New interactive online exhibit for "By Dawn's Early Light"

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In March 2014, the exhibition “By Dawn’s Light” opened at the Center for Jewish History in New York. It details the contributions of antebellum Jewish authors, composers, and comparable creative figures to American culture. The show includes numerous loans from the Princeton University Library.  [See this link for more particulars.]

Available now is an interactive online exhibit allowing one to zoom in closely on items relating to such topics as poetry, theatre, religious work, travel, and several others.

The link for the interactive is:


❧ “By Dawn’s Early Light: : An exhibition of more than 140 books, maps, prints, manuscripts, and paintings documenting Jewish contributions to American culture from the nation’s founding to the Civil War, opening on March 16 at the Center for Jewish History. On display are many items from the Library’s Leonard L. Milberg ‘53 Collection of Jewish-American Writers as well as loans from the Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Jewish Historical Society, and Mr. Milberg’s personal collection.

“For Jews, initially a tiny minority in the early Republic, freedom was both liberating and confounding. As individuals they were free to participate as full citizens in the hurly-burly of the new nation’s political and social life. But as members of a group that sought to remain distinctive, freedom was daunting. In response to the challenges of liberty, Jews adopted and adapted American cultural idioms to express themselves in new ways, as Americans and as Jews. In the process, they invented American Jewish culture.” (Exhibition handout, p.1)

This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Leonard L. Milberg with additional support from the Center for Jewish History.

For further publicity see:
• Announcement from the Library Company of Philadelphia [link]
• Article published in The Jewish Voice [link]

  A representation of Columbus’ landing on an island in the Bahamas, with caption “Concerning the recently discovered islands in the Indies sea.” Note portion of land labeled “Insula hyspana.” This illustration appears in the [Basel:] I.B. [Johann Bergmann, de Olpe] 1494 edition (Goff V-125 ).

❧ Columbus’s description of his first voyage first appeared in print in a Spanish edition published in Barcelona in 1493. Within four years it had gone through fifteen known editions, including seven Latin editions, one German edition, a paraphrase in Italian verse in five editions, and a second Spanish edition, Valladolid, about 1497. These fifteen different editions were products of presses scattered in ten cities across Europe.

❧ Of these fifteen editions, there is at Princeton an exemplar for three of the seven Latin editions and an exemplar of the German edition. The most direct manner of listing these is the number assigned in F.R. Goff, Incunabula in American Libraries (1964):

• C-758. Latin. [Rome: Stephan Plannck, after 29 April 1493]. Cyrus McCormick copy, presented to PUL. Permanent Link:
• C-759. Latin. Rome: Eucharius Silber, [after 29 April] 1493. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link: and the Scheide Library copy. Permanent Link:
• V-125. Latin. [Basel:] I.B. [Johann Bergmann, de Olpe] 1494. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link:
• C-762. German. Strassburg: Bartholomaeus Kistler, 30 Sept. 1497. Grenville Kane copy, acquired by PUL. Permanent Link:

❧ REFERENCE: W. Eames, “Columbus’ Letter on the Discovery of America (1493-1497)” in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, 1924, 28:597-599. (NB: Eames lists seventeen editions; however, the number is actually fifteen because Eames was unaware that three issued by Marchant in Paris were variants of one edition.)

Digital collections extended

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Recently the Library completed work extending the holdings of two digital collections

The Sid Lapidus ‘59 Collection on Liberty and the American Revolution • Eighty-five new digitial books added on the topics of slavery and the slave trade in the empires of Great Britain and France. The books are part of his large private collection and Mr. Lapidus generously made them available for scanning. To see these additional books, go to

Annotated Books • The PUDL’s digitization of annotated printed books in Firestone Library continues, with the addition of seven additional titles, including Gabriel Harvey’s annotated copies of Machiavelli’s Arte of Warre; Buchanan’s De Maria Scotorum regina and his Detectioun of the duinges of Marie Quene of Scottes; Smith’s De recta & emendata linguæ Anglicæ scriptione, dialogus; Freigius’s Paratitla … juris civilis; Magnus Olaus’s Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus; and Melanchthon’s Selectarum declamationum.

Celebrating the Presidency of Princeton

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Pages from Newsletter09-13.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro_Page_2_Image_0002.jpg

The retirement of Shirley Tilghman as the19th President of Princeton University at the end of June 2013 provided an opportunity for the Friends of the Princeton University Library to celebrate the presidency of the University by making a gift to the Library in her honor. The Special Collections curators presented a wide range of possibilities to identify a suitable purchase. The choice: one of the extremely rare books that can be documented as having belonged to Jonathan Dickinson (1688-1747), the first President of the College of New Jersey.


At its modest beginning in 1746 in Dickinson’s parsonage in Elizabeth, the college consisted of the president, one tutor, and eight or ten students. Dickinson’s books were the college library. Tactica Sacra (Sacred Strategies), by John Arrowsmith, Puritan divine of Trinity College, Cambridge, is a manual for the spiritual warrior, part of the armament of clergyman Dickinson. A large quarto of 400 pages in its original 17th-century full calf binding, the book carries an inscription on its title page in Dickinson’s hand: “Jonathan Dickinson’s Book… .” The group of Friends who supported the acquisition are named on a bookplate added to the volume.

The University’s efforts to acquire books with a Princeton association started in earnest during the second half the 19th century. The extant books belonging to Jonathan Edwards were added, as well as some from other early presidents, including Samuel Finley. John Witherspoon’s books had been acquired in the first part of the 19th century due to the efforts of his son-in-law Samuel Stanhope Smith. These volumes were purchased not so much because they had belonged to Witherspoon but because, after the Nassau Hall fire of 1802, the college needed books. Recognition of the associational value of the Witherspoon books came to a climax during the librarianship of Julian Boyd. In the early 1940s Boyd instructed rare book librarian Julie Hudson to reassemble the Witherspoon library, which had been dispersed throughout the collections. The earliest survivors of the college library are on view in the Eighteenth-Century Room, just inside the entrance to the Main Exhibition Gallery in Firestone Library.

Tactica Sacra is the Library’s first book from Dickinson’s library with his statement of ownership. Given some years ago was a copy of Poole’s Annotations (2 vols.; London, 1683-1685), which has a record of Dickinson’s family and offspring in his hand on the verso of the last leaf of Malachi. However, these volumes lack the title pages, which presumably would have carried his signature and marking that the Poole was “his book.”

In addition to the Dickinson inscription, a hitherto unknown early American book label, “Samuelis Melyen liber,” is fixed to the front pastedown. The Reverend Samuel Melyen was the first minister of the nascent congregations in Elizabeth and environs. Jonathan Dickinson married Melyen’s sister Joanna in 1709, around the time that he began his ministerial work in the Elizabeth Town parish. Melyen died ca. 1711, and Dickinson emerged as the leading minister, a post he held until his death in 1747. Samuel Melyen was clearly the first owner of this book. Dickinson’s inscription in full states that it was a gift of one Mr. Tilley: “Jonathan Dickinson’s Book Ex dono D. Tilley.” The Tilley family and the Melyen family were related by marriage, but the precise identity of “D[ominus (i.e. Mister)]. Tilley” is not yet known. Dickinson apparently owned another book in which he inscribed “Jonathan Dickinson’s Book Ex dono D. Tilley.” It is a copy of Samuel Cradock, The Harmony of the Four Evangelists (London, 1668). The present whereabouts of this copy are unknown; it was last recorded in 1896. Further, recently come to light is a comparably inscribed book held at the Hougton Library: a London, 1688 edition of the Psalms [Details] [Image].

The Princeton association of the Tactica Sacra does not stop with Dickinson. Beneath Dickinson’s inscription is the following: “Jonathan Elmer His Book 1768.” Elmer (Yale 1747) was pastor at New Providence, New Jersey, from 1750 onward. A slip in the book states that after Jonathan Elmer it was owned by Philemon Elmer (1752-1827); then his daughter Catharine, who married Aaron Coe, Princeton 1797 (d. 1857); then by their son the Reverend Philemon Elmer Coe (Princeton 1834); then his sister Catherine Elmer Coe, who married Alfred Mills (Yale 1847); then by their children Edith, Alfred Elmer Mills (Princeton 1882), and Edward K. Mills (Princeton 1896).

Bookplate for President Tilghman_Page_1_Image_0001.jpg

Update regarding Princeton's copy of Le Miroir des événemens actuels

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The following announcement is of the same disposition as Mark Twain's statement "The report of my death is greatly exaggerated."

A 2011 posting on the blog "Revolution in Fiction" stated that the Princeton copy of Le Miroir des événemens actuels was missing.

C'est pas vrai ! It has always been in the collections of the LIbrary.  A scan of the Library's copy can be seen at

Heinrich Glarean (1488-1563) and his Chronologia of the Ancient World

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Detail from Glarean’s Chronologia with annotations in the hand of his student Gabriel Hummelberg II. This issue of the Chronologia was published as part of an edition of Livy’s history of Rome published by Michael Isengrin in Basel in 1540. Call number: (Ex) 2010—0227q. [Acquired by the Princeton University LIbrary in December 2007].

Anthony Grafton and Urs B. Leu have completed two studies of Princeton’s copy of the Chronologia:


Published in August: “Chronologia est unica historiae lux: how Glarean studied and taught the chronology of the ancient world” in Heinrich Glarean’s Books: The Intellectual World of a Sixteenth-Century Musical Humanist edited by Iain Fenlon and Inga Mai Groote (Cambridge University Press, 2013). See:


Forthcoming: Henricus Glareanus’s (1488-1563) Chronologia of the Ancient World. A Facsimile Edition of a Heavily Annotated Copy Held in Princeton University Library (Leiden: Brill). See:

A full scan of this notable annotated humanistic book is available in the Princeton University Digital Library. See:


Currently on view in the lobby of Firestone Library through Commencement.

The Princeton University Library and the Class of 1953 join in honoring the author John McPhee on the occasion of his 60th class reunion. McPhee has been a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton since 1974, leading two seminars every three years. The present exhibition focuses on McPhee’s approach to factual writing, which is central to his teaching at Princeton and has contributed to the success of his many students. The exhibition shows stages of the creative process, from concept to bound book and beyond. McPhee’s own papers show the author at work, beginning with information gathering in the field and formalizing his notes. McPhee structures his writing with the help of diagrams, as explained in his recent article, “Structures,” in The New Yorker (January 14, 2013). Then, working with editors and publishers, he crafts a series of manuscript drafts and corrects proofs. The resulting articles, first published in The New Yorker and, occasionally, other magazines, have been the starting point for most of McPhee’s twentyeight books and two readers published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, as well as reprints, e-books, and translations. Included in the exhibition are loans from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and The New Yorker, as well as papers and awards loaned by the author himself.


Like the novel itself, the epigraph of The Great Gatsby has achieved mythic status.

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
        If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
        I must have you!”
              - Thomas Parke D’Invilliers

Who was Thomas Parke D’Invilliers? First appearing in This Side of Paradise, he is the poet-companion of Amory Blaine and carried the epithet “that awful highbrow.” Here, on the title page of Fitzgerald’s third novel, D’Invilliers provides paratextual poetry. Custom expects real authors to provide epigraphs. His signed epigraph reverses what we understood him to be when we first met him.

According to the general editor of the Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition, Professor James L.W. West III “… several times during his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald received queries from people who wanted to quote that epigraph. They wanted to know who T. P. D’Invilliers was, so they could seek permission. But I have never seen, am not aware of, any document in which Fitzgerald says that T.P. D’Invilliers is a fictional character, and that he wrote that epigraph himself.”

A recent gift of a presentation copy of The Great Gatsby provides documentary evidence of what has long been assumed regarding Fitzgerald’s authorship of the epigraph. Moreover, this copy has an added attraction. The presentation inscription is the autograph original of a Fitzgerald poem.

“From Scott Fitzgerald / (Of doom a herald) / To Horace McCoy / (no harbinger of joy)
Hollywood 1939”

Horace McCoy was a novelist and near contemporary of Fitzgerald. McCoy is best known for his novel They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1935).

The gift is a legacy to the Library from the Lawrence D. Stewart Living Trust. Prof. Stewart purchased the book in an California bookstore and published his findings in 1957 —- Lawrence D. Stewart, “Scott Fitzgerald D’Invilliers,” American Literature, XXIX (May 1957), 212-213. [Stable URL] His article did not reproduce the signed title page nor the autograph presentation.

A Brief Essay by Minjie Chen (陈敏捷)

Wrapped in paper and tucked in the protective case of Tong Jian Zong Lei (通鉴总类), a Chinese history book, were four aging black-and-white photographs. With frayed edges and small stained spots, the pictures have nonetheless retained their sharpness, allowing us to see what a skilled photographer had captured through his curious lens one century ago in the hometown of Confucius. Fading handwriting on the back of each photo provided precious clues to their content and provenance.

The history book, compiled by SHEN Shu of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and printed in 1363 during the late Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), is part of the private Scheide Library collection housed in Firestone Library at Princeton University. The photos, according to notes on the back, were taken by a physician named Charles H. Lyon and presented to John Hinsdale Scheide (1875-1942, Princeton class of 1896) by Mrs. Lyon in January 1937.

KONG Lingyi
1. Duke KONG Lingyi (photographed between 1900 and 1918)

The first photo is a portrait of a round-faced Chinese man in the official robe and headwear of the Qing Dynasty. If the ink note scratched on the back, “a descendant of Confucius,” is reliable, the subject of the photo is KONG Lingyi (孔令贻, 1872-1919). As a seventy-sixth generation descendant of Confucius in the male line of descent, Kong inherited the title “Duke Confucius” (衍圣公) from his father at age five. The note also indicates that Dr. Lyon, the photographer, is the “physician to the subject.” It is unclear how often Kong had sought Dr. Lyon’s medical expertise, but interacting with Westerners from afar and posing for photographs would not have been out of place for Duke Kong. European ambassadors and colonial administrators had paid visits to the Confucius Temple in Qufu (曲阜), Shandong Province, and had photos taken with the Duke, who lived in the Kong family mansion adjacent to the temple complex, as generations of the sage’s offspring had done. In a photo held at the National Archives in London, a slightly younger-looking Kong is seen with Reginald Johnston (1874-1938), a Scottish colonial officer who had escorted a portrait of King Edward VII to Confucius’s hometown (and who later became famous for having tutored China’s last emperor, Puyi).

What is remarkable about the portrait taken by Dr. Lyon is that it is a half-body shot of the Duke. During the late Qing dynasty, when cameras were still a novelty to the Chinese, it was taboo to photograph less than a full-body shot of a person, because it was deemed bad luck to have the subject missing arms, legs, or other body parts in photos. Was Kong informed of the outcome of his photo, and was he comfortable about it? As a physician, did Dr. Lyon hold any power of persuasion over Kong, assuring him of the harmlessness of a partial-body picture? At any rate, Lyon’s photograph offers a rare close-up view of the second-to-last Duke Confucius in Chinese history.

2. Queli, an arch outside the east wall of Confucius Temple
Statue of Confucius Stone dragon pillars
3. Statue of Confucius 4. Stone dragon pillars

Three other photos were taken in and outside the Confucius Temple, where ritual ceremonies were performed every year to worship the sage. Photo no. 2 shows an arch named Que li (阙里), which stood outside the east wall of the temple. Confucius was believed to have started his teaching career in this neighborhood, hence the location of the temple. Photo no. 3 is a front view of the statue of Confucius in Da cheng dian (大成殿, meaning “the Hall of Great Achievements”), which was the architectural center of the temple complex. The statue was inaugurated in 1730 (the eighth year in the reign of Emperor Yongzheng), replacing an earlier one destroyed in a fire in 1724. The fourth photo focuses on the porch of the hall, which is guarded by limestone pillars carved with dragons riding clouds.

Lyon would never know that he had captured the image of vanishing cultural relics. In 1966, twenty years after Lyon died at age 72 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution broke out in China, followed closely by the “Destruction of Four Olds” campaign. Confucius’s legacy was a prime target among the “old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits” to be condemned and eradicated from Chinese society, ostensibly to make room for a brand new world. Hundreds of Red Guards swept into the temple, mansion, and cemetery of Confucius in November 1966, smashing up statues, stone tablets, monuments, and numerous other antiquities. The tombs of Confucius and KONG Lingyi, who died in 1919—one year after Dr. Lyon left China—were both leveled. The Hall of Great Achievements was stripped of statues of Confucius and sixteen of his most famed followers, except for a broken head left among the ruins. The Internet is not short of violent images showing Red Guards in fervent action in Qufu. Online photos revealed that, before being reduced to debris, the 236-year-old statue of Confucius had been disfigured and disgraced by the “revolutionists” who had plastered strips of paper with blasphemous slogans all over it.

With the same determined pursuit for visual clarity with which he had taken Duke Kong’s portrait, Lyon had positioned his lens straight in front of the sage’s statue, taking in the exquisite latticed boards and a pair of lively-looking dragons about to untangle their bodies from the columns. Lyon’s photo is not the only one of the Confucius statue that was no more. However, compared with what we have found in print and digitized resources, his shot is clearly the one that best allows us a belated gaze into the (now ruined) entire shrine from a satisfactory angle.

MAO Zedong’s death in 1976 brought about the end of the Cultural Revolution. In spring 1983, barely five years after DENG Xiaoping had assumed leadership of China and introduced reforms, the government allocated 480,000 RMB (roughly equivalent to 560,000 USD today) for restoring all seventeen statues in the Hall of Great Achievements. Striving for faithful replication in shape, size, and detail, sculptors started their extensive preparation work by collecting information from written records, images, videos, and oral interviews with local residents. (Regretfully, the project team was not aware of Lyon’s superb shot.)

Face of the statue of Confucius
5. Face of the statue of Confucius (photographed between 1900 and 1918)

According to the restoration team, the only deliberate point of departure from the original statue was the sage’s facial expression. Launched in 1984, the new statue of Confucius gently smiles down at his worshippers. Local residents were reportedly happy with the reinstated, amicable-looking Confucius, commenting that they used to find his old statue “really scary” (Gong and Wang 62). Such a hearty welcome almost made the silver lining of the massive loss from the “Four Olds” campaign. However, with the aid of Lyon’s photo record, might the jury still be out on whether the old statue truly presented a forbidding expression?

We do not know much about Dr. Lyon and his family or about the couple’s relationship with John H. Scheide. Lyon was born in China to a missionary family possibly from Wooster, Ohio. He graduated with an M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1898, and, as a member of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, went to the Philippine Islands in 1900. By 1902 he had become a medical missionary in Jining (济宁), Shandong Province, working as the chief physician of the Rose Bachman Memorial Hospital for Men, which was operated by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. More than a century later, that hospital, now called the Jining First People’s Hospital, is still in business (and accepting patients of both genders). Lyon married Edna P. van Schoick in Shanghai on Dec. 19, 1902. The two met when Lyon visited Edna’s father, Dr. Isaac Lanning van Schoick, who had returned from a mission in China to his home in Hightstown, New Jersey (“Going to China” 9). Indeed, one of the places in which Dr. Van Schoick had been stationed was Jining, to which Edna was perhaps no stranger.

Lyon’s hospital was approximately 35 miles west of Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius. An excursion to Qufu on the back of a horse or donkey along the rural mud road could take several uncomfortable hours, longer if by sedan chair. With a healthy dose of curiosity and determination and the cool-headedness of a physician, Lyon helped preserve the image of what would be demolished by unprecedented political fervor.

One might question the appropriateness of a missionary visiting the temple of Confucius, who, after all, had been treated as a demigod in China. At a formal level, Western missionaries had studied the compatibility and divergence of Confucianism and Christianity, seeking understandings that would, they hoped, aid their evangelical work with the Chinese. On a personal level, anecdotal stories and individual cases suggest that missionaries might have considered the philosophy of Confucius with varying degrees of open-mindedness. Some may even have been influenced by long-term exposure to the ideas of the very people whom they had traveled across the ocean to convert. An especially “quirky” missionary of such a kind can be found in the film The Keys of the Kingdom (1944). Father Francis Chisholm (played by Gregory Peck) returns to his Scottish hometown church after having served the greater half of his life in China. He is heard giving sermons like “The good Christian is a good man, but I have found that the Confucianist usually has a better sense of humor.”

The digitized photos and their catalog record can be found by searching “Temple of Confucius in Qufu” (call number 3.1.19) in the library catalog.


We would like to thank the University of Pennsylvania Archives and the Philadelphia Free Library for offering generous and timely assistance in locating Charles H. Lyon’s biographical information for us. The East Asian Library of Princeton University kindly created a detailed bibliographical description of the photos.

Time line:

1724: A lightning strike sparks a fire in the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province, destroying the statue of Confucius.

1730: The temple is restored after a five-year reconstruction project.

1872: KONG Lingyi, a seventy-sixth generation descendant of Confucius, is born in Qufu.

ca. 1874: Charles Hodge Lyon is born into a missionary family in China.

1877: As the first-born son of his family, Kong inherits the title “Duke Confucius.”

1898: Lyon graduates from the University of Pennsylvania with an M.D. degree.

ca. 1902: Lyon becomes a medical missionary in Tsining-Chou, China (now Jining of Shandong Province in northern China), serving as a physician at the Rose Bachman Memorial Hospital for Men.

1902: Lyon and Edna P. van Schoick are married in Shanghai on December 19.

1918: Lyon returns to the United States.

1919: Duke Kong dies in Beijing at age 47.

1937: Mrs. Lyon presents the photos taken by Dr. Lyon to John H. Scheide (Princeton class of 1896) on January 19.

1946: Lyon dies in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

1966: Red Guards attack the Confucius temple, mansion, and cemetery, and destroy numerous antiquities, the statue of Confucius among them.

1983: The government funds the recovery of the Hall of Great Achievements, aiming for a faithful replication of the statues built in 1730.

1984: By August, all seventeen statues have been restored. The inauguration ceremony is held on September 22, speculated to be the 2,535th anniversary of the birth of Confucius.

Selected Bibliography:

“Charles Hodge Lyon.” Journal of the American Medical Association 131.6 (1946): 547. Web.

“Dr. C.H. Lyon Dies at Age of 72.” Philadelphia Inquirer Apr. 21, 1946: 10. Print.

Gao, Wen, and Xiaoping Fan. Zhongguo Kong Miao [Confucius temples in China]. Chengdu Shi: Chengdu chu ban she, 1994. Print.

“Going to China to Become a Bride.” The New York Times Oct. 25, 1902: 9. Web.

Gong, Yanxing, and Zhengyu Wang. Kong Miao Zhu Shen Kao [Deities in the Confucius Temple]. Jinan: Shandong you yi chu ban she, 1994. Print.

Kong, Fanyin. Yan Sheng Gong Fu Jian Wen [A history of the mansion of Duke Confucius]. Jinan: Qi Lu shu she, 1992. Print.

Pan, Guxi, et al. Qufu Kong Miao Jian Zhu [Architecture of the Confucius Temple in Qufu]. Beijing: Zhongguo jian zhu gong ye chu ban she, 1987. Print.

“Rose Bachman Memorial Hospital for Men.” Western Medicine in China, 1800-1950. Web. Apr. 19, 2013. <>.

Shandong Sheng wen wu guan li chu, and Zhongguo guo ji lü xing she Jinan fen she. Qufu Ming Sheng Gu Ji [Places of historical interest in Qufu]. Shandong ren min chu ban she, 1958. Print.

The Keys of the Kingdom. Dir. John M. Stahl. 1944. Film.

Copy.DSCN0478a.jpg La Côterie Débouché is a pun on Harriette Wilson’s birth family name of Dubochet. (Henry Heath, del.; Published February 21, 1825 by S.W.Fores, Piccadilly).

In 1825, London publisher John J. Stockdale issued the Memoirs of Harriette Wilson.

It was a sensation. Her story was how she worked her way as a courtesan from want to luxury. When her fortunes declined, she told all, naming Dukes, Earls, and other well-born with whom she had liaisons.

Stockdale published the Memoirs in parts. The back wrapper of some parts listed the names of aristocrats slated for coverage in the next. For £200 one could purchase removal of his name. Fragment of back wrapper of part 3 naming those appearing or about to appear in the Memoirs

Stockdale claimed that, within a year, he had published more than 30 editions. Ink machined onto paper begat money.

He, however, was sued in court, more than once. His rivals ripped him off with pirate editions. Meanwhile, Harriette Wilson became rich and famous.

Readers were enthralled or incensed. Sir Walter Scott said “H.W. beats [the memoirs] of Con Philips and Anne Bellamy and all former demi-reps out and out.” “Push any man into the streets in his dressing gown and nightcap and he will be laughed at,” said the London Magazine (1825). The Duke of Wellington, who refused to pay, famously said “publish and be damned.”

Words describing Harriette seem today to be arcane and recherché : ci-devant, semptress, demi-mondaine, demi-rep (abbrev. for demy-reputation), hataera, cocotte, créature, dame de compagnie, femme entretenue, … the list goes on. It was a strain for others to express her liminal world.

Yet her narrative is direct and beguiling. She begins:

‘I will not say how, or why, at the age of fifteen, I became the mistress of the Earl of Craven. Whether it was love, or the severity of my father, the depravity of my own heart, or the winning arts of the noble lord, which induced me to leave my paternal roof and place myself under his protection, does not now much signify ; or, if it does, I am not in the humour to gratify curiosity in this matter.”

In the end, though, we are left with many questions: Is her narrative credible? If it is not credible, then what is it? What prompted her to break the rules and openly name those who could be considered ‘the profligate of the aristocracy’? Is the book libelous?* Could it be protected by copyright?* (*These questions were subjects of court cases at the time.) Was it a promoter of vice? Could it be regarded as prophylactic against vice? Was it just plain blackmail? Or, as one critic has asked recently, can it be regarded as the end of the epistolary novel? These are only a sampling of queries.

During the spring of 2012, Princeton acquired a Harriette Wilson collection, which does answer some questions concretely and may provide answers for many others. It is a collection of virtually all the editions of her Memoirs published during her lifetime (she died in 1845). Among other questions, these will allow us to answer the question as to what authentic editions looked like and how piracies appeared physically. Added to these editions are translations as well as some wonderful popular broadside précises of her Memoirs, together with a number of contemporary illustrations both serious and in the classic British satiric tradition, some companion works (e.g. Confessions … Written … in Contradiction to the Fables of Harriette Wilson by Julia Johnstone, also a courtesan, part rival, and niece of Harriette), and, finally, editions of Harriette’s novels published after the Memoirs. The novels include London Tigers and Paris Lions. (1825), Clara Gazul, Or, Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (1830), and Lies (1830) (only copy recorded; more later on that.)

The collection was put together by Stephen Weissman (Ximenes Rare Books, Kempsford, Gloucestershire). The books are rare in the market; it took him several decades to assemble the collection. A list of the holdings of the collection is available. The list includes Mr Weissman’s bibliographical descriptions of the various editions issued by Stockdale and his rivals, William Benbow, Edward Thomas, Thomas Douglas, Edward Duncombe, and others.


As of March 15, 2013, all books have been catalogued and are accessible via the main catalog. The prints are in the process of being catalogued.
“William Morris, the 19th-century designer, social reformer and writer, founded the Kelmscott Press towards the end of his life. He wanted to revive the skills of hand printing, which mechanisation had destroyed, and restore the quality achieved by the pioneers of printing in the 15th century. The magnificent ‘Works of Geoffrey Chaucer’, published in 1896, is the triumph of the press.” — The British Library

Independent researcher and now-retired preservation librarian at the Library, Robert Milveski recently completed intensive research into the four copies of the Kelmscott Chaucer held at Firestone. His work not only corroborates particulars published in the landmark study, The Kelmscott Chaucer: A Census by William S. Peterson and Sylvia Holton Peterson, but also extends it. In a 6,200 word essay augmented with two appendices, Milevski examines a great range of copy specific details, especially ownership history and the particulars of each binding. The link below takes you to his article.
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1785: The English Tea Trade at Work

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A recent acquisition, this catalog describes the East India Company’s tea sales in March of 1785 - a year of great changes for the British tea trade. This sale was among the first to follow the Commutation Act of 1784. For years, and specifically over the last decade to help finance the war against America, taxes on tea had been continuously raised until they reached an exorbitant 119%. As a result, the high tax fostered widespread tea smuggling as well as unreliable quality. Introduced by William Pitt the Younger, the Commutation Act reduced the tax on tea to 12.5% thereby effectively ending the tea smuggling and establishing a monopoly on tea importing for the struggling East India Company.

Catalogs were produced before the quarterly sales for buyers to review the available tea and its condition. This catalog from the second March sale of 1785 features Hyson and Souchong tea. A key in the front of the catalog decodes the symbols next to the tea lots from various ships that had returned from China. Quality ranges from “musty and mouldy” to “superfine”. Additional symbols noted the leaf size, smells and other conditions such as “woody” or “smoakey”. Space was available on the right side of the lot listings to be filled in with manuscript annotations detailing the ultimate price and buyer. (Princeton’s copy is completely filled in, presumably by “J. Williams” whose signature is on the back cover and whose initials are on the front cover.)


For more information, see: The Management of Monopoly by Hoh-cheung Mui and Lorna H. Mui (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984). “William Pitt and the Enforcement of the Commutation Act, 1784-1788” by Hoh-cheung Mui and Lorna H. Mui (The English Historical Review, Vol. 76, No. 300 (Jul., 1961), pp. 447-465).

East India Company’s Reserve of Hyson and Souchong Tea. Second March Sale 1785. (London: 1785). Call number: (Ex) Item 6538574. Purchased as part of a collection of 45 early English cookery books assembled by James Stevens Cox. See [full text] for a listing of this cookery collection acquired during 2012. — Jen Meyer, Assistant to the Curator of Rare Books, Princeton University Library.


The Gilder Lehrman Institute recently launched a new educational website:

“Liberty and the American Revolution Selections from the Collection of Sid Lapidus, Princeton University”

According to GLI’s associate director of education: “In addition to highlighting documents from the Sid Lapidus Collection the interactive includes:
• Lesson plans by Rosanne Lichatin (NJ), Nathan McAlister (KS), and Anthony Napoli (NY)
• Videos featuring: Nicole Eustance, Gordon Wood, John Shovlin, and David Armitage.
• Links to the catalog entries on Princeton’s website, Common Core units, DBQs appropriate for the AP/IB Level, and a selected bibliography for those who would like to explore the topics further.”


When Pyne Library opened in 1897 [more], such rare books as the Morgan Virgils were shelved in a special room fitted with glass-fronted bookcases. The ground-floor room was the New World offspring of the Old World wunderkammer. Its purpose was public exhibition of private treasures. By extension, the Library’s location designator “Ex” (shorthand for “Exhibition Room” [more]) became the designator for the Library’s general rare book collection. It remains so down to today. A brief photo essay about the room follows.

