald donated a beautiful, limited-edition portfolio, “I Am You,” featuring Gordon Parks’ photographs, in honor of the retirement of Elena “Lane” Bove, LMU’s long-time senior vice president for Student Affairs.

We are also deeply grateful to the John August Swanson Trust for donating a large number of the artist’s serigraphs to our existing collection, along with the JAS Studio’s extensive database documenting his life, artistic process, and artworks and a wonderful little sculpture he had made as a child. In addition to being an internationally known artist, John August Swanson touched the lives of many members of the LMU community, inspiring us with his gentle grace and celebration of beauty. We are proud to preserve the work of a beloved, much-missed former student, collaborator, and neighbor.