Round and Around

Round and Around

The 78th Golden Globe Awards are coming this Sunday, honoring the best films and TV series of the prior 14 months as chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Topped with a shimmering gold Earth circumnavigated by a strip of film, the Golden Globe statuettes are among the most coveted awards in Hollywood. A number of actors with New Haven connections have taken this prize home over the years, including native sons Paul Giamatti and Norman Lear and Hamdenite Ernest Borgnine.

Golden globes right here in the Elm City may be harder to find, but with the latitude to look for globes in general, you’ll find them spinning all around us.

An unusual pair of 16th-century globes—one terrestrial, one celestial—is housed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection at the Yale Center for British Art. Benefactor Paul Mellon added them to his collection “as an extension of his interest in cartography,” says Molly Dotson, assistant curator. The terrestrial globe, created circa 1522, is a rendering of a famous 1507 map by Martin Waldseemüller, which is “notable as being the first reference to America… after Amerigo Vespucci,” Dotson says. “So we see that same label applied to this terrestrial globe.” On its celestial counterpart, based on a woodcut star map by Albrecht Dürer, “The stars are shown as is viewed from a point in infinite space, looking Earthwards,” a note on the YCBA website says, adding that this globe would have been “less a working model than a vivid artistic reconstruction.”

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While this pair of globes is certainly the city’s oldest, others play a more visible role. A sizable globe rests in the front study at the Institute Library, the veneer of its wooden stand chipped by time. Before the Peabody Museum closed for major renovations, an interactive, four-foot-tall globe stood in the middle of the Hall of Minerals, Earth and Space. It was surrounded by a ring of buttons that beckoned visitors to press them and light up areas of geological interest. But that wasn’t the biggest globe in town. That honor likely goes to the painted globe on the side of the John C. Daniels Interdistrict Magnet School of International Communication, which transforms a large clock into a puzzle of the planet held up by children’s hands. The snow globes available in the New Haven Museum gift shop, on the other hand, are small enough to take home, drifting magical white flakes over miniatures of the three iconic churches on the Green.

The sense of reach and adventure a globe conveys has made it an appealing symbol for businesses. The historic Globe Theatre, once located at the rear of 841-43 Chapel Street, is now showing an empty storefront between The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop and the English Building Markets vintage shop. Back in the early 20th century, the adult ticket price to see the likes of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks in “photoplays” ranged from 20 cents in the morning to 30 cents on evenings and weekends.

The Globe Silk Works once operated in a four-story brick building at 578-590 State Street at the corner of Wall Street, now the location of an imposing fenced area fronting the FBI’s New Haven Division. This Globe manufactured “machine twists, sewing silk, floss, tram, embroideries, silk braids, and spun silk,” according to volume II of The New England States: Their Constitutional, Judicial, Educational, Commercial, Professional and Industrial History (1897). Established in 1877, the business advertised itself as “Manufacturers of Highest Test Silk Threads.” According to The New England States, about 100 workers were employed at the factory at the turn of the century.

For a short time, from 2013 to 2015, New Haven had an online newspaper called the New Haven Globe, and other globes persist as business monikers in greater New Haven today. Take, for example, 60-year-old Globe Pequot, the Guilford-based trade division of the Rowman & Littlefield publishing company. Its books “tell untold or little-known stories from history, celebrate the unique or iconic characteristics of specific places, and tap into local pride,” according to its website. Or consider Penn Globe of Branford, which designs and manufactures “efficient, energy saving and sustainable lighting.”

The globe is more implicit at Ten Thousand Villages on Chapel Street, which carries products from 30 developing nations including woven baskets from Bangladesh and Uganda, ceramic candle holders from Vietnam, greeting cards from Egypt, upcycled sari fabric pillows from India and tagua nut jewelry from Ecuador. Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs makes it explicit but keeps it abstract, taking global thinking to another level with graduate programs designed to train future international leaders.

All things equated, New Haven’s own globes are worlds apart from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s. They’re more diverse and educational, and, in their orientation toward the general public, they don’t just represent the world; they also serve it.

Written by Kathy Leonard Czepiel. Image 1, featuring detail of a snow globe at the New Haven Museum gift shop, and image 6, featuring detail of an antique globe at the Institute Library, photographed by Dan Mims. Image two, featuring a scene inside the Globe Silk Works in 1916, provided courtesy of the New Haven Museum. Images 3a and 3b, featuring a pair of terrestrial/celestial globes created circa 1522, sourced from the Yale Center for British Art website. Image 4, of the Peabody Museum’s pre-renovation Hall of Minerals, Earth and Space, provided courtesy of the Peabody and photographed by Kimberley Zolvik. Image 5, of the mural outside the John C. Daniels School, photographed by Kathy Leonard Czepiel.

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