    1916 floor plan keyed with pictures (left to right) NW corner, NE corner, SE corner, and SW alcove (Hutton death mask collection)
For larger image [ link ]
An early photograph; display cases have not yet filled the entire floor as they would do during the 1910s and 1920s. Original at Hist. Soc. of Princeton. Rose glass plate negatives: no. ROS6194.
  An early photograph of the Hutton alcove; more masks would be put on display during the 1910s and 1920s.  
For larger image: see
  Northeast corner of the Exhibition Room
For larger image, see:
  Northwest corner of the Exhibition Room For larger image, see:
  Southeast corner of the Exhibition Room. Visible are hinged panels on stands displaying prints by Rowlandson and Cruikshank. In the case adjacent is the Wordsworth Collection, assembled by Mrs. Cynthia Morgan St. John, and on display in hope that a donor would purchase it for the Library. In 1925, Cornell University acquired the St. John Wordsworth collection.
For larger image, see:

  The Hutton Alcove near full build-out; more masks added to the foundation collection.
For larger image, see:

  Exhibition room repurposed to reader space starting in the late 1920s. Rare books and other objects moved into the Treasure Room on the second floor of Pyne.
For larger image, see:

Frederic Vinton, collector

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Frederic Vinton served as the 20th librarian of Princeton from the fall of 1873 until his death on January 1, 1890.

His legacy of publications and achievements includes being a founder of the American Library Association (1876) and publication of his monumental 894 page Subject Catalogue of the Library of the College of New Jersey, at Princeton. (New York, 1884).

He also left a series of scrapbooks as part of his official legacy. He made these in order to both document and systematically record prodigious national events during his term. He recognized that making a scrapbook was a way of supplying the Library with a reference book on a topic even before such was produced by publishers. It was a way to bring the ‘recent past’ to collections formed by customary 19th century academic codes privileging ancient history, the classics, national literatures and other topics germane to the seven liberal arts.

Vinton’s efforts conformed to the rationale provided in 1880 by journalist E. W. Gurley, who posed the question “Who should we make scrap-books?” and noted:

“In Franklin’s day there were two newspapers in America; now there are about 8000 periodicals of all grades, constantly flooding the land with a stream of intelligence. Much of this is ephemeral, born for the day and dying with the day; yet scarcely a paper falls into the hands of the intelligent reader in which he does not see something worth keeping” (E. W. Gurley Scrap-books and how to make them[New York, 1880], p. 10)

He went on to answer the question “Who should keep a scrap-book?” and responded “Every one who reads … Jefferson was in the habit of collecting, in this form, all the information bearing on certain points in which he was interested. … Sumner was an habitual gatherer of Scraps, and found them invaluable aids to even his vast field of information. … It is said of another noted Congressman that he dreaded an opponent of much inferior powers, because the latter was a careful compiler of Scrap-Books, and thus had a fund of knowledge which the more brilliant man did not possess. … ” (p. 11)

Vinton’s scrapbooks center on the theme of death and disaster.

1874-1878 — Consists of newspaper accounts at Charles Sumner’s death, as well as those looking back on his political career. Call number; (Ex) Oversize 1083.891.673e. Finding aid [link]

1881-1882 — Collection of newspaper accounts concerning the assassination of President Garfield, and the trial of Charles Guiteau. Call number; (Ex) Oversize 10862.378.37e. Finding aid [link]

1888 — Collection of newspaper accounts concerning the New York city snowstorm of 1888 : known as the Great White Hurricane of 1888. Call number; (Ex) Oversize 10992.863e. Finding aid [link]

1889 — Collection of newspaper accounts concerning the Washington centennial, 1889, and the Johnstown flood, 1889. Call number; (Ex) Oversize 10822.956.953e. Finding aid [link]

True Images of Illustrious ❧ 1577 Giovio

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1577_Giovio_titlepage.jpg 1577_Giovio_portrait.jpg 1577_Giovio_Baldus.jpg The Elogia had its origins in the biographies, rhetorical in form and intended to be brief, vivid and memorable, which Giovio composed to hang below the portraits in his museum on Lake Como. “Giovio’s idea of founding a portrait museum on the lake was his most original contribution to European civilization. While Wunderkammern and princely collections were not new, the idea of filling a villa with portraits of famous people on canvas or on bronze medallions, calling it a museum, and opening it … for public enjoyment was a new departure … . The inspiration had come to him, he said, of adorning his room, ‘Mercury and Pallas’, with the ‘true images of illustrious men of letters, so that through emulation of their example good mortals might be inflamed to seek glory’. Thereafter his correspondence shows him badgering all manner of persons for portraits … . [There] were various precedents for Giovio’s inspiration to form a portrait collection, but none was quite what Giovio had in mind. Although intended as figurae of glory and incentives to emulation, most collections or cycles featured idealized or imaginary representations, whereas from the very start Giovio demanded an exact likeness, preferably done from life but otherwise from sound evidence such as coins, medallions, portrait busts, or earlier authentic portraits … . When he had the inspiration of enlarging the identifying inscriptions to elogia, or capsule biographies, his innovative scheme was complete.” (T.C. Price Zimmermann, Paolo Giovio: The Historian and the Crisis of Sixteenth-Century Italy, [Princeton, 1995], pp. 159-160).
❧ Paolo Giovio (1483-1552). Elogia virorum literis illustrium. [Basel] P. Perna, 1577. Call number: (Ex) Oversize 1038.392.11q

Anatomia Statuae Danielis ❧ 1586

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“A monumental historical and genealogical work presented to John George (1525-1598), Elector of Brandenburg, a member of the House of Hohenzollern, and Augustus I (1526-1586), Elector of Saxony, of the House of Wettin. The work relates the genealogy of Christ and the Judean kings, and the union of Monarchy and Christianity in general, with the understanding of monarchy as seen in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. As such the major empires of known history is envisioned as elements of a statue, cf. Daniel´s interpretation of Nebuchadnessar´s dream, in which he sees a statue made of gold, silver, copper, iron and clay, illustrating the four empires. The main texts of these chapters are accompanied by genealogical lists of virtually every ruler, by then known, of the empires in question, and forms a more or less complete historical line from biblical Nimrod up till the then contemporary emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolph II (1576-1612). It also contains a brief chapter on the Ottoman empire and its genealogy, since the Holy Roman Empire, of which Brandenburg and Saxony formed and important part, was on the brink of war with the Ottoman Empire at the time. The last part of the book is concerned with the genealogy of the Saxon Electorate, and its relation to the Kings of France, the Dukes of Savoy and the Margraviate of Montferrat. In full, the book forms a both religious and historical masterly treatment of monarchy and the monarchical ruler and its association with divine power, based on the before mentioned imagery of the Book of Daniel. In addition, it can be seen as a rethinking of the position and power of the German Electors to whom it is presented, since the Reformation, in which an older relative of Augustus I, Frederick III The Wise (1463-1525), played an important role, had taken place less than 70 years earlier” (Text supplied by Kaabers Antikvariat [København])

Loren Faust. Anatomia Statuae Danielis. Kurtze und eigentliche erklerung der grossen Bildnis des Propheten Danielis, Darin ein historischerausszug der vier Monarchien / und aller ihrer HeuptRegenten / auff die glieder des Bildnis / ober eines menschlichen leibes gerichtet / und sonderlich vom angang und fortpflantzung des Reichs Jesu Christi / ordentlich mit gemisser jahr rechnung bereichnet. Beneben Christlicher erinnerung und erklerung der Genealogien, und Fürstlichen Stammbaums der hochlöblichen Herzogen zu Sachsen etc. Als zu einem Extract und Memorial solcher ganzen historien / neben etlichen zugerichten Tafeln / mit lust und nuss zugebrauchen. Aus allen fürnembsten und bewertisten Chronicis und gelerter leut schriften mit trememsleis zusammen gezogen - Durch - Laurentium Faustum, Pfarrern unter der Meisnichen Thumbpropstey / zu Schirmenitz. Anno Christi M.D. LXXXVI (1586). Colophon: Leipzig / Bey Johann Steinmann M.D. LXXXV (1585). 8°. [28]+404+[8] pages. With four folded plates. Call number: 2009-1746N. Digital scans of the other plates listed at

Standard categories for bookplates, such as armorial, pictorial and others are commonly found in Franks.  One norm of the vast majority of plates is that they declare ownership simply by stating the name of the owner.  Sometimes added to the name may be the title of honor, honorific, and / or name and location of his estate.


Contrasting with these straightforwardly 'nominative' bookplates, there is a small minority that label the collection to which the book belongs rather than simply stating the owner's name.  

It is easy to provide  20th century examples of this sort of 'collection' bookplate.   See, for example, that for, Ellis Ames Ballard Kipling Collection,

Franks gives a 19th century example, being that for the Bewick collection of the Rev. Thomas Hugo, F.S.A. (1820-1876). 

However, when I recently came upon the bookplate illustrated at right I began to wonder: could this be the earliest example of a 'collection'  bookplate? The instance I came upon was that for the Militar[y] Collection of the Hon[orable] L[ieutenan]t Gen[era]l G[eorge] L[ane] Parker. [Bibliographical details in note 1 at end.]

Many books with this bookplate have been on the market in recent years because they all trace back to the library of the Earls of Macclesfield, the first portion of which was auctioned in 2004 and continued to 12 parts in all, the last being in 2008.

Edward Edwards in his 1864 description of the Macclesfield library states that Gen. G. L. Parker was the second son of the 2nd Earl and upon his death his collection of military books was added to the main Macclesfield stock in Shirburn Castle (ca. 1791). (Cf. Libraries and founders of libraries, Chap. X, p. 325 ff).

What are we to make of this bookplate, so unlike the normal 'nominative' plate?  If Gen. G. L. Parker added this plate to his books then his practice was perhaps indicative not only of the newly emerging trend in specialized collecting but it was also perhaps avant garde in his providing plates marking his collecting practice rather than just stating his name as possessor. I think this later hypothetical is a bit of a stretch.

An alternative possibility is that the plates were added to the books after their receipt at Shirburn Castle as a means of marking them out from the rest of the collection. I don't know if this possibility has been noted before.  I lean toward this later explanation for the following reasons.  

Conventions about how a proper 18th century bookplate should look were fairly rigid.  The norm was a two part arrangement:  if armorial, then achievement of arms at center with name of owner set off below.   This plate does not conform to this convention.

The visual convention of this bookplate is more that of the cartouche of an 18th map or the trade label of an 18th century craftsman. The title or name is worked into the overall baroque design.  This style is the customary for naming what an object is, or what an artisan does, rather than just signalling a possessor. 

Moreover, there was a antecedent at Shirburn for the "Militar." case.  Consider the case of another Macclesfield bookplate -- that with the caption "Of the Collection of W. Jones, Esq."

Arthur J. Jewers in his article on the Macclesfield bookplates says that the 2nd Earl had this bookplate "specially engraved for a valuable collection of books bequeathed to him by W. Jones, Esq., who died in 1749, thus giving us very nearly the date at which the plate was cut."  My conclusion is that the Jones bookplate is a model for the "Militar." plate. (Cf. "Parker Bookplates" Journal of the Ex Libris Society (London, 1898-99), vol. viii, p. 180 ff. and vol. 9, p. 9 ff.) [See illustration at right.]


• A further particular about the copy in which this "Militar." plate appears  • Apart from the curious character of this "Militar." bookplate, the Parker "Militar." plate  had been pasted completely over that of the book's first owner,  Alexander Dury.

When the book was first encountered, the Dury plate was partially visible as showthrough.  Only the last few letters of Dury's name were originally visible underneath the Parker plate. What's more, stamped on the spine was an heraldic crest.  No crest was listed in British Armorial Bindings as belong to the Earls of Macclesfield, so the question became "Whose crest is this?"  Once the Parker plate was partially lifted by a conservator, then all was relieved:  full name of the first owner,  a display of his achievement of arms, including his crest, a demi-lion rampant.



Note 1: This bookplate is on the front pastedown of Voltaire, 1694-1778. Le siècle de Louis XIV : publié par m. de Francheville ...Londres : chez R. Dodsley, 1752. Call number (Ex) Item 6357495q


In 1882, on the ‘Academie Presse’ at West Point, there was printed the first authorized edition of Mark Twain’s satiric Elizabethan ribald confection [1601] Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors. In the following decades, the saucy text became steady meat for bibliophiles eager to consume privately printed editions. During the 1920s, each annum averaged about two editions. A bibliography published in 1939 lists 44 privately printed editions, and, according to one expert, “there had undoubtedly been many more.”

Recently, among the ‘many more,’ a twin pair of editions have become better known. The two are the work of a member of Princeton’s class of 1912, Eugene V. Connett III. Prior to founding his own imprint, The Derrydale Press, Connett did commission design and book production for well-heeled Eastern bibliophiles like himself.

For some years, it’s been known that Connett produced in 1925 a 100 copy edition of 1601. [Title page illustrated above.] This edition is well described in the standard bibliography of the Derrydale Press, compiled by Henry Siegel and Isaac Oelgart. [It’s entry A on page 34.] Furthermore, Connett also produced in 1925 a 30 copy edition, less typographically complex than the 100 copy edition.

Even though Connett’s involvement with these productions is known, it was always a mystery as to who commissioned him. The 100 copy edition clearly states “printed for H.D.W.”

Who was “H.D.W.”?

We now have an answer. In the course of preparing a bookseller’s color-printed catalogue of the Derrydale Press, Princeton Class of 1983 member Henry Wessells discovered who “H.D.W.” was. He did so by following up a note written by Connett and tucked into a copy of 1601 that appeared in a New England auction a number of years ago. This direct evidence from Connett, Wessells learned, is also confirmed by circumstantial evidence found in the Derrydale Papers.

“H.D.W.” was Henry Devereux Whiton (1871-1930). H.D.W, according to Wessells, “was an industrialist with interests in the sulfur industry, a sportsman, and a philanthropist. During the 1920s he lived in Long Island and was a member of the Piping Rock Club and the Bellport Yacht Club. No doubt it it was through such associations that he came to know Connett.” Whiton’s obituary published in the New York Times, November 1, 1930, mentions many achievements but is totally silent on his paying for an edition of 1601. This comes as no surprise, for in 1906 its very author, Mark Twain, wrote “I hasten to assure you that it is not printed in my published writings.”

❧ [Mark Twain] [1601] Being a fireside conversation in ye tyme of ye goode Queene Bess Done into a privately emprynted booke, 1926. Call number: (EX) 3679.7.386.12. Gift of Eugene V. Connett III, Class of 1912

❧ With thanks to Henry Wessells for providing many details.

"A Relic of John Bunyan (?)": The Mystery Continues

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In 1968, collector Robert T. Taylor presented a copy of three works by the English puritan, Issac Ambrose (1604-1664/4), all printed in London in 1650 and bound together in one calf-bound volume, repaired but retaining its early 17th century covers. It has the bookplate of Roderick Terry, clergyman and in his day, a renowned book collector of Newport, Rhode Island. When part II of Terry’s books were sold on November 7-8, 1934, this book, lot 44, sold for $55. Terry, most likely, obtained it from George T. Juckes, 35 St. Martin’s Court, London, who dubbed himself “The Bookfinder.” Juckes had the book in 1912 and detailed his speculations about it in both an article in Notes & Queries (“A Relic of John Bunyan(?)” II Series, vol 1, August 31, 1912, p. 162-163) as well as in long detailed single sheet printed description headed “A Genuine Relic of John Bunyan,” likely also dating from 1912. (Juckes priced it at £100.)

Juckes offered three arguments for tying the book to Bunyan.
1) He cited several notes either in or with the book by owners other than him saying so.
2) He noted that the subject matter of the book, indeed, a phrase repeatedly used in it — “the new birth” — conforms to language ascribed to Bunyan by his “anonymous biographer, “evidently … one who knew him well.” 3) Two authorities compared the marginal notes with two established examples of Bunyan’s handwriting and, according to Juckes, “both agree … the handwriting … is identical.”

What are we to make of these arguments?

Juckes is right when he states: “… in the year 1768 [the book] belonged to one Ludovic Auber, and has is signature in three places, also the date 1768. It afterwards passed into the hands of another owner, as the following inscription shows, “James Martin, is (sic) Book, October the 5th. 1785” Then we have another inscription in a different handwriting of about the same date, as follows, “The Notes in the magin (sic)were written by that valiant advocate for Truth, John Bunyan, while in prison.”Still later it came into the possession of Lady Gregory, wife of Dr. Olinthus Gregory, who has written the following on a sheet of old paper, “The marginal notes in this book were written by John Bunyan. I know not the evidence upon which the fact rests. but it was fully believed by my dear husband, Dr. Olinthus Gregory, A.G., Woolwich Common, June 1842.” [Juckes further adds “It then passed into the possession of Canon Acheson.”]

Moreover, the letter of the two authorities is present with the book and one authority thinks the handwriting is “very much alike.”


However, today, how much more of the literary remains of Bunyan are documented, although they are still sparse. See: * Index of English Literary Manuscripts, vol. II, 1625-1700, part 1, p —- as well as T.J.Brown “English Literary Autographs XXXIII, John Bunyan, 1628-1688” in the *Book Collector, vol 9, Spring 1960, p. 53-55.
Needless to say, the comparison of these marginal notes against a corpus larger than that known in 1912 must be done afresh. Given that this wider comparison is still undone, we must set Juckes’s contention to one side. Today, Bunyan’s authorship of the marginal notes remains an open question.


Issac Ambrose (1604-1664) Prima, the first things; or, Regeneration sermons …[bound with] The Doctrine & Directions *[and] *Ultima.
London, Printed for J.A., and are to be sold by N. Webb and W. Grantham, 1650. Call number (EX) 5849.122.2 Provenance: •Ludovic Auber (1768) •James Martin (1785) •Olinthus Gregory = Olinthus Gilbert Gregory (29 January 1774 - 2 February 1841) mathematician • “A.G.” = 2nd wife of Olinthus Gregory, whose identity is not known according to Oxford DNB []. •Canon Acheson = the Rev. Johnston Hamilton Acheson, Kirby-Cane Rectory, Bungay, Norfolk (19th cent.) •George T. Juckes, bookseller, London •Roderick Terry (1849-1933) (bookplate) •Gift of Robert H. Taylor in 1968

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Algarotti, Francesco, conte, 1712-1764.
Saggio sopra la vita di Orazio
Venezia, Nella stamperia fenziana, 1760.
Call number (PTT) 2865.557

[The following is a transcription of an article published in The Nation. The author was Reference Librarian at the Library. ]

Harry Clemons. [Algarotti’s Vita di Orazio and Gray.] in The Nation, Aug. 22, 1912, xcv. 167-8


    In the Horace Collection, recently presented to the Library of Princeton University by R. W. Patterson of Pittsburgh, is a book which bears interesting traces of ownership by the poet Gray. It is a copy of the “Vita di Orazio” published in Venice in 1760, which, according to an autograph note on the title page, was given to Gray by the author, Count Francesco Algarotti, in February, 1763. That the scholar poet read the little volume with critical thoroughness is evinced by nearly a hundred marginal comments in his delicate chirography. These notes shed no new light, perhaps, on the recluse of Stoke Poges and Cambridge; but as evidences of his quiet habit of scholarly acquisition and of his nice sense for language many of them seem worthy of quotation.

    At least an epistolary acquaintance existed between Gray and Count Algarotti, and it is on record that each publicly expressed a considerable degree of admiration for the work of the other. (Gray’s Works, ed. by Gosse, London, 1884, Vol. Ill, pp. 147, 155, 159, 298.) The Italian litterateur, who was within a year of his death when the “Vita dl Orazio” was presented to Gray, had at this time become well known among literary and court circles in Europe. Lord Byron, writing from Venice to the publisher, Murray, in 1818 (Byron’s “Letters and Journals,” ed. by Prothero, London, 1909, Vol. IV, p. 223) mentions a collection of manuscript letters addressed to Algarotti by Lord Hervey, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Gray, Mason, Garrick, Lord Chatham, David Hume, and others. Voltaire had affectionately dubbed Algarotti “Le cher cygne de Padove,” and he had become a favorite with King Augustus III of Poland and with Frederick the Great. The former had appointed him a Councillor, and Frederick not only made him a Count of Prussia and a Court Chamberlain, but after Algarotti’s death erected to his memory the tombstone which stands on the south side of the Campo Santo at Pisa. It was while coursing through the career of Frederick that Carlyle’s impatient pen fell afoul of this “young Venetian gentleman of elegance, in dusky skin. In very white linen and frills, with his fervid black eyes”— and paused for the few strokes of characterization (Carlyle’s “Frederick the Great,” book x, chap. 7; book xi, chap. 3), which have probably succeeded better in making the learned Italian dilettante and his “Poesies” and “Classical Scholarships” rememberable to English readers than all the voluminous commendations of polite admirers. It is of interest that the virile criticisms of Carlyle are not without support from these private comments in the book which belonged to Gray.

    Of these marginal notes In the “Vita di Orazio,” some were evidently intended merely as a sort of irregular brief analysis of the contents. For example:

· Political cause of 3d Ode of 3d Book of Horace.
· False taste in language in Horace’s time.
· Examples from Italian of word-coining.
· Character of Horace’s works.
· Horace’s Irony against himself.

    There are other notes which, as might be expected, exhibit Gray’s own somewhat pedantic knowledge of literature and history. His familiarity with Horace is indicated by several case in which he skillfully detected quotations from the Latin poet which Algarotti had assimilated into his own Italian. The range Is wider than Horace: references to Cicero. Ovid, Homer, Dante, Racine, Leo the Tenth, Vitruvius, Sperone Speroni, and as many others, were carefully noted in the margin. On one page Gray discovered that an expression used by Algarotti was “the motto of the Cruscan Accademy at Florence.” Other comments are:

· This Influence of civil causes in forming the characters of Catullus’, Ovid’s and Horace’s Muse is Just and ingenius.
· this remark of Ariosto’s want of knowledge with the polite world is just.
· Character of Plautus just.
· a just valuation of the work of the Augustan age.

To another passage, which discusses the popularity of the theatre over undramatic poetry, he added:

· natural enough as the greatest part of an audience even in the polite ages is illiterate and more prone to feed their eyes than their ears.

And in connection with Algarotti’s estimate of Horace himself Gray queried:

· how far may these sententious passages of our Poet tend to give us a real notion of his true character? Should they not be parallel’d with the character given of him by other authors.

    But a large proportion of these private annotations are criticisms of style. In a letter written to Count Algarotti a few months after he received this book (September 9, 1763), Gray apologized for his use of English by saying: “Forgive me if I make my acknowledgments in my native tongue, as I see it is perfectly familiar to you, and I (though not unacquainted with the writings of Italy) should from disuse speak its language with an ill grace, and with still more constraint to one who possesses it in all its strength and purity.” (Gray’s Works, ed. by Gosse, London, 1884; Vol. Ill, page 155; Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. IV, Oct. 1818, p. 38.) Yet these marginal comments reveal no hesitation on Gray’s part to express the most specific criticisms of Algarotti’s Italian. Curiously enough, many of the notes are addressed directly, at Algarotti, as if Gray were a college instructor blue-pencilling a theme. He was some four years younger than the Italian. But as the fruit of above twenty years of writing, the author of the “Elegy” had up to this time permitted only eight of his poems to be printed; and to whatever cause this frugality was due, it is evident that his own severe apprenticeship had given him the confidence of a master in language.

    Not all this criticism is adverse. We find such comments as “elegant expression,” “excellent use of the word here,” “this is a happy term and used by you very apropos.” With these, however, are not only such brief strictures as “too affected a term,” “Why not the common term?” “energetlck but affected term,” “I do not like this expression,” “a little affected obscurity here,” but also a series of fuller criticisms which sufficiently indicate Gray’s conclusions concerning the style of the Italian writer:

· Avoid affectation in the use of certain uncommon terms.
· avoid prosing Horace’s scraps too often.
· beware of affecting certain singularities and uncommon forms of diction.
· a friend of mine says you have ingenuity but that your works want to be translated into Italian.
· beware of borrowing the more trite images from the fine arts w[hi]ch custom is unbecoming your refined genius.
· In transposition of words beware of uncommon peculiarities.
· why this continued affectation of il instead of lo the common expression.
· never generalize, but in the espousal of sentiments or doctrines above the vulgar.
avoid affecting the quotations of our English Poets: w[hi]ch are sometimes too frequent in your Essays.
· I do not at all approve of these sentimental quotations.—except those from Horace’s own text.
· beware of too much Italianizing certain Latin terms of Horace.
· I cannot help observing some affectation in your metaphorical expressions, something too recherchée.
· I think you are too figurative in your common stile.
· do not play so much with your Pen.

All this, as I have said, offers no discovery concerning Thomas Gray; but It unquestionably affords us a familiar glimpse behind the “oak” of the scholar’s study.

        Harry Clemons.

[Coda: After Princeton, the author served as university librarian at the University of Virginia from 1927 to 1950.

The Library now has a new website for this newspaper.  See the following URL

Link to the original posting


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Two items in our Peter J. Eckel Newsboy collection are featured in a just-released New York Times interactive

“Newsboys Still Standing Firm”  (article in NY Herald, July 30, 1899) [Box 8d]
Newsboy’s  Prayer” (in  street argot) [Box 10]

Finding aid for the entire collection is available at


Constitutions des treize états-unis de l'Amérique. A Philadelphie [i.e. Paris] et se trouve a Paris, chez Ph. - D. Pierres, Imprimeur Ordinaire du Roi, rue Saint-Jacques. Pissot, pere & fils, Libraires, quai des Augustins, 1783. Call number: (Ex) 7583.01.267.11 copies 1-4.

Benjamin Franklin provides two key quotes regarding this book.

❧ First, on June 10, 1783, Benjamin Franklin wrote to printer Philippe-Denis Pierres

"Sir, I received the Exemplaire of the Constitutions. ... I desire to have 50 of the 8vos bound in Calf, and Letter'd, and 50 half bound, that is, between Paste boards, with a Sheepskin Back and Letter'd, but not cut, I desire also 6 of the 4tos bound in Morocco. ..."

Ex7583.01.267.11.copy4 -sm.JPG❧ Ex copy 4 is one of the "50 of the 8vos bound in Calf and letter'd" (Franklin to the printer Pierres, 10 June 1783). Ex copy 4: Inscribed by Benjamin Franklin on t.p.: "Translated by the Duke de Rochefoucauld, and the Translation revised before Impression by B.F." Note illustration above. Gift of Andre de Coppet.
Ex7583.01.267.11.copy3 -sm.JPG❧ Ex copy 3 is one of the "50 half bound, that is between Paste Boards with a Sheepskin Back, and Letter'd but not cut" (Franklin to the printer Pierres, 10 June 1783). Ex copy 3: Presentation copy to George Hammond from Benjamin Franklin with inscription by Mr. Hammond. It remains both uncut and unopened.

❧❧ Secondly on December 25, 1783, Franklin wrote to Thomas Mifflin " ... The extravagant Misrepresentations of our Political State, in foreign Countries, made it appear necessary to give them better Information, which I thought could not be more effectually and authentically done than by publishing a Translation into French, now the most general Language in Europe, of the Book of Constitutions which had been printed by Order of Congress. This I accordingly got well done, and presented two Copies handsomely bound to every foreign Minister here, one for himself, the other more elegant, for his Sovereign. It has been well taken, and has afforded Matter of Surprise to many, who had conceived mean Ideas of the State of Civilization in America, and could not have expected so much political Knowledge and Sagacity had existed in our Wilderness. And from all Parts I have the Satisfaction to hear that our Constitutions in general are much admired. I am persuaded that this Step will not only tend to promote the Emigration to our Country of substantial People from all Parts of Europe, by the numerous Copies I shall dispense, but will facilitate our future Treaties with Foreign Courts, who could not before know what kind of Government and People they had to treat with. As in doing this I have endeavour'd to further the apparent Views of Congress in the first Publication, I hope it may be approved, and the Expence allow'd. ..."

❧ Franklin's "two Copies handsomely bound to every foreign Minister here, one for himself, the other more elegant, for his Sovereign" included 4to editions. For example, the 4to at the New York Public Library is printed "sur papier d'Annonay" and has the supra-libros of Louis Joseph de Bourbon-Condé (1736-1818). A 4to at the Bibliothèque Nationale has the arms of Marie-Antoinette. ❧ Moreover, 8vo copies stamped with arms are known. Princeton has such an 8vo. At left is Ex copy 1: Stamped on spine with arms of the La Rochefoucauld family. Given the "accolé" character of these arms, they may be those for the Duke's mother, Madame d'Enville (the Dowager Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld d'Enville; Marie-Louise Nicole Elisabeth de La Rochefoucauld, 1716-1797), also a friend of Franklin. This copy also has the 19th century booklabel of James Toovey (d. 1893). Presented to the Library by Junius S. Morgan, accessioned May 10, 1893. [Note: A 4to bound in red morocco with the supra-libros of LaRochefoucuald was sold at Sotheby's, Monaco, on 9 December 1987. See: Bibliothèque La Rochefoucauld au château de La Roche-Guyon: provenant de la succession de Gilbert de La Rochefoucauld, Duc de La Roche-Guyon (Sotheby's Monaco S.A., 1987) lot 641. The 4to binding is reproduced as the frontispiece to the catalog.]

For more on the publishing history of this book see Echeverria, Durand, "French Publications of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitutions, 1776-1783," Bibliographical Society of America, Papers, 47 (1953) p.313 ff.

Touching provenance

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Isolating the elements of provenance feels like making a form of art. On the one hand, the process of discovering provenance is documentary, albeit selective and editorial.  But beyond the experience of recording fact, the process induces a sense of search and wonder  -- who were all these different owners and, particularly, why did they succeed each other as they did?

Inscriptions, embossments, stampings, applications of arms, crests, badges, labels, and plates -- all these bespeak a past conversation between owner and book.  We'll never know precisely what was the piece-by-piece context of their original conversation.  But by looking closely, recording, reassembling, and presenting our findings we get something new and old at the same time.  The ideal of provenance research is more than just utterance of facts. The ideal is to create a kind of emblem crystallizing a book's career of ownership.

And isn't that art?  Transportive, on the one hand;  transformative, on the other.

Moscow reads New York (addendum)

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British antiquarian bookseller Simon Beattie recently posted:

« Moscow reads New York »

« 1927 saw two Russian translations of The Color of a Great City (1923), Dreiser’s classic memoir of early twentieth-century New York: this one (Gosizdat’s), by Pyotr Okhrimenko, and one for “Mysl’” (Kraski N’iu-Iorka) by V. P. Steletsky. What was particularly nice about this copy was that it still had its original dust-jacket:

Pyotr Okhrimenko (1888-1975), a translator for the Komintern, produced numerous translations of American literature in the 1920s and ’30s: Jack London, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Sherwood Anderson. A staunch Tolstoyan, he had decided to emigrate to America after the 1905 Revolution. But he was unable to find work, so he asked Tolstoy himself for help and was provided with a letter of recommendation to Thomas Edison, who took him on in one of his factories. He returned to Russia in 1911.

