Reprising King Richard III at OU

RIIIJPEGKing Richard III (1452-1485) is in the news again, with media outlets reporting the results of DNA analysis of his remains, discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester. This seems like an opportune moment to remind readers of our own contribution to the recognition of the discovery.

At the time of the announcement by University of Leicester team, we identified and placed on display several rare books relating to the ill-fated monarch, including biographical accounts, chronicles of English monarchs, and Shakespeare’s Second Folio. These works are currently held in the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University of Oklahoma.

We may not have the bones but we have the tomes!  See the following brochure for a guide to our February 2013 Richard III display and for a glimpse into the holdings of the John and Mary Nichols Collection.

Richard III, brochure

Access to the John and Mary Nichols Collection is available to students, faculty, and other researchers. Holdings are included in the library’s online catalog. For more information, visit the Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library (Room 414, west side of floor; Hours: M-F 9-4pm, 325-2760).  You can also contact the Acting Curator, Dr. JoAnn Palmeri at or (405) 325-2741.

NOTE: Because of renovations in preparation for next year’s Galileo’s World Exhibit, the 5th floor is no longer accessible to the public. Requests for materials from the Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, History of Science, and John and Mary Nichols Collections can be made at our new 4th floor location.

See earlier King Richard III at OU Post


Posted in Exhibits and events

Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center

Watch this 3-minute video for a quick overview of the innovative Peggy V. Helmerich Collaborative Learning Center on LL1 in the Bizzell Memorial Library:

Follow the HCLC on Facebook or Twitter. For more information, to make an appointment with a technology librarian, or to book a study room online, see the Locations tab of the Library website.

Posted in In the news, Learning resources

Capstone in the Collections: Promoting Undergraduate Research Across the Curriculum

by JoAnn Palmeri

Are you a faculty member who wants to promote use of primary sources and unique materials in capstone projects, research papers, and class assignments?

If so, please come to an Information Session to learn more about the Special Collections housed on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library: Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, John and Mary Nichols, and History of Science.  (Can’t get to a session? Send or drop off your card — this gets you a followup email and a chance to win a print from one of our digitized items).  Encourage your graduate teaching assistants to attend, as well.

WHAT:                    Information Session on 5th Floor Special Collections

WHERE:                 Collaborative Learning Center Classroom, Bizzell LL123

WHEN:                   Wed. November 19/ Thurs. November 20       4-6pm

HOST:                     Dr. JoAnn Palmeri, History of Science Collections 

EthiopianBible-003GRATIANKircher-1679-040-pl-d copyLeonhart Fuchs. De historia stirpium.  (Basileae, 1542).Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 12.16.53 PM

Rare books and materials from the 15-20th centuries held within the 5th floor collections can support a wide range of research problems and studies spanning the arts, sciences, and humanities. Materials are accessible to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates.  Drop by one of our information sessions to learn about:

  • The scope of materials in the collections, both primary and secondary sources
  • Searching strategies for identifying relevant items
  • Online guides and digital resources
  • The possibilities for engaging students through exhibits, both physical and virtual. (For more on the upcoming Galileo’s World Exhibit, you are welcome to attend Dr. Kerry Magruder’s noon Brown Bag on 11/20 in the Digital Scholarship Conference Room).
  • Procedures for using the collections

The 5th floor is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for the Galileo’s World Exhibit. Although class visits are not possible in the interim, students and faculty are still welcome to use Collections materials for their research. Be sure to visit our new Reading Room location – Room 414 Bizzell West (open Monday-Friday 9-4:45pm/325-2760).


If you can’t make these sessions but want to learn more about using Special Collections materials in support of teaching and research,  please contact JoAnn Palmeri, Research Coordinator, History of Science Collections/Acting Curator, John and Mary Nichols Collection, /325-2741, And watch this blog for news and updates about resources and services relating to Bizzell’s 5th floor Special Collections.


For help researching the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine at OU see the following guides:, and Go to the Crossing Cultures Exhibit page on the exhibit guide to get a feel for the scope – in time, geography, language, and genre – of materials held in OU’s 5th floor collections).

For help with primary source materials (digital or print) accessible through OU Libraries, please consult Laurie Scrivener, History Librarian and Primary Research Projects Specialist/325-1903, and Jackie Reese, Western History Collections Librarian/325-3641, and Kristina Southwell, Associate Curator, Western History Collections/325-3641, Additional Subject Liaisons at OU Libraries are listed here.

Archival and Special Collections on campus beyond Bizzell Library include:  The Carl Albert Center, Julian P. Kanter Political Commercial ArchiveWestern History Collections. Click here for links to additional local collections and museums.

Posted in Finding aids

Lady Science on Ada Lovelace Day

We are pleased to share this announcement from Professor Katherine Pandora, about a new email newsletter launching this week: Lady Science, edited by Leila McNeill and Anna Reser:

“Part of this year’s objectives for digital humanities at OU is to recognize the innovative ways in which our graduate students are using digital means to experiment with emerging genres of written and visual communication to engage in scholarship and public humanities through the use of new media, in addition to explorations with new research tools and other innovative forms of digital scholarly inquiry. I am pleased to highlight one such project below, launched on October 14th, Ada Lovelace Day.” 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Lady Science || edited by Leila McNeill and Anna Reser ]

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we’re pleased to announce a monthly email newsletter about women in science and popular culture.

Lady Science is a monthly dose of cultural criticism, usually in the form of two easy-to-swallow essays. We focus on stories about women in science, technology and medicine, both in modern, popular media and in history.

