Treasures from Special Collections and Archives: First Editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 

By Patricia Reguyal, Archives Assistant 

Tom Sawyer Bookcover

Welcome to the inaugural post of the new monthly series, “Treasures from Special Collections and Archives.” This series will initially feature items from the Rare Books and Print History Collections of the Department of Special Collections and Archives (SCA) but will eventually expand to feature items from other important collections held by the department.  

To inaugurate the series, we are proud to announce that the SCA holds two copies of the first American edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. According to Blanck’s Bibliography of American Literature, there have been three printings of the first edition of this American classic. The two copies in the SCA are most likely from different printings because, while they have the same publication date, the two books are paginated differently.  

Tom Sawyer

A nearly fine copy of the first American edition is listed on AbeBooks for $45,000 and very good condition copies are listed for $12,000 to $15,000. The two copies at the SCA have been exposed to moisture and mold but have been professionally cleaned and are now in stable condition, thanks to the generosity of Shirley Klein, a lifelong bibliophile and loyal friend of Queens College. Both have the original blue cloth covers with gold-stamped stars and lovely illustrations. Over the longer term, the department hopes to acquire funding to repair the bindings and small tears in the volumes.  

The first edition of this American classic came out in London first. It was published by Chatto and Windus and came out in June 1876. The American edition, published by the American Publishing Company, came out in December 1876. Between these two official editions, a pirated edition from Canada was published in July 1876. The case of the English edition is covered in red cloth instead of the blue cloth of the American edition and is considered rarer and more valuable. Biblioctopus sold a nearly fine copy for $60,000, and the Bodleian Libraries happily announced in 2012 that their copy, previously uncatalogued because it probably “slipped in the stack shelves,” was found during a move of library collections.   

Tom Sawyer Title Page

Remarkably enough, the original and complete manuscript of the novel, in Twain’s own handwriting and with his various erasures and emendations, has been preserved in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections at Georgetown University. Also called a holographic manuscript, it was the manuscript that Twain submitted for the typesetting of the American first edition and that he seemed to have allowed Elisha P. Bliss, the president of the American Publishing Company at the time, to keep after the publication of his novel. This manuscript was also exhibited at the MOMA in 1937.  

The SCA also has one copy of the first American edition of the other Twain classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a post about that treasure will be forthcoming in this series. All three of Twain’s first editions in the stewardship of the SCA are originally from a Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library Rare Book Collection which had formerly been held on the 6th floor of the library, but had been exposed to moisture and had suffered a mold outbreak. The entire collection was recently cleaned and remediated by a vendor. Head of Special Collections and Archives Annie Tummino wrote about its triumphant return to Rosenthal Library last year.  

The SCA staff is currently busy working to preserve, process, and arrange these marvelous treasures so that they may be used and enjoyed by the Queens College community.  

Welcome the Library’s CUNY Recovery Corps 2021 Summer Interns

The Queens College Libraries (QCL) welcomes three amazing interns, Amy Sukhoo, Daysi Tiban, and Natalie Zeng, from the CUNY Recovery Corps Summer 2021 Internship program.   The internship is for six weeks (July 6 – August 14, 2021) and each intern works with a different team in the library. 

Amy Sukhoo: Access Services

Amy Sukhoo is a Senior at Queens College.  She has attended Queens College from 2019 to 2021 after attending the City College of New York from 2017 to 2019. During summer 2021, she is interning for the Queens College Libraries in the Access Services Department. Her internship is part of the CUNY Recovery Corps, which aims to help rebuild the community due to COVID-19. She has previous experiences as an accounting intern, office assistant, childcare assistant, and tutor. She seeks out new opportunities as an upcoming graduate. 

Daysi Tiban: Research Services

Daysi Tiban is a Junior at Queens College majoring in accounting and minoring in economics. She is currently working for CUNY Recovery Corps at the Queens College Libraries. Part of her responsibilities include working with the Queens College Libraries website and updating information through research. As a current junior in college and continuing to work towards her degree, she plans to engage in more extracurricular activities and is open-minded to new learning opportunities.