Dreiser, alongside Mark Twain, was to become the most popular American author in Russia, hailed by Soviet reference works and critics as the foremost ‘progressive’ American writer of all time. In 1950, when Goslitizdat announced a twelve-volume edition of Dreiser’s collected works was to be published, in a staggering 900,000 copies, subscriptions sold out within days.»

❧ This copy is now in the collections of the Library:

Author: Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945.
Uniform title: [Color of a great city. Russian]
Title: Nʹi︠u︡-Ĭork / Teodor Dreĭzer ; perevod s angliĭskogo P. Okhrimenko.
Published/Created: Moskva : Gos. Izd-vo, 1927.
Physical description: 125 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Location: Rare Books (Ex)
Call number: Item 6211357

"Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright" • Who was "J. Wright"?

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wright.jpg “Feb. 6 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright” on leaf facing title page of H. Grotius, Poemata (Leiden, 1545) Call number (ExV) 2949.411.

John Carter in ABC for Book Collectors states “When [one] pencils on the endpaper ‘collated and perfect’ (or simply ‘c. & p.’), he is using it in the special sense of ‘to examine the sheets of a printed book, so as to verify their number and order’. The operative word is ‘verify’. Verify by what? If no bibliographical description of a book is available and no other copy for comparison, collation in this sense can do no more than reveal obvious imperfections.”

Fair enough, but when did this practice begin? And who might have first used it? Perhaps the case of “J.Wright” will give some clues.

❧ Ten libraries report owning books marked with the “Collat.” formula signed and dated by J. Wright.

They are found on incunables at several libraries:

• University of Glasgow. Shelfmark: Bl9-g.25 “Feb. 10. 1723/4 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.” [Image of inscription] and By.3.38“June 26. 1723 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.” [Image of inscription]
• Houghton Library. Call number: Inc 4142.10 “June 27. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”
• Bodleian Library. Shelfmark Auct. L 1.2-5. “Collat. & perfect Jan. 8 1724/25”
• Princeton. Call number: PTT 2865.341.007 “Jan. 25 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright”

Then on later books such as the following at

•John Rylands Library: Livy (Venice, 1520) “Collat. & perfect. [?] J. Wright” JRUL copy at R213746
•Several examples listed in the ESTC for copies at Huntington, Folger, University of Wisconsin and Yale. Search the copy-specific notes for ‘Collat.’ and ‘Wright’ and six entries return; imprints dating between 1601 and 1689. Inscriptions:
“Feb. 5. 1722/23 Collat. & perfect [?] J. Wright”; “Mar. 1. 1723 Collat. & perfect J Wright; Fawsyde, Bervie, N.B.”; “Oct. 5. 1723. Collat. + perfect. J. Wright”; “Dec 2. 1723. Collat. perfect. P.[?] Wright”; “Dec. 2. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J Wright.” “Dec. 5. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”
•Two are listed in the Hunt Catalogue by Allan Stevenson: 351 and 385 “Dec. 9 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright.”
•Four others at Princeton: imprints dating between 1543 and 1706. Inscriptions: “Feb. 6 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.”; “Oct. 23 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”; “Oct. 29 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”; and “Dec. 10 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright.”

[There’s even a Wright book on sale at Bibliopoly! “June 14 1723 collat[ed] & perfect p[er] J. Wright” (The Great and New Art of Weighing Vanity, Glasgow, 1672).]

❧ Inspection of these books shows frequently they contain another concurrent mark of provenance along side that of Wright’s inscription. Commonly, they carry “Dupplin Castle” (inscribed, together with shelfmark), or the armorial bookplate of the Right Honorable Thomas Lord Viscount Dupplin, Lord Balhousie, dated 1699, or the armorial bookplate of Thomas Earle of Kinnoull Viscount Dupplin Lord Hay of Kinfauns (motto “renovate animos”). In sum, many books Wright marked trace back to the seat in Perth of the Hay Earls of Kinnoull. A contemporary of Wright tells us that the coincidence of his name with that of Kinnoull is not an accident.

❧ So who was J. Wright? “Lord Kinnouls Library keeper,” John Wright, according to Humfrey Wanley (1672-1726), librarian for Robert Harley. In his diary, Wanley records meetings and transactions with Wright during the 1720s. The following summarizes Wanley’s diary entries:

“John Wright was described by Wanley on his first recorded visit to the library (8 February 1722-23) as ‘a Scots Gent’ and of him we know nothing more except that he is said, again by Wanley, to have been ‘my Lord Kinnouls Library keeper’. This was George Henry Hay, seventh Earl of Kinnoull, who had succeeded to the title in 1719 and was married to Robert Harley’s youngest daughter, Abigail. On his first visit Wright brought a small group of MSS and old printed books to sell; subsequent entries show that the printed books were rejected and that the prices he asked for his MSS were considered too high; only on his abatement of these prices did Harley buy them. Thirteen in number, they are listed by Wanley under 24 June 1723 in the addenda to the second volume of his diary.” [C.E. Wright “Manuscripts of Italian Provenance in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum: Their Sources, Associations, and Channels of Acquisition,” in Cecil H. Clough (ed.), Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller (Manchester, 1976), pp. 472]

New directions

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An in-progress registry of provenance, bindings, annotations, and other evidence for book history
from the rare book collections at Princeton
  The content of Notabilia is documentary.
Rare Book Collections @ Princeton will continue to carry news, announcements, and other features.


Provenance evidence on Flickr

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“Frances Wolfreston hor book bot of soldars” inscribed on the front free endpaper of Bartas His Deuine Weekes & Workes Translated: & Dedicated To the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosvah Sylvester. London, Printed by Humfrey Lownes, 1605. Princeton call number:RHT-17th-223. • Frances Wolfreston, the English woman book collector of the seventeenth century, has been the subject of a number of studies, the most notable of which is Paul Morgan’s article characterizing her library and published in The Library, 6th series, vol. XI, no. 3 (September 1989), pp. 197-219. In a recent essay Arnold Hunt expands Morgan’s study by drawing attention to Wolfreston books in the British Library overlooked by Morgan. Cf. Arnold Hunt “Libraries in the Archives: Researching Provenance in the British Library” in Libraries within the Library: The Origins of the British Library’s Printed Collections. Ed. by Giles Mandelbrote, and Barry Taylor. London: The British Library. 2009, pp. 363-384. • Re: “Bot of soldars.” Some military veterans, able or disabled, after service earned a living as pedlars. A report published in 1886 records the Royal Library of Denmark having a copy of The lyf of saint katherin of senis inscribed “Frances Wolfreston bot of a soldar.”

The web and social media are providing means for controlling book ownership data. Already in the ESTC many thousands of copy-specific notes fill out the holdings records. Records for STC books in the Folger Library are quite full — all useful results from a cataloging grant project. Incunabulists now turn to Paul Needham’s IPI for an listing of more than 12,000 recorded owners, both institutional and personal, of fifteenth century books]. Nota bene: owners of incunabula were also likely to own worthy books printed post 1500, so provenance researchers for books of any period may profit from consulting IPI.

These verbal tools are being supplemented by the visual. A number of these visual data were noted by binding historian Mirjam Foot in 2005: “The most common ownership marks found on books, either on their first bindings, on later re-bindings, or added to or subtracted from existing bindings, are coats of arms, armorial charges, inscriptions, mottoes, monograms, initials, full names, symbolic tools, badges, or structural features.” (See One could add to these markings bookplates, bookstamps, owner’s codes, and a host of other features.

To access the visual, websites such as those at the British Library [ and] or St. John’s College, Cambridge [] offer remarkable help, to name just a few such.

Recently emerging visual tools are a number of provenance-related sites on Flickr. They offer striking, colorful evidence of the range, complexity, and vitality of marks of ownership in early printed books. They also offer sites at which collaborative identifications can be recorded, comparable to CERL’s Can you help? website.

Here’s a short list of notable sites:

University of Pennsylvania Libraries project cataloging the Culture Class Collection

Smith College • Mortimer Rare Book Room

David Pearson • English book owners in the seventeenth century

University of Glasgow Library

Heraldic Bookplates (Group pool)

Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection

Digitizing the Lapidus Collection

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An earlier post announced the donation from Sid Lapidus of more than 150 books and pamphlets on the theme of Liberty and the American Revolution. 

During the past eleven months, the Library has digitized all items in the gift -- more than 31,600 page images. We now announce two results of that project:

1. At the Princeton University Digital Library (PUDL) you will find the Lapidus books and pamphlets digitized in full.  ("Search" helps you locate items in the collection. Once an item is found, page turning software facilitates browsing and reading.)

2. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has just posted a new teaching resource based on selections from the Lapidus digital books.


These projects are the result of a large number of people working together. Working with me at Princeton, thanks go to: Cliff Wulfman, Roel Munoz, Jennifer Cabral-Pierce, Mary Marrero, Don Thornbury, Jen Meyer, Jon Stroop, and Shaun Ellis. 

At Gilder Lehrman, James Basker, Susan Saidenberg, her staff, as well as others, worked with files provided by Princeton to build the teaching resource.
And, of course, thanks goes to Sid Lapidus for his donations and encouragement.

1872 • Printers' Sheet of Miscellaneous Trade Receipts

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Ever wonder how 19th century collectors had writing ink cleaned from book pages? (“Be gone you pesky old annotations!”)    Might you be curious as to how they had their maps varnished? Or prints cleaned? Or books preserved?    Here’s some answers:


For a transcription, go to this link

Call number for: Crisp, William Finch. The Printers’ Sheet of Miscellaneous Trade Receipts. Great Yarmouth, [England], [1872.] is (Ex) Broadside 390.

For other “trade receipts” and “how-to” advice from W. F. Crisp, see the Internet Archive.

Settle bindings reconsidered

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Arms of Coville covering 1705 Eusebia Triumphans bound with 1707 Carmen Irenicum Call number: RHT 17th-771
Arms of Morrison impaling Webb covering 1709 Eusebia Triumphans Call number: RHT 17th-773

Illustrated here are Settle bindings.   Howard Nixon (1909-1983), in his Five Centuries of English Bookbinding, describes these, with some disdain:

“Elkanah settle, who was born in 1640 and had been hailed as a rising playwright in the 1670’s, had dwindled by the end of the century into a hack versifier holding the unremunerative post of ‘City Poet.’  In 1700 he started to work what can only be described as a successful racket, which he carried on for the rest of his life. He composed topical poems, at first on political events and later on more personal subjects such as births, deaths and marriages in the families of the great and wealthy. They were put into leather bindings with elaborate (if not very good) gold tooling embellished with the arms of the likely patron, to whom they were dispatched in hopes of a suitable reward.  Should the reward not be forthcoming and the book be returned to Settle, he had the original recipient’s arms covered with a leather only on which were then tooled those of a suitable candidate.”

Despite the contemptuous regard of earlier book historians, these bindings are nonetheless remarkable artifacts documenting a writer’s effort to cultivate patronage during the period 1703 to 1723.  Initial estimates show that perhaps 100 or more of these survive.  

Settle’s letter of presentation once pinned into a copy of his 1707 Carmen Irenicum inscribed on the title page: “Ex Libris Edwardi Haistwell xvto Cal. Martis 1710.”
“Sir: Be pleased to give me Leave to make you once mre an humble present, on this great subject, the Union of the Two Kingdoms; hoping it may find Your Acceptance from Your most obliged and most humble Servant. E: Settle.”
Call number: RHT 17th-785.

Gathered within them, there is much to analyze, be it social, cultural, or design history.  Created as objects for presentation to nobility, they raise many questions surrounding such objects. Recipients range from earls down through the ranks to knights and wealthy merchants. So, why was a particular recipient chosen?  Was the present planned to initiate a connection or to sustain one already formed?  Did the present result in an exchange for Settle? Did he obtain any remuneration for his art?

The bindings also provide a moment in the history of English bookbinding styles.
The elements of the typical Settle layout are threefold:   1) perimeter frame of single fillet enclosing 2) corner-ornamented inner frame filled 3) with the arms of the recipient.  The effect of the layout is to focus attention on the arms;   they are the centerpiece of the over-all design.  When thought about in three dimensions, the frames are pedestals; the centerpiece is the exalted object at the summit.

The centerpiece within frames style, based on the progressions of stylistic changes presented in David Pearson’s English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800,  first appeared on English bindings in the mid 16th century and occurs on bindings through the 17th century.  The extra workmanship and gilt marked it as ‘upmarket.’  Settle’s choice of binding style associated him with an established luxury tradition.

If there are elaborations in a Settle layout, they normally occur relative to the second element: for example, the perimeter of the inner frame might have winged heads added at each midpoint between corners, or, the field of the inner frame might be stained darker than the surround.  Sometimes the surround is treated to resemble marble.  The corner ornaments are likely to be only one of two types: either an abstract flower ornament or one resembling a thistle.   Initial findings show that the flower tool was used on Settle poems dating from 1703 into 1707;  the thistle tool was used on those dating from 1707 down to his death in 1724.


One exception to this corner ornament pattern has been found.  Covering a 1703 poem, the binding consists of the typical perimeter frame and inner frame ornamented at corners. Rather than the expected flower tool, the corner tool is the thistle. In addition, no arms are present.  What can be made of these incongruities? Rather than being a binding made contemporaneous with the imprint it covers, perhaps this is a  ‘blank’  prepared ca. 1707 as a trial effort for the new thistle tool.

Apart from the ‘blank’ mentioned above, there is one other variation from the threefold layout. It involves an example with arms including a royal crown. This exemplum has neither corner piece nor gilt frame(s).  Why this elimination occurs is only a matter of speculation:  perhaps the sparer layout was regarded as more chaste or perhaps removal of the inner frame was intended to focus keener attention on arms of such high rank.

P8230007-gules four lions rampant quarterly or-Wales-small.jpg

Gallery of images available at

New acquistion: Vesalius

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Special funds available at the end of the fiscal year made possible two major acquisitions: the first and second editions of De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius, published 1543 and 1555 respectively. This towering monument in the history of science has long been lacking in the Library’s collections. If Princeton had a medical school, there might have been an early organizational imperative to obtain this work marking the beginning of modern anatomical studies, but the University has no medical school. Growing campus interest in the history of science during the past several decades has involved classroom presentations of original editions of important landmarks of science already held by the Library, such as the De revolutionibus of Copernicus (1543). Those presentations well demonstrated our wealth of such key books in the mathematical and physical sciences, but they also showed up that we lacked the some equally revolutionary work in medicine. These two new acquisitions unquestionably strengthen our ability to bring into the classroom virtually all the monumental works marking the beginning of the modern science during the Renaissance.


Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica(Basle, 1543) [Call number: (Ex) QM21 .V418 1543f]. Some notable aspects of this copy: 1) Leaf M3 (“Venarum, arteriarum, nervorumque omnium integra delineatio”) has eight contemporarily-colored figures of organs mounted on recto and verso, providing a three-dimensional perspective of the human anatomical figure. And, 2) bound in contemporary German calf over wooden boards; spine in six compartments; covers show seven vertical rows with alternating motifs of married couple and of lamp flanked by chalices; outer border shows rosettes and floral motifs; vestiges of catches and clasps at fore-edge.

Andreas Vesalius, De humani corporis fabrica(Basle, 1555) [Call number: (Ex) QM21 .V418 1555f]. Bound in 17th century Dutch paneled vellum. Armorial bookplate of Sir William Sterling-Maxwell (1818-1878) on front pastedown; his “Arts of Design” bookplate on back pastedown.

Bindings from the shop of John Bateman, Royal Binder

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Front cover: arms of George Stuart,
Lord d’Aubigny impaling Howard


Back cover: arms of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury

Captain John Smith. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (London, 1624) [Call number (ExKa) Americana 1624q Smith copy 3]
Mirjam M. Foot assigns the above binding to the shop of John Bateman, Royal Binder to James I.
Cf. The Henry Davis Gift. A Collection of Bookbindings. Volume 1. Studies in the History of Bookbinding, (London, 1982) p. 35-49. This is number 65 (p. 49). She evidently based her attribution on the illustration of the front cover published in the Sotheby’s auction sale catalogue of the books belonging to the Duke of Leeds on June 2-4, 1930. This book was lot 606 and it was purchased by A.S.W. Rosenbach for £1400 who eventually sold it to Grenville Kane to add to his outstanding collection of Americana. In the late 1940s, Princeton purchased the Kane collection.

The above example is a confirmed case of a binding from the shop of John Bateman. Are there others in the Library? This is indeed likely so, but to determine such will require further work. One tempting example is at right. It is the binding on John Adamson, The Muses Welcome (Edinburgh, 1618) [Call number (Ex)14431.113q]. A comparable copy is described by M. Foot in her entry 60 (p. 49). The cornerpieces on the Princeton binding match closely those Foot identifies as A1 and A2 on page 41.

Finding John Witherspoon's books

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Witherspoon's books entered the collections of the Library in 1812. They were comingled with the 706 volumes of his son-in-law Samuel Stanhope Smith, purchased for the sum of $1,500. For decades Witherspoon's books remained distributed within the working book stock of the Library, which totaled 7,000 volumes by 1816. After the Civil War, the surge of interest in leaders of the American Revolution included a focus on Witherspoon.  At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the Presbyterians erected a statue of Witherspoon.  Like his visage, his books were also of interest.

The hunt for the books began during the tenure of Frederick Vinton, librarian from 1873 until his death in 1890.   There was no precise list of such.  Evidence of ownership was based on two grounds:  1) Witherspoon's signature and book number at the top of the title page (his usual practice) and 2) mention in the list of books in his son-in-law's library.  Only examination of the books themselves and comparison with the Smith list could affirm ownership.

Vinton recorded his findings on blank pages of an 1814 catalogue of the library.  Varnum Lansing Collins, Class of 1893, served as reference librarian from 1895 to 1906.  He regularized Vinton's findings into an alphabetical list, perhaps in preparation for his biography of Witherspoon published in 1925.  In the 1940s, during the tenure of librarian and Jefferson scholar Julian Boyd, curator Julie Hudson physically reassembled the Witherspoon books into a separate special collection with the location designator  WIT.  The project took years, resulting in a collection of more than 300 volumes. In addition to re-gathering the books, Ms Hudson oversaw repairs and rebinding by "Mrs. Weilder and Mr. [Frank] Chiarella of the PEM Bindery" [in New York.]

Since Ms. Hudson's efforts, a few more Witherspoon books have come to light. During 1949-50, volume one of the third edition of Miscellanea Curiosa (London, 1726) was acquired by exchange.  In 1963, Mrs. Frederic James Dennis gave Witherspoon's copy of The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America containing the Confession of Faith, the Catechisms, the Government and Discipline (Philadelphia, 1789), signed by him on the half title.  In 1967, the Library purchased Witherspoon's copy of  Thomas Clap's  The Annals or History of Yale College (New Haven, 1766.)  In 1978, the Library purchased Witherspoon's copy of volume one of Jacques Saurin's  Discours historiques, critiques, theologiques, et moraux, sur les evenemens les plus memorables du Vieux, et du Nouveau Testament . (Amsterdam, 1720.)  Lastly, there appeared in a 1998 auction in New Hampshire, Witherspoon's copy of The Odes of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, Knight of the Bath  (London, 1768), however, this was not acquired and its current whereabouts are not known. 

Perhaps if more of Witherspoon's books are to be found today, then they are to be found in the collections here.  This proved the case earlier this week.   Now identified as Witherspoon's is this entry in the Smith catalogue: "Works of Abraham Cowley ....  1 Folio."



Witherspoon number 244, Works [by] Mr Abraham Cowley (London, 1668) adjacent to Witherspoon number 245, True History of the Church of Scotland [by] Mr David Calderwood (1678). [Note: autograph of Witherspoon was snipped away during the 19th century. Autograph collectors prized signers of the Declaration of Independence.]


[Call numbers for these two volumes: (Ex)3693.3.1668q and WIT 1481.233q, respectively]

< Inscribed before 1847 on the front free endpaper of Witherspoon number 244, Works [by] Mr Abraham Cowley (London, 1668).  This is likely the scribbling of a student:

Distinguished Characters of Princeton by a friend
Boss Carnahan       [President of Princeton, 1823-1859]
Johnny Maclean   [Vice-president under Carnahan]
Boss Rice   [Rev. B. H. Rice, D.D., served in Princeton pulpit,  1833 to 1847],  Cooley   [Rev. E.F. Cooley], Daniel  McCalla, Petin the boot black, Moses Hunter, Albert Ribbenbach [?], Old Quackenboth  (Uncle Joe), Buddy Be Dash, Catling Ross [?], Goose Leg.
Note on catalogues:  See the finding aid for the Library records in the Archives at Mudd Library:  AC123
The catalogues are in Subseries 5E, Early Catalogs and Technical Records, 1802-1961.    

Daniel Rosenberg, Associate Professor of History, University of Oregon, writes:

WHAT DOES HISTORY LOOK LIKE? How do you map time? In this exhibition, historians Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton--drawing from their celebrated book, Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline-- explore the emergence of modern visions of history through graphic representation. Rarely viewed books, manuscripts, charts, and other ingenious devices-- drawn primarily from the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the Princeton University Library--illustrate a history of visual innovation that stretches from the manuscripts of late medieval Europe through the rise of modern print technologies.


Cartographies of Time focuses on the mutually influential developments of historical thought and graphics, highlighting the emergence of the timeline as both a graphic and an imaginative tool. The works exhibited follow a kind of timeline of their own, beginning with a medieval scroll listing the kings of France and England. Such genealogical scrolls emphasized the continuity of families, sometimes from the creation of the world. But, as the exhibition demonstrates, by the beginning of the sixteenth cen­tury, chronologists were experimenting with new and rediscovered graphic forms.

Among early European forms, the tabular grid-- a reinterpretation of the model promoted by the Roman Christian theologian Eusebius--was preeminent. Early modern chronologists also borrowed from theological allegory, as in the illustration to Lorenz Faust's An Anatomy of Daniel's Statue (1585), where the rulers of four monarchies are inscribed within the image of the biblical king of Babylon. [Illustrated at right.] In addition, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century chronologists relied on the work of astrono­mers to provide reliable dating; striking chronological graphics--such as those in the magnificent Astronomicum Caesareum (1540) by Petrus Apianus-- integrate astronomical and historical data.

By the eighteenth century, chronologists thought it logical that time, like space, could be measured and mapped in an intuitive visual format, and a powerful new visual vocabulary for history emerged, emphasiz­ing an analogy between historical time and the mea­sured line. In the 1750s and 1760 scholars published timelines rigorously measured to scale. 

But while these new linear timelines quickly became ubiquitous, and their productions were often strikingly beautiful, historians continued to experiment with novel systems of reference and mnemonics. Stunning examples include a hand-colored chart designed by the Austrian chronologist Frederich Strass (1804), depicting world history as a series of flowing rivers, and one devised by the American educator Emma Willard in 1846, representing historical time as a Greek temple.

Still, this diversity only made clearer the visual force of the measured, linear timeline, which had become embedded in European and American historical consciousness. In the twentieth century it became usual to speak of "timelines" in reference to historical events themselves, not only their graphic representations. The timeline had become a tool of imagination as well as of information graphics.

[p. 7, Spring / Summer 2011 Magazine, Princeton University Art Museum]

The "People's Charter": a new acquisition

People’s Charter, An Act to provide for the just Representation of the People of Great Britain & Ireland in the Commons’ House of Parliament. London, Whiting (Printer) (1839) [Call number: (Ex) Oversize 2010-0068Q] Broadside, overall 20” x 20”, decorative border and text printed entirely in red, in 6 columns. Broadside has been in scrap album with part of brown guard still attached. In pencil at upper right: “Presented to the Commons by T.W. Attwood”

The “People’s Charter” was of major importance in the attempt to reform Parliament and obtain suffrage for men. Early in 1838 a group of the newly formed Chartists (one of the first working class movements in the world) met and decided to draft a document known as the “People’s Charter” which took the form of a Parliamentary Bill. It’s draughtsmen were William Lovett, secretary of the London Working Men’s Association, and Francis Place, a Charing Cross tailor. The Charter contained 6 demands: 1. Universal suffrage for men over 21. 2. Equal sized electoral distribution. 3. Voting by secret ballot. 4. End of property qualification for Parliament. 5. Payment for M.P’s 6. Annual election of Parliament. It was presented to Parliament by Thomas Attwood but suffered rejection. However the seeds of discontent were sown and after a period of meetings and riots the objects of their demands were mostly met.

Sold in New York in 1838; now on the Library's shelves

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On February 21, 1838, New York book auction house Cooley & Bangs began a three day sale during which they offered more than 313 incunabula distributed among  1,302 lots.  Many incunables came from the collection of George Kloss and had appeared in the London sale of his books three years before. It is entirely possible that the 1838 sale was the first time in America that so many incunables were offered all at once in a single auction.

One lot, number 537, "Biblia Germanica, wood cuts, 2 vol. fol.  1490," eventually found its way to the shelves of the Princeton University Library.  Its confirmed year of arrival is 1916.  Where was the Bible between 1838 and 1916?  

A  ten  page memorandum accompanying  the Bible provides some answers.  Minister of Fifth Avenue  Presbyterian Church in New York,  the Rev.  Dr.  James Waddell  Alexander (1804-1859), tells us in "Some Account of an Old Bible in the Hands of William Scott" that in 1856 it was owned by parishioner  William Scott, who, other sources tell us, was said to be a friend and cousin of Sir Walter Scott, as well as a trustee of New York's North Moore Street Public School.   It is unclear how and why William Scott came to possess the Bible, but marks of both previous owners and the book trade clearly show that the Bible belonged to George Kloss,  appeared as lot 748 in his 1835 London sale, and later appeared as lot 537 in the 1838 New York sale.

The link between William Scott and Princeton is Scott's grandson, Laurence Hutton, who was a successful New York literary figure.  Hutton relocated to Princeton in the 1890s, one of a several  like-minded literary men  who purposefully settled in town during that decade.  Hutton owned this Bible and after he died in 1904, many of his books were shelved in the Exhibition Room of the Library. According to a 1916 account, they were part of  "the Hutton Memorial Collection, consisting of several hundred books, autographed portraits, paintings, etc., from the library of the late Laurence Hutton, A.M. This collection was left by Mr. Hutton to trustees to be put in some safe place for a permanent memorial and was presented by them to the University."

Library markings inside the Bible as well as catalogue records show that it remained part of the Hutton Memorial until about the 1930s, at which time it was re-classified so as to become part of the general collection of incunabula coded 'ExI.'  It remains in the 'ExI' class down to today.

The Rev. Dr. Alexander's memorandum is a remarkable document in its own right because it gives us a sense of the state of book history knowledge in the 19th century.   Such evidence still remains scattered among a number of sources:   trade journals, such as Joseph Sabin's American Bibliopolist; major city newspapers;  accounts published in larger works, such as Isaiah Thomas's paragraphs in his History of Printing in America on an incunable Bible owned by the Mather family; as well as manuscripts in archives and other repositories.


A transcription of the memorandum follows:

Some Account of an Old Bible in hands of Wm Scott.

By Revd Dr. J.W. Alexander (Copy)

Another Old Bible

From time to time the newspapers give accounts of ancient printed Bibles. Our own columns have contained numerous statements of this kind; and we now add another, in a communication with which the Rev. Dr. Alexander of this city has favoured us at our request.


New York Feb. 1856

Rev. and Dear Sir.

                The first part of a German Bible, belonging, to a worthy member of my charge, is probably unique in this country, and, as I observe by the books, is rare even in Europe. As you desire information respecting it, you will allow me to add a few statements concerning similar editions.

                The old volume, which belongs to my esteemed friend, WM Scott Esq, has lost three leaves, including the title page, but is otherwise in excellent condition. It is bound in vellum, and has that remarkable brilliancy of ink, and depth of impression, which are matter of wonder in Early printing. The folios, (strictly so called, as that they are leaves, and not pages) are numbered, the last being 503. It contains the first part only that is from Genesis to Psalms, inclusively. The illuminated capitals are imitation of those which adorned manuscripts; the gilding and colours of these are well preserved. The coarse woodcuts are also highly coloured. The second page, or first after the title, begins with a German version of St Jerome's Epistle to Paulines, introductory to the historical books. In the middle parts the paper is clean, and well kept. The exterior leaves are soiled, but here and there carefully repaired by insertions. The names of three former possessors, are very distinct, viz:

1.     1.   In manuscript, "G.A. Michel, V.D.M."

2.      2.  On a ticket, under an engraved coat of arms "Matthias Jacob Adam Steiner."

3.       3.  On a ticket, "Georgius A. Klotz M.D. Francofurt ad Moenum." Some owners, probably more recent than any of these, but long ago, as the faded ink shows have written the following bibliographical notes on the inside of the first cover, and the opposite fly leaf. From conjecture as to the age of the several entries, I arrange them thus, though their position is different, on the pages. (Translated.) "A defective part of a very uncommon, rare, and extremely, scarce Bible. I bought the same in 1772 from a book peddler for 24 gr. Still it remains a treasure and ornament of the library."

2.        2. (Same hand.) In margin "I, 1785", and then, "It appears to be an edition of the Bible, which on a/c of its iluminated figures was named the renowned or princely work  (das durchlauchtige work;) and to have been printed in one thousand four hundred and eighty three, or eighty eight. (1483 or 1488.) Compare Hageman on Translations of the SS. page 263. Baumgartens  Notices of remarkable books   PI  pp 97-101.  Solgen Bible PI p.9.   Schwartz part II p. 199."

3.     3.  (Same hand.) " Concerning a translation of the Bible near the close of the fifteenth century, see Blaufus, Contributions to an acquatance with rare books, Vol. 1 p. 109.

4.       4. (In another hand.) "It appears to be a part of that rare and uncommon bible, which was printed in small-folio at Strasburg, without the printer's house in fourteen hundred eighty five (1485.) (In margin, "A mistake, see preceding page.") Vide Panzer, Literary Notices of the very oldest printed German Bibles, page 71, the X. m (sic)

5.       5, (Probably the same hand as the last.)

"From Panzer's Extended description of the oldest Augsburg Editions of the Bible, p. 29 XII, it appears that this is certainly the first part of that German Bible which was printed at Augsburg in fourteen hundred and ninety, (1490) by Hans Schönsperger, in small-folios. For all the distinctive marks of this edition of Schönsperger which are there given, correspond most exactly with this copy."

6.      6.  (Another hand partly overrunning the ticket with Steiner's name and arms.) "Panzers German Annals. T182, 285.

¶1ST Part

¶Twelfth complete German Edition of the Bible, Augsburg, Hans Schönsperger 1490."

7.       7.  (In pencil) "Wanting title page to fol 80 to 107." (which corresponds with the fact.)

