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Stephen Jay Gould's Papers are coming to Stanford Libraries


"Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness. Rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny — and also in a willingness to revise or abandon your theories when the tests fail (as they usually do)." Stephen Jay Gould

Stanford University Libraries announced Wednesday that the papers of famed evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould are coming to Stanford and will be housed in Special Collections.

Rhonda Shearer, Gould's widow, said that Stanford was chosen because "Stanford was the only institution really prepared to make a commitment to digitize and cross-link all of Steve's work, and this is something that Steve wanted. Even though he called himself a Luddite and really had anxiety about technology, he saw that for ideas to compete, they really had to be out on the Internet."

Mike Keller, Stanford University Librarian, said that the plan is to digitize Gould's articles, as well as the sources from which he drew both inspiration and information, and cross-link the source materials to the endnotes and citations in his writing. The goal will be to make all of Gould's papers freely available over the Internet to anyone who wants to see them, whether schoolchildren or scholars.

Anyone who found inspiration in items as disparate as a small piece of wood riddled with termite holes or the eye lenses of a flying fish (still stuffed into a small black tube with a tissue stuffed in the open end) probably had an interesting way of looking at things.

There is a great deal of interesting background material on Professor Gould at the Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive.

Here is a list of Stephen Jay Gould's books at Stanford.

Egyptology library comes to Stanford Libraries

Stanford Libraries and Special Collections has just acquired a "world class" Egyptology collection.

The collection of Wolja Erichsen (1890-1966), now at Stanford's Green Library, documents more than 1,500 years of Egyptian history, ranging from about 650 B.C. to about A.D. 1000. It includes Egypt's important transition from paganism to Christianity.

The story behind Stanford's acquisition of Erichsen's library is an appealing one: Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922, the same year that young Edna Kumpe (later Upton) graduated from college. Carter's discovery inaugurated her lifelong interest in Egypt and the Bible, rooted in early Coptic translations of biblical texts.

Upton's granddaughter, Stanford alumna Chele Chiavacci, made a donation in the name of her late grandmother. Chiavacci is managing director of Mistral Capital International and also on the advisory board of the Stanford Archaeology Center.

The donation, augmented with a contribution from the Classics Department and matching funds from the Provost's Office, was used to purchase the Erichsen collection.

The Edna Kumpe Upton Memorial Erichsen Library will be housed and available for study partly in the Department of Special Collections and partly in the Green Library general collection stacks.

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