Annual Constitution Day Celebration at OU

Constitution Day Celebrations at the University of Oklahoma


Celebrate Federal Constitution Day Sept, 17, 2015 by attending the annual lecture sponsored by OU’s Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage (IACH). This year, Dr. Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy will speak on “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the Revolutionary War and the Fate of the Empire” at 4:30 in Meacham Auditorium, Oklahoma Memorial Union. Dr. O’Shaughnessy is Professor of History at University of Virginia and Saunders Director of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. For more details see the IACH website.

You are also invited to celebrate the 122nd anniversary of Government Documents at their Open House, 2pm-4pm, on the 4th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library. The first 100 attendees will receive complimentary mini-Constitutions. Punch and refreshments will be served. See here for more information, including images from previous celebrations.

Law, History, Government & Constitutional Studies in the Collections

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Each year on this day we take the opportunity to promote awareness of books and materials related to law, government, political science, the classical tradition, American and British history which are held within the four special collections in Bizzell Memorial Library: Bass Business History Collection, Bizzell Bible Collection, History of Science Collections, and the John and Mary Nichols Collections. Relevant materials in the collections include American and European books from the 15th through 20th centuries.

For a glimpse into these holdings, see the following links to some of our past exhibits and blog posts:



Using Special Collections Materials for Teaching and Research

In addition to rare books and primary source materials, the Collections have significant holdings in non-rare materials: modern scholarly works, critical editions and facsimiles, introductory texts, and reference books. For these materials, browse Guide to Resources in History of Science, Technology and Medicine and Galileo’s World Resources Guide

Both rare books and recent works held in the special collections are included in OU library’s online catalog. For help searching for materials see Guide to Searching

Interested in using Collections materials for teaching or research? Need help identifying items to use for a class assignment, capstone project, thesis or dissertation topic? Please contact our staff for assistance (405) 325-2741.

See the Collections blog for more information on resources, activities, and events relating to OU’s 5th floor special collection libraries. See the Galileo’s World website for a virtual view of our campus-wide exhibit and related programs and events.

Beyond the Collections

Want to dig deeper into these topics? See the following online guides to resources beyond the 5th floor special collections:

Posted in Exhibits and events, In the news, Uncategorized

Two new space exhibits are now open

Kerr rocketThe Carl Albert Center of the University of Oklahoma has launched a new exhibition, “Rockets’ Red Glare: Robert Kerr and the Space.”

View the exhibit both online and in person at Monnett Hall on the north oval of the OU campus. A website, Oklahoma and the Space Race, also displays a collection of Kerr’s Space and Aeronautics Memorabilia along with speeches and other archival material. Special thanks to Nathan Gerth and the archives staff for their creation of this exhibit, and to Mike Crespin and Cindy Rosenthal for including the Carl Albert Center in the Galileo’s World initiative.

The Carl Albert exhibit is a perfect complement to the Oklahomans and Space exhibit curated by Bill Moore, now open at the National Weather Center. Aviators, astronauts, scientists and engineers from Oklahoma have participated in aerospace activities throughout the history of the state. This special exhibit explores how the pioneering spirit that brought space scientists to Oklahoma also inspired them to explore the new frontier of space. It is based on the book by Bill Moore, Oklahomans and Space (Oklahoma Historical Society, 2011).


Posted in Exhibits and events

Galileo’s World opens at Sam Noble!

Galileo’s World is upon us… The first Galileo’s World exhibit opened Saturday, August 1st, at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History!

The joint-exhibit, Through the Eyes of the Lynx: Galileo, Natural History and the Americas, will run Aug. 1 – Jan. 18, 2016.

This exhibit explores the question: “How did the natural knowledge of Native Americans shape European science in the age of Galileo?”


The focal point of this exhibit is the natural history of Mexico by Francisco Hernandez, published by Galileo and his colleagues in the Academy of the Lynx. Through this work, Native American knowledge of plants and animals became part of mainstream European biology. Galileo’s world extended far beyond Italy to include the western hemisphere. Natural history became transformed into a global endeavor.

Check out “FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ: THE COOLEST EXPLORER YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF”, a report of this exhibit by Cara Giaimo on the Atlas Obscura news site (a “definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places”).




The king of Spain commissioned a physician, Francisco Hernandez, to compile Native American plant and animal knowledge. Beginning in 1571, Hernandez worked closely with Aztec artists and physicians in central Mexico. This work resulted in a massive, multi-volume set of notes, with painted illustrations, describing thousands of animals and plants unknown to most of the world.

An Italian nobleman, Federigo Cesi, founded the Academy of the Lynx (Accademia dei Lincei), one of the earliest scientific societies. Publishing a definitive edition of the manuscript of Hernandez comprised the central, albeit elusive, goal of Cesi and the Academy of the Lynx. Galileo joined the ranks of the Lynx in 1611, bringing wide-ranging expertise in mathematics, engineering, literature, art and medicine. Soon he became their star member. Other members included some of the leading naturalists of the day. They worked together to publish a monumental natural history of the Americas based upon the manuscript Hernandez prepared for the king of Spain. The landmark project, finally accomplished in 1651, more than 70 years after Hernandez’ sojourn in central Mexico, symbolizes the transformation of natural history into a global endeavor.