From the notes it is evident that this fine old volume though but a moiety, was considered highly valuable at least half a century ago. Panzer, who is several times cited above, is the celebrated Bibliographer of Nuremburg, who died in 1804, at a very great age. He devoted himself to the subject of Bible-Editions, and made a costly collection of these, which in 1780 passed into the hands of one of the Dukes of Wurtemburg.  He published (1783 and 1791). "Outlines of a complete History of Luther's version, from, 1517- 1581." Two, at least, of Panzer's more general works, are in the Astor Library. The vulgar error that there was no German translation before that of Luther should be corrected. The first that is certainly known, is that of the Vienna Library, and was made about 1466. (Montfaucon, a/c "Bible of Every Land p. 175.) Several authorities concur in staking the number of printed editions of the German Bible before Luther as fourteen in High German, and three in Low German. (Pischon , Einladungs,  Schrift,  & c. Berlin 1834).

To my friend and co-presbyter, Rev. Fred Steins of this city, I am indebted for the reference to Pischon below, as also for an extract from manuscript notes made by himself on the lectures of Professor Delbrück at the University of Bonn, in 1827, which was thus:

 There were German Bibles before Luther, of which Panzer enumerates fourteen. From Panzen himself, we glean the following notice; The twelfth edition Augsburg, 1490, printed by Hans Schönperger, first part ends with Psalms, contains 503 Folios. (Annals, Vol.1.p.182.) Before the year 1578, there were only fourteen complete editions of the Bible in German, (p.9 & 99). Of these the first is the Mentz Bible, 1462, by Fust and Schöffer.

The first, with date on the title, is the sixth edition, fol. Augsburg, 1477. All these editions are described in Panzer's Annals, a work which is in the Astor Library.

                Before closing this dry and tedious letter, which may gratify one or two booksworms and collectors, let me say a word or two about the inside of the volume. It contains more than 70 woodcuts illustrative of the text, and, most significant in respect to the arts. Each of these extends across the page, occupying about one third of the letter press.

                The Supreme Being is repeatedly delineated, under the figure of an old man. The cuts are highly colored. The patriarchs and prophets are represented in the garb of the fifteenth century, with tight hose, and pointed shoes. Jacob's ladder is reared beside a lake or river, with quite a swell of waves, and a boat. Moses has the horns always accorded to him by Catholic and Medieval art. Naaman washes in Jordan, while a German carriage and pair, with pastillion, await him on the bank.  Not far from a Gothic Castle, Queen Esther is attended by train-bearers, with middle-age coiffure. The pigment in every instance, is laid on boldly. In a word, the pictorial part is precisely in the manner of a clever child, handling his first paint box. This curious specimen of typography has now passed out of my hands, but I have supposed that as so much is said of volumes a century younger than this, you would have patience with some a/c of a pictorial Bible three  hundred and fifty six years old. (In 1856).

I am very truly

Your friend and servant

James W. Alexander



Call number for 1856 memorandum: 

C0323 Alexander Family Collection • Box 2, Folder 13


Example of illustrations:


Die Bibel. (Augsburg: Schönsperger, 1490) [ExI 5187.1490] v. 1, lvii verso - lviii recto,  Exodus, chapter 9:

Plague 6. Boils
9:8 And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh.
9:9 And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.

Plague 7. Thunder and Hail
9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

Reform Catechism

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Reform Catechism. To which is added the Important Clause in the Reform Act; inasmuch, as it tends to deprive Nine-tenths of the People of their Elective Franchise. [London] T. Birt, 39 Great St. Andrew Street, Seven Dials [1832 / 1833] [Call number: (Ex) Item 5987680]

This broadside evokes the term ‘imprint’ in two senses. On the one hand, there is the inky fingerprint adjacent to the printer’s name. Could this be Thomas Birt’s own? Reform_Catechism_detail.jpg
On the other hand, we are reminded of the fervor of democratic reform, nowadays appearing on the front pages of our newspapers. Even though the Reform Act of 1832 broadened representation in Parliament and enlarged the franchise, there was still discontent because of an exclusion clause. No vote was allowed to the many owning or tenant in properties valued under £10.

According to his other publications, Thomas Birt maintained a “wholesale and retail Song and Ballad Warehouse” and further declared “Country orders punctually attended to. Every description of printing on reasonable terms. Children’s books, battledores, pictures, &c.”

Reading endpapers • I

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Sixteen faces: pen sketches, 19th century, on verso of rear free endpaper of The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq; Vol. I (London, Printed: And sold by John Morphew, near Stationers-Hall. MDCCX. [1710]) [Call number: RHT 18th-1087 oversize]


cl-cover.jpg Now available for purchase, published in conjunction with the symposium and exhibition celebrating the most recent gift of Leonard L. Milberg to the Library.

Contents: · 224 pages  · 169 full color illustrations
·  56 descriptive and / or interpretative essays about single items, groups of materials, or entire subgenres making up the collection, provided by 22 contributors including the two editors, as follows:

· Transatlantic Connections in the Early Nineteenth Century — Joseph Rezek
  · Manuscript Letter from Maria Edgeworth
· The Irish Romantic Novel — Claire Connolly
· Representing Ireland: The National Tale — Renée Fox
  · Manuscript Letter from Mrs. S. C. Hall
· Salute of the Earth: Carleton, Kiely, McLaverty — Paul Muldoon
· Charles Joseph Kickham — Howard Keeley
· The Irish Gothic — Renée Fox
  · Manuscript Letter from Charles Robert Maturin
· Caroline Blackwood — Greg Londe
· Merrion Square — Renée Fox
· Telling Irish Fairy Tales — Renée Fox
  · Manuscript Letter from Samuel Lover
· Irish Children’s Books — Renée Fox
· George A. Birmingham — Howard Keeley
· The Blasket Island Writers — Tom Shea
· Reinventions of the Gaelic: A Primer — Greg Londe
· A Fulcrum for Fun: Seosamh Mac Grianna — Paul Muldoon
· Walter Starkie — Mary Burke
· Comparing Colonies: Ireland and Africa — Greg Londe
  · Manuscript Letter from James Stephens
· 1916: A Year in Prose — Greg Londe
· Liam O’Flaherty — Greg Londe
· On Somerville and Ross’s “The Whiteboys” Manuscript
· How to Say Yes: Quiet Men and Popular Fictions — Greg Londe
· Kate O’Brien — Paige Reynolds
  · Manuscript Letter from Kate O’Brien
· Irish Writing during World War II — Clair Wills
  · Manuscript Letter from Francis Stuart
· Irish Pulp Fiction — Greg Londe
· Elizabeth Bowen — Siân White
  · Manuscript Letter from Elizabeth Bowen
· The Midcentury Short Story — Colm Tóibín
· Flann O’Brien Gets Away — Greg Londe
· O’Faolain and The Bell — Greg Londe
· Brian Moore  — Terence Brown
· From across the Irish Sea — Colm Tóibín
· Iris Murdoch’s Working Notebooks — Greg Londe
· J. G. Farrell — Marina MacKay
· Northern Irish Fiction — Renée Fox
· Edna O’Brien, Carlo Gébler — Anne Fogarty
· Rethinking Endings: Irish Women Writers — Renée Fox
· The Lens of the Sentence — Colm Tóibín
· John McGahern — Kevin Whelan
· John Banville — Michael Wood
· Raven Arts Press: The New Dissident Dubliners — Greg Londe
· Dermot Healy and Sebastian Barry — Colm Tóibín
· The Art of the Irish Essay — Shirley Lau Wong and Greg Londe
· Colm Tóibín — Kathleen Costello-Sullivan
· The Art of the New Irish Memoir — Colm Tóibín
· Transatlantic Commuters in the Twentieth Century — Paige Reynolds
  · Typescript Letter from Colum McCann
· The Bog Gothic — Ellen Scheible
· Emma Donoghue — Brian Cliff
· Queer Novelists — Renée Fox
· Anne Enright — Claire Connolly

Several of the essays are footnoted, in one instance with as many as 49 footnotes.

Other sections of the book: —
·  3 sections of front matter: notes on contributors; editor’s note; foreword by bibliographer and antiquarian bookseller J. Howard Woolmer
·  3 appendices: a listing of authors collected; a note about related Irish collections in the Library, particularly also those given by Leonard Milberg, and a checklist of primary works by authors in the collection. Available as a PDF.
· The whole carefully edited by Gretchen Oberfranc and artfully designed by Mark Argetsinger.
· Further bibliographical particulars: The catalogue is 224 pages (14:16s), paginated xv, 205, at a trim size of 8.5 x 11 inches. There are 177 images of which 169 are full color (39 at full-page, and 130 at half-page or smaller size), and 8 as B&W (although all images are technically printed as four color). The text stock is 80 lb. Mohawk Superfine Text, White, Smooth Finish.

Price: $30. Shipping is $4 within US, $9 outside the US. To obtain a copy, contact assistant for the Friends of the Princeton University Library, Linda A. Oliveira  —  email:

Translations of The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria

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The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria is Mary Wollstonecraft’s unfinished novel, first published in 1798, just one year after her death. It appeared as the initial two volumes of her Posthumous Works, and in the same year was reprinted in Dublin. In Philadelphia, it was published separately in 1799.  It is still in print today.  It is studied and widely regarded on a variety of levels: as among the earliest form of the feminist novel, for example.

Within seventeen years after publication, The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria was published in French, German, and Italian.   These have been little studied.   Recently  purchased for the collections were the first French translation (1798) and the first dated Italian translation (1815). Only a very few American libraries hold the French.  Our purchase of the Italian is the only recorded copy in an American library


Call number for the French: Ex Item 5943134; for the Italian: Ex Item 5950717.
Note the frontispieces. The French is directly taken from the English original. Whereas, the Italian is completely different; rather than the author, it portrays the character Maria. The caption “Sol per te mia figlia me rincresce il morire” renders Maria’s words in the final scene “The conflict is over - I will live for my child!”

New York Times writer, Edward Rothstein concludes his review of the current exhibition at the Morgan Library:

“… it has one object that few can have ever seen: a rare pocket-size calendar from 1609 with blank pages treated with coatings of gesso and glue. Using a stylus (no ink required), the owner could keep a diary without worrying about either honesty or secrecy. Instructions are given for treatment after writing: “Take a little peece of Spunge, or a Linnencloath, being cleane without any soyle: wet it in water” and “wipe that you have written very lightly, and it will out, and within one quarter of a hower you may write in the same place againe.” It is the first erasable diary, a Renaissance iPad.”

Here’s the Princeton exemplar, an edition from ca. 1605: [Writing tables with a kalendar for xxiiii. yeeres, with sundry necessarie rules. The tables made by Robert Triplet] [London, c. 1605?] 16mo in eights, 29 leaves (of 32) only (wanting A1, C4 and D8). Call number: Ex Item 5627567. Acquired in July 2009.


George du Maurier, illustrator of the first detective novel

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Who wrote the first detective novel? That question was answered recently in the New York Times Book Review. He was Charles Warren Adams (1833-1903), according to Paul Collins in his article “Before Hercule or Sherlock, There Was Ralph” (Sunday, 7 January 2011). Adams’s novel was “The Notting Hill Mystery” , first published in eight parts in the journal Once a Week: An Illustrated Miscellany of Literature, Art, Science & Popular Information between November 29, 1862 and January 17, 1863. It was subsequently published in one volume by the journal’s publisher, Bradbury & Evans.
    Author aside, then what about the seven illustrations accompanying the text? Several are signed “DM” at lower left and “Swain” at lower right? Who are they? “Swain” is Joseph Swain (1820-1909), one of the most active wood-engravers of 19th century Britain. “DM” is George Louis Palmella Busson du Maurier (1834-1896), one of the great book illustrators of Victorian England.
    Du Maurier was a certain interest of Morris L. Parrish, whose collection of Victorian novelists is one of the great strengths of the Library. For more on Parrish’s holdings of du Maurier, see the following note and list prepared by Alexander Wainwright:

[Transcription of caption] It is unnecessary for us to state by what means the following papers came into our hands and it could be no compliment to the penetration of our readers if we indicated beforehand the nature of the mystery they are supposed to unravel. It will, however, require a very close attention to names and dates to comprehend the view of the compiler, as to the case he is investigating; and, so far, it is requisite to rely on the reader’s patience and discernment. The whole particular of the case will extend to some seven or eight numbers of “Once a Week,” and some things which are dark at first will appear clearer in the sequel. If the compiler has really discovered a new species or description of crime, it is natural that the evidence of it, which is circumstantial, should be somewhat difficult of acceptance. The illustrations are simply added to make the reader’s task more agreeable, but, of course, it is not pretended that they were made simultaneously with the events they represent.
[Once a Week, Nov. 29, 1862, p. 617]

The dispersal of Sylvia Beach's books

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Above: Howard Rice surrounded by Sylvia Beach’s personal papers, office files, and the sign for Shakespeare & Co., 31 March 1964. At left: Her desk and some books, 12, rue de l’Oléon, 31 March 1964. 

When Sylvia Beach died in 1962, relict in her apartment were books, business papers, correspondence, photographs, paintings, and literary memorabilia.  By agreement with her sister, Holly Beach Dennis, Princeton purchased these effects in early 1964.  Associate librarian for special collections, Howard C. Rice arrived in Paris in late March and spent  three weeks in the rooms over her famous bookshop, Shakespeare and Company,  12, rue de l’Oléon.  

Even though Sylvia Beach had given away  5,000 books to the American Library in Paris in 1951 (New York Herald Tribune,   April 25,  1951) and even though she had sold her ‘Joyce Collection’ (as she called it) to the University of Buffalo in 1959, the apartment  held, counting just the books, according to her sister’s lawyer, Richard Ader,  8,000 to 10,000 volumes.  Untold numbers of papers and other objects filled closets, shelves, and walls.  Howard Rice described as a ‘struggle’ his efforts to sort, collocate, organize, pack, and arrange shipping or further disposition of the apartment’s contents.    When Rice returned to Princeton in April, he had completed dividing the contents as follows:

• 31 shipping cases sent to the library filled with more than 2000 books, hundreds of photographs, thousands of pages of personal and business papers, as well as some paintings and artifacts. For customs purposes Rice said these should be described as two paintings plus ‘books and papers for an educational institution.”  He also described it as “‘the Sylvia Beach Collection’ proper — that is, her papers, inscribed copies of books, first editions of American, French and English authors, inscribed photographs, drawings, etc., …”  Today these are arranged in two groups:  the Sylvia Beach Papers (C0108) and the book collection given the location designator ‘Beach.’

• Another group of books - on the order of 3,000 to 4,000 - “constituting the basic library of English literature which once formed the core of the ‘Shakespeare and Company’ lending library was presented “to the University of Paris, for use in the library of its English Department, the Institut d’Etudes Anglaises et Nord-Américaines.” Rice wrote that these books  were “…. far more than a mere circulating library for current reading.   French teachers, students, and English scholars, as well as translators and writers, were in the habit of finding [at Shakespeare and Company], alongside the avant-garde writers of the twentieth century, not only Shakespeare,  but also, in his company, the Elizabethan poets, the eighteenth-century novelists, the Romantics and the Victorians.  Such books, which Miss Beach brought into France, with persistence and discrimination,  from across the Channel or the Atlantic, may now continue their ambassadorial and fertilizing role among new generations at the Institut’s library, located in the Rue de l’École de Médecine, in the ‘heart of Paris,’ where Sylvia Beach lived for more than four decades.”  (Princeton University Library Chronicle, 26:1, p. 12)     Current successor to the library of the Institut is the Bibliothèque du Monde Anglophone <>

•An unnumbered group of books was consigned by Howard Rice to antiquarian bookseller André Jammes.  One document in the librarian’s records (AC123, box 51) shows these amounting to a 1500 Francs credit (or about $300).

•Maurice Saillet, a friend of Sylvia Beach since the 1930s, acquired her apartment after her death, and, according to Howard Rice’s notes, was “the key person during HCR’s sojourn.”  Saillet’s collection of Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company is now in the Carlton Lake Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas.  It evidently includes some of Beach’s books.

Coda:  In the late 1950s, Sylvia Beach prepared a 53 page list headed “The Library of Shakespeare and Company / Sylvia Beach / Paris  - VI” together with a one page list of “Memorabilia from the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop, 12, Rue de l’Odéon - Paris -VI” Plans for making this list  are mentioned in Sylvia Beach’s letter to Jackson Mathews, dated 2 July 1959.  (Letters of Sylvia Beach, ed. K. Walsh [2010], p. 284). A copy of the list is in the Noël Riley Fitch Papers (C0841, box 3, folder 10).  

Coda II: Photographs from Howard Rice’s memoranda in C0108, box 276.

Why Cruikshank was collected

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Image00001a.jpg Image00001.jpg 1920_Case_50_Cruikshank.jpg

In April 1871, New York antiquarian bookseller, Joseph Sabin (1821-1881) told why works by artist George Cruikshank (1792-1878) were valued and deemed collectible.

“CRUIKSHANK. This veteran inimitable and popular artist, whose works have afforded boundless amusement to all classes on both sides of the Atlantic, …. … There is no living artist who has used his pencil so often or so well for the benefit of mankind. Society owes him a debt not only for much enjoyment but for many valuable lessons. He is a great teacher of morality, whom the people should ‘delight to honor.’ It need only be added that George is popular among his associates. His face is an index to his mind. There is nothing anomalous about him or his doings. His appearance, his illustrations, his speeches are all alike - all picturesque, full of fun, feeling, geniality and quaintness. His seriousness is grotesque, and his drollery is profound. He is the prince of living caricaturists, and one of the best of men.” The American Bibliopolist Vol 3 1871 page 134-135.

Note on pictures above: At right, detail from a photograph taken ca. 1920 of Case 50 in the Exhibition Room of the Princeton University Library. The case shows several books from the Library’s collection of George Cruikshank, presented by Richard Waln Meirs, Class of 1888, in 1913. Two items are identifiable: cover of My Sketch Book (1834, issued in 9 parts) and plate 3 of part 6 “Porters.” [Call number: (GA) Cruik 1834.2q]

Further details about the Library’s extensive holdings of Cruikshank books, prints, drawings, and manuscripts are the following links:

Seventy years ago .... news from the Daily Princetonian

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The Daily Princetonian announced on November 30, 1940  …1940-Nov-30.jpg

There is a rich deposit about purchases and gifts acquired by the Library in the Daily Princetonian, which has recently been fully digitized and is keyword searchable. See the following URL for details:
Raphael Holinshed, d. 1580?. The firste [ - laste] volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. Conteyning, the description and chronicles of England, from the first inhabiting vnto the conquest. The description and chronicles of Scotland, from the first originall of the Scottes nation, till the yeare of our Lorde. 1571. The description and chronicles of Yrelande, likewise from the firste originall of that nation, vntill the yeare. 1547. Faithfully gathered and set forth, by Raphaell Holinshed. At London : imprinted [by Henry Bynneman] for Lucas Harrison, [1577]. 2 volumes. Bound in brown morocco by Roger de Coverly for Pickering & Co. Contains bookplate of Charles Lilburn. Also penciled ownership inscription on front pastedown in volume 2: ‘Hargreaves, Alveston, Stratford on Avon.’ Call number: (Ex) 1426.472.11.



An illustrative chart by William S Heckscher, probably drawn in the 1950s.
[Click on thumbnail above to see much larger image.] This is a chart meant to be read two ways.
    First, reading from left to right gives a sense of chronological change, from ancient times on the left to the seventeenth century on the right. Secondly, the chart can be read in zones, as follows:
• Focal point of the chart is the first emblem book, the Emblematum liber by Andrea Alciati, first published in Augsburg in 1531.
•To the left of the focal point are arrayed 19 sources and seven antecedents.
•To the right are a series of branching diagrams covering seven diverse types of emblem books developing after Alciati. These are heroic, moral, and didactic, together with their subdivisions.
   Note the foot of the chart: here are glosses for the labels above. For example, at lower left, the label ‘Egyptian: Hieroglyphs’ is explained as ‘Obelisk in Rome’. Much of the text of this chart was reworked in 1954, when it was incorporated into the Library’s exhibition The Graver and the Pen: Renaissance Emblems and Their Ramifications. (ExB) 0639.739 no. 12 [link to full text ]
   Prof. Heckscher was a keen collaborator in the Library’s efforts to collect and interpret emblem books. He collaborated in publication of the 1984 short- title catalogue of emblem books in the Library. He complied The Princeton Alciati Companion: A Glossary of Neo-Latin Words and Phrases used by Andrea Alciati and the Emblem Book Writers of his time, including a Bibliography of Secondary Sources relevant to the Study of Alciati’s Emblems (New York, 1989). At present, Princeton’s holdings of emblem books and their cognates number more than 700. The collection continues to grow yearly.


Recently discovered in the general stacks of Firestone Library:  

This volume belongs to Bell’s Circulating Library, containing above two thousand volumes, next door to St. Paul’s Church in Third-Street. Where sentimentalists, whether ladies or gentlemen, may become readers, by subscribing for one month, three months, or by agreement for a single book. Said Bell hath also very great variety of new and old books for sale; he, likewise, gives ready money for new and old books. 

This bookplate appears on the front pastedown of the first volume of
Andrew Baxter, 1686?-1750. An enquiry into the nature of the human soul; wherein the immateriality of the soul is evinced from the principles of reason and philosophy. … . The third edition. To which is added, a complete index. London : printed [by James Bettenham] for A. Millar in the Strand, MDCCXLV. [1745] [call number:
Ex 5744.155.1745], 2 volumes, together with a 3rd volume being Baxter’s Appendix to the First Part of the Enquiry…. (London, 1750), [call number: Ex 5744.155.1745a]

Chain of provenance from the colonial era down to today: Bell’s Circulating Library (Philadelphia, fl. 1774-1778) -> Convers Francis, 1819 -> Theological School in Cambridge -> ‘Discarded by Authority of the Andover-Harvard Theological Library’ -> Acquired by Princeton in 1973, classed for the open stacks, then, during reclassification in 2010, it was discovered to have the bookplate of Bell’s Circulating Library, whereupon it was transferred to the rare book division.

Notes: Very few books remain from Robert Bell’s Circulating Library. (Robert Bell is best known as the printer of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.)  Several books from Bell’s Circulating Library are now held by the Library Company of Philadelphia and there is one at Stanford University.  These Princeton volumes add a few more examples to the scant number already known.
    Sentimentalists were persons of taste and sentiment. In the eighteenth century, the later term was not derisive, rather it pointed to refined emotional thought.

At LCP, the following at from Bell’s Circulating Library: Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, Aristippe, ou De la cour, Leiden, Elsevier, 1658, 2 vol. and two volumes of Pluche’s multi-volume Spectacle de la Nature; or Nature Displayed (Dublin and London, 1740-49) and

At Stanford, James Burgh’s Political Disquisitions (Philadelphia, 1775), formerly owned by Jay Fliegelman. (Call number JFL-276)

Furthermore, the two 1745 volumes at Princeton have annotations in the hand of Convers Francis, dated 1819, the year of his ordination into the Unitarian clergy. He was a senior member of the Trancendental Club.

The Book of the Nineteenth Century • The Story of Labor

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Recently acquired: Promotional poster (36 x 24 inches) for John Cameron Simonds,The Story of Manual Labor in All Lands and Ages. Chicago: R. S. Peale & Co., 1887, (‘C SOLD ONLY BY SUBSCRIPTION’), together with a copy of the book itself and a four-color advertising brochure.[Call numbers: poster (Ex Item 5875923), book (Ex Item 5876150), brochure (Ex Item 5876134)]

From the Preface:

“Of late, a change has overtaken the Muse of history. Interest has been awakened, not in the general, but in the soldier; not in the king, but in the subject; not in the noble, but in the peasant. Thoughtful men are now asking: What of the artisan ? What of the mechanic? What of the farmer? 

 The minds of men are no longer bewitched by the genius of Napoleon Bonaparte; all eyes are now turned to the Third Estate, and that proletariat that shattered one of the most hoary and brilliant monarchies of Europe, and shook the political foundations of the Old World to the very center.

Our book is a response to this change in public opinion. But in this age of innumerable books, it may be reasonably asked: Why should this book be written? We answer: Because a similar book has not been written. It is the story of manual labor in all lands and ages. So far as known to the authors, there is not a similar book in the English language, and it may be said, indeed, in any language.”



For three other pairings of subscription book promotional poster together with the book itself see:

‘So striking that it sells on sight’ • ‘The only non-sectional historical war adventure book’  [Book and poster for Deeds of Daring by Blue and Gray (1886)]

Life in Utah; or, The mysteries and crimes of Mormonism(ca. 1870) (WA) BX8645 .B3 1871 (book) and (WA) BX8645 .xL5e (poster)

History of the Donner Party: a tragedy of the Sierras (1879) (WA) Rollins 1636 (book) and (WA) Item  5868704  (poster)


Click here for a full PDF of this 4 page illustrated newspaper (page size 62 cm x 47 cm).

Recently discovered in an uncatalogued remnant acquired years ago by a now retired curator was this splendid

Illustrated Guide to the Sights of London … chiefly published to enable foreigners and country visitors to the metropolis to examine its general promenades — its national establishments — its places of popular resort and amusement— its public edifices and its historical curiosities in the short space of one week. It presents to the eye at a glance, and on a single sheet, a vivid panorama of all that is worth seeing. Strangers are recommended to make their starting point on the First Day from St. Paul’s Cathedral.”


Profusely illustrated with one large and 107 small wood engravings, this vade-mecum presents seven single-day walking tours. Clearly, what a vade-mecum sells is the perception of a system collected out of the old and new, the religious and the secular, the mythological and the monumental. It sells the means to an experience that the purchaser would not efficiently have otherwise. It was an ingenious invention, and in the hands of such publishers as John Murray and Karl Baedeker, it provided a steady-selling genre that defined contemporary publishing.

Lastly, observe at end of page 4: “Notice to Advertisers — All Illustrated Advertisements intended for the second and enlarged Edition of the ‘Guide to the Sights of London’ must be immediately forwarded to the office, 49, Watling street; and as the number inserted will be very limited, the cuts or wood engravings should be confined to the average size.
London— Printed by John Such, of 29, Budge Row, Wailing Street and published by him and William Fitch, of 49, Watling Street, — by either of whom orders and Advertisements will be received.”

Call number: (Ex) ) Item 5833715 • Evidently unique in North America. One other copy known; it is held by the Guildhall Library, London.

A Look at Belle da Costa Greene

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Thumbnail image for belle.jpg. Used with permission of Nicholson Baker.

“Fifty Thousand Dollars for that Book!” Color-printed illustration by Alexander Popini published on page one of The World Magazine (New York), May 21, 1911.

Belle da Costa Greene, librarian of the Pierpont Morgan Library between ca. 1906 and 1948, began her library career at the Princeton University Library.

She started in either 1901 or 1902, depending on the source consulted. Received tradition is that she was the protegé of Junius Spencer Morgan, associate librarian from 1897 to 1909, who, in turn, arranged for her employment by his uncle, financier J. Pierpont Morgan. She began work for JPM in January 1906 and by 1907-8 she was referring to herself as ‘librarian’ (cf. Pierpont Morgan Library Archives, Morgan Collections Correspondence, 1887-1948, Call Number: ARC 1310, G. Gruel, L.).

Little documentary evidence of her work at Princeton remains, however, in the files of collector Morris Parrish (1867-1944) is the following 1934 letter from bookseller E.V. Maun to Parrish. Belle Greene’s unexpected physical characteristics were a source of curious questions from the white alpha males of the rare book world in which she worked. Even though the following is cited by scholar Heidi Ardizzone in her amply detailed biography of Belle Greene’s passage as a woman of color from “prejudice to privilege,” the letter is worth reading in full.

March 27, 1934
Dear Mr. Parrish:

At 11:30 this morning, I delivered the books to Miss Bella da Costa Greene and attach herewith a receipt for them, given at her instance and by her hand because she had visions of being snipped off by a taxicab when she went to lunch.

Miss Bella da Costa Greene is fortyish with brown hair and wears horn-rimmed spectacles.  My first impression of her was that she looked bloated as if she had a touch of dropsy or perhaps drank too much, although she is not overly heavy and still not thin.  She has a bulbous nose (perhaps caught from the numerous photographs of her patron, many of which hang, stand and lie about her office) and her skin must be very swarthy, for, she wore white powder which made her look kind of speckled gray, like the negro you see pouring dusty cement into the mixers on building construction jobs.  She was dressed in a sort of classic garment of black velvet relieved here and there by bits of chartreuse lace.  She has short, stubby fingers and chews her nails—to the quick.

Miss Bella da Costa Greene was very gracious and made an appointment to see me at 11:30.  I was exceedingly flattered at my distinction when I heard her tell the operator upon several occasions that she was in conference with scholars and could take no calls.  She brought out the Dickens that had been offered and pronounced an anathema upon all collectors.  

They decided one day that the 1884 book was the first and then decided that the 1883 was the first and why should she bother her head about all of this business anyway.  She did give you the distinction, however, of labelling [sic[ your books the best she had ever seen and they certainly were infinitely better than the ones she had.  Hers were badly faded and the bindings were somewhat battered.  Her 1883 copy was inscribed by Dickens on Dec. 17, 1893 and hence she could see no reason why anyone could see the 1884 book as a first and she was decidedly annoyed that any particular value was placed upon the Stave I—for such a little difference was of no specific import.

Miss Greene told me that she would like to see your library but that she could scarcely afford the time because she had to spend so much of her time with scholars.  She hesitated a long time before writing to you, because she felt it was somewhat presumptious [sic] but finally bolstered up the requisite nerve.

She detailed a man to show me through the library and I spent considerable time in the manuscript vault, looking over the Dickens, Collins, Byron, Browning, et al.

I stopped in yesterday to see the dealer, Edward L. Dean and looked over what he had.  His prices seemed quite fabulous and I doubt that there is much that would interest you.  It is well that you keep him at postage distance or he will talk an ear off you.  I went through his safe with him, heard all about his children’s croup and spent no more than 15 minutes there.  He professes to be a close friend of A. Edward Newton and accuses his friend of creating artificial values for books by the media of his writings in magazines, etc.  Dean also collected for Jerome Kern and says that Harry Smith has been taken to Arizona for his health.

I forgot to tell you that Miss Greene disapproves of your book covers and continued to protest about them even when I told her that they were used only to protect the books while I was transporting them.  She would also like to meet Mrs. Maun and have her see the library some time.

I hope that this report of your New York agent is adequate and withal, comprehensive.

And I do thank you for the perfect week-end.

Very truly yours,
Ernest V. Maun

Source: C0171, Series 4: Parrish correspondence, box 22, folder 1

News briefs about related collections on campus

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• Art librarian Sandy Brooke and art bibliographer Nicky Shilliam actively acquire rare books for the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology. Each year they report news of their successes in the annual newsletter of the Department of Art and Archaeology. Their acquisitions build on more than 100 years of collecting, thanks to the generosity of many, but in particular Alan Marquand who provided the core collection and to a substantial endowment established under the family name. See their reports in

2010 Newsletter (pdf, 14mb)
2009 Newsletter (pdf, 15mb)
2008 Newsletter (pdf, 27mb)
2007 Newsletter (pdf, 12mb)

• Staff associated with the Manuscript Division have recently published Greek Manuscripts at Princeton, Sixth to Nineteenth Century: A Descriptive Catalogue, after years of preparation. It is a most substantial work with 250 illustrations, the majority in color. Copies are available from the Princeton University Press.