Natalie Zeng: Web and Digital Services

Natalie Zeng is a Junior at Queens College who is interning at Queens College Libraries, majoring in Design and minoring in Anthropology.  She expects to graduate in May 2022. Natalie is very passionate about user experience/user interface (UX/UI) and loves to learn new concepts involving design. Natalie’s current project as an intern is to work on the heuristic evaluation by using comparative website research. In the past, she has involved herself in internships with Cognizant and coding programs such as Kode with Klossy and Girls Who Code to expand her knowledge.

QCL is very excited to have our interns and look forward to working with them this summer!

Congratulations and Welcome!

We are very excited to congratulate Professor Yearwood and Max Thorn on their recent promotions. Congratulations!

Simone Yearwood, Interim Associate Dean & Chief Librarian

Simone Yearwood
Simone Yearwood, Interim Associate Dean & Chief Librarian

We are pleased to announce that effective July 6, Simone L. Yearwood will serve as Interim Associate Dean and Chief Librarian of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library.

We warmly welcome Simone Yearwood, a Queens College (QC) alumna, to her new position. Simone earned a BA in Sociology in 2004, a Master’s in Library Science in 2007, and a Master of Arts, Urban Affairs in 2009. An Associate Professor of Library, Simone began working at Queens College in 2011. In her current role as Deputy Chief Librarian, Simone represents the Library at all levels (campus, university, and national) on issues and policies relating to research and scholarly delivery and communication. She has leadership, management, policy, budget, planning, and implementation responsibilities. Her research focuses on information literacy, cross-training of library staff, patron-driven acquisitions, user experience, and leadership. In addition, she teaches an introduction to librarianship course and a research methods course as an adjunct associate professor for the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at Queens College. Many of us know Simone through her exemplary service as chair of the QC Academic Senate and as a member of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee.

Max Thorn, Substitute Instruction Librarian

Max Thorn
Max Thorn, Substitute Instruction Librarian

We are pleased to welcome Max Thorn as a full-time Substitute Instruction Librarian.

Max joined Queens College Library (QCL) on July 6, 2021, as the Substitute Instruction Librarian.  He received his Master of Library Science in 2020 from Queens College Graduate of Library and Information Studies program with a Certificate in Archives and the Preservation of Cultural Materials. Max received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Minor in English, Religion from Colorado College (Colorado Springs).

Max came to QCL as an Archives Instruction Graduate Fellow in spring 2019 where he created and led document analysis exercises for the Civil Rights Movement collection to teach archival literacy skills to undergraduate students. In the fall of 2019, Max was a Processing Intern for QCL where he surveyed and arranged a mixed media alumnus collection in addition to digitizing selected slides from the collection.

Max was able to use the skills he developed as an Instruction Fellow when he began as an Instruction Adjunct in 2019 at Queens College Library. His primary duties included teaching research and information literacy workshops for first-year students and leading workshops for faculty librarians on new pedagogy and curriculum. Max also assisted in revising the English 110 curriculum for an online environment blending synchronous and asynchronous instruction sessions.

We offer Max a warm welcome to the full-time position. Your remarkable skills will be a great addition to our team and the library. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Thank You and Good Luck!

The Queens College Library has been fortunate to have a wonderful staff and leadership.  As such, we are always happy to see the growth even if it means that people will move on to new opportunities.   As this academic year comes to a close, we say thank you and good luck to three colleagues.     

Kristin Hart, Chief Librarian and Associate Dean

Kristin Hart
Kristin Hart, Chief Librarian and Associate Dean

We congratulate current Chief Librarian Kristin Hart on her appointment as University Dean for Libraries and Information Resources. In her new position, Kristin will facilitate collaboration across CUNY libraries; improve online access to information resources for students, faculty, and staff; continue the smooth roll out of CUNY’s new library service platform, Alma, which went live in August 2020; maximize the value of our CUNY-wide collection of scholarly, electronic resources; and build on, accelerate, and scale the progress that CUNY has made advancing open educational resources and scholarly communications.  

At Queens College, Kristin focused on setting strategic priorities for the Library in line with emerging trends in academic librarianship, reimagining the Library as space, fostering traditional and emerging forms of research and information literacy, reenergizing relationships with key partners, and steering the Library through the coronavirus pandemic. Our loss is the University’s gain, and we wish Kristin every conceivable success and look forward to collaborating with her as she begins her new role at CUNY. 