For our first issue, we explore and challenge the representations of women in period medical dramas like BreathlessThe Knick, and Call the Midwife. We came to this topic upon realizing that these shows, with Call the Midwife being the one exception, emphasize the lives of men and de-emphasize the experiences of women, even when obstetrics and gynecology is the medical focus of the entire show or episode. While it is true that there were more male than female doctors and surgeons during the time periods these shows are set, it is, however, incorrect to labor under the misconception that women were not involved in medical decisions regarding their own bodies. Yet, this is the representation we are given in these medical dramas. To use obstetrics and gynecology to tell a story about scientific progress, the writers implicitly frame women’s knowledge and skills as backward, reinforcing the notion that women are irrational and, thus, need to be saved from their own bodies by the knowledge of men.

Subscribe here:

Info and issue descriptions at:
Edited by: 
Leila McNeill
Recently received a MA in History of Science focusing on midwifery, public health, and popular medical texts for women in the nineteenth century.
Contact: @leilasedai,
Anna Reser
Currently completing an MA thesis in History of Technology about the myth, memory and men of the American space program.
Contact: @annanreser,
The first issue will hit inboxes on Friday October 17!
More information about Ada Lovelace Day here:
Interested in writing for Lady Science? Send a brief email with your proposal and a bit of information about yourself to
Posted in Uncategorized

Opening on 4th floor West

Beginning Monday, October 6, the BL5 special collections (Nichols, Bass, Bizzell Bible and the History of Science Collections) will open in the Cable Suite on Bizzell Library’s 4th floor, West side (BL 414). Please direct all inquiries to that location. The phone number is 325-2760. The fifth floor will re-open to the public next year when the renovation is complete.

Posted in In the news

Fall into the History of Science Collections

by JoAnn Palmeri

As Fall begins today with the autumnal equinox, it is a perfect time to remind our readers of the extraordinary astronomical books held in the History of Science Collections at the University of Oklahoma.

Joannes de Sacro Bosco, Sphera volgare (Venice, 1537)

Astronomy in the Collections

Hyginus, Poeticon astronomicon (Venice, 1485)The History of Science Collections is known for its significant holdings in the history of astronomy and allied sciences. These holdings include rare and unique treatises by Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton; the first printed editions of astronomical texts from antiquity and the medieval period; textbooks, celestial atlases, and popular astronomy works through the 20th century; and much, much more.

Many of our books are digitized and available in our online gallery of images. Browse this gallery by century, name, and date of published work. Browser beware: we are in the process of migrating all of our images to SHARE OK (the university’s new online archive), and so you may find some broken links as you search.

Resources for Study & Research in the History of Astronomy 

Flammarion-1881-000-coverBeyond our rare books, the collections holds many modern editions, reference books, textbooks, and introductory accounts in the history of astronomy and related topics. Whether you are trying to become more familiar with a new topic, conducting in-depth study, or doing original research, we have the resources you need. For both rare works and modern editions, you can identify items held in the Collections by searching the Discover Local, the online catalog.

Use our Guide to Resources to identify introductory works, modern critical editions, and reference sources that can assist you with your work. Some of these materials may be held in the History of Science Collections, or in Bizzell or a branch library, or, they may be available online.

  • See the page on the guide featuring introductory works in the history of astronomy.
  • See the page on the guide featuring tips on searching for scientists’ writings. It lists examples of modern critical editions of astronomy works from antiquity through the modern period (scroll down the page to get to the links of catalog records of works by Cleomedes, Ptolemy, Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’, Kepler, Newton).

Beyond these select items, the following list illustrates the range of scholarly resources and research materials available for the study of the history of astronomy in the Collections: Astronomy Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Astronnomy; The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories; The History of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography; New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought; Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime; A Reexamination of Caroline Herschel: Eighteenth-Century Astronomy and the Herschel Family EconomyPlurality of Worlds: The Origins of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant; The Moon and the Western Imagination.

Campus Connections

Several Faculty Members in the Department of the History of Science publish in area of history of astronomy; see the Faculty Book page on our resource guide, which includes books by current as well as former faculty, visiting scholars, and alumni of the program.

 Margaret Bryan's Compendious System of Astronomy - Frontispiece

Interested in doing work in the history of astronomy at OU? See the Department of the History of Science page to learn more about graduate and undergraduate study.

Use the search box on the top right side of this page to find more posts relating to the history of astronomy at OU and beyond, including information on exhibits relating to OU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.




Image | Posted on by

Celebrating Constitution Day at OU

by JoAnn Palmeri

IACH Constitution Day Lecture and Government Documents Open House, Wednesday, September 17

cosntCelebrate Constitution Day by attending the annual lecture sponsored by OU’s Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage (IACH). This year Professor Carl Richard of the University of Louisiana will speak on “The American Founders and Mixed Government Theory” at 4:30 in Meacham Auditorium, OMU. For more details see the IACH website.

You are also invited to celebrate the 121st 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.

Greeks, Romans, and American founders in OU’s Special Collections

Explore the connections between Ancient Greece and the American founders with rare books and materials held in the special collections on the 5th floor of Bizzell Memorial Library: Bass Business History Collection, Bizzell Bible Collection, History of Science Collections, and the John and Mary Nichols Collections. While tours and class visits are not possible as we undergo renovation in preparation for the Galileo’s World exhibit (scheduled for the 2015-16 academic year), researchers continue to have access to the books.

For a glimpse into our holdings in the areas of American culture and history, government, and the classical tradition, take a look at the following links to recent exhibits and online guides:



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 more info, browse Guide to Resources in History of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Both rare books and recent works held in the special collections are included in OU library’s online catalog.

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.

Beyond the Collections

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

Images from The Laws of the United States of America, 1796, held in the History of Science Collections.

Posted in Uncategorized