• Helene van Rossum has posted the first entry in a new blog on campus The Reel Mudd Films and other audiovisual materials from the Mudd Manuscript Library

Liberty & The American Revolution: Selections from the Collection of Sid Lapidus ‘59 won the Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The catalogue took the honors for division one of the award competition’s five divisional groupings. Exhibition organizer and catalogue editor, Stephen Ferguson, received the award certificate on Sunday June 27, during the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Washington, D.C. The awards recognize outstanding exhibition catalogues issued by American or Canadian institutions in conjunction with library exhibitions, as well as electronic exhibition catalogues of outstanding merit.

Richard Noble, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards committee and rare books cataloger at Brown University, said of the catalogue: “The purpose of this catalog is succinctly put in [curator] Stephen Ferguson’s preface: ‘How does one gain … a sense of the past? Not only by experiencing books as physical objects, seeing them as readers of that day saw, felt, and handled them, but—through the extensive quotations from the books themselves found in this catalogue—by making them speak as well.’ This is, in essence, a catalogue of books and a book of quotations that trace the evolution, in a multiplicity of spheres, of the concept of ‘liberty’—a concept which it is all too easy to interpret ad lib. Whatever else the many books presented in this catalog may be about, the organization of the entries and passages quoted all address the question posed in the introduction by Sean Wilentz: ‘What are the boundaries of American liberty?’ The texture of these texts is itself a pedagogical device, a taste of the books. Pick it up and read it aloud to yourself and you realize that this is also a catalog of voices.”

For more on the awards, plus details of the division two Leab Award going to another Princeton University Library catalogue, Beauty & Bravado, see:

Teach Yourself Arabic -- In Yiddish!

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Author: Selikovitch, George, 1863-1926. Title: Arabish-Idisher lehrer : ṿeg ṿayzer far di Idishe legyoneren in Tsiyon = Turjumān ʻArabi wa-Yahūdī / fun G. Zeliḳoṿits. Edition: 3. oyflage. Published/Created: Nyu Yorḳ : Sh. Druḳerman, 1918. Physical description: 31 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. Location: Rare Books: Oversize (Exov) Call number: PJ6309 .Z444 1918

Rachel Simon, Senior Librarian and specialist for Middle Eastern languages in the Library, has just published “Teach Yourself Arabic — In Yiddish!” in the most recent MELA Notes: The Journal of the Middle Eastern Librarians Association. [For full text of the illustrated article see:] She details the fascinating story of Getzl (George) Zelikovitz (1863-1926), a linguistic prodigy born in Lithuania, educated at the Sorbonne, and served as an interpreter under Lord Kitchener in the Sudan. He settled in the United States in 1887. He remained in the US until his death, working chiefly as a journalist for the Yiddish press in New York and prolifically publishing fiction, poetry and works of scholarship. In 1918, he separately published in Yiddish an instruction book for learning Arabic — certainly a first of its kind and surely the sort of publication that could only come out of melting pot America.

According to Dr. Simon, “The introduction [of Arabish-Idisher Lehrer] explains the purpose and method of the book. Its goal is to teach colloquial Palestinian Arabic—namely, not literary Arabic—to Jewish Legionaries, settlers [kolonisten], merchants, tourists, learned people [maskilim], laborers in Palestine, and maybe even Hebrew teachers abroad. This aim and the target population dictated the method, structure, and style of the book: a practical teaching aid in Yiddish, so that following a short study period the student would be able to talk with Arabs.” (p. 4-5)
She concludes: “The book does make the student somewhat aware of Arab customs, but it reflects more Jewish and Western views and issues. Although it was intended to serve as a guide for Jews as to how to reach out to Arabs, it is more reflective of Western Jews, their beliefs, customs, and modes of expression.” (p. 14-15)

1875.jpg 1875-0.jpg
Part of the story of the rising professional self-consciousness among American artists during the nineteenth century is the creation of art academies and associations. Following a model first set up in Philadelphia, artists in New York in 1859 set up “The Artists’ Fund Society.”

“The name of this association shall be ” The Artists’ Fund Society.” Its location, the city of New York. Its objects, the accumulation of a fund for the aid of its members in disablement, in sickness and distress, and the assistance of the widows, children, and families of deceased members.” —Extract from the Consitution, Article 1, Name.

Funds were raised chiefly by an annual auction of member’s paintings. More than twenty seven auctions were held between 1860 and 1889. The Library now has an extensive set of the catalogues for these sales. [Call number: (Ex) Item 5732011. At right is a clipping about the 1875 sale, laid into the catalogue for that year.] Many are priced by member David Johnson (1827-1908). Some has his comments. Such priced catalogues are a unique source for tracking changing art values, shifts in taste, as well as supplying raw data for establishing an artist’s oeuvre.

A brief history of the fund is given in the catalogue for the 26th sale (1886):

“After the death of Mr. Ranney, which occurred twenty-six years ago, his pictures were sold at auction, for the benefit Of his widow and children. A specific sum of money being required to relieve a mortgage on the house in which his widow lived, his brother artists determined each to contribute a picture to be sold with, the Ranney collection. To accomplish this end the business required an organization, and the necessary officers were duly appointed.

At the close of this generous act on the part of the artists-the pecuniary results being much larger than they had hoped. for-it was resolved to Continue the organization, in order to be prepared to meet any similar emergency in the future. Several plans by which the object might be effected were brought forward and discussed arid finally the one by which the ‘Artists’ Fund Society’ is now governed was unanimously adopted and in 1861 its charter was obtained from the State.

For twenty-six years the Society has been enabled-from the funds accruing from its annual sales-to afford relief in time cases of misfortune common to all classes of professional men. Since its commencement it has paid thousands of dollars to widows and orphans of deceased members, besides relieving many cases of actual need among the living.

The Society has three funds; the First for the widows and orphans of deceased members; the Second for the relief of members; and the Third a Benevolent Fund which is used to meet the wants of artists not members of the Society.

The first two funds are kept supplied by the annual sales of works contributed by the members. The third fund is made up by donations in pictures or money, from those interested in artists who have been unfortunate through sickness and other causes.

Mrs. A. T. Stewart, some years ago, donated to the Society $2,000 and Mrs. Edwin White, $1,000, which sums were placed to the credit of this fund, invested in U. S. Government bonds, yielding a small but sure revenue, which is judiciously administered by the Board of Control after favorable report by a regular ‘Visiting Committee.’ This Benevolent Fund is inadequate to meet the demands which are constant and increasing.”

Looking closely at 3½ inches of Thomas Jefferson's Library

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Three books from the Retirement Library of Thomas Jefferson are now held in Firestone: one came as a gift in the 1870s, another was presented in 1905, and the third gift arrived in 1944. Their journey toward Princeton began in Washington in 1829 when Nathaniel P. Poor auctioned the library formed by Jefferson during the latter years of his life.

At Monticello each book had a particular place in Jefferson’s bibliothecal scheme. Central to the scheme was his positing a continuum between book in hand and thought in mind. For Jefferson, mind entailed memory, reason, and imagination. These three faculties were, in turn, mirrored by human endeavors in history, philosophy, and the fine arts. Considered as an outcome of one of these endeavors, any book could be placed within one of these three classes or its sub-divisions. So placing it situated the book both in mind and on the shelf.

Now held at Princeton are auction lot numbers 236, 716, and 753. It’s extraordinary that these three gifts — each received decades apart — today form a pattern: the Library now has one book each from Jefferson’s three major classes.

• Memory / History is represented by
• Reason / Philosophy is represented by

• Imagination / Fine Arts is represented by
[Jefferson’s own handwritten entries in his 124 page library catalogue, now available digitally at the Library of Congress.]

Auction lot number in red crayon on front paste-down.
(Ex) 9825.380 • Inscribed by Professor Charles A. Young in 1860, who gave it to the Library in 1905.
Lot number in pencil; Bigelow’s inscription in ink.
(Ex) HB871.E93 • Purchased by Andrew Bigelow and sold at his sale in 1877 to a member of the Green Family of Trenton, NJ , who, in turn gave it to the Library in the 1870s.
(Ex)2767.1665 • Pencil note in back of volume 1 details sale of book in 1831. There are two slips of ms. notes initialed ‘V.S.’ and dated ‘Febr 12 [18]32’ mounted on two leaves in companion portfolio. Gift of Henry N. Paul in 1944.

Newly acquired: Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (Istanbul, 1803)

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DSCN0230.jpg title-page.jpg
(Right) Curator John Delaney, holding front cover, remarks on the Atlas
to colleagues associated with the Near Eastern Studies Program: James Weinberger, Michael Cook, Sükrü Hanioglu, Michael Laffan, Svat Soucek.
[Photograph courtesy of William Blair]
(Above) Title page of the Atlas. [Call number: Historic Maps, item 5745136]
(Below) Detail of east coast in the map of North America.

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections announces the acquisition of a rare Ottoman imprint, Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (New Atlas Translation). Printed in Istanbul in 1803 in an edition of just fifty copies, the Atlas is the first Muslim-published world atlas based upon European geographic knowledge and cartographic methods. The Library of Congress reports just seven extant copies in Istanbul, and it appears that there are only three others in the U.S.: Library of Congress [see LC’s announcement], the Newberry Library, and the John Carter Brown Library [see JCB’s note(item 30)]. These are the only known complete copies outside of Turkey.

The Atlas is based upon the General Atlas of the Four Grand Quarters of the World of William Faden, a copy of which was acquired by Mahmud Raif Efendi when he was a private secretary at the Ottoman embassy in London. While still in London, Mahmud Raif Efendi wrote a geographic work, İcalet (or Ucalet) ül-Coğrafya, in French. This 80-page geographical study was translated into Turkish, printed in 1804, and bound with the Cedid Atlas Tercümesi. This modernizing bureaucrat is also the author of Tableau des Nouveaux Reglemens de l’Empire Ottoman, a work describing military reforms undertaken in the empire. Princeton also owns a copy of this important work.

The purchase of Cedid Atlas Tercümesi was made possible by funds from two sources: the Rare Books Division and the Friends of the Princeton University Library. For more information, contact John Delaney (, curator of Historic Maps.

diss-maps.jpg About two years ago, 19th century American book trade circulars, announcements, advertisements and such like ephemera started appearing on the antiquarian market. They all had one thing in common --- they were originally once part of the 19th century business records and working papers of the successful American dictionary publisher G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Mass. How and why did this happen?

The short answer, I am told, is that a branch of the Merriam family put them into the hands of a bookseller in Tolland, CT., the firm Eclectibles. Even though substantial, important parts of the company archives were already preserved in two major research libraries (Yale [GEN MSS 370] and the American Antiquarian Society[Mss. Dept., Mss. boxes "G"]), this trove was deemed dispersible. And, scatter it did. Here's a list of booksellers who in turn hived off portions from the Eclectibles tranche: Peter Luke (New Baltimore, NY), Robert Rubin (Brookline, MA), M & S Rare Books (Providence, RI), James Arsenault (Arrowsic, ME), Lawbook Exchange (Clark, NJ), David Lesser (Woodbridge, CT), Between the Covers (Gloucester City, NJ), Bartleby's Books (Washington, DC), Richard Thorner (Manchester, NH), Bookworm and Silverfish (Rural Retreat, VA), ... (and others yet to be identified.)

Curators, historians, private collectors, and library donors have been following this dispersal. While it is not yet fully known where bits and pieces have come to rest, the following table summarizes institutional holdings:

• American Antiquarian Society - Adding Merriam items to its broadside collection, such as two items listed in its recent '2010 Adopt a Book' catalog. See numbers 58 and 65.
• Dartmouth College Library -- Richard Thorner, chair of the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library purchased and donated a small collection of Merriam material relating to Dartmouth. These can be discovered in the Library's catalog by searching the terms "Charles and George Merriam" joined with "Dartmouth College"
• Princeton University Library -- About 20 items, dating between 1834 and 1868, recently acquired, such as the 1854 circular pictured above. More items will be added. Holdings can be found by searching for "Merriam Company records" in the Library's main catalog.
• Yale Law School -- More than 30 items: "catalogues, invoices, book orders, prospectuses, and advertisements ...[which] demonstrate Merriam's importance to mid-nineteenth century legal publishing and the nature of the field at that time." See:

Even though the dispersal has proceeded briskly in the past two years, as of March 18, 2010, Eclectibles (Tolland, CT) had the following (to quote my notes):
"Business records relating to the G & C Merriam wholesale and retail book trade during the 1830s to the 1860s. Total of about 1200 to 1300 items, consisting of the following record groups:
1. Invoices, incoming printed circulars such as stock listings and trade sale announcements, covering letters for shipments, requests for consignments - all from publishers and booksellers from chiefly the major centers (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati) as well as from country locales such as Great Barrington, Mass. About 750 items in this group, distributed into 6 folders and 6 loose leaf binders. Folders and binders cover sub-arrangements such as: incoming records with publishers of children's books, incoming records with San Francisco publishers such as Bancroft, incoming materials with southwestern US publishers, a notebooks of about 30 printed trade sales announcements chiefly from Bangs (NYC), etc.
2. Freight shipment receipts for payment by Merriam to various RR and steamboat firms. Such are still in docketed bundles. About 500 items.
3. Bills of lading incoming material, ca 75 items."

Someday, I am hoping to report that this remaining, residual group has been acquired by a research library, thus preserving a remarkable asset for understanding American book history.

UPDATE - October 4, 2010 -- Today, Eclectibles (Tolland, CT) reported that the tranche of Merriam material held by them has been acquired by the Beinecke Library at Yale University and is now in Yale's possession.


Recently acquired: an extraordinarily well-preserved example of a 19th century literary gift annual, a genre of artfully confected book issued for the holiday season, featuring contemporary poetry, essays, travel description, music, exquisite illustration (color as well as black and white), together with fine paper and superb printing.

Friendship’s Offering, or the Annual Remembrancer: a Christmas Present, or New Year’s Gift, for 1825. (London: Lupton Relfe, 13, Cornhill). Dimensions: 14.5 x 9.5 x 2.5 cm. Gift edges. Case includes original purple silk ribbon pull. Bookseller’s ticket on front pastedown: Zanetti & Agnew. Repository of Arts, 94 Market Street, Manchester.

IMG_3539.JPG 1825.jpg

As described in “List of Plates” on page [ix]:
Above left: “Illuminated external Embellishment” • above right: “Illuminated Title Page”


(Left) Spine of paper case (“external Embellishment”) • (Right) Front cover with blind embossing

For contemporary opinion, see:
[Review]. The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 94 (1824), p. 445

“The example of Mr. Ackermann, who has the merit of first introducing from the Continent this species of annual literature, has been followed by two powerful rivals. The first of these which comes under our notice, “Friendship’s Offering,” wears a most captivating appearance, not only as far as external embellishment, embossing, illuminating, &c. but from the beauty of the engravings and the interest of many of its articles, which are original compositions of no ordinary cast. The success of a trial last year has evidently stimulated the proprietors to increased efforts. The present volume contains Views of Constantinople, St. Petersburg, Berne, and Naples, with good Descriptions. Copies of celebrated Pictures, after Murillo, Claude, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Westall, Stothard, &c. The original articles bear the names of Mrs. Opie, Miss M. Edgeworth, Rev. T. Dale, H. E. Lloyd, esq. &c.&c. At the end of the volume is a blank Diary for memoranda, headed by 12 very neat wood engravings of antient castles, churches, &c. all in the county of Kent. The aim of the editor of “Friendship’s Offering” appears to have been to combine the elegance of art and flowers of literature with the utility of the superior class of pocket-books, and in this (with the deficiency of an almanack, which would have necessarily much increased the price) he has in a great degree succeeded.”

Bachelor & Co.: "Give me a book ... Heigh-ho!"

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Drawing and song by Kenneth Phillips Britton. Original [ca. 192-] in James Brownlee Rankin Autograph Collection,
(Princeton University Library collection number C0120,
box 1, folder 1.)
Source for drawing at left: James Baillie, Single. Hand-colored lithograph. New York, 1848. (Courtesy of American Antiquarian Society)

Give me a book instead of a wife
And I shall ask no more of life.
A book all grief and pain assuages
Through the silent thoughts upon its pages.
A book has not a painted face
And can be kept right in its place.
Heigh-ho! The bachelor life!
A book shuts up in time of strife,
But you can’t say the same of any man’s wife.
Give me a book instead of a wife
And I shall ask no more of life.
A book gives joy and bright romance,
But never wants to go out and dance.
A book at night likes it covers, too,
But it never pulls them off of you!
Heigh-ho! The bachelor life!
You can cut a book with a carving knife,
But you can’t say the same of any man’s wife.

Kenneth Phillips Britton.

Recently purchased: Fifty-two pamphlets relating to English public libraries, published between 1877 and 1895. Many are embossed with the seal: Free Pubic Library, Wigan.
Call number: Ex 2011-0068N
Many are not recorded as being held by libraries in the United States.

A sampling of topics:
• Moral Influence of Free Libraries [no. 26]
• Libraries for the working classes [no. 38]
• Remarks on the employment of women in French libraries (in French) [no. 43A]
• That English libraries were superior to American libraries in that they had rooms for the reading of newspapers [no. 10]
• The effects of allowing readers to browse the stacks and select books on their on [no. 15]

1.ANDERTON (Basil). Report of the Annual Meeting of the Library Association, Held in Belfast, 1894. pp. 7. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Andrew Dickson. 1894.
2. AXON (William E.A.). The Geographical Distribution of Men of Genius. pp. 335-345. Manchester, 1883.
3. [AXON (William E.A.).] The Mayor of Manchester and His Slanderers. pp. 16. Manchester, Tubbs and Brook, 1877.
4. [AXON (William E.A.).] The One-Legged Robin by a Manchester Pythagorean. pp. 16. One illustration. Not published, 1879.
5. BAILEY (W.H.). The Paris Free Libraries and Libraries of Industrial Art. Report on the Congress of the Library Association of Great Britain, at Paris, September, 1892, Read at the Meeting of the Salford Royal Museum and Free Libraries Committee on Tuesday Evening, October 25th, 1892. pp. 8. Manchester, Herald & Walker. 1892. Presentation copy: ‘With W.H. Bailey’s Compliments’.
6. The Bibliographical Society News-Sheet, No. 15. pp. 57-60. January 1896.
7. Bibliothèque du Protestantisme Français. Le Musée Carnavalet. pp. 2. Paris, Imprimerie de la Bourse de Commerce. N.D.
8. County Borough of Birkenhead. Library Committee. Report on the Belfast Meeting of the Library Association of the United Kingdom. pp. 12. Birkenhead, H.W. & J. Allen. 1894.
9. Catalogue of the Permanent Circulating Library of the London Institution. July 1st, 1875. pp. 48. London, Waterlow and Sons. 1875.
10. BROWN (James D.). Clerkenwell Public Library, London. Librarian’s Report to the Commissioners on His Visit to American Libraries. pp. 4. 1893.
11. Concise Guide to the Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Containing Complete List of Periodicals in the Magazine Room. Second edition. pp. 34. Glasgow, David Bryce and Son. 1894.
12. COTGREAVE (A.). Cotgreave’s Library Appliances: A Description of Various Inventions and Designs for Simplifying and Facilitating the Work in Libraries and other Literary Institutions. pp. 12. Diagrams. Richmond, Edward King. N.D.
13. COTGREAVE (A.). Indicators versus Card-Changing with some reference to the Intercourse Between Librarian and Reader. A Paper read before the Library Association, Monday, July 10th, 1893. pp. 12. London, John Bale & Sons. 1893. Crayon underlining.
14. COTGREAVE (A.). Further Notes on Cotgreave’s Library Indicator. To which is added a description of the Indicator Book, which was exhibited and highly commended at the conference of Librarians, held at Manchester, Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 1879. By the Inventor. pp. 16. Wednesbury, Kirby & Bytheway. 1880.
15. The Truth about giving Readers Free Access to the Books in a Public Lending Library, by One who has tried the System in two large Libraries. pp. 8. Frontispiece on inside wrapper. London, No publisher. 1895. Printed on the recto of the back wrapper: Public Library Systems of Lending out & Recording Books. Summary of Returns on the Open Shelf or Free Access System.
16. DAWSON (Charles). Address of the Public Libraries Committee of the City of Dublin to the Right Hon. William Meagher, M.P., Lord Mayor. On the occasion of the Opening of the Public Libraries, 1st October, 1884. pp. 3. Dublin, Dollard. 1884.
17. The Dictionary of National Biography. Dinner to Mr. George Smith. From the reports of the Times, Standard, Daily News, and Daily Chronicle of June 7, 1894. pp. 12. London, Spottiswoode & Co. 1894.
18. FROWDE (John). Society of Public Librarians. Report of the Inaugural Address delivered at the Library Bureau, Bloomsbury Street, London, on December 4th, 1895. pp. 5. London, A. Smith & Co.,1895.
18A. GOSS (Chas. Wm. F.). Editorial Tactics and the New Society of Public Libraries. pp. 3. N.D.
19. Conference on the Future of Free Libraries. Reprinted from the Proceedings of the Manchester Literary Club, January 31st, 1887. pp. 11. London, John Heywood; Manchester, Deansgate and Ridgefield. 1887.
20. GARNETT (Richard). President’s Address to the Aberdeen Meeting of the Library Association of the United Kingdom, September 5th, 1893. pp. 15. 1893.
21. GILBURT (Joseph). De Soldes d’éditions. One folding page. N.D.
22. HAGGERSTON (W.J.). The Library Indicator. A Paper Read before the Northern Union Mechanics’ Institutions. Reprinted from the ‘Tradesmen’s Advertiser’. pp. 8. Newcastle, G.W. Havelock. N.D.
23. GLADSTONE (W.S.). Mr. Gladstone on Public Libraries. Reprinted from ‘The Times,’ ‘Daily News,’ ‘Standard,’ ‘Telegraph,’ ‘Chronicle’ &c. pp. 7. N.D.
24. GLADSTONE (W.S.). A Grand Old Book Hunter. Reprinted from ‘The Daily Chronicle’, Aug. 20, 1892. pp. 4. London, E. Menken. 1892.
25. HALE (Edward E.). Books That Have Helped Me. pp. 29-38. N.D.
26. IRELAND (Alexander). Manchester Public Free Libraries. Address on the Moral Influence of Free Libraries, delivered at the Opening of the Longsight Branch Library, on Saturday, July 23rd, 1892. pp. 13. Manchester, Henry Blacklock & Co. 1892. Presentation copy.
27. LANCASTER (Alfred). On the Advantage of Occasional Exhibitions of the More Rare and Valuable Books in Public Libraries. pp. 4. N.P., No publisher. N.D.
28. Library Association of the United Kingdom. Aberdeen Meeting, 1893. to be held in Marischal College, Aberdeen. Programme of Local Arrangements. pp. 10. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press. 1893.
29. Report of the Council of the Library Association of the United Kingdom to the Sixteenth Annual Meeting, held at Aberdeen, September 5, 6, and 7, 1893. pp. 12. N.D.
30. Library Association of the United Kingdom. Annual Meeting, 1887. Report of Committee on Statistics of Free Libraries. pp. 8. Birmingham, White and Pike. 1887.
31. Library Association of the United Kingdom. Fifteenth Annual Meeting, Paris, 1892. Notes on some of the Principal Libraries of Paris to be Visited by the Association. pp. [4]. Paris, Chambers. 1892.
32. London Library, 12 St. James’s Square, S.W. Law and Regulations with an Introduction and a List of the Members. pp. 72. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press. 1883.
33. LUPTON (William). Lupton’s Reader’s Vade Mecum. Designed for the Use of Members of Free and Other Libraries: An Improved Facility for Ready Reference. Second edition. Birmingham, Wm. Lupton & Co. 1891.
34. Manchester Free Public Libraries. Handbook, Historical and Descriptive. pp. 59. London, John Heywood; Manchester, Deansgate and Ridgefield. 1887.
35. MORRELL (W.W.). A Public Library for York. A Letter to the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of York (Ald. Philip Matthews). pp. 11. York, printed by the Yorkshire Herald Newspaper Company, Limited. 1891.
36. The Municipal Libraries of Paris. pp. 9. N.D.
37. The National Library (Bibliothèque Nationale). pp. 12. Paris, Imprimerie de la Bourse de Commerce. N.D.
38. OWEN (Evan). Libraries Association of the United Kingdom. Workmen’s Libraries in Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. A Paper read before the Eighteenth Conference of the Libraries Association of the United Kingdom held at Cardiff, September 1895. pp. 15. Cardiff, The Cardiff Stationery Company. 1895.
39. PRESTON (William C.). Mudie’s Library. Illustrated by F.G. Kitton and W.D. Almond. Reprinted from ‘Good Words’, October 1894. pp. 30. London and Edinburgh, Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 1894.
40. GILBERTSON (W.) and HIBBERT (James). Borough of Preston. Report to the Free Library Committee of a Scheme for the Foundation of a Free Public Library and Museum, in Association with the Harris Trustees. N.P., No publisher. 1879.
41. A Rationalist Bibliography. Preliminary List. Issued for the Rationalist Press Committee. pp. 20. London, Watts & Co. N.D.
42. RAWSON (Harry). Histoire, Organisation et Utilité des Bibliothèques Publiques de Manchester: Discours Prononcé, le 13 septembre 1892, dans la salle de l’hémicycle de l’école des Beaux-Arts, Paris, devant l’assemblée annuelle de l’association des bibliothèques publiques de la Grande-Bretagne et Irlande. pp. 12. Manchester, Henry Blacklock et Cie. 1892.
43. RAWSON (Harry). The Public Free Libraries of Manchester: their History, Organization and Work. Reprinted from ‘The Library’, Oct. 1892. pp. 9. London, John Bale & Sons. 1893.
43A. Remarques sur l’emploi des femmes dans les Bibliothèques. pp. 3. N.P., No publisher. N.D.
44. ROBERTSON (Alex W.). The Board School in relation to the Public School. A Paper read before the Aberdeen Branch, Educational Institute of Scotland, 17th January, 1896. pp. 16. Aberdeen, The University Press, 1896. Presentation copy.
45. Description of the New Public Library for the Parish of Saint George, Hanover Square. pp. 4. [London], Wightman & Co, Westminster Press. N.D.
46. SUTTON (Charles W.). George Eliot: A Bibliography. A Paper read before the Manchester Literary Club, January 24, 1881. Reprinted from the papers of the Manchester Literary Club. pp. 11. Manchester, No publisher. 1881.
47. SUTTON (Charles W.). The Writings of “Doctor” Thomas Deacon, of Manchester 1718 to 1747, and of his Opponent the Rev. J. Owen, of Rochdale. A Bibliographical Note. Reprinted from ‘Local Gleanings’ in the ‘Manchester Courier’. pp. 18. Manchester, Thos. Sowler and Co. 1879.
47A. SUTTON (Charles W.). Lancashire and Cheshire Archaeology. A List of Contributions in some Archaeological Journals. Reprinted from the Palatine Note-Book, September and October, 1881. pp. 8. Not published. Manchester, Printed by A. Ireland & Co. 1881.
48. Catalogue of Local Views &c at the Wandsworth Public Library. pp. 16. Wandsworth, W. Etherington. 1890.
49. Library Association of the United Kingdom. Cardiff, 1895. Opening Address by the President (Lord Windsor). pp. 7. Cardiff, William Lewis. 1895.

Reading Decorative Papers III: A new finding about FH

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Infrared reflectography has more to tell us about the over-marbled sheets of Fanny Hill. The IR image below, labeled ‘NjP’ in the upper left, is the lower portion of FH page 13. (This FH fragment is on the front cover of Princeton’s copy of The Medical Repository (New York, 1810) [Ex item 5483676])

Note the line below the last line of text reads ‘Vol. I B’ — Such a notation, called a ‘signature,’ signaled to both printer and binder that all text printed on this sheet was a unit which in turn was part of series. Text on sheet ‘B’ follows text printed on the sheet signed ‘A’, and in turn, is followed by text on sheet ‘C’, and so on.

The Princeton example is not the only ‘B’ sheet fragment known. There are others at the American Antiquarian Society, under call number BDSDS 1810. However, the following image, labeled ‘AAS’ in upper left, is an unmarbled fragment and it shows theirs is a variant ‘B’ sheet. At the foot of AAS’s p. 13, the ‘B’ is positioned under the ‘r’ and ‘e’ of ‘frequently’ and lacking the preceding notation ‘Vol. I’ (In the Princeton example, the ‘B’ is below the ‘y’ of frequently.)


What can we learn from the above evidence? First, this evidence contradicts what Richard Wolfe says about the printing of FH in his Marbled Paper (Philadelphia, 1990). He states “…its first twenty four pages had been printed (that is, one whole sheet had been perfected)… (p. 91)” Clearly, the case is otherwise: more than one sheet was involved, viz. sheet ‘B’ and a sheet prior to ‘B’ were printed. In fact, at AAS, among the FH fragments, are a group of 11 that clearly belong to the sheet prior to ‘B.’ This sheet is signed ‘☞ 2’. (Piecing together the ‘☞ 2’ fragments shows that the original sheet size was 43.5 cm. wide by several mm. more than 55 cm. long. These dimensions are within the range of the paper size contemporarily called ‘printing demy.’)

Second, the signature ‘Vol. I B’ in the Princeton fragment, in contrast to the ‘B’ alone in the AAS fragment, provides a more nuanced understanding of the printer’s thinking the project. ‘Vol 1’ implies at least a second volume. Indeed, late 18th century London editions were issued in two volumes. Moreover, fragments of sheet ‘☞ 2’ at AAS, include the title page, here transcribed: MEMOIRS of a WOMAN OF PLEASURE. Written by herself. Volume I. — Seventeen Edition. With Plates designed and engraved by a Member of the Royal Academy. LONDON: Printed for G. Felton, in the Strand, 1787.

This is the third, and for now closing, entry on books owned by Americans before 1700, and in particular, those of Thomas Shepard, (father, son, and grandson), seventeenth century New England Puritan ministers. [Particulars: Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) of Cambridge; Thomas Shepard (1635-1677) of Charlestown; Thomas Shepard (1658-1685)] of Charlestown.]

