Travel Papers – Label Writing

Travel Papers Exhibition

Please send your text and photo to NK by email before 5pm on Tuesday, 2-9

Write an exhibition label of no more than 175 words for one or more “travel papers” of your own (driver’s license, passport, Metro North pocket schedule, CT Transit bus pass, etc.) 

Your aim is to convey something meaningful / foundational / interesting about your life, experiences, ideas, etc.  that is documented in the object or objects. Include a single photograph of the object to complete your exhibition.

Your label must:

–include a citation identifying the object by subject, title, date, and any other important factual characteristic

–provide some basic context in which the object may be understood to be meaningful or interesting

–describe at least one physical attribute of the material in some detail

–provide a helpful generalization about objects “like” the travel papers in your exhibition (like in format, context, character, place of publication, what have you)

Your label might:

–call the viewers’ attention to meaningful information conveyed by the text or images included on the object (it may be useful or important to connect that information to factual details that are NOT evident looking only at this object, ie:  “the driver’s license was issued in Ohio, where Nancy lived for only four years…” )

–call the viewers’ attention to meaningful elements or features  of the physical object (it may be necessary to interpret the meaning of a physical attribute of the object if its significance is not immediately obvious or legible: “the overlapping stamps on the passport indicate that Nancy flew first to Cork, Ireland, before traveling on to Trieste, Italy”)

–quote an authoritative expert or the subject / author of the documents


In case you may find it helpful to consult a few labels for individual documents (or small groups of documents), please find draft labels for material included in 2016 “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition at Beinecke Library (including character counts for designer)

Zingo Stevens’ Book: Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs and The Psalms of David, (Boston, 1744)

A prayer book that belonged to Zingo Stevens, a free black man who lived in Newport, Rhode Island in the 18th century. Although his exact date of birth and death are unknown, Stevens was likely born in Africa or the West Indies and brought to New England by slave holder John Stevens, with whom he trained as a stonecutter. In Newport, Zingo Stevens was employed as a stonecutter in John Stevens’s shop. Founded in 1705, the John Stevens Shop remains open today on Thames Street in Newport. Zingo Stevens became the principal stonecutter of gravestones for African American residents buried in the cemetery on Farwell Street in Newport. He also carved and engraved several stones — including that of his brother — for the “God’s Acre” section of the Newport Common Burying Ground. Zingo Stevens later attained his freedom and became a prominent engraver. 954 characters


Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Collection

Chipotle Mexican Grill has donated a complete set of its “Cultivating Thought Series”—short texts by acclaimed authors printed on paper cups and bags—to the Yale Collection of American Literature. The series is the brainchild of author Jonathan Safran Foer, who also serves as its curator. The Yale Collection of American Literature collects American Literature in all its formats and in all media, documenting the ways great American writers reach diverse and unusual audiences beyond standard book publishing. Our collection includes texts by well-known writers printed on bumper stickers, lapel pins, public transportation banners, matchbooks, hand bills, and other non-standard formats. Chipotle’s gift of the Cultivating Thought Series” extends this collecting tradition, insuring these works will remain available to readers and to scholars seeking to understand something of the relationship between literature and innovative marketing at a moment in history when reading and literary production are in tremendous upheaval. 1030 characters


Jen Bervin, Draft Notation (New York, 2014)

Jen Bervin made the typed studies in Draft Notation following intensive time spent weaving advanced cloth structures on the loom. The title refers to the pre-weaving design diagrams a weaver creates or consults—a kind of written score for a woven textile. Weaving dates back to 7000 BC and is one of the earliest grid forms. Though both conceptual artists and concrete poets have used the typewriter in this way, Draft Notation was inspired by the work of Anni Albers who used the typewriter as a way to create new patterns for woven design. Albers’ studies were published in On Weaving, where she writes: “These varied experiments in articulation are to be understood not as an end in themselves but merely as a help to us in gaining new terms in the vocabulary of tactile language.” Draft Notation comprises four green books with a total of fifty-seven typed studies reproduced in letterpress; a unique typing mounted on red board; a glassine envelope with facsimiles of studies made on different typewriters; and a typed process note and colophon. 1050 characters


Recent acquisitions of Ezra Pound letters

Recent acquisitions of Ezra Pound letters and manuscripts present new research opportunities in Beinecke’s Modernist literary collections. Pound’s letters, dense with obscure abbreviations, literary references, and political opinions, complement the Pound archive and related collections long housed in the Yale Collection of American Literature. Several recent acquisitions include materials documenting Pound’s time at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. (1945-1958). Tried for treason on charges stemming from his broadcasts on Italian radio during the Second World War, Pound was committed to psychiatric care in lieu of prison. During his confinement Pound maintained a prolific correspondence. The language of his letters reflects his erratic, irreverent, and idiosyncratic character. Recent acquisitions include: Letters to Rene Taupin, 1928-1932 Letters to Paul-Gustave Van Hecke, 1930 Letters to David Sinclair Nixon, 1937 Letters to Jackson Mac Low, 1946-1955 Letters to Robert Thom, 1949 Letters to Allan Seaton, 1949-1953 Robert Furniss collection of Ezra Pound Papers, 1946-1959. 1101 characters


Mary Ruefle Erasure Books

Poet Mary Ruefle creates new works by altering and “erasing” text found in previously published volumes. Of this creative practice, Ruefle has written: “An erasure is the creation of a new text by disappearing the old text that surrounds it. I don’t consider the pages to be poems, but I do think of them as poetry, especially in sequence and taken as a whole; when I finish an erasure book I feel I have written a book of poetry without a single poem in it, and that appeals to me. The books have been called ‘found poems’ but I don’t consider them as such. A found poem is a text found in the world, taken out of its worldly context, and labeled a poem. I certainly didn’t ‘find’ any of these pages, I made them in my head, just as I do my other work. In the erasures I can only choose words out of all the words on a given page, while writing regularly I can choose from all the words in existence. In that sense, the erasures are like a ‘form.’” The Yale Collection of American Literature has recently acquired a collection of ten of Ruefle’s unique book works. 1065 characters