Jennifer Oates, Ph.D., Head of Music Library, Associate Professor

Jennifer Oates
Jennifer Oates, Ph.D., Head of Music Library, Associate Professor

After 18 years as the Head of the Queens College Music Library, Dr. Jennifer Oates will be leaving us to join Carrol College in Helena, Montana as the new Library Director. During her time with Queens College, Jennifer specialized in user experience, while educating and empowering others, in addition to fostering connections among diverse populations.  Her leadership style included team building, mentorship, and innovative problem-solving. At the Music Library, Jennifer was able to implement operational excellence working with a diverse staff to create a dynamic team that was fully committed to developing inclusive, positive user experiences and fostering community. 

We would like to thank Jennifer for her dedication to Queens College and the Music Library and wish her success in her future role. 


Obden Mondesir, Adjunct Outreach Archivist

Obden Mondesir
Obden Mondesir, Adjunct Outreach Archivist

Obden Mondesir has served as the Adjunct Outreach Archivist for Special Collections and Archives for the past two years. In this role, he conducted over 25 oral histories for the SEEK History and COVID-19 Projects and represented the archives in a variety of public speaking engagements (see a sampling of his work at bit.ly/Obden). We wish him well in his new role as Associate Director of the Barnard Archives.

My Pause in this Pandemic

By Queens College Library Ambassador 

Photo by fation hyso on Unsplash

As basic as it sounds, I believe it is important to stay positive. As the Spring semester of 2020 arrived, I decided to take a break from school because of family and health-related matters. Initially, I felt guilty and ashamed that I did not feel it was a priority to complete school at that moment. However, when the pandemic hit, I felt relieved that I did not have to adjust to such a drastic change in my learning environment. Instead, I felt that switching to remote learning so abruptly would have negatively affected my grades. I was thankful that I did not have to adjust to the class style change mid-semester. However, the pandemic, along with my semester-long break, allowed me to create drastic changes in myself.

I strived to reach the goal to be “put together” and “well-rounded.” I was always searching for the reason why I was never satisfied with myself. Was it because I did not follow the typical life plan that many parents expect out of their children? Was it the amount that I have and/or have not achieved? Was it more personal, such as my self-confidence? I strived to be someone I was proud of, yet I did not know how to go about it. Just like many other problems, I began problem-solving by identifying the issues that really held value for me. The time I had allowed during this pandemic gave me the opportunity to learn that such things as success and confidence cannot be quantified and should not define who I am. What is important is to be someone that you are proud of. To be “put together” and “well-rounded” means to prioritize your own morals and values and focus on what makes you happy and at peace.

My disappointment in myself and, surprisingly, the pandemic pushed me not only to strive to graduate but mature in the mind, body, and soul. During my break, I lost a significant amount of weight to tackle my journey to success in becoming physically healthy. Of course, my weight loss was an accomplishment, but there was much more than that. I developed the ability to be compassionate on a deeper level due to this pandemic. I find it an accomplishment that I value my self-worth by allowing myself to step back and think of my well-being rather than to graduate just to graduate. I understand that everything really has a deeper meaning. During this pandemic, I can see the world from a different perspective where, frankly, I believe I would have never had an opportunity to experience without the pandemic.

Although the pandemic has led to a significant number of deaths, I feel it is important to use the opportunity to turn it around and make the best of it, whether it is personal goals or fighting for what you believe in on a much larger scale. I strive to continue learning new ways to expect more out of myself and to one day contribute back to society. 

When the Summer of 2020 arrived, I was able to adjust to the new school style. I am sure the transition to online courses with just one class in the summer was smoother than it was for the students in the previous semester. For the coming semesters, I expect online learning to be a standard way of learning. I believe an in-person school setting is most ideal. However, I think it is just as important for the educational system to use this opportunity to find new ways to assist students in learning.

I feel CUNY is doing a great job providing students with the resources they need to succeed. However, improvements can always be made no matter how satisfied I am with CUNY’s response to the pandemic. One area of improvement can be finding an ideal platform for lectures. My classes have been very back and forth where some platforms are more ideal to me than others. 

My advice to everyone is to reevaluate your situation and find positivity out of it to grow as a person.