Statistics (as of 20 December 2012):
Holdings of Shepard books by libraries

• 42 titles in 44 volumes at the Princeton University Library [from the library of Samuel Miller (1769-1850)]
• 16 titles at the Princeton Theological Seminary Library [also from the library of Samuel Miller (1769-1850)]
• 65 titles in 19 volumes at the American Antiquarian Society [Mostly in the Mather family library; note: 25 are bound in one volume inscribed “Thomas Shepard 1660” - see: Thomas J. Holmes, “Additional Notes on Ratcliff and Ranger Bindings,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, N.S. 39:2 (1929: Oct 16), p. 291-295)]
• 7 titles at the Massachusetts Historical Society
[See for much provenance detail from Jeremy Dibbell]
• 6 titles at Harvard (5 at Houghton, 1 at the Divinity School Library)
• 1 title at the John Carter Brown Library [detail]
• 1 title at the Pierpont Morgan Library (TS II’s Eliot Indian Bible) [detail]
• 1 title at the Huntington Library [detail]
• 1 title at the Folger Library [detail]
• 1 title at the New York Public Library [detail]
• 1 title in Bentley Collection at Allegheny College
• 1 title at Boston Public Library

Total extant: 143 titles distributed among thirteen libraries

In addition, there are books known but untraced, as per the following entry from the diary of John Langdon Sibley, librarian of Harvard (assistant from 1825-1826 and 1841-1856, librarian from 1856-1877, and librarian, emeritus from 1877-1885.)
“December 21, 1854
Thursday. Called on Rev. William Jenks, D.D. to procure a tracing, for Duyckinck, of New York, of an autograph of Thomas Shepard. He said Charles Francis Adams was a descendant & might have some of his books & writing; but unless he had he knew of only one besides the one in a Bible which he owned, & that was in a set of Augustines Works which he gave to go to the missionaries in Syria, where it probably now is. The Dr. showed me the Bible, also Cotton Mather’s manuscript Paternalia, which he owns & various other rarities, among them incredibly long & minute genealogical tables of his family. ….” (source:

[For details about some of the Thomas Shepard books, see]

[As to manuscripts of Shepards: see: American Antiquarian Society (Shepard Family Papers), Houghton Library (Shepard, Thomas, 1605-1649. Papers (bMS Am 1671)), New England Historic and Genealogical Society Library (Mss 553: TS I compiled “Confessions of diverse propounded to be received and were entertained as members” ca. 1635-1640) and the New York Public Library (TS I’s Journal, call number Mss Coll 2741)]

Selected notabilia

• Inscriptions (one of several examples)

“Thomas Shepard’s Book. 1669. June. 8. # Bought with the money (viz. ten shill[ings]) wich that most Reverend & Apostolicall man of God, Mr J. Willson, 1st pastor of Boston 1st Ch[urch] gave me in his Will. He dyed Aug. 7. 1667.” - on gutter of the title page of George Gillespie, Aarons Rod Blossoming (London, 1646) (Ex 5919.391)

• Annotations

In addition to written marginalia, Thomas Shepard II (1635-1677) used system of symbols to mark passages, such as

The origins of these symbols appear to be from a common stock of astronomical and chemical signs, such as those given in Basil Valentine in his Last Will and Testament (London, 1671) “Chymicall and Philosophycall Characters usually found in Chymicall Authors.” Such symbols are also seen at

Assuming that a sign’s original significance might give a clue as to its meaning for Thomas Shepard II, some findings show this assumption to have some validity. For example, there appears to be some consistency with the use of the quartered circle or the circled cross. Among the several significations for this sign, it was an early sign for Terra (Earth). What sort of passage would have earthly import? A number of times, Shepard marked passages relating to the duties of magistrates with the quartered circle. Here’s an example,

Page 64 in Samuel Rutherford, Free Disputation against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (London, 1649). (RCPXR 5747.795)

• Summaries of text
Found between pages 90 and 91 of Thomas Hall (1610‐1665) The Beauty of Magistracy, London : printed by R[obert]. W[hite]. for Nevil Simmons Bookseller in Kederminster, 1660. (RCPXR 5228.427).
Slip measures 7 cm x 7 cm.

Apropo of this small slip is the following from Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana (Volume II, p. 124 of the 1820 edition): “… his piety was accompanied with proportionable industry, wherein he devoured books even to a degree of learned gluttony; insomuch, that if he might have changed his name, it must have been Bibliander. … he had hardly left a book of consequence … in his library (shall I now call it, or his laboratory) which he had not so perused as to leave with it an inserted paper, a brief idea of the whole book, with memorandums of more notable passages occurring in it, written in his own diligent and so enriching hand.”

In the above passage, Mather is writing about TS III. Yet to be determined is which Thomas Shepard wrote this summary.

Other notable topics

a] Several books have long, detailed indices written in the hand of either TS I or TS II or both. Why were certain topics deemed index-worthy?

b] Shorthand — A number of the books have notes in shorthand. Could these shorthand notes relate to the document in shorthand discussed in the following article? Francis Sypher, “The ‘Dayly Observation’ of an Impassioned Puritan: A Seventeenth-Century Shorthand Diary Attributed to Deputy Governor Francis Willoughby of Massachusetts,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society,N.S. 91, April 1981, pages 91-107. The ‘Dayly Observation’ diary has written on its cover, in the hand of Isaiah Thomas: “Sermons by Rev. Thos Allen and Rev. Thos Shepard the Elder with Observations in Shorthand supposed to be written by Thos Shepard junr son of Thomas Shepard of Cambridge” and it forms part of the Mather Family Papers at AAS.

c] The larger question of the dispersal of the Shepard family library. Ownership evidence in Shepard books at Princeton indicate that the heirs of TSIII held the books throughout the 18th century. Preliminary findings show that they passed to Samuel Miller sometime between the mid-1790s and mid 1810s. The Shepard books that did not get to Miller each have their own story of successive possessors.

d] The signature and date ‘Thomas Shepard’s book. May 9, 1667’ appears on a front free endpaper of Princeton incunable ExI 5201 .678, Biblia latina [Lyons:] Johannes Siber [after 7 May 1485, about 1488] (Goff B-615). The Bible also carries the TS brand on the top-edge. Could this Bible be the earliest, still extant dated instance of American ownership of an incunable?

Detail from Martin Luther, Enarrationes (Strasbourg: Georg Ulricher, 1535), leaf 453 verso.

What has made the identifying the Shepard books possible? Nothing in the catalogue records identified them, so the process proceeded by other means.

At the beginning stages of the process, I soon noticed attributes common to all — the books had accession numbers falling into a close range of numbers, the date of accession stamped in each was also within a close range, and usually the books bore a Princeton bookplate noting that the books were formerly owned by the Reverend Samuel Miller and had been given by one of his descendents. Those commonalities suggested that by closely examining the full listing of the Miller gift in the Library’s accession books, I could come up with a set of possibilities from which Shepard books could be positively identified. The Miller gift came in 1900 and, the Library’s accession records for that era always listed author, title, place and date of publication, size, and a note about the binding. Given that the last Shepard died in 1685, it was self-evident that the Shepard books would be a sub-set of all books in the Miller gift printed before 1686. Together with my assistant, I set out to examine every pre-1686 book in the Miller gift. This examination is still in progress and, because individual books are routinely reclassed and relocated as library circumstances change, identifying the present shelf location of a pre-1686 Miller book has sometimes involved piecing clues together from various now superceded Princeton library catalogues.

One book, discovered Friday, January 8, reminded me that each and every pre-1686 Miller book needs to be examined, if all the Shepard books are to be found. Accession numbers 150673 to 150678 are for a set of the works of Martin Luther in Latin. My instinct was that ownership of the works of Luther by a Puritan was unlikely, and, given the press of all that needed to be done, perhaps this entry could be skipped. (There is no entry under Luther in the listing of the holdings of the library of Cotton Mather, see: J. H. Tuttle’s `The Libraries of the Mathers’ in the “Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society” 20 (1910): 269-356.) Nonetheless, my assistant and I looked at the set (reclassed sometime during the 1930s from theology to German literature - but that’s another story) and when the first large volume came down from the shelf, she said “It has the brand!” We quickly pulled down the other volumes. All marked. Remarkable: the Shepards owned a set of Luther.

The last volume to come down off the shelf, labeled ‘VIII’ on the fore-edge, was their copy of Luther’s  Enarrationes (1535). It completely surprised us. There on the last leaf was the following:

“Thomas Shepard’s Books: 1649: August: 25: NE:” The date had a familiar ring to me - I knew I had read it somewhere before. The genealogy of the Shepard family provided the answer - this was the death date of the first Thomas Shepard, the family patriarch and pastor of the church attended by the first students of Harvard College.

And so, new questions arise: Is it likely that Thomas Shepard I signed this on his death day? If his son Thomas, chief inheritor of the books, signed it, then why did he date it on the day of his father’s death? Could it be that some of the Shepard books at Princeton indeed carry the reader’s notations in the hand of Shepard I? [To be continued]


Collectors are fond of classifying, for putting a book in a series gives it meaning. Series are always shifting, and lately because of the work of book historians on the history of reading and book ownership, curators have been rethinking the series into which their books may fall. Recently, in the annual report of the Library Company of Philadelphia, there was notice of a new addition to those books “in the collection known to have been owned by Americans before 1700, ” The recent acquisition put their “current tally at about thirty-six.”

Of course, it’s normal to wonder if this is a big number, small number, or just about the mean for an historic American library. It’s difficult to contextualize this number because much remains to be done to systematically identify such books. Similarly, little is known about what the order of magnitude for the total sum might be.

One conjecture about the over-all was offered 74 years ago. In 1936, Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison proposed that “it would be an interesting and by no means insuperable task for one of our industrious bibliographers to make a catalogue of all the books that are known to have been in New England before 1700. My guess is that he would find about ten thousand separate titles, and that the number of copies of each work would range from several thousand of the Bible, and several hundred of the more popular works of puritan divinity down to a single copy of the less common works.” (Intellectual Life of Colonial New England, 2nd ed. (New York, 1956), p. 149.)

He (or she) (a.k.a. “industrious bibliographer”) has yet to appear on the scene.
                            • • •
The rare books collections at Princeton offer material for such a catalogue ranging from books owned by John Norton (1606-1663) (Princeton call number: Exov 5763.518) and Daniel Russell (d. 1679 in Charlestown)(Princeton call number: RCPXR 5959.277), down to John Cotton (1585-1652) (Princeton call number: Ex 5456.276). Only single books are associated with these names, whereas, on the other hand, a remarkable tranche of more than 40 chiefly seventeenth century works of puritan divinity come from the personal library of the Reverend Thomas Shepard (1635-1677) to which his son and heir the Reverend Thomas Shepard (1658-1685) added a few.

In addition to dated signatures appearing in the books, each and every one carries the marking depicted here on the top-edge:

Shepard-close.jpg Shepard.jpg

The mark is the monogram ‘TS’ branded into the top edge. Appearance suggests two simple branding tools at work: a straight bar for the cross stroke and down stroke of the ‘T’, and a half-circle stroke first eastward, then turned westward to form the ‘S.’ [To be continued]


“I think it necessary to assign the reasons why I have annex’d to this Narrative a plate, that must strike HOME to the hearts of the most harden’d, and prove to the most humane, offensive.; but it ought to be remember’d, that many people who are able to read, and even to write, are, nevertheless, unable to understand what they do read; and many such persons, I fear, are intrusted with the care of the poor. A print, therefore, to such people, is a lesson which all capacities may learn; it is a language every man can read; and as it has some, though very faint resemblance, of the deathly figures from whence it was taken, I flatter myself, it may make a deep and permanent impression on the minds of those men, who are disposed to forget that we are all made of the same composition; and that the day is not very remote, that even the youngest, the fairest, and the most beautiful part of the creation must fade, and become an object in the grave, at least, as ghastly as any of these. I must likewise bespeak the favour of the candid reader, to excuse the many errors of my pen: it was wholly written in the evening of a day, most disagreeably employed in a capacity in which I never served before, and hope I never shall again; a day, in which my mind has been distracted, not only by seeing shocking deformities in death, but in life also; a day, in which I have seen men, sinking with age and infirmities into the grave, violating with oaths and lies, the consecrated ground, which in a few months, (perhaps days,) may cover their bodies for ever.”
— Philip Thicknesse, An Account of The Four Persons Found Starved to Death, at Datchworth in Hertfordshire. By one of the Jurymen on the Inquisition taken on their Bodies. The Second Edition, with Additions. London: Printed (for the Benefit of the surviving Child) for W. Brown…; and R. Davies…. 1769, page 9-10. [Acquired in November 2009; call number (Ex) Item 5642061. According to the English Short Title Catalogue no copy of this Second Edition is recorded as being in a North American library. Princeton’s acquisition of this copy is being reported to ESTC accordingly.]

“In 1769, … a retired officer with a restless moral conscience, Philip Thicknesse, wrote a horrifying account, accompanied with an equally horrifying print, of Four Persons Found Starved to Death, at Datchworth. Such things were not supposed to happen in Hertfordshire, in what were called the Home Circuits surrounding the capital.
   But there were probably as many wretched people like the Datchworth victims in the south (especially in the impoverished southwest of England) than in … Northumbria. For it was in southern England that the social results of ‘rural improvement’ — for good as well as for ill — were most dramatically apparent, especially in the lean years of the 1760s, when a succession of wheat harvest failures sent prices soaring and unleashed food riots in the towns and cities all the way from London to Derbyshire.”
— Simon Schama, A History of Britain: The Fate of the Empire, 1776-2000. New York: Hyperion, 2002, page 33.

More on the Datchworth victims from the RSC in London:

Spine Title: Penny Chap Book • Vol. 1.

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Eight titlepages • typical of the whole

pcb1.JPG pcb2.JPG

This new accession is a curious mix of 38 short works. Bound together in one single volume are some of a hyper-Protestant character (that is, anti-Romanist, anti-Mormon), some of the ‘Newgate Calendar class’(stories of criminals and their punishment), some on popular leisure (‘comic songs,’ ‘authentic history of the prize ring’) and others dealing with fires, massacres, tortures, atrocities, ‘the confessions of an undertaker,’ as well as the story of one of ‘the pretty horsebreakers of Rotten Row.’ Price of each? At least one pence, never more than 2. Readers were always told where to obtain copies, such as at the office of “H. Elliot, 475, New Oxford Street” but usually never does the pamphlet give its date of publication. Typographic style, textual content, method of illustration and other factors date and place them in the London penny press trade of the 1850s and 1860s. Taken as a whole, the volume is a marvelous array of cheap reading targeting the interests of the British working classes.

A goodly number of the penny and tuppence pamphlets in this new accession are not recorded as being held in research libraries in either the UK or the US. This makes sense because in the day of their publication, library collecting dogma did not consider their content and ephemeral form appropriate for what was deemed a ‘permanent’ collection. By the mid-twentieth century, this dogma had been replaced by a total reversal of doctrine. Ephemera of this sort was and continues to be considered the quotidian building stones of research collections.

Recently acquired • Bound in one volume with spine title: Penny Chap Book • Vol 1. A collection of 38 publications, priced 1d and 2d, printed during the 1850s and 1860s, chiefly in London.

Call number (Ex) Item 5623495

1. The Trials and Vicissitudes in the Life of Villiers Pearce. 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, 1856. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

2. An Authentic History of Freemasonry, ... 
Printed & published by . Elliot, 1853.
Illus. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

3. Priests and their Victims; or, Scenes in a Convent.  
Printed & published by H. Elliot, 1852. 
Illus. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

4. Confessions of a Detective Policeman: ... 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, [c.1852]. 
Illus. cutting inserted. Yellow wraps. 2d.  16pp.

5.  Mormon Revelations, being the history of fourteen females, ... 
Printed & published by H. Elliot, [c.1858]. 
Illus. cutting inserted. Yellow wraps. 2d. 16pp..  
*Title headed: Appalling Disclosures!

6. Bennett's Official Account of the Great Fire 
near London Bridge, Shocking death of Mr. Braidwood, 
and great loss of life. 
Printed & published for the booksellers, [1861]. 
Two column text 16pp.

7. The life, Death, and Burial of the late Mr. James Braidwood. 
A.P. Shaw, [1861]. Port., illus. cutting inserted.  8pp.

8. The Dreadful Fire at the Wharves, near London Bridge 
with the death of Mr. Braidwood. H.Disley, printer, [1861].  
Quarter sheet broadside, largely in verse.

9. The Yelverton Ballad and Love Songs, ... 
and Extraordinary Marriage of Teresa 
Longworth and Major Yelverton, ... 
E. Harrison, [1862]. Portraits, largely in verse. 8pp.

10. The Yelverton Marriage Case, ... Verdict of the Jury. 
Sold by Winn, [1861]. Tide headed: Price one penny. 8pp.

11. Narrative of the Massacres of Christians in Syria. 
Dreadful sufferings of women, and children cut to shreds, ... 
H. Vickers.  8pp.

12. Dassel, Adolph von. The Melancholy History and 
Miserable End of the Two Monsters of the Continent, the 
Communist Ox and the Socialist Ass.  Published by 
the Propaganda of Good Sense (A. Munro), 1851. 
Without the engraving, first leaf 
slightly torn at inner margin. 16pp.

13. The Life and Death together with the Extraordinary 
Exploits of the redoubtable Gen. Havelock, ... 
Elliot, Panic, 1858. 1d. 8pp.

14. The Dream of Miltiades; or, The Fall of Sebastopol. 
By the Author of "The Battle of Inkermann". 
Brighton: printed at C.Tourle's Office, [1856?]. 
Verse. Yellow wraps.  8pp. 
*'The Battle of Inkermann' may be 
the poem by a retired Liverpool Merchant, 1855.

15. The Original Comic Song Book, 
compiled by Hardwick, Labern, Ramsay, &c. ... No. 11. 
Pattie, [c. 1850]. Illus.  1d. 8pp.

16. (Young, James) The Rev. C.H. Spurgeon in a 
Fix, and Completely Confounded. 
Printed & published by James Young, [1863]. 1d. 7pp. 
James Young who signs the pamphlet on p.7, 
describes himself as a convert to the Jewish religion.

17. Mysteries of Mormonism. A history of the rise 
and progress of the notorious Latter Day Saints, ... 
H. Wilson, [c.1855]. 1d.  8pp.

18. Anti-Conspirator, pseud. 
 Regicide. Are refugees our enemies.  
Is Napoleon our ally.  J. Allen, 1858. 1d.  8pp.

19. An Authentic History of the Prize Ring 
and Championships of England, ... 
(Verbatim account from "The Times" and "Bell's Life" newspapers.)  
Diprose & Bateman, [1860]. 16pp.

20. (Wilkes, George).  A True Narrative of the Horrid Tortures 
practised in Naples, ... the Virgin's Kiss ... By an eye witness. 
H. Vickers, [c. 1860].  Illus. 1d.  8pp.

21. Watts, John. The Criminal History of the Clergyman. (No. 1.) 
Compiled byJ. Watts. Holyoake & Co., [1857]. 2d. 16pp.

22. The Dangers of Crinoline, Street Hoops, &c. 
G. Vickers, [1858]. Illus. 1d.  16pp.

23. The What is it? The extraordinary adventures, 
startling revelations, 
and narrow escapes of Du Chaillu, ... 
Printed & published at the City Printing Press, [c.1860?]. Illus. 
Front  wraps with repeat illus. hand col. 2d. 16pp.

24. The Five Great Americans ... Gough, Northrop, Finney, 
Rarey, and Heenan. H.J. Tresidder. 
(Leaders of the day, no. 4.) July, 1860. 1d.  8pp.

25. The Reverend Charles Haddon Spurgeon's Continental Tour. 
H.J. Tresidder. (Leaders of the day, no. 10.) [c.1860]. 12pp.

26. The life of His Late Royal Highness the Prince 
Consort, with an account of his last moments, ... 
5th edn. W. Oliver, [1862]. Port 1d.  16pp.

27. A Full Account of the Windham Lunacy Case,
 with anecdotes ... 
Elliott, [1862]. Port.  1d. Misbound but complete. 20pp.

28. Williams, Dr.  A Thunderbolt 
for Colenso, the 
Heretic Bishop of Natal. 
Elliot, [1862?]. 1d.  16pp.

29. Appalling Narrative of Russian Atrocities: 
... By a Polish Exile. 
H. Vickers, [c.1860]. Illus.1d.  8pp.

30. Midnight Meetings and the Social Evil !!! 
The life of Lucy Anderson, one of the pretty horsebreakers 
of Rotten Row, written by herself. 
Elliot, [c.1860]. Illus.1d.  8pp.

31. Tommey, Henry, Sen.  Let Justice be done!
The startling narrative of an old veteran who served 
under Wellington ... 
Printed & published by H. Tommey, 1863. 
Orig. green wraps. 1d. 12pp.

32. Mr. Somes and his foolish, mischievous, and obnoxious Beer Bill 
and its tyrannical effects upon the Working Classes; 
... Sunday riots in Hyde Park. 
Farrah & Dunbar; J. & H. Purkess, &c. [1863.] 1d.  8pp.

33. The Astounding Confessions of an Undertaker, 
... Shocking Disclosures. 
News Agents' Publishing Co., [c.186-?]. Illus. 16pp.

34. The Manchester Murders. 
Manchester: John Heywood; London: G. Vickers, [1862?[. 
Illus. 16pp. 
*Sent by post with 1d stamp to M. Beggs, 37 Southampton St., London.

35. Mormon Disclosures ... 
Liverpool: James Gage. [c.l860?]. 1d.  16pp. 
*The same text as 'Mormon Revelations' q.v.

36. The Three Skeletons: a ghostly Christmas story. 
Revelations of a French physician. 
The mysterious casket. The burning furnace. 
The lost child. E. Harrison, [1862?]. 
Illus.,  two column text. 1d.  16pp.

37. O'Kane v. Lord Palmerston.  
All about the great scandal ... 
Published at the Office of the "City News", [1863]. 
With cutting tipped in at front & 4 at end. 1d.  8pp.

38. The Disgraceful Death of an English judge, 
in a House of Ill-Fame. Leeds: T. Pinder, [1884]. Illus.(8 pp.)  
*Added later to the collection.


To be published. Scheduled to be available after Wednesday January 20, 2010.

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline.
Authors: Anthony Grafton, Daniel Rosenberg
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
8-1/2 x 10-1/2 in; 272 pp ; 268 color and 40 b/w images
ISBN-13: 9781568987637
ISBN: 1568987633


Professor Daniel Rosenberg writes

Cartographies of Time is a history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. The book argues that this history may be divided into two main phases, the period from 1450 to 1750, during which scholars relied heavily on the tabular system of representation developed by the fourth-century Christian scholar Eusebius, and the period from 1750 to the present during which the simple, measured line displaced the tabular matrix as the standard mechanism for representing historical chronology.

The story that we tell in the book has many twists and turns—it takes detours through sixteenth-century astronomy and follows Canadian missionaries to Oregon, turns up little known works by famous figures including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain—and, as I will shown in a few slides, the table and the line are only two of many possible ways of graphing history. In the book, the circle, the tree, and many other figures get due consideration. Nonetheless, the book argues that in Western history and chronology, the table and the line hold a peculiarly central place. The book is a study of these two favored forms in relation in relation to a changing ecology of images and ideas.”

Preliminary draft of the introduction

In preparing this book, Professors Grafton and Rosenberg spent many, many hours in Princeton’s rare book reading room closely researching the Library’s extensive holdings of chronological charts, tables, and timelines.

Collecting Ottoman 'Incunabula'

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“The Library of Grand Vizier Ragib Pasha,”
engraving in the
Tableau général de l’empire othoman
by Ignatius Mouradgea d’Ohsson
published in Paris, 1787-1790.

In the new issue of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, a newsletter issued by the department, editorial assistant, William Blair, tells the story of the Library’s collecting books printed on the first Muslim-owned and operated printing press. Any copy of books from the press of İbrahim Müteferrika are rare, yet the Library’s collecting success has been remarkable. The Library now owns fourteen of the seventeen titles published by his press.

Full text of the article


Oak Knoll Press reports copies of the Virgil catalogue, ever so carefully prepared by Prof. Craig Kallendorf, are now in stock.

It is an exuberant production!
• Color-printed dust jacket [ in full ]
• 49 color-printed illustrations, some full page (page size: 8.5 x 11 inches)
• 488 pages of descriptions covering more than 900 volumes, divided into 8 sections (Latin editions, translations into Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other languages) [sample pages]
• 4 indices: i) printers, publishers, booksellers; ii) authors, commentators, translators, editors; iii) illustrators; iv) owners (“The index … includes the names of auction houses and booksellers, as well as of former owners, so that the movement of the books can be tracked as fully as possible.”) [The estimate of the total number of names tracked by all four indexes is more than 2,200.]
• 17 page introduction, set double column, with 48 notes, and covering such topics as the illustration of Virgil’s works, evidence of reader experience, and the material production of Virgil editions as an index of taste.

Copies may be obtained via the publisher’s website

Finding annotated books

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Maillet-Categoriae-9r.JPG Maillet-aristotle3.jpg

Earlier this year, the Library acquired a remarkable book consisting of eight texts selected from Aristotle’s Organon and Nicomachean Ethics. The texts were published in Paris by Denis du Pré and Gabriel Buon between 1569 and 1573 and bound in two volumes.

Their owner, Pierre Maillet, of Lyon, intensively annotated the texts while attending lectures given by Nicolas de Bonvilliers, from November 1573 to September 1574, at the Collège de la Marche in Paris. His annotations are interlinear, in the margins and on inserted pages. Maillet dates and signs his notes several times and names his teacher in a note in French on fol. 95v of the Ethics. Call number for the Maillet volumes: (Ex) 2009-0499N

Princeton owns other comparably annotated Renaissance texts. A number of these are reported in the Princeton University Library Chronicle. Ann M. Blair, “Lectures on Ovid’ Metamorphoses: The Class Notes of a 16th-Century Paris Schoolboy” (L,2 [Winter 1989], p. 117-144 [ full text] and Anthony Grafton, “Gabriel Harvey’s Marginalia: New Light on the Cultural History of Elizabethan England” (LII,1 [Autumn 1990], p. 21-24 [ full text].

Also see Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986) for discussion of the volume of texts annotated in 1572 by Gerardus de Mayres from lectures by Claude Mignault [Call number for these Renaissance editions is (Ex)PA260.xC6.1550].

But, in addition to the Renaissance, in general, how does one find books with contemporary annotations in the Princeton rare book collections?

Go to the Main Catalog -> The opening screen is headed ‘Basic Search.’ In the search box, enter ‘annotations provenance,’ then search by subject heading. You will see a list that looks like this.


To use this table of results, click on a link of interest, such as ‘Annotations (Provenance)—16th century.’ You get a list of 79 books, each individually described.

A list such as this allows analysis of holdings. Here is a table in rank order of rare books at Princeton signaled as having handwritten annotations, usually contemporary. Detail about the kind of notation varies for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, for those seeking primary evidence about a reader’s response to a text, searching ‘annotations provenance’ is the way to start.

279 Annotations (Provenance)
79  Annotations (Provenance)--16th century.
57  Annotations (Provenance)--18th century.
57  Annotations (Provenance)--19th century.
35  Annotations (Provenance)--20th century.
26  Annotations (Provenance)--'Collated and perfect'
24  Annotations (Provenance)--17th century.
22  Annotations (Provenance)--England--19th century.
14  Annotations (Provenance)--15th century.
3   Annotations (Provenance)--United States--New Jersey--Princeton--19th century.
2   Annotations (Provenance)--France--18th century
2   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--16th century.
2   Annotations (Provenance)--Italy--15th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--18th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--20th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--19th century
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Paris--1556.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Paris--1560.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--France--Strasbourg--1515.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--17th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Germany--Frankfurt am Main--1793.
1   Annotations (Provenance) Germany--Tübingen-- 16th century.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Italy--Venice--1487.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--Switzerland--Basel--1511.
1   Annotations (Provenance)--United States--New Jersey--Princeton--20th century.

Pictures! Stories! Action! Available via a canvasser or direct from the publisher. In red and black on title page: “Deeds of Daring by Both Blue and Gray … Thrilling narratives of personal adventure, exploits of scouts and spies, forlorn hopes, heroic bravery, patient endurance, imprisonments and hair-breadth escapes, romantic incidents, hand to hand struggles, humorous and tragic events, perilous journeys, bold dashes, brilliant successes, magnanimous actions, etc., on each side the line during the great Civil War … Profusely illustrated.” Publisher: “Scammell & Company, established 1868. Philadelphia, Pa.: 610 Arch Street. Saint Louis, Mo.: 203 Pine Street.”
Recently acquired illustrated broadside advertising revised edition (1886). The book was published by subscription: “Agents wanted! Write at once for terms, and name your choice of territory: or, to secure it instantly, send $1.00 for complete agent’s outfit, which will be forwarded by return mail postpaid. … If $3.00 are sent, not only the complete outfit, but also a fine leather copy of the complete book will be forwarded, if you sincerely pledge yourself to canvass.”

Call number: (Ex) Item 5360010
Cover and spine of recently acquired first edition (1883)

Call number: (Ex) Item 5370350

“This volume does not assume to be a formal history, nor even to relate more than a modicum of the innumerable incidents of personal adventure and examples of bravery exhibited on both sides during the Civil War. But it is believed to be the first volume in which a representative collection has ever been made of such examples by both Federal and Confederate participants, impartially related. Many have been the books which have been written and published from each interested standpoint, in which the coloring of the narrative by the prejudices of the writer was only too evident. Such books were necessarily (and not improperly) one-sided in view. But is there not abundant room for a volume that shall exhibit those traits of personal courage which all Americans claim to be a common heritage? In the belief that there is such room, and that, after the lapse of a generation of time, the most captious can hardly demur, there is here given the only collection of authenticated exploits by both the Blue and the Gray yet made, and one of nearly seventy chapters.” — D. M. Kelsey (preface, opening paragraph)

For more on subscription publishing in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, see: Amy M. Thomas, “There Is Nothing So Effective as a Personal Canvass”: Revaluing Nineteenth-Century American Subscription Books,” Book History (1998), vol 1, p. 140-155.

Reading Decorative Papers II: Infared reflectography

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Front cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814

Back cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814

We’re still not there yet, that is, at a full answer to the question about how this fragment of Fanny Hill was used as covering material. However, we now have a better sense of what the fragment looks like overall. Thanks to the work of Ted Stanley, Special Collections Paper Conservator, Princeton University Library, we now have two images of the printed fragments of “Fanny Hill.” These pictures were obtained by a method called “infared reflectography.” [ ] In brief, he used a high quality SLR digital camera with a filter than excludes visible light but passes infared. The CMOS array of the camera is sensitive to the IR end of the spectrum, 830-1100 nanometers. The technique is useful in this case because the printer’s ink has different optical properties from the pigments of the marbling. In other words, the ink absorbs / reflects light differently than marbling paints. This differential is then carried over into an image which is visible, with the ink rendered darker than the pigments.

[More is available on this technique in C. M. Falco, “Invited Article: High resolution digital camera for infrared reflectography,” Review of Scientific Instruments 80, 071301 2009 [link]

Reading Decorative Papers: From the Legal to the Forbidden

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A book historian has said: “Printers print sheets, but binders make books.” That dictum is well shown by close examination of the bindings on these two books.

