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#PageFrights come to life in pumpkin carving image contest

By October 19, 2016September 16th, 2023No Comments

For the past several years, Emily Beck — Ph.D. candidate in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine — has been carving history into a pumpkin.

Inspired by the rare books found in the the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, Beck has brought new life to these not-so-often-viewed images. When Beck offered to carve another pumpkin this year, we didn’t hesitate to take her up on her offer.

“Emily’s pumpkin carvings have really made our amazing historical collection shine — both for those who know us well and for those who are learning about us for the first time,” says Lois Hendrickson, Wangensteen Curator.  “The imagery included in our rare books is fascinating. It’s no wonder that artists of all kinds find inspiration from within our collection.”

#PageFrights inspired contest

This year, we’re taking a new spin on Beck’s annual tradition as we open up the selection of the carved image to you!  

As part of our participation in #PageFrights — a month-long, Halloween-themed social media campaign for archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions — we’re giving you the chance to vote on the image you like best, whether it is the spookiest, the most interesting, or even the hardest-to-carve.

We’ve combed through the archive stacks to find five images for your vote. The image with the highest number of votes will be carved by Beck for display within the Bio-Medical Library during the week of Halloween. The winner is this lovely dragon taken from “Ulyssis Aldrovandi patricii Bononiensis Serpentum: et draconum historiae libriduo” (1640).   


Watch as Beck complete her masterpiece

Join us on the second floor of the Bio-Medical Library on the morning of October 31 as Beck put the final touches on her carving, just in time for Halloween.

Halloween Pop Up Library

Want a hauntingly good book to read? Just in time for Halloween? Stop by the basement of Blegen Hall (west bank) to explore a selection of frightfully scary books on Monday, October 31st. The Halloween Library will be popping up around 11:00am to 2:00pm. We will have a selection of mystery, horror, gothic, scifi, fantasy along with a few vampire and zombie reads. You can check out a book on the spot. Or try our book matchmaking service to find your perfect fright.

Previous pumpkin carvings

Beck’s selection of historical images used in past carvings have been taken from books by well-known figures in the history of medicine, including Ulisse Aldrovandi and Andreas Vesalius. Take a look to see how the print images translate to the carved form.


Erinn Aspinall

Author Erinn Aspinall

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