* Photo by fation hyso on Unsplash

Queens College Music Library has Launched Online Exhibits

By Michael Deering

The Queens College Music Library is excited to launch their new Online Exhibit, today, March 22, 2021! The exhibit is one part of the Music Library’s goal to broaden repertoire selections. To this end, the exhibit features the musical contributions of composers, performers, and researchers from underrepresented communities. It also features work and stories from the Aaron Copland School of Music community. 

This exhibit will be updated each month with a new focus. For March, we are focusing on a few amazing women in music, including Dr. Samantha Ege who will be livestreaming a lecture in partnership with ACSM on March 24th at 2 PM. It will be aired live and will remain available on Youtube.

To stay up to date with our new exhibits be sure to follow the Music Library’s social media page(s).

Library Closure 12/17

Due to expected inclement weather conditions, Rosenthal Library will be closed on Thursday, December 17th. Queens College Shuttle service is also suspended. We expect to reopen on Friday, December 18th or as the weather permits.

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Dec. 2020)

by Michael Deering

Although we are almost out of 2020, let’s not rush through this holiday season! Though it may be a bit quieter than usual, this season should be a time of good will towards all. Stay in touch with loved ones and if you need some entertainment for yourself, or to share with others, here are some excellent free events from Queens College and beyond to bring into your homes. Warmest wishes from myself and all of us at Benjamin Rosenthal Library!

Music

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30PM: The Queens College New Music Group presents a concert of New Works for Mixed Ensembles. This group consists of Aaron Copland School of Music composers who are interested in the many directions music is going.
  • Wednesday, December 9 at 7:30PM: Join the Queens College Choral Society, Vocal Ensemble and Treble Choir for an Evening of Choral Music! One highlight will be the world premiere of Karen Siegel’s Meditation for live remote choir including a Q&A with the composer.
  • Thursday, December 10 and Thursday, December 17 at 7PM: The Louis Armstrong House presents short films featuring projects inspired by Louis Armstrong. Inside the Laughing Barrel will air on the 10th followed by Letters on the 17th. Register for the free live streams here.
  • Thursday, December 10 at 8PM:  Jazz Foundation of America Presents Bird Calls, a COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Digital Concert featuring the music of, and the music inspired by, Charlie Parker. RSVP here.
  • Friday, December 11 through Friday, December 18: The US-China Music Institute presents the China and Beethoven Festival. The virtual festival will showcase how Beethoven’s legacy is more relevant than ever and also explore Beethoven’s legacy in China as a heroic figure during the changing politics of the 20th century and China’s oscillating affiliation with Western classical music. Register here!
  • Saturday, December 19 at 3PM: The Kupferberg Center for the Arts brings Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Elena Moon Park to your screens. Enjoy a set of reimagined folk and children’s songs from East Asia. Join her to sing and dance along to Taiwanese train songs, Korean and Chinese New Year’s songs. RSVP here!

Literature

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 7PM: Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents Off the Page: Cherríe Moraga and Vanessa Pérez-Rosario in Conversation. Cherríe Moraga is an internationally acclaimed poet and author who has been active since the 1980s. You can learn more about her and RSVP for the free event here.  
  • Wednesday, December 9 at 7PM: Catch the worldwide facebook premiere of The Library that Dolly Built. This documentary traces icon Dolly Parton’s history that led her to create the Imagination Library which provides free literature for young children. RSVP for this feel great premiere here!
  • Thursday, December 17 at 3PM: We think having free access to these cultural riches is something to celebrate! This event will bring together a diverse group of organizations, musicians, artists, activists, and thinkers to highlight the new works entering the public domain in 2021 and discuss those elements of knowledge and creativity that are too important to a healthy society to lock down with copyright law. Register for Public Domain Day here!

Theatre

  • Available December 10 through December 11: Christopher Plummer and Nikki M. James star in the Stratford Festival’s 2008 production of the George Bernard Shaw play, Caesar and Cleopatra. 
  • Friday, December 11 at 8PM through December 15: Lesli Margherita stars in Who’s Holiday? A solo play by Matthew Lombardo about middle-aged Cindy Lou Who, who recalls the night she first met the Grinch. Filmed Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in 2017. You can catch this play and a ton of other impressive and hysterical productions on Broadway Cares Youtube channel! 
  • Available through December 24: Milwaukee Rep is making their 2016 production of the classic, Mark Clement’s A Christmas Carol, available through Christmas Eve. Be sure to fill out this form to receive the link!