The first example is from the library of John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration, and President of College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). It is volume 29 of his collection of sixty bound volumes of pamphlets. Most are bound with boards covered with decorative papers, usually marble paper. Some have remarkable tan paste paper covers which, because of age and wear, reveal printing beneath the decorative pigment. In this case, we can see page 331 of the 1784 edition of the Acts of the Council and General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey printed in Trenton by state printer Isaac Collins. In an age of scarcity, paper had value even after its original use. The trade in printer’s waste paper, for example, included a number of after-market uses, such as linings for hat boxes. Here we see printer’s waste as substratum for a decorative paste paper, tan in color, patterned in a wavy manner (done by comb while paste and pigment are still wet.)

The second example keeps us still in the world of reused printer’s waste but takes us far from the rectitude of the Reverend Doctor. This is the binding on a recently acquired copy the Scholar’s Arithmetic, or, Federal Accountant, a textbook published in 1814 at Keene, N.H. by John Prentiss “proprietor of the copy right.” [(Ex) Item 547834] The book is still in its original binding as issued. In this case the decorative paper is marbled paper, whose color and pattern results from laying the paper over oil pigments floating on water. Again, wear and age allow us to see what was once hidden by blue pigment. There are blocks of print separated by wide margins, signaling this sheet to be several pages of text imposed for book printing. There are 31 lines per page with a page number centered in brackets over the middle of line one. Layout is the same on both front and back covers.

What is this text? Closely reading one portion reveals a surprise.



[service] under these good people; and after 
[supper] being showed to bed, Miss Phoebe, 
[who ob]served a kind of reluctance in me to 
[strip and go] to bed, in my shift before her, now 
[the maid] was withdrawn, came up to me, and 
[beginnin]g with unpinning my handkerchief 
[and gow]n, soon encouraged me to go on with 
[undressi]ng myself; and, still blushing at now see
[ing mys]elf naked to my shift, I hurried to get 
[under th]e bed-cloaths out of sight.  Phoebe 
[laugh'd] and was not long before she placed

Racy stuff, indeed. One library describes books with comparable decorative papers as “Bound in boards covered with a marbled sheet from a suppressed edition of John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. [Boston?, ca. 1810]” How did this happen? [More later.]


“Any attempt to determine the dating and sequence of the majority of Piranesi’s etched works must begin from the artist’s own Calalogo, confined to a single plate. This appears to have been first issued around 1761 when Piranesi set up his print-selling business near the top of the Spanish Steps at Palazzo Tomati, Via Sistina — an address which appears on many of his subsequent plates. In particular the Catalogo is crucial for arriving at the dating and order of the Vedute di Roma and already on the earliest known example presented to the Accademia di San Luca on his election in the spring of 1761, some fifty-nine specific titles are listed. Thence forward until his death in 1778, Piranesi issued revised states of the Catalogo which can be dated approximately by the addition of new publications. At the same time, fresh titles of the Vedute were added, individually or in groups (these were sometimes inserted in ink before being etched). So far, well over twenty-five separate states of this key work have come to light.” — John Wilton-Ely, Piranesi (London, 1978), p. 45.

Recent study of the Catalogo by Andrew Robison, Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), has identified as many as 31 known states.

Princeton owns three states, as follows:

State IV - copy bound as last leaf in Piranesi’s De Romanorvm magnificentia et architectvra / Della Magnificenza ed architettura de’Romani. (Rome, 1761), call number (Ex) NA310 .P64e. Link to digital image.

State V - held at the Princeton University Art Museum, Prints and Drawings

State XXIV - copy at call number (Ex) 2007-0052E, dating ca. 1776. Link to digital image.

Private libraries: listed, described, detailed: 1855-1919


Lists of private libraries in the United States — contemporary to date of publication

1855 A Glance at Private Libraries (Boston) by Luther Farnham (1816-1897) Boston, Press of Crocker and Brewster, 1855.

1860 Private Libraries of New York by James Wynne (New York : E. French, 1860)

1863-1864 — Hubbard Winslow Bryant publishes notices of private libraries in the Portland (Maine) Daily Press. Collected by Roger Stoddard and reprinted in 2004.

1875Washington Chronicles, Sep 15, 1875. William H. Dorsey Scrapbook Collection 247.1. “Our Libraries. The Public and Private Libraries of Washington”

1878Private Libraries of Providence by Horatio Rogers. Evidently first appeared in 1875 as a series of newspaper articles in the Providence Press

1878 — “Our Private Libraries” - Philadelphia Ledger and Transcript, Nov. 30, 1878. Clipping in William H. Dorsey Scrapbook Collection, vol. 249, p. 28. Continued: [From a Philadelphia newspaper] 1878 William H. Dorsey Scrapbook Collection, 249.2 “Private Libraries. Rich book collections in this city—the library of B.B. Comegys, Esq.—a glimpse at his literary treasures. That excellent literary journal, Robinson’s Epitome of Literature, has been, for the past few months, publishing a series of interesting articles upon the private libraries belonging to citizens of Philadelphia. From the issue for June we take the following …”

1878The Libraries of California: Containing Descriptions of the Principal Private and Public Libraries throughout the State by Flora Haines Loughead (San Francisco, A. L. Bancroft, 1878)

1879 Philadelphia Ledger and Transcript, Jun. 28, 1879. William H. Dorsey Scrapbook Collection, 249.54 “The Private Libraries of Philadelphia. The library of George W. Childs, Esq.”

1886 Brooklyn Eagle, Jul. 18, 1886; page 11. “Books and Pamphlets. Observations among curious Brooklyn shops.” Includes section enumerating the private libraries of Brooklyn. beginning “The great private libraries of Brooklyn are many. …”

1887 — R.R. Bowker in the Preface to the 1887 edition of The Library List proposes to publish a list of private libraries “in the next record number of the Library Journal, at the beginning of 1887”

1892-93 — Charles Sotheran, “Private Libraries” pp. 112-132 in James Grant Wilson (ed.) The Memorial History of the City of New York. Contents: Book-collecting in the Seventeenth Century — The First Private Library Known in the City — Libraries of Frederick Philipse, General Philip Schuyler, and others — The Livingston Family’s Libraries — General Use of Book- plates— A New Literary Spirit Developed at End of the Colonial Period — List of Fifty Important Private Libraries in 1860 — Fate of these Valuable Collections — Changes in the Character of Collections of To-day — Robert Hoe’s Library and its Features — Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet’s Historical Library — The Drexel Library — Libraries of the Rev. Dr. Dix and Samuel P. Avery — William Loring Andrews’s and Rush C. Hawkins’s Collection — Marshall C. Lefferts’s Early Americana—Jay Gould’s Books — The Astor and Vanderbilt Libraries — Thomas J. McKee’s Works on the Drama — Charles W. Fsederiekson’s Shelleyana — Other Private Libraries.

1892 Four Private Libraries of New York by Octave Uzanne

1897 List of Private Libraries. I. United States, Canada [title repeated in French and German]. Leipzig, G. Hedler, 1897. Copy: Harvard University Library, available in Google Book Search [July 2006]. Lists more than 600 entries; index by topic; ads for antiquarian booksellers at end.

1900 Descriptive Sketches of Six Private Libraries of Bangor, Maine by Samuel Lane Boardman (Bangor: printed for the author, 1900)

1910 — “Private Book Collectors” published in the Annual Library Index, 1910 (New York: Office of Publishers’ Weekly, 1910). Note: possible that the predecessors to this annual carried lists of collectors, see: Annual Library Index, 1905-1910, and the previous Annual Literary Index, 1892-1904.

1912 — “Private Book Collectors” listed on pages 195-220 of the American Library Annual, 1911-1912 (New York: Office of Publishers’ Weekly, 1912). Updates the list first published in 1910. Headnote explains scope and changes (approx. 200 words). Arranged geographically.

1913 — “Private Book Collectors” listed on pages 317-348 of the American Library Annual, 1913 (New York: Office of Publishers’ Weekly, 1913). Updates the list published in 1912. Headnote explains scope, notes 300 changes (approx. 200 words). Arranged geographically.

1914 — “Private Book Collectors” listed on pages 303-339 of the American Library Annual, 1913-1914 (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1914). Updates the list published in 1912. Headnote explains scope, notes 500 changes (approx. 200 words). Arranged geographically.

Not in Annuals for 1914-1915, 1915-1916, 1916-17, 1917-18. Replaced by listings for business, special, religious, theological, law, medical, normal and high school libraries.

1919 — J. A. Holden, A List of Private Book Collectors in the United States and Canada (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1919), which went through several editions up to 1948 under the title Private Book Collectors in the United States and Canada.


The Publisher’s Weekly, April 24, 1886 [No. 743], page 549 under “Literary and Trade Notes”

“The Writers’ Publishing Co., 25 University Place, N. Y., have issued a chart of temperance and physiology entitled “The Road to Ruin and How to Avoid it.” It is 22x34 in size, and paints the vice of intemperance in such horrible colors that must at once convince the reader that “abstinence is the best policy.” Due attention is also given to the economic side of the question, tables being given that show at a glance that intemperance does not pay in any sense of the word. The price, half mounted, is $1; full mounted, $1.50.”

• • •

“List of educational publications of 1885-‘86; compiled from publisher’s announcements by the United States Bureau of Education.” This list gives a total of 609 publications distributed across 40 categories. Under the heading of ‘Physiology and hygiene’:

“Temperance and Physiology - Chart No. 1, strikingly illustrated, showing the road to ruin and how to avoid it. By the “The Writers’ Publishing Co., 21 (sic) University Place, New York City. (New England Journal of Education).”

[Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1885 - ‘86 (Washington, D.C., 1887) p. 704 ]

• • •

Chart of Temperance and Physiology - Number One : The Road to Ruin and How to Avoid It. … Published by Miss Julia Colman, Superintendent, Literature Department, National Women’s Christian Temperance Union. 72 Bible House, New York City. Copyright 1885 by the Writers’ Publishing Company. Call number: (Ex) Broadside - Oversize - 411

Louis Sébastien Mercier (1740-1814) • Dreams and Utopia

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mercier.jpg mer1.jpg

Two works by

Songes Philosophiques, Première [-Seconde] Partie. Par M. Mercier. A Londres, et se trouve à Paris, chez Lejay, Libraire, Quai de Gêvres, au grand Corneille. 1768. Call number: (Ex) HX811 .M42

L’anno due mila quattrocento quaranta. Sogno di cui non vi fu l’eguale. Seguito dall’Uomo di ferro. Opera del cittad. L.S. Mercier … Traduzione dal Francese sull’ultima Edizione fatta in Parigi l’Anno VII della Repubb. Francese. Corretta, Riveduta, ed Augmentata dall’ Autore. Prima Edizione Italiana. In Genova. Stamperia de’ Cittad. Domenico Porcile, e C. nella strada della Posta vecchia no. 487. Anno II. della Repubb. Ligure [1798]. Call number: (Ex) 2007-3277N


Songes Philosophiques contains ten philosophical dream sequences, eight of which were reused in Mercier’s Mon bonnet de Nuit, 1784-1785 and seven of which were used in his landmark utopia L’An deux mille quatre cent quarante, 1785. This practice of borrowing and rebranding his own work was very much part of what became Mercier’s distinctive style. — Amanda Hall

‘He published prodigiously by recycling passages from one book to another and stretching essays into multivolume tracts. His major works - L’An 2440, Tableau de Paris, and Mon Bonnet de Nuit - therefore have a formless character. They are composed of short chapters on a wide variety of subjects, which Mercier cobbled together without worrying about narrative coherence. When a book caught on, he expanded it, cutting and pasting and fighting off pirates as he advanced from one edition to the next. The result was never elegant, but it often had a gripping quality, because Mercier knew how to observe the world around him and to make it come alive in anecdotes and esays. There is no better writer to consult if one wants to get some idea of how Paris looked, sounded, smelled, and felt on the eve of the Revolution’ (Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers, 1996, p. 118).


First edition in Italian of Mercier’s famous utopian novel L’an 2440. Placed on the Index on 26th August 1822. Only copy recorded to be in an American library.

‘The translator was thought to be Filippo Castelli’, writes Everett C. Wilkie, ‘however, in his Saggi di Eulogia, Genoa, 1838, he himself takes credit for having translated only ‘L’Homme de Fer’. One possibility for the translator of L’An 2440 is Elisabetta Caminer, who translated several of Mercier’s dramas into Italian … Nevertheless, Caminer had died in 1796, two years before this translation appeared. However, this translation has one of the hallmarks of her work, liberties with the original text; and her other translations of Mercier’s works show her sustained interest in his writings. One can speculate that she was the one who began the translation, finishing only a part of it before her death. Castelli might well have finished the translation and gone ahead to do ‘L’Homme de Fer’, which was the last part of the book. Castelli was in Genoa at this time and was active translating other French works into Italian’

Everett C. Wilkie, “Mercier’s L’An 2440: Its Publishing History During the Author’s Lifetime,” in the Harvard Library Bulletin, Vol. XXXII, 1984, p. 393.

Restoring Order

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Many at Princeton remember with great esteem the late Lara Moore, who, when she died at age 32 in 2003, was the History Librarian of the Library. Her example and achievements endure in many ways, such as in the able work of her successor, and, now, with the publication Lara’s book, Restoring Order: The Ecole des Chartes and the Organization of Archives and Libraries in France, 1820-1870, based on her Stanford dissertation. Her book is an important contribution to the history of libraries and archives.

Lara argues that the changing French governments shaped and re-shaped libraries and archives in order to mold public perception of their regime. Form and function traced back to policy. From this perspective, the trajectory of library development was not a smooth, upward, continuously progressive path from the disorder of the 1789 Revolution to post-Revolutionary order. Rather, the path was really “a series of very different attempts to recreate both ‘disorder’ and ‘order’ ” (p. 17). She also points out that while we may think we study the past, we should not overlook that we concurrently study previous generations’s conceptions of what they thought about the past (p. 22).

Is there an analog in American library history for this phenomenon? Or, put another way: “Was there an ancien regime to affirm or repudiate?”

Certainly for the ruling Protestants of nineteenth century America there was such an ancien regime to repudiate. I have encountered this attitude in an incident in the history of the Princeton University Library.

In 1878, Evan James Henry, a local Princeton lawyer, presented to the Library rubricated leaves of the Book of Psalms, once part of a Latin Bible printed in Strasbourg, ca. 1468. [Call number: (ExI) 5168.1468q].

At the time of donation, Princeton librarian Frederic Vinton interpreted the value of the gift as follows:

We may, therefore, fearlessly assert that we have a book printed more than twenty years before the discovery of America; about the time Warwick drove Edward IV out of England; while Louis XI reigned in France; before Lorenzo reigned in Florence, or Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain; just after Erasmus saw the light, and before Michael Angelo was born. Scarce one of the existing Universities in Christendom had been founded. All Europe was Catholic then, and free institutions had not begun to be. The spirit of modern discovery had not awakened, and men were still living in the dull ways of the middle ages. Until the Egyptian obelisk arrives, this book will be one of the most venerable things in America.

[Frederic Vinton] “A Rare Book in the College Library,” Princetonian 2, no. 15 (February 7, 1878): 173-174.

Restoring Order (Duluth, Minn.: Litwin Books, 2008) also reviewed in Reading Archives.

Obituary for Lara Moore (1971-2003)

Jesuit Thesis Print • Douay, 1753

Actual size: 3 ft tall x 2 ft wide   

Jesuit Thesis Print • Douay, 1753.

Recently purchased for the Library’s holdings on the material culture of academic life was a Jesuit thesis print. In general, this genre of publication joined the visual and textual, markng in word and picture an important milestone in the education of a youth at a Jesuit college. Upon completion of a course of study, the student became the centerpiece of a staged show of his learning and rhetorical skills. This was done before an audience, sometimes with musical interludes. During the event, before a panel of his superiors in learning, the student elaborated on theses - topics of learned discourse. According to Louise Rice in her “Jesuit Thesis Prints and the Festive Academic Defence at the Collegio Romano,” in The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773, ed. John O’Malley et al., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999, pp. 148-69, “… the sheet was distributed to members of the audience during the defence itself; it served as a kind of program, which enabled the audience to follow the progress of the disputation, and was taken home as a record or souvenir of the event.”

As a rule, a Jesuit thesis print featured a large picture surmounting the text of the theses. (For this particular one text and image together measure 43 inches tall and 28 inches wide, being two full sheets pasted together at one edge.)

In this case the scene is the famous story of the judgement of Solomon. This story of two mothers, a disputed baby, and a cunning strategy to determine the truth was widely known and illustrated. Raphael’s rendering is in the Loggia of the Papal Palace in the Vatican. In this print, engraved by Laurent Cars in Paris after a design by Serviatus Paira, the moment depicted can be read as the instance either before or just after his decision. One mother stands before King Solomon either in supplication or abjection, while in the foreground the baby is with the other mother. Onlookers point to the center of the drama.

Discoursing on the theses was Joannes Antonius Dominicus Verhulst from Bruges at the culmination of his course in the Jesuit College Aquicinctinus in Douai. This occurred in 1753. Twenty years later the Jesuits were suppressed and this practice declined.

Verhulst is discoursing on topics in rational philosophy - before judges, in this case, presided by Pierre de Cassal, Professor of Philosophy at the College. There was a tradition of dividing rational philosophy into three parts and so it is done here in three distinct columns: Idea (science of ideas), Juridicum (laws of thought), Discursus (science of the criteria of certitude).

Customary for the Jesuit thesis print was a thematic connection between the pictorial scene and the theses. Solomon was a symbol of many meanings, of which one was that he was a sage whose determinations of truth led him to wisdom.

Title: Philosophia rationalis. Imprint: Douai : Jacobus Franciscus Willerval, 1753. Format: Over-all dimensions 110 x 73 cm.; made up of two equal size sheets (upper: engraving (judgement of Solomon); lower: engraved architectural tablet surrounding letterpress text. Summary: Announcing defense of theses in rational philosophy by Joannes Antonius Domincus Verhults of Bruges, held at the Jesuit College Aquicinctinus in Douai on March 4, 1753 and presided over by Petrus de Cassal. Call number: (Ex) Item 5324301 broadside

NB - The practice of public display of a student’s rhetorical skills continued at colleges in the New World. The archives of the University have a number of such broadsides - just text, pictures were either not allowed or not affordable or both. These are found at Mudd Library in collection number AC115, Series 5, Oversize Items, 1748-1948, Commencement Broadsides, 1754-1764.

Venus' Miscellany • Rich, Rare and Racy Reading

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venus_misc003.jpg Sunday, April 5th’s New York Times Book Review includes a notice of the following by Professor Donna Dennis of Rutgers School of Law — Newark:

Licentious Gotham: Erotic Publishing and Its Prosecution in Nineteenth-Century New York (Harvard University Press, 2009). [See announcement and excerpt (pdf)]

In preparing her study, Professor Dennis used the Library’s copy of Venus’ Miscellany.
New-York : J. Ramerio & Co., [alias for George Akarman]
“A weekly journal of wit, love and humor.”
Editors: Ramerio & Clarke, <1857>.
Library has issues for May 9, 16, 23, 30,
June 6, 20, 27, July 4 and 11, 1857.
Location: Rare Books (Ex) Call number: Dulles drawer E2
Electronic access (pdf, large file)

“By the mid-1850s, working out of a series of offices in the vicinity of Nassau Street, [George] Akarman was well on his way to becoming one of the century’s largest producers of pornography, second only to a legendary publisher of bawdy books named William Haines.” (p. 5)

“In 1856, for instance, Akarman decided to launch a new venture, a highly risky, innovative periodical called Venus’ Miscellany. Calculating that he could not sell the magazine in New York without triggering prosecution for obscenity, Akarman planned to market it solely to an upscale audience of out-of-town subscribers, the sort of people who possessed the financial resources and sophistication to negotiate mail-order subscriptions and purchases.” (p.6-7) He told his readers he intended to put the paper “entirely into a subscription circulation, which will insure it to those who want it, and keep it from who do not want it.” (Venus’ Miscellany, Jan. 31, 1857, p. 3)

The index to Licentious Gotham gives the following entries for this ‘weekly journal’: Venus’ Miscellany (magazine), 6, 7, 109, 170-182, 197, 207; contraceptives advertised in, 171-172; “flash” weeklies compared with, 187-188; letters from female readers, 175-179; mail-order sale of, 182-190, 198; prosecutions involving, 190-192, 194; “racy” reading materials advertised in, 173, 174; story excerpts from, 259

Susan Dwight Bliss (1882-1966), collector, philanthropist

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Recent recovery of her card catalogue sheds new light on the reach of her generosity toward libraries as well as the full scope of her book collection.

Susan Dwight Bliss was born in New York City on January 16, 1882 to George T. Bliss and Jeanette Atwater Dwight Bliss. Her father was a member of the banking firm of Morton, Bliss & Co. and a large shareholder in several corporations, such as Phelps Dodge. Her mother inherited substantial wealth from her father, Amos T. Dwight, a cotton merchant (New York Times, 10 Feb. 1926).

Never marrying, she lived many years in the family mansion at 9 East 68th Street (1906-07, architects Heins and LaFarge, see library plans, part of the originals for entire house held by Princeton), first with her widow mother (her father dying in 1901) and then on her own after her mother’s death in 1924. (Photographs of the interior are available from the archives of Bowdoin College. See:,+Susan+Dwight/when/1943/

There she maintained and continued book, manuscript, and art collections tracing back to her father and mother. Bliss_9E68_NYC_2ndFlr_library_alcove_interior2.jpg

She was known for her philanthropy. “She was a founding member of the social service executive board of St. Luke’s Hospital and served for many years on the hospital’s Auxiliary. Besides her work with St. Luke’s, she was active in many other organizations concerned with the social and medical welfare of children and of psychiatric patients.” [ Biographical note provided by Health Sciences Library at Columbia University]

She made numerous donations of art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1959, she gave 42 acres of green-space to the town of New Canaan, Connecticut (New York Times, 2 Oct. 1959). At her death in 1966, she bequeathed approximately $2 million to Yale University for establishing professorships in epidemiology and public health as well as a scholarship in the field.

The libraries of Bowdoin, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale received major benefactions, as did the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The most spectacular is that to Bowdoin. Named the Susan Dwight Bliss Room shortly after her death, it consists of the interior carved paneling (18th century French) and furnishings of her mansion’s library together with more than 1200 specially bound rare books for its shelves. See:

In 1967, Harvard received her bequest of a collection of autographs of French royalty, deposited in 1957-58. (According to the New York Times, 10 Feb. 1926, a number of these first belonged belonged to her mother.) See:

Yale was given a collection documented in the article “Royal Association Books in the Bliss Collection,” in the Yale University Library Gazette 40:30 (January 1966), pp. 160-167.

Her gift to Princeton first arrived as a deposit in October, 1957, with two provisos: that it be anonymous and that it was an intended gift. In June 1964, the entire deposit was converted to an outright gift. The following articles detail the contents, mostly festival books, making up this gathering: • [Alexander Wainwright], “An Anonymous Gift” in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XIX, 3 & 4 (Spring & Summer, 1958) pp. 209-211 [full text] • Dale Roylance, “Illustrated Books” in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XX, 1 (Autumn, 1958) pp. 53-56 [full text] .

In 1927, she presented to the Bibliothèque nationale de France, her mother’s collection relating to Mary, Queen of Scots, consisting of 113 manuscripts, 687 printed books, 627 prints, and 22 medals and other items. See: Bibliothèque nationale. Collection de manuscrits, livres, estampes, et objets d’art relatifs à Marie Stuart, reine de France et d’Écosse (Paris, 1931).

• Recovery of her card catalogue
The catalogue originated in her home at 9 East 68th Street. Several years ago it was discovered in a Connecticut barn among items remaining from the estate of the executor of the will of Susan Dwight Bliss. A relative of the deceased executor brought it to the attention of staff here a Princeton. This relative has courteously allowed digitization of the cards.

The catalogue consists of approximately 18,000 cards and can be viewed at
The digital version essentially maintains the original order which fell into the following groupings:

Main listing, A-Z (6 drawers) plus 1 drawer of cards arranged by subject heading. Most cards are unmarked for location in the house, so it is assumed that these were in the library. Occasionally there are markings on the cards, such as “Hall, cab. 3” “Table.” A number of the cards state “collated on large card.” These were 5x8 cards maintained for especial rare books such as the ones she gave Princeton. This link is an example.
• Seven drawers comprising a group labeled “Given away to Bowdoin, 1949-1963.”
• Four drawers comprising a group labeled “Given away, All but Bowdoin.

Among the “all but” group are: American Museum of Natural History, Amherst College, Birmingham College, Brooklyn Museum, Brown University, Cooper Union, Frick Art Reference Library, Fryeburg Academy, Grolier Club, Hudson River Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, New York Public Library, Portland Junior College (now part of the University of Maine), Wilson College, and others in addition to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

Keyword searching of the cards is available, thus allowing convenient exploration of names of binders, details of association copies, names of former owners, and other bibliographical notabilia. For example, enter “Stikeman” to return cards for books bound by this New York City binder.

Search only Susan Dwight Bliss catalogue

Louis Guillaume de La Follie, 1733?-1780. Le Philosophe sans prétention, ou L’homme rare. Ouvrage physique, chymique, politique et moral, dédié aux savans. Par M. D. L. F., Paris, Chez Clousier, 1775. Call number: (Ex) Q157.L25. Purchased by the Library in 1998-99. Princeton copy has contemporary signature “Mlle de Beaufort” at the head of the frontispiece.

“A picaresque Oriental romance and conte philosophique that created the first airship powered by electricity. (Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with lightning in the 1760s had impressed many observers, including, some years later, a young Percy Shelley.) The fact that fiction soon abandoned this opening to follow the balloon trail of the Montgolfier brothers should not reflect poorly on la Folie, argues Versins (see his Encyclopédie de l’utopie, des voyages extraordinaires et de la science fiction, 2e ed., Lausanne, 1984, page 505), but on the writers whose imaginations could rise no higher than the earth’s atmosphere. But the author’s importance is far greater than that. Here, for the first time, he adds, is the outline of a theory for a new type of literature inspired by science and technology: a theory that would not be truly implemented until nearly a century later with the works of another Frenchman, Jules Verne. In his dedicatory epistle, La Folie compares science to a beautiful woman whose inherent charms are not noticed until she is dressed up attractively enough to excite the curiosity of onlookers. (Through the ages it has not been unusual for writers to misdirect readers in such prefaces, to avow sound utilitarian purposes which they could use for cover from certain kinds of criticism. Whether la Folie’s work really does function as a procurer for Science is another matter. Yet the argument could be made that sugar-coated science constitutes the main course served up by Verne — and many subsequent authors of science fiction.) The ostensible narrator of la Folie’s tale is an Arab named Nadir (an astronomical pun) who, in a vision, beholds the voyages of a Mercurian named Ormisais. In his description of life on Mercury, Ormisais relates the workings of an elite scientific-literary organization (like the British Royal Society or the French Academy) but much more restrictive, with only a dozen members. One of the applicants for the latest vacancy is a young inventor, Scintilla, the true hero of the tale. He shows the Academy members his flying machine, ‘an elaborate combination of wheels, globes of glass, springs, wires, glass-covered wooden uprights, a plate rubbed with camphor and covered with gold leaf’ (Nicolson, Voyages to the Moon, p. 197): altogether a far cry from the winged contraptions of the past. After a short demonstration flight, Ormisais is chosen to take the trip to Earth, but he crash lands and is thus stranded, a stranger in a strange land. He tells Nadir that it took him 500 hours to ‘ascend’ or ‘descend’ to Earth: take your pick, for the universe, he says (enunciating a surprisingly modern cosmology) has neither height nor depth nor center nor frontiers. An important landmark in the evolution of interplanetary science fiction.” - Robert Eldridge (courtesy of L. W. Currey, Inc., Elizabethtown, N.Y.)

See also: “The First “Electrical” Flying Machine” by Nora M. Mohler and Marjorie H. Nicolson in Essays contributed in honor of President William Allan Neilson. (Northampton, MA: Smith College, 1939), pp. 143-158.

Lafolie, (Louis Guillaume), a French chemist, born at Rouen in 1739. Discovered the yellow dye extracted from gaude, (dyer’s weed,) and wrote an imaginative work called the “Philosopher without Pretension,” (‘Philosophe sans Prétention,’ etc., 1775.) D. in 1780.” — Joseph Thomas, Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology (Philadelphia, London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1915), vol. 2, page 1471.

More biographical information at

For more on the Library’s Aeronautica, see this article concerning chiefly books, and this article concerning prints.

Dr. Richardson Goes Book Hunting: His Report of October 1908

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Esteemed Princeton Librarian and founding editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Julian Boyd (1903-1980) described former University Librarian, Ernest Cushing Richardson (1860-1939), as an extraordinary man. “…There are few major ideas stirring the library profession today that did not, in one form or another, germinate in his fertile brain.” (Annual Report, 1947, p. 9)

Richardson’s tenure at Princeton was from 1890 to 1920, and his connection with the University continued even later first with the courtesy title of ‘Director’ and later as emeritus. These were vibrant, expansive years for academic and research libraries, when for the first time librarians in American higher learning began to think about programs of national scale. In many respects, their collective thinking synchronized with comparable thinking occurring in the learned professions, government, cultural institutions, and higher education. Richardson’s ideas ranged from standardized, national rules for cataloguing to various ideas for sharing the resulting catalogue records among libraries. He was insistent on establishing all manner of union lists, including what we now know today as NUC Pre-56. He devised methods for inexpensive distribution of holdings information, using the ‘title-a-line’ format resulting from the easy production of a 100 character lead-type line by a Linotype machine. Richardson also had wide-ranging ideas about adventurous schemes for collection development in academic and research libraries in the United States.

What academic libraries should buy, how they should buy it, and where they should buy it were all open questions in Richardson’s day. In 1891, the University of Chicago sought to resolve these questions initially by purchasing the entire book stock of the learned German bookselling firm of S. Calvary Buchhandlung in Berlin - a projected purchase of over 300,000 volumes and 150,000 pamphlets. In the end, Chicago took only about quarter of all these items, but set a basis for rapid growth. By 1900 they possessed the fourth largest academic library in the United States at over 303,000 volumes. Other libraries continued a program, first begun in the nineteenth century, of purchasing the libraries of learned professors. The progression of these purchases is well documented in the 1912 publication issued by the United States Bureau of Education entitled Special Collections in Libraries in the United States.

Yet another model resolving these questions was individual local work done by a head librarian carefully developing lists of wants, then foraying into the book market to fill those wants. During the 1890s at Princeton, records indicate that Richardson labored over producing a list of over 200,000 wants for the library. This was, in short, his reckoning of what the core collection of a leading American university library should be. Unfortunately, no individual particulars about those 200,000 wants are known; we only know the fact that he intensively developed such a list.

