Of Moles and Dreams and Napoleon’s Sinister Hand of Fate!

Have you ever, whilst undergoing a pique of ennui, wondered what Napoleon would have to say about your fate, or, while gazing at your reflection in a mirror, crying at the ravages of time, thought, "is this mole to blame for my life choices?" Solutions, fortunately, can be found for such sorrows in the chapbook collection at the George Peabody Library!

What's a chapbook? Well, chapbooks are small booklets, roughly 24 pages in length, that were cheaply mass-produced (the paper made to use them is often referred to as bum-fodder!) and sold by traveling chapmen (no, not those kinds of chaps!) to non-urban communities. Dating back to the 16th century, chapbooks are a fascinating example of ephemeral literature, revealing to us the diverse reading interests of common people, as well as the shared reading habits of rural communities. The collection housed at the Peabody Library mostly contains Scottish chapbooks produced in the early 19th century, and the subjects involve everything from tips on managing a household to fairy tales to erotica!

So, what bum-fodder shall we explore today? How about works on fortune-telling and dream analysis, a rather popular genre for chapbooks. Let's discover how chapbooks can improve our lives or throw us into Anne Shirley's depths of despair by revealing everything that will be wrong with every decision we ever make.

Napoleon's Book of Fate, a harrowing look at what your life shall become straight from the glittering isle of Elba, offers little solace. Is a loved one in jail? Too bad, for according to Napoleon's wretched book, "the prisoner dies and is regretted by his friends." Thinking about tying the knot? Well, think again. Perhaps bitter by how things turned out with Josephine, Napoleon, the emperor of cynicism, hath declared through his tome, "your partner will be fond of liquor and will debase himself thereby."

Maybe we can find solace in our dreams. Oh, Golden Dreamer, save us from Napoleon's visions of booze and debasement! It seems that if you are a man who dreams of oysters, "it denotes that he will marry a real virgin who will be very fond of him, and bring him many children," and yet if he dream of an oven, it proves "that your sweetheart is of a roving disposition, little likely to make you happy." Real virgin indeed!

Let's move away from dreams and the unknown to that which is discernible. Our moles. Surely, they shall not lead us astray! According to The Spaewife, "a mole on either cheek signifies that the person shall never rise above mediocrity" and one "on the outside corner of either eye denotes the person to be of a steady, sober, and sedate disposition, but will be liable to a violent death." Yep, probably by the debased husband Napoleon tried to warn us about. Mother Bunch's Golden Fortune-Teller, however, is quite concerned with women and their les grains de beauté, and notes that if a woman has a mole on her forehead, she is "a slut" and "treacherous, consents to evil and murder." But what about the knees? Surely, a mole on a woman's knee shall not lead to a life of treachery: "If a woman has a mole on the right knee, she will be honest and virtuous; if on the left, she will have many children" because clearly one contradicts the other.

Too many mixed messages! Esteemed Mother Bridget, help us find the beauty of the world! Mother Bridget, a bon vivant cave dweller, non-stop pipe-smoker, and animal hoarder reveals all in The True Fortune or Universal Book of FateThough illiterate, she nonetheless knew how to write in hieroglyphs, which the compiler of this chapbook was knowledgeable enough to translate. But wait, what's this -- a note to the reader?

The foregoing pages are published principally to show the superstitions which engrossed the mind of the population of Scotland during a past age, and which are happily disappearing before the progress of an enlightened civilization. It is hoped, therefore, that the reader will not attach the slightest importance to the solutions of the dreams as rendered above, as dreams are generally the result of a disordered stomach, or an excited imagination.

You mean I have resigned myself to a life of mediocrity based solely on my mole placement for naught? Alackaday!

It’s Finally Summer!

cartoon-sun-mdIt's summer!

Your library loves summer as much as you do! You get more than 10,000 hits when you throw the word "summer" into the catalog search box on the library home page.

What? You're not only seeing the word "summer," but other forms of the word as well? This is for two main reasons. First, our catalog automatically gives you alternate forms of words, which is called "stemming." So when you searched "summer," you also got Summer's Lease (the autobiography of art historian John Rothenstein), and John Muir Summering in the Sierra (Muir, the famous naturalist).

Second, our searches didn't specify that we wanted our search word someplace specific, like in the title, so we also got works by composer Jeremy Summerly and author Montague Summers.

Look, there's also a lovely summery subject heading: Summer -- juvenile literature. Only seven of our items are literature for children and also about summer. All of them are in a marvelous database called Early American Imprints, which has the full text of and full-page images from books and pamphlets published in America from 1801 through 1819. Here is a page from one of them:

In summer we retire
Into the shady grove
And little then desire
In noontime's heat to rove

 Aaaaaah, that inspires one to pour a cold drink and sit outside with a book!

By the way, if you want to search the catalog only for an EXACT word rather than the word and all of its endings, choose "more search options" on the library home page:

Then scroll all the way down, and check the box that will disable auto stemming:

Happy summer!

