This is the biscuit from 1913 referenced in the last post. As the story for this biscuit goes, in 1913 a UF student was so displeased with campus food that he mailed a biscuit to a friend to show how inedible the food was. The biscuit, stamped and addressed, has survived these many years and the libraries’ Preservation Department has ensured it will survive many more. The actual biscuit can be seen in Special Collections, inside its protective housing, or online in black and white and in color and zoomable.
I love the fact that UF has a digitized biscuit–it’s a great object to show how digitization can help showcase weird objects and make them accessible to more people. Plus, the multiple images and views really capture the biscuit well. The biscuit itself is an important historical object for UF and for the history of the mail system. I’ve chatted to everyone I know about this biscuit and one person mentioned that many schools used to have art classes on postal art, where students would try to mail weird shapes or designs and then see how the package is treated or do interesting things with them (like a Postcard-of-a-Secret style art project without the internet), but with 9/11, new mail restrictions made a lot of the projects impossible.
Another super-cool object is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ manuscript for her children’s book Jacob’s Ladder. The story was written when paper was expensive, and so it was sold on rolls. The story is on two sides of a 15 foot sheet of paper, and it’s just an interesting object to see. (The weird line to the left is a small version of one page–it’s ratio is approximately 1 to 20.)