In antiquity, the lynx was renowned for possessing sharp eyesight at night. Cesi believed that the eyes of the Academy of the Lynx would peer more deeply into the secrets of nature than ever before. Because of their work to publish Hernandez’ natural history of Mexico, the keen eyes of the Academy of the Lynx stretched the boundaries of European thought in the life sciences just as with Galileo’s discoveries in the physical sciences.

What you will see

The Lynx edition of Hernandez is on display in this exhibit, alongside specimens from the Sam Noble Museum and the Robert Bebb Herbarium of the OU Department of Biology.

Three Galileo first editions: The first edition of Galileo’s masterwork in physics, the Discourse on Two New Sciences (1636), finds its place in the exhibit because of its critique of giant tales, which provided a scientific constraint for assessing reports of strange creatures. This prized Galileo first edition is included alongside a little-known work of literary criticism by Galileo, Considerations on Tasso (first published in 1793). A third Galileo first edition is a pamphlet of letters to Cesi about the Academy of the Lynx.

Other original books include the first published edition of Aristotle’s biological works (1476); the natural histories of Aldrovandi and Topsell; early hand-colored printed herbals of Fuchs and Gerard, and other works in natural history by members of the Academy of the Lynx.

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Co-curators: James Burnes, Carolyn Scearce, Jackson Pope, Tom Luczycki, Katrina Menard, Melissa Rickman, Kerry Magruder.

Posted in In the news | 1 Comment

Communities of collaboration

Our thanks to Rob Reynolds and the NextThought team for their series on “The Power of Connections.” Here’s an excerpt from an interview on open access and “collaborative communities.” For more, see Rob’s Power of Connections blog.

Kerry Magruder and Rob Reynolds – Open Access from NextThought on Vimeo.

Kerry Magruder and Rob Reynolds discuss open access to learning materials

Posted in In the news

Galileo’s World – teaser video

Posted in In the news | Tagged

Tower of Pisa on Fox Morning News

The Tower of Pisa project of the OU College of Engineering was featured last Friday, July 24, for the Fox News 25 morning show, broadcast live from the lobby of Bizzell Memorial Library. Four brief reports featured footage of the Tower under construction, as well as interviews with various College of Engineering students and faculty (including Chris Ramseyer and Theresa Marks); Chelsea Julian (Galileo’s World Project Manager); and Kerry Magruder (Galileo’s World Curator).

Watch the four reports on the Fox25 website.

Posted in In the news | Tagged

Celebrating Shakespeare at OU

PaintingOn this day set aside to recognize the birth of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), we have much to celebrate on the OU campus relating to Shakespeare and his times.

In February we learned that the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History was selected as the Oklahoma site for the traveling exhibition First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.

Today, it was announced that the First Folio will be on display at the Sam Noble Museum in early 2016.

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The First Folio is the first printed collection of Shakespeare’s plays (published in 1623). The copy that will be on display in Oklahoma is one of only 233 surviving copies of this significant work. The traveling exhibit program is the result of a partnership between the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the American Library Association.

The nationwide tour of copies of the First Folio commemorates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. For the OU campus, it comes at a propitious time: throughout 2015 and 2016 we will be immersed in the world of the 16th and 17th centuries, through engagement with exhibits and programs for Galileo’s World.

Pictured here is OU’s copy of the Second Folio, published in 1632. It is one of the many treasures held in the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections, and will be on display in Galileo’s World.


Shakespeare and OU’s Special Collections

While 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it was just last year – 2014 -that we recognized the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.  We did this with a display of books from the History of Science Collections and the John and Mary Nichols Collection.

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Click here to download a copy of the exhibit brochure, with pages rotated 180 degrees for more convenient printing on some printers.  Also, see the exhibit page.

Shakespeare at OU

Beyond books, other commemorations of Shakespeare can be found in and around Bizzell Library. This includes the portrait shown above (outside the Great Reading Room), and the bench on the east side of the building.


And of course, numerous OU Faculty across campus are engaged in the study of Shakespeare and/or his times, not only from the Department of English, but also from Classics and Letters, History, History of Science, and Modern Languages.  A gathering point for many of these scholars is the Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Faculty across campus and across the disciplines are associated with the Center.

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“The Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies at the University of Oklahoma promotes the study of the period in Western history that saw the development of such major components of modern life as parliamentary democracy, the nation-state, English and other modern languages, printing, Islam, global exploration, heliocentric astronomy, romantic love–and the universities in which we research and teach all these subjects. Some thirty-five faculty at OU contribute to the study of these and many other facets of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.”

Doing Research with Books from OU’s 5th-Floor Special Collections 

While tours and class visits are not possible as we undergo renovation on the 5th floor of Bizzell Library in preparation for the Galileo’s World Exhibit (scheduled for the 2015-16 academic year), researchers continue to have individual access to our books and materials from our four special collection libraries: Bass, Bizzell Bible, History of Science, and John and Mary Nichols. For a glimpse into the books in these collections, see these guides to past exhibits: Crossing Cultures, Living Library (iBooks exhibit) and our online galleries. Use Discover Local, the online catalog, to search for items in the collections.

For information on our public reading room services, see 4th Floor Reading Room page and Reading Room Handout. See the Collections blog for more information on resources, activities, and events relating to OU’s 5th floor special collection libraries.

Please contact the staff for assistance (405) 325-2741. Or contact us:

Posted in Class aids, Exhibits and events, Featured book, In the news, Learning resources, Manuscripts, archives, photos, Research tips, Uncategorized