Almost Done: Charles Street

New Trees on Charles St.

Last June I took a few pics of the Charles Street construction outside MSEL. This June looks very different! Trees have been added. The center median strip is taking shape. And the artwork is a puzzle.

The completion date for the entire project is still "Fall 2014." Remember, this goes from University Parkway all the way down to 25th St.

Not-yet-ready artwork

You can see an artist's rendering in a before and after video. The Charles St. Reconstruction site continues to offer information about:

Let’s Play Video Games

Hey, JHU students on Homewood campus! Why don’t you play some video games?


  • Digital Media Center (DMC) - Room 226 of the Mattin Center's Offit Building, which is the building across from the back of Whitehead Hall



  • The summer hours, which start on June 2, are Monday - Saturday, 12-5 (closed Sundays).


It's summer. Go play some games.

SHARE Helps the World

Developing countries need medical supplies. The United States has supplies that we don’t use or would otherwise dispose of. How can these two situations be connected, for the benefit of everyone?

Meet SHARE (Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment).

As its site explains, SHARE is “a group of medical students and health care professionals… who collects unused but clean medical supplies from the operating room and redistributes the instruments to developing nations.”

SHARE has been busy lately. For example, at this year’s Undergraduate Conference in Public Health, the JHU chapter of SHARE had a poster entitled Global Public Health Impact of Recovered Supplies from Operating Rooms: A Critical Analysis with National Implications. The students searched PubMed to find information about the topic of medical supplies and developing countries. PubMed’s amazing MeSH headings helped them to do that – for example, there is a MeSH heading for “developing countries”  and one for “equipment and supplies.”

Interested in finding more information on these topics? Try all of our databases for Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health. And, make them find what you want them to find by doing things such as:

  • putting some of your search words in the TITLE
  • putting an asterisk at the end of a word so that ALL possible endings are retrieved (for example, medicin* retrieves medicine, medicines, medicinal)
  • using synonyms (supplies OR surplus)
  • using choices of words (cat OR dog OR bird) so that you don’t miss any articles

Congratulations to SHARE and its excellent work!

Earth Day in the Library

Just over a month has passed since we celebrated Earth Day. In case you didn’t hear, this year’s campus festivities brought some well-deserved attention to Eisenhower Library, as we received the "Above and Beyond" award! This award recognizes the department that has demonstrated the strongest commitment to campus sustainability efforts.

We believe that Earth Day is about more than just enjoying beautiful landscapes one day out of the year; it’s about honoring the natural systems that provide us with fresh air, clean drinking water, energy resources, and healthy, productive soils to grow the food that nourishes us. While large-scale environmental analysis and policies often dictate how we use or conserve the natural world, there is much that we can do as individuals in terms of consumption habits, environmental justice efforts, and “green” volunteering in your local community. Even small efforts make a big difference in helping to protect our natural resources and keep the planet clean. Check out some of the resources below to incorporate sustainability into your daily life:

Urban & Community Gardening:

Learn about the Johns Hopkins’ own Community Garden at Eastern.

  • Community Gardening as Social Action - “Interpersonal relationships of care, commitment, equality, mutuality and joy were seen by some community gardeners as directly counter-acting the impacts of isolation and alienation, and as enabling new forms of co-operative social relations to emerge.”
  • Urban Agriculture - “‘We have a wonderful park already,” a woman in a fashionable tracksuit announced. ‘But this? This would turn it into a hellhole.’ And so it went, each speaker explaining how awful a community garden would be….”

Sustainable Agriculture:

Learn about Sustainable agriculture and other food system issues at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma - "'What am I eating? And where in the world did it come from?' Not very long ago an eater didn't need a journalist to answer those questions."
  • Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money - “Standing in the Food Lion supermarket in Pittsboro, NC, staring at fresh blueberries imported from Chile at the height of our North Carolina blueberry season, …the produce manager explained it to me. ‘I order them on the computer, and they’re the only ones on the list.’”
  • Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture - “In the midst of the most productive industrial agrifood system in the world, and with college degrees in hand, most of these students who choose to work in the agrifood system are moving away from the vision of mainstream agronomists and economists, choosing to create and participate in alternative ways of doing things.”


Whether you prefer your greenery to come first-hand through outdoor pursuits, or on your plate in the form of locally-sourced organic micro-lettuce, there's a lot to think about in how we interact with nature. Check out the following subject terms in Catalyst:

And remember, reading a library book that has already been printed is much more eco-friendly than firing up an electronic gadget! Stay green, my friends.

Summertime at the Library

It's (almost) summertime! So, what happens in MSEL and the BLC during the summer?

We still answer questions, select and make available research resources, checkout books and DVDs, and offer a place to study.

The Circulation Desk on M level will be changing slightly this summer. Since the desk actually offers Circulation, Reserves, and Interlibrary Loan services, they are changing their name to Service Desk.

