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James Ford Bell Library

      Terrestrial and celestial globes created in 1696 and now part of the James Ford Bell Library collection.

      A new spin on old globes

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      Terrestrial and celestial globes created in 1696 arrived at the University Libraries the day after the shutdown for COVID-19 last year, destined for the James Ford Bell Library. Curator Marguerite Ragnow wanted to figure out how to put them on the web but initially she was stymied. Then a breakthrough appeared in January 2021, when she learned of the 3D scanning capabilities in the Health Sciences Library.
      Ann Waltner presented the 55th James Ford Bell Lecture, Watching Weddings in 1735: Two Representations of Chinese Wedding Processions. Waltner is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota, where she specializes in Chinese history. She was the founding director of the University’s Institute for Advanced Study.

      Multifaceted scholar

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      Chinese is a tough language for an English speaker to learn, with thousands of ideographic characters to learn, and four tones in spoken Mandarin. But as a college student, Ann Waltner didn’t yet know enough to be daunted by it. She found the language and the nation fascinating, and eventually became a historian of China and professor of history at the U of M. She's also a member of the Friends of the University Libraries.

      Return of the Ricci Map

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      On Sept. 22, Marguerite Ragnow, Curator of the James Ford Bell Library, unwrapped the six panels of the Ricci Map so that conservator Sherelyn Ogden might examine them. The map panels had been in storage at Mia since early December 2017.
      portrait of Amerigo Vespucci

      Portrait of an Explorer

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      Skeptical that Christopher Columbus had discovered a route to India, Amerigo Vespucci consulted the journals of Marco Polo, says Gregory Hedberg, donor of a portrait of the explorer to the James Ford Bell Library. The costumes described by Polo and Columbus didn’t match up, so Vespucci sailed from Europe to learn more. It was he, Hedberg says, who determined that the land now known as South America was new to Europeans.

      The Best from Pen and Press: Exhibit sneak peek

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      Take a sneak video peek at our current exhibit at Elmer L. Andersen Library: The Best from Pen and Press, which includes 3,000-year-old cuneiform tablets, a 16th century "Remembrancer Scroll," and much more. The materials come from the James Ford Bell Library, the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, and the University Libraries' Rare Book collections.
      Cheesy Pretzels

      Our historical take on football snacks

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      As the Twin Cities prepares for the 2018 NFL championship game many locals are busily planning their party menus. We’re taking an old approach to current favorites with some historical recipes that are ready for a comeback: chicken wings, cheese straws, pretzels, and bacon-wrapped shrimp. 
      Representatives from Christie's examine the Bell Library's print of the Waldseemüller map

      Bell Library map sheds light on authenticity of new discovery

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      A December 10 New York Times article has called into question the authenticity of a previously unknown fifth original of the rarest of documents — a 510-year-old map that first used the word "America." The University of Minnesota's James Ford Bell Library is holder of one of the other four copies by famed German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. Christie's recently visited the Bell to compare its find with the real deal.

      An Evening with Steve Berry

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      By Dr. Marguerite Ragnow, Curator, James Ford Bell Library Join us for an evening with bestselling author and historical preservationist, Steve Berry, as he shares...

      Curator to Teach Lifelong Learning Class

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      Marguerite Ragnow, Curator of the James Ford Bell Library. From Google Maps to those fold-out road maps that only dad seems to be able to...

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