During the summer, Audio Visual (AV) materials will be administered at the M level Service Desk - the A level AV window will be closed. You can request any AV material and pick it up at the Service Desk, or just show up at the Service Desk and someone will retrieve the material you need. Staff from the M Level Service Desk will also help you with the AV equipment and viewing rooms!

Service Desk
Monday - Thursday       8:00 am - midnight
Friday                            8:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday                       10:00am - 10:00 pm
Sunday                          noon - 8:00 pm

Audio Visual Materials, Service Desk
Monday - Thursday       8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday                            8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday                       10:00am - 6:00 pm
Sunday                          noon - 8:00 pm

Below are the general summer hours for our buildings and other service desks. Curious about summer holiday hours? Closer to the date, you can see the hours on our Library Hours page.

MSEL and BLC Building
Monday - Saturday       7:30 am - midnight
Sunday                         noon - midnight

Information Desk
Monday - Thursday        9:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday                             9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday         1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Research Consultation Office
Monday - Friday             10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Special Collections
Monday                            10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday                           10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wednesday - Friday         10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Happy Birthday, Johns!

click to enlarge

On May 19, 1795, Johns Hopkins was born in Anne Arundel County, the second of eleven children of Samuel and Hannah (Janney) Hopkins. His parents, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), raised tobacco and owned slaves, who tended the cash crop. In 1807, as part of the movement to abolish the slave trade, the Society of Friends stipulated that human slavery was incompatible with the Christian faith, and all members were strongly urged to free their slaves. Johns’ family did so, keeping as paid laborers those who wished to stay, and supporting those too old to go out on their own.

With the departure of most of their labor force, Johns and his older siblings were forced to leave school to tend the fields. Thus, Johns’ formal schooling ended at the age of twelve. Hannah did her best to further her children’s education, however, and the local schoolmaster was a frequent dinner guest. Some have speculated that this lack of formal schooling caused him to decide later in life to found a university – so that others could have what he had been denied.

Lack of schooling certainly did not impair his ability to prosper. When he moved to Baltimore at the age of seventeen to work for his uncle, his mother told him, “Thee has business ability.” First in the dry goods trade, then in railroads, followed by a career as a private financier, he achieved wealth. His sense of frugality, coupled with his excellent judgment of character and a willingness to take risks, served him well throughout his life and resulted in a bequest of $7 million upon his death to found a university and a hospital. To put that figure in perspective, $7 million in 1873 (the year he died) would be approximately $135 million today.

So, happy birthday, Johns – and thank you!

Preakness Time

This Saturday is the third one in May, so you know what that means--the Preakness Stakes! Since 1873 the top three-year-old Thoroughbreds in the world have been assembling at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course to try to capture the second jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, with Affirmed being the last in 1978. Nine horses have won the other two races but have fallen short at "Old Hilltop."

While the Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races--the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes are the other two--it has its share of excitement and traditions. After the call to post, the spectators join the Naval Academy Glee Club in singing "Maryland, My Maryland." After the horses finish their 1 3/16 mile gallop, the winner is draped in a blanket of Blackeyed Susans and the owner is presented with the Woodlawn Vase, one of the most valuable trophies in sport. Spectators can loosen up with the signature drink, also known as the Blackeyed Susan.

One of the greatest Preakness (and Triple Crown) winners was War Admiral in 1937. On November 1, 1938, War Admiral ran again at Pimlico. But this time it was in a match race against a single horse--Seabiscuit. This race was billed as the "Match of the Century." Although War Admiral was a huge favorite, Seabiscuit beat him by more than four lengths. Learn more about this match from the Hollywood movie or from the PBS series American Experience.

More than 100,000 fans jam into Pimlico on Preakness Day, so try to take public transportation if you go. In addition to an exciting day of racing action, the InfieldFest will feature a concert by Lorde and other musical acts. There is something for everyone at the Preakness, so consider joining in the fun at this legendary Baltimore event.

Post-Graduation Research Resources

Graduating soon? The Alumni Association is pleased to offer Hopkins KnowledgeNET, the Hopkins Online Alumni Library, to all Hopkins graduates. You'll have access to some of the library resources you’ve used as a student, including thousands of journal articles and other resources. Alumni have used HKNET resources for ongoing research, career development, and even to enhance their travel with Alumni Journeys! And we’re always looking ahead, seeing what new resources and services we can offer, piloting projects with interested vendors and staying on top of the alumni library landscape.

We’re very excited that this year marks our ten year anniversary—a real milestone among online alumni libraries. We were one of the first universities to create an online library for alumni because we wanted to make sure that our alums have access to quality online resources after graduation. The Sheridan Libraries partnered with the Alumni Association in 2004 to launch HKNET, and it's still going strong! So 2014 grads, make sure to check out the HKNET resources on the Alumni & Friends website. Contact the Alumni Association at alumni@jhu.edu or 1-800-548-5481 for more information. And congratulations on your own milestone!