In the document that follows, dated October 12, 1908, we get a glimpse of Richardson the individual at work. He has returned from a long working tour of Europe during the winter of 1907 - 08. He was excited about the outcome of his book hunting, financed partly at his own expense and partly through the support of two long-time boosters of university development at Princeton —— Moses Taylor Pyne (1855-1921; Cl ’ 1877) and Arthur H. Scribner (1859-1932; Cl’ 1881). The former being a scion of the wealth stemming from Moses Taylor (1806-1882), one of the richest men in New York, and the later of the famous publishing firm. Richardson was constantly aware that they were of the ilk who thought daily about ‘return on investment’ and who sought reassurance that their money was well-spent. Richardson knew that spending other people’s money was an exercise in confidence-building, so the tone of his report is that of providing evidence of cunning stewardship. For him, future gifts were the result of present actions.

[Princeton, October 12, 1908
Annexed to Librarian’s Report to the President and Trustees
By Ernest Cushing Richardson, Librarian]

Special Report on Purchasing Trip Abroad
    As mentioned in June and in the report to which this is annexed, the librarian, who was spending last winter abroad, took advantage of the gifts of Messrs. M. Taylor Pyne and A. H. Scribner with certain other provisions to buy something less than 12,000 volumes of acknowledged value, for something over $5,000.
    The effort was made to test for his own information and for the information of the trustees how far the market cost of books could be improved on by special methods of purchase when there was capital in hand.
    Pains were taken to exhibit as many as possible of the various kinds, classes and ways in which advantage may be had: (1), buying in bulk (2), buying in quantity (3), buying from small dealers (4), buying in out of the way shops (5), occasional bargains from large dealers (6), buying at auction (7), buying of non-booksellers.

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    Purchase memoranda were roughly classified (1) immediate wants, (2) early wants, (3) books of acknowledged value but not presently needed. Books of the first class included those which it was known would be, if not gotten this winter, shortly bought in routine at the market price. Any reduction at all on the market price for these was of course so much clear gain. The second class, that of early wants, included the books which it was likely might at any moment pass into the first class and the general plan was to buy such if they turned up at half market price. The third class included the very large number of books evidently useful sooner or later. Beyond this class and shading into it is a great mass of minor usefulness or valuable for rarity or curiosity to be bought in general only when the bargain is great. In this class this year were a great many Americana which in many American Libraries would be counted at least in the second class.
    Booksellers were visited in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the South of France and Spain. Few books were purchased in Holland and Germany, except the Goertz: lot of 3800 at Berlin. In Switzerland perhaps a couple of hundred were gotten at Lucerne, Zurich and Stans. In Italy, a few were gotten on the Lakes, a few more at Milan and Bologna, a couple of thousand more or less at Florence, Leghorn, Pisa, Siena and neighboring points, as many at Rome, a few hundred on the Rivera, a thousand or fifteen hundred in the South of France and perhaps half as many more in three or four places in Spain, chiefly in Madrid.
    Germany, where the book trade is so well organized, proved as always not so good a hunting ground for individual bargains as Italy or the smaller cities of France but the Goertz collection this year has afforded an excellent example of what may sometimes be done even in Germany by buying a bulk. In general we do nothing with this class of buying (as I said when this collection was first offered) but, properly managed, it may be one of the best methods for cheap buying. The principle of such buying is, to be sure that a certain number out of the lot is worth the price of the whole and consider the rest thrown in. In

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this case I satisfied myself before purchase that 1/3 the books would be priced in a fair priced German catalogue at three times what was paid —- having satisfied myself first of all that it was an unusually useful lot, in unusual condition, and with almost no duplicates.
    Auctions were attended at Florence and Rome and it was found that, with careful preparation, these Italian auctions are still among the very best sources of reasonable purchase in the world. Among the best sources of purchase when one has a large purchase list and a good memory for prices are the bookshops in the smaller places and those shops in the larger places which have no printed or even written catalogues and where no language in spoken save the vernacular, but when one’s range of wants is small the searching book for book through hundreds of thousands of volumes of stock is hunting a needle in a haymow. The larger and more disorganized stock, the better the chance of bargains, but to look at each one of one hundred thousand volumes takes much time patience and industry and does not pay unless one has so many wants, that he may expect to find, say, 1 in 1,000 volumes examined.
    With careful memoranda, another of the most satisfactory sources of purchase especially when the list of wants is moderate is the native shop with the priced slip catalogue of stock. Here one may purchase from his memoranda with mathematical certainty. In Florence where there was most time available, three book-sellers were worked in this way, under the uniform understanding that if more than $40.00 worth was bought, there should be a 25% discount. In each case it would have been possible to have bought two or three times as many books at 1/3 the known market price, if time and money had permitted, but it was necessary to save both for other cities.
    It is often asked if one cannot buy just as well from catalogues as from shops and it is true that the catalogues of the smaller dealers are a great possible

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source of bargain, but in the first place none of the minor dealers publish more than a small fraction of their stock and, in the second place these same catalogues are one of the chief sources for the organized trade especially in Germany and the most obvious bargains are immediately snapped up. Even a telegram was not quick enough to get for us a $50.00 copy of a $200 set which appeared in a little South Italian catalogue —- a set for which we were glad to pay $90.00 later; as it stood almost to the head of our list of wants.
    The only really satisfactory way to purchase is to have memoranda of precise prices. This implies large want lists and very careful preparation, for it requires the utmost familiarity with prices and the kind of things which go to make up values in order to judge from general knowledge. With such familiarity a good deal can be done by guessing prices, and it must often be done. There is for example no way of getting actual quotations on unique documents and there is no great risk either in purchasing say a book on America, before the year 1700 for 25 or 30¢ whenever the opportunity offers. If, however this is done on any very large scale a certain percentage of errors may be allowed for. Mistakes are sure to be made now and then in both directions and one has not only the pain of having paid too much sometimes but often the chagrin of having missed good opportunities through ignorance of values. There were at least two narrow escapes last winter; in one case I hesitated to pay $2.50 for a book which proved worth $35 and at another time hesitated over giving $3.00 for a lot which proved worth several hundred dollars. If another dollar had been asked in either case, Princeton would have lost the bargain.
    In general the buying from non-book-sellers in not very satisfactory. If one knows exact values, it seems morally necessary to pay a private individual at least 1/3 of the average memorandum price as being what he might hope to get from a dealer. The dealer in art antiques however often has a few books, and although the prices for these are apt to be extravagant, there are liable to be bargains among them. This was found to be the case at Lucerne, at Pallanza, in one case at

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Rome, at San Remo and since returning to America in one excellent case at New London. In purchasing of dealers whether of books or of antiquities, one may purchase in good conscience on the best terms that he can get since the dealer has made his legitimate profit in any event.
    While dealers everywhere in general claim not to give more than 10% discount and many of the best dealers are stiff in this, it was found that purchase of quantity often led to a 25% or even 40% discount and one dealer hinted even at 50%. No less than three large dealers practically said that their figures were for amateurs and that they would make the prices “right” for a librarian. Many such dealers offered to consider any offer and to “adjust” any difference of opinion: in one case a well known expensive dealer “adjusted” for about 1/3 the price printed in his catalogue.

    Turning to report on the net result or purchasing last winter as compared with the routine purchases at the market rates, two or three things should be stated. In the first place 10% must be deducted from catalogue prices in reckoning the net catalogue price compared with cash price paid. In the second place it is true that the catalogues differ a great deal among themselves and no doubt the prices of many of them are excessive, but in point of fact the more expensive dealers quoted are those recommended by the American Library Association’s Committee on book buying and who are known to have sold largely to American libraries and Professors in our a University recently, at a maximum discount of 10%. The comparisons made are generally on a basis of 20 cts. to the franc and .25 to the shilling or mark.
    In comparing prices it is always necessary to take into account condition and binding and these have been so taken into account go far as possible, but it has not always been possible to discriminate in detail between auction and catalogue and cash prices.

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    The comparisons of prices here given are of necessity chiefly by comparison of the price paid with the auction or catalogue prices. The very best comparison would be with prices known to have been actually paid by American libraries for the same books. This is by the nature of the case difficult to get at, but in a few cases this method may be applied to duplicates among our own purchases and to books bought by Professors for their own use. In one important case the Goertz collection, we are able to make a pointed illustration of this most concrete of all bases, that of prices actually paid by another library.
    This Goertz collection is the chief, and practically the only example of buying in bulk among these purchases. The collection consists of about 3800 or (if separate works bound in the same volume are counted) 4,000 volumes printed in the 16, 17, 18th centuries, in admirable condition. They represent that part of an excellent library, collected in the 18th century, which was not wanted by the Berlin Royal Library, simply because it already had the books. They represent, therefore, books which had been deemed worth adquiring for the Berlin Library and presumably thus form on the whole the more immediately useful, if less rare, portion of that library. We paid less than $750 for them on the spot or perhaps .18 a volume. The bulk was so disproportionate to price however that they had cost over $1,000 when laid down here, although the expenses of packing and transportation were reduced to the lowest terms.

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In this matter we have the following clear case of comparison with the actual purchase price of another American library. At the Sunderland Library sale, some years ago, Professor Hartranft of the Hartford Theological Seminary, of is library, checked through in the catalogue those numbers for which he saw definite scholarly use, checking in general history and philology as well as theology. The numbers were checked with 1 2 3 4 5 or 6 crosses to indicate the order of importance and directions were given to the agent to purchase only such as went cheap. In the Goertz collection are some 356 volumes which were in that sale. 113 of these volumes are unavailable for comparison because the Sunderland copies had special bindings or autographs which affected the price, but 243 volumes sold for 2225 shillings and of these Hartford got 92 volumes for 906 shillings. These books represented what the agent counted select bargains among the much larger number of books checked. These 92 books, now in the Hartford Library, cost it about $225 on the spot while our copies of the same cost us $18. The whole 243 volumes that we have cost us $45., while the corresponding copies cost Sunderland buyers $550. Examining whether the Sunderland prices are excessive we find recent quotations on twenty two of the volumes. These cost at Sunderland sale $58.75 and in the recent catalogues $110. - or nearly double. It appears thus that the 243 volumes which cost us $45, cost in the Sunderland sale $550 and are presumably priced in recent catalogues at not less than what we paid for the whole 3800 or 4000 volumes.

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2. Another test was made in Italian History and 38 out of 87 volumes in Italian History have a market value of 290 lire or say $1.40 per vol. against 18¢ paid by us.
3. Again of 54 volumes on the History of Holland and Belgium, 17 are found in the two most recent catalogues at a value of $40.65, which with 10% off gives a comparison of $36 to $3 cost.
4. Once more: the section of this collection which was counted least useful for our purchases was that of theology, this department being cared for by the Theological Seminary. This section was happily surprisingly small, being only about 1/8 and nearly half of these of direct value in history and philology. The financial value of these as rarities is such that 110 volumes are priced at $298.50 in standard catalogues.
5. Again: Natural Science and medicine. 13 vols. priced at $30.50 cost us $2.30
The question how useful old books of the sort of this Goertz collection are is one which is often asked. It is not easy to answer such a question concretely, but it may be said in the first place that many Professors who have examined these books have found things useful for their purposes. One of the chief points in getting such books and one of the chief reasons why American scholars are so handicapped in their work, when they are working in this class of material, is the fact that it is only by having the material to use that men find the use that it is to them; not having they do their work without it and their work suffers. It is a pity that no record was kept as to actual use of these books during the month after boxes were opened but there were two or three things which are to the point. One of the first books that Prof. Paul Van Dyke saw was one that he had wanted for immediate use, and for which he had already put in an order slip which he canceled when it was found there. At another time another Professor came and said that “Scaliger Poetices 1581” was needed and that three of the departments had agreed to share the expense of getting a copy; could we tell him how much it would cost? We had pleasure in telling him that it was here and bought for a sum quite within the united resources of the three departments, having cost, including importation expenses, perhaps 25 cents.
    Another way of seeing the value of such books comes out by the fact that the prime object of the purchasing last winter was sources for history, this being the object for which Mr. Pyne had given his money. In this line the Goertz collection includes 56 sets properly under the head of collections, 11 of these being series of Scriptores while there were also 27 volumes of Treaties of Peace and 234 volumes of early historical periodicals giving the current events

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of the time and most useful for historical purposes.
    And finally: Shortly after my return last spring the library had specific suggestions from two Professors (one of the Prof. Osgood) as to whether we couldn’t do some thing in the way of Neo-Latin writers in which we were weak. Dean West had previously made a suggestion to the same effect and it had been with a good deal of interest that the librarian had found this collection rich in this line. When considering purchase, it was with much pleasure therefore that the was able to tell Mr. Osgood and Mr. Critchlow that there were no less than 108 items in this field in the Goertz collection.
    It may be said in brief of the Goertz collection that the total number of volumes embraced in these five sample tests is 421, costing us $74.80 having a catalogue valuation of $975.50 or more than was paid for the 4,000 volumes. These 4,000 volumes at the same ratio would be worth more than $9,000 (less 10%) and, although the ratio of the remaining will probably be less, it is fair to say that a reasonable market price is more than was paid from all the 12,000 volumes purchased last winter.

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    Turning from the Goertz collection to the remaining 2/3 of the purchases, it is not quite so easy to get a definite statement for books purchased in such various methods and places without a complete working up of catalogue prices for all but there are two or three lines of analysis which give a pretty good view of general values.
    The chief object in purchase was historical sources for which Mr. Pyne had given money. The figures for these books is especially interesting on account of the fact that the majority of items fall within the first and second classes of purchase i.e. those in which it is a decided economy to buy for 50% of the catalogue price. A report made to Mr. Pyne in January included 343 volumes for which we had clear market prices of $719.60 and which cost us $333.50. To this may be added now 186 volumes giving with the others a total of 529 volumes having a market value of $1149.00 and for which Princeton paid $418.00.
    Another good example is in the field of maps and atlases. Just before going abroad a collection of about thirty early American maps were offered for sale to Mr. Pyne. He asked if we would like them and if the prices were fair. The matter was referred to Prof. Bingham who was our specialist and who had an elaborate system of price memoranda. He pronounced the maps desirable and the prices fair and his judgment was confirmed by quotations from recent catalogues. Purchasing during the past winter it was often necessary to get several maps in a lot or a volume and this resulted in a number of duplicates of these maps and from these we get a basis of actual comparison with our buying at ordinary good rates.
    Nearly 100 volumes of atlases were purchased and perhaps 200 separate maps for not more than $200.00. 27 volumes of these atlases seem to have a fair market value of not less than $785.00 and one of the separate maps, purchased with 59 other for $3.00 is quoted at $80.00, several others being worth $10.00 or more each. Circumstances proved that it is much cheaper to buy maps at wholesale than at retail, one of the best ways being to get imperfect atlases —- although it is hard to tell often in the case of atlases what is perfect as copies were published with very different selections of maps. One not very perfect atlas contained, together with several other American maps and many foreign ones, two duplicates of maps purchased by us for $5.75 each. The cost to us of the whole

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atlas was the cost of one single map and the cost of each American map less than $1.00 as compared with the regular market price of $5.75.
    One more illustration may be taken from the works on Latin America purchase through the aid of Mr. Scribner. The price of these have not yet been so well worked out as in the above cases, but 80 out of 196 volumes, costing Mr. Scribner $109 have a catalogue value of $ 463.
    Among these books too we have a cross check for actual purchase prices as one work of first importance cost one of our Faculty $20.00, and appears in English catalogues for £4-8-0 or more, but was gotten for $6.00.
    Another somewhat different line of illustration is found by analyzing all the purchases made at a smaller center: Toulouse. This is as good as any in prices and the condition of the books is very superior. 1053 volumes were bought here for $551.00. A selection of 101 of these volumes indicates a market price of $553.60 leaving the remaining 952 a clear profit. Quotations are now in hand for 468 volumes out of the whole 1053 and these indicate a fair market price of $1104.75 for these volumes and, although these are quite the more valuable portion, indicate a total value of not less than $1800.00 or 2000.00 for the 1053 vols. costing $551.00.
    In bringing this matter to your attention it is not pretended that foreign purchase is the only method of purchase or that other librarians may not exercise this as well as ourselves. The same principles apply to the auction and book-shops of our own country. Only by the nature of the things the bulk of the books wanted even in English are foreign books. These are found here less often and this fact although it now and then works for cheapness on the average tends to a very much higher price. There are few instances in which other libraries do work the foreign travel method in a practical fashion but there is no reason why anyone would not. It is simply a matter of patience, industry and above all of adequate preparation.
    The net conclusion is that with capital, preparation and attention books may be bought for this library at one third or one fourth the market value for books not needed at once.

Original typescript located in the Board of Trustees Records (AC120), box 25, folder 2 (15 October 1908)


On the front paste down of volume 1 The English in France By the Author of “The English in Italy” Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Carey, 1829. [(Ex) Item 5251517]

According to Joseph Barlow Felt, Annals of Salem (Salem, 1849), vol. II, p. 33, Mrs. Harris’s stock eventually numbered 4,000 volumes.

Note Condition number VII “Subscribers lending their books will be charged for them as non-subscribers, separate from their privilege as subscribers.” She was not going to be undercut by customers “repackaging” her “loan” to them. Her protectionism can also be seen in her final Hint: “It is requested that new books be returned in three days.”

Darwin catalogued in 1884

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The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin is February 12 and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his On the Origin of Species will be in November.

If you look up Darwin in the earliest printed catalogue of the Library to contain mention of his work, you are drawn to pages 220 and 221 of the Subject-catalogue of the Library of the College of New Jersey, at Princeton (New York, 1884), compiled by head Librarian Frederic Vinton.

The entry for Darwin is under the heading ‘Evolution of Species.’ Such is expected. But, library catalogues always provide surprising juxtapositions of headings, and this 1884 Subject-catalogue is no exception. The entry preceding ‘Evolution’ is ‘Evidences of revealed religion,’ subdivided into three sections, the last of which is ‘(Revelation denied).’
Immediately following ‘Evolution of species’ is the ‘Evolution of the universe… (See also Cosmology, Metaphysics)’, followed by ‘Examinations (academic)’

This sequence of entries has an unexpectedly modern tone — in public discourse, these categories are still in close proximity today. Clearly Librarian Vinton was not only an expert bibliographer and cataloguer. He was a cunning compiler who knew the power of lists to both reflect and anticipate debate.

Overwrapped in otterskin

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Johann Buxtorf. Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum (Basel, 1645)
Call number: (Ed) 2291.231.11

Native American and English contact is documented by this copy of Buxtorf’s Lexicon (1645) owned by the Reverend David Brainerd (1718-1747).

Pictured above is the front cover and spine of the book. An otterskin piece, decorated in a pattern characteristic of Native Americans of the Eastern woodlands, wraps over the tattered original spine and boards. Mismatched pattern stripes at the inside corners (not pictured) show the wrapper to be a fragment of a larger piece. This suggests that the wrapper was salvaged from another Indian artifact no longer useful at the time for its original purpose but eligible as repair material. It is unknown precisely when the overwrapper (or, overcover) was added but various evidence suggests occurrence during the eighteenth century.

In 1739, Brainerd entered Yale but was expelled for sympathizing with the Whitefield revival and, so it is told, for remarking that a college tutor had ‘no more grace than this chair.’ A missionary of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, the Rev. Brainerd evangelized among Indian groups in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania. His most notable success came among the Delaware at Crossweeksung. In the spring of 1746 he and his Indian wards moved their community to Cranbury. In October of the following year Brainerd died in the house of Jonathan Edwards - a future president of Princeton - in Northampton, Massachusetts. Brainerd was engaged to marry Edwards’ daughter Jerusha when he died of tuberculosis at age 29.

The book was bequeathed by Brainerd to Jonathan Edwards and was passed down through Edwards’s descendants, including the Rev. Tryon Edwards, and Dr. Fitzhugh Edwards. It was presented as a gift of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards through Mrs. William F. H. Edwards on September 7, 1907. It followed the family’s earlier gift of books from Edwards’s library made on September 27, 1897.

The Library has loaned this book to Morven for the exhibition “Picturing Princeton 1783: The Nation’s Capital,” on view until June 2009.

Going back to ancient times is a pictorial genre depicting the course of human life — an illustration of a man’s progress from start to end plotted onto the length and depth of a two-dimensional plane. By convention, the beginning point is in the foreground; the end is in the distance. Such images are a single-sheet form of the “picture story,” a means of expression developed so well by Hogarth (“Rake’s Progress”) or Daumier. As Hogarth said “I treat my subjects as a dramatic writer; my picture is my stage, and men and women my players.”

One of the earliest examples of this genre is the “Tablet of Cebes,” a mural said to be in the temple of Chronos in either Athens or Thebes. It showed one’s progress from entry at the gate of Genius to the goal of reaching Happiness in the end. Here is an image from a 1694 work showing the path.

[H. L. Spieghel, Hertspieghel en andere zede-schriften (Amsterdam, 1694), folding plate following page 72.]

[Note: Detail about the picture can be found on page 8 -11 of Richard Parsons, Cebes’ Tablet (Boston, 1901) available in Google Book Search. Much more on the topic is available from Reinhart Schleier,
Tabula Cebetis; oder, “Spiegel des Menschlichen Lebens darin Tugent und untugent abgemalet ist” : Studien zur Rezeption einer antiken Bildbeschreibung im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert. Berlin, Gebr. Mann Verlag (c1973).]

Equally forceful is the depiction of the course of life in reverse — in the case of this temperance broadside, cast as a railway route from “Sippington” to “Destruction” with 30 stops in between.

[Black Valley Railroad, Great Central Fast Route, colored wood engraving issued by the National Temperance Society, New York and Boston.(1880?) Ex Item 5184327q]

Up until about 1900, a moral dialogue about the Tablet was widely used as a school text for the teaching of elementary Greek, so it is not surprising that the learned advocates of temperance in the United States adapted the genre for popular, moral instruction.


Illustrated above is an uncommon survivor of the book trade: an entrance ticket to a general sale of “several thousand volumes” in Edinburgh in 1818.

Unsold stock is the bane of any bookseller. In this case William Nivison put up for sale at the Royal Exchange Coffee House not only single copies of timely books, such as the London, three volume edition of Lewis and Clark’s Travels, but also offered titles in bulk, such as “100 (copies) Burns’s Works, 4 vol. 12mo, calf, titled, [individually priced at] £1, 6s.” He sold more than books, for the catalogue includes such items as drawing boxes at different prices (at 2s, 6s, 10s, and “complete” at £1, 10s), drawing pencils, quills, “maps published within these last 12 months,” and “Church Music Tunes.”

The 2645 volumes and other items in the 11 page catalogue are listed and priced. How did his prices compare with the market? One case in point may well tell the story of the whole. Nivison offers Hannah More’s Sacred Dramas at 3s 6d in calf. An 1815 Scottish advertisement for this same book offered it at 6s in boards. The price differential may give us a clue as to why Nivison was charging admission to the sale (price on the ticket “seven shillings and sixpence.”) He was underselling the trade, which had several consequences. On the one hand, as his prices approached his cost for stock, it meant slim profits per unit. On the other hand, there was money to be made, because profit could be had from the gate fee charged to the bargain hunters coming to his sale. Nivison realized there was value not only in the stock offered but in the event itself. He did not overlook putting a fee to a customer’s opportunity.

But, were there all that many customers? This ticket is number 1592. If it is indeed the 1,592nd ticket sold, then, he would have grossed £597. (He gave £991 as the total value of the stock on sale.) We will never know, perhaps, the final outcome of Nivison’s sale, but, it is recorded “In October 1819, [the Edinburgh Booksellers Society] … was exercised by the ‘system of underselling [that] has prevailed for some time in the Book Trade of Edinburgh.’ ” (p. 138, Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland [2007], vol. 3)


To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Description de l’Égypte, Princeton University Library is currently presenting the exhibition Egypt Unveiled: The Mission of Napoleon’s Savants.

Despite the failure of Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1798 military campaign in Egypt, the work of the scholars who accompanied him on the expedition was an incredible success. A group of 151 scientists, engineers, and artists was recruited to explore, describe, and document every aspect of the country. From the great temples and tombs of ancient Egypt to contemporary customs and trades, from Egyptian animals, plants, and minerals to local topography, the savants—or scholars—captured it all.

The single greatest archaeological discovery made by the French in Egypt was a dark gray granite slab found in July 1799 near the town of Rosetta, east of Alexandria. Measuring forty-seven inches tall and thirty-two inches wide, the scholars immediately recognized the importance of the artifact. The same decree from 196 B.C. is inscribed on the stone in three scripts: Greek (bottom), Egyptian demotic (middle), and Egyptian hieroglyphics (top). The Rosetta Stone proved to be the key to decoding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, allowing the language to be read for the first time in fifteen hundred years.

Description de l’Égypte, the comprehensive result of all of the scholars’ work and research, was published beginning in 1809. Comprising twenty-three volumes and 837 engraved plates, it is considered an extraordinary scholarly achievement as well as a foundational work of modern Egyptology.

Egypt Unveiled: The Mission of Napoleon’s Savants is on view through Sunday, May 10, 2009, in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library. The exhibition was organized by Jen Meyer, Assistant to the Curator of Rare Books. Former Assistant, Paula Entin, also contributed. For more information, visit:

Note regarding the exhibition poster: The scholars enjoyed drawing each other at work in Egypt. In this sketch, an expedition artist contemplates a mighty granite statue of Rameses II in Thebes. Citation: “Thèbes. Karnak. Vue d’un colosse placé à l’entrée de la salle hypostyle du palais.” Antiquities. Vol. III, pl. 20. Description de l’Égypte: ou, Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française. Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1809-1822. Gift from the library of Ralph E. Prime (1840-1920), presented in 1921 by his sons, Ralph E. Prime Jr., Class of 1888, and William Cowper Prime Jr., Class of 1890. Rare Book Division. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

'The rare book library as a research centre'

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In 1956, a year before Thomas R. Adams became librarian of the John Carter Brown Library, he queried the university librarian at Princeton about the administration of the rare book collections in the library. The questionnaire was part of a larger survey project resulting in Adams’s article in Library Trends, entitled “Rare Books: Their Influence on the Library World.” (April 1957). Adams’s first five questions were headed “Origins of the Collection.”

Tom Adams was always interested in fundamental questions, such as how and why a collection began. I learned this fact when I worked for him between 1969 and 1974. I was reminded again of this characteristic as I listened to several of his closest personal friends in the profession speak at his memorial this past Saturday.

His last publication appears in the Winter 2008 issue of The Book Collector. It is a valedictory entitled “Defining Americana: The Evolution of the John Carter Brown Library.”

He begins with a remarkable sentence: “The emergence of a rare book library as a research centre had its origins in a reaction to the growth of the tax-supported free public library.” In one swoop, Tom Adams has told us how began the enterprise in which he made his career. His reason fits a larger theme common in collecting - that all collecting is reparative. Thus, one aspect of the ‘rare book library as reseach centre’ was to provide a locus apart from the leveling, ‘best books’ approach provided by an agency of the modern, democratic state. On the other hand, his genesis story can also be considered in terms of changing public policy. Indeed, Adams moves in this direction on page three in his summary story of American libraries. Their roots, he says, lay in the reading publics associated with colleges, churches, or subscriptions ‘companies.’ But as the reading public enlarged in the 19th century, and, concurrently, as did their voting rights and their popular powers to shape public policy, so did ideas about what a library could be. Tax support enabled possession without ownership — the actuality that readers could have a book in their hands independent of the means needed to control it as property.

Adams’s point then is that owners of precious, rare books found such developments alarming because they disabled a system for the future public life of a collector’s books. For these collectors - Adams gives the names on page one: … Peter Force, Thomas Aspinwall, George Brinley, James Lenox, Henry C. Murphy, James Carson Brevoort, Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow and John Carter Brown — in the days of their youth, the college, church, and company model was in place. There was a certain wholeness in this model. But, by their latter years, and certainly by the early years of their children, a new, mixed, more democratic model was in place. To recover ‘the place of grace’ tracing back to earlier times, it made sense to set up a future apart and anew. In this context, then, we come to the words of John Carter Brown’s son who declared in his will “that this library … shall preserve its identity as a whole” (p. 5)

Although it makes sense to conclude that for Carter Brown’s son, John Nicholas, the phrase “to preserve its individual identity as a whole” meant disunion with the merging democratic tendencies of a Boston Public or a New York Public, there is still the question as to what was meant positively by this phrase. What is a library’s “individual identity”? Can its identity really be independent of the community that shaped it?

I suggest that the John Carter Brown represents an idea comparable to the the idea of the States United. It represents the hope that a singular act will preserve an abstraction — just as it was hoped that a particular declaration made in Philadelphia one past July would bring liberty.

Therein lies the positive meaning of ‘to preserve its individual identity’ — namely, the point of the library was to define, to describe, to help us understand an idea rather than mass-commodify it. ‘The rare book library as a research centre’ is about questions, rather than answers.

Note: Page citations above are from the reprint of the article whose front cover is pictured above.

Standing within "The Temple of Time"


Invented by Emma Willard (1787-1870). Published in 1846 by A.S. Barnes & Co., 51 John Street, New York. At the chart’s lower right, the famed educator of American women states its raison d’être:

“Those laws of mind by which not only the memory is assisted, but the intellect formed, have been regarded in this invention. The attempt to understand chronology by merely committing dates to memory, is not only painful, but it is as useless as to learn latitudes and longitudes without the study of maps. As in geography, the relation of any place to all other places is what is important to know; so in chronology, the relation which any given event bears to others constitutes the only useful knowledge. Whosever wishes, can here locate himself in any point of time, and see what characters are cotemporary [sic], what before, and what to follow. This saves great labor of thought, and may suggest new ideas, even to the learned.

By putting the course of time into perspective, the disconnected parts of a vast subject are united in one, and comprehended at a glance; — the poetic idea of “the vista of departed years”[*] is made an object of sight; and when the eye is the medium, the picture will by frequent inspection, be formed within, and forever remain, wrought into the living texture of the mind. If this be done by a design whose beauty and grandeur naturally attract attention, then the teacher or parent who shall place it before his pupils and children, will find that they will insensibly become possessed of an inner “Temple” in which they may, through life, deposit, in the proper order of time, the facts of history as they shall acquire them. This, we repeat, is as important to the student of time as maps are to the student of place. Nations are here exhibited both ethnographically and chronographically. With any of the most celebrated characters of the world, we may in idea stand within the “Temple,” and look back to the past, and forward to the future.”

  • “the vista of departed years” - A line from the poem “The Flight of Time” by John Lowe, published in Edinburgh in 1845.

Front cover: Willard’s Map of Time: A Companion to the Historic Guide. By Emma Willard. New-York, [1846]. Call number: (Ex) Item 5146637q

For more particulars on the Library’s significant holdings relating to the history of charts and tables of chronology as well as timelines, see the relevant entry in the Guide to Selected Special Collections.

“Say, can a greater wonder e’re be found / Than light conveyed by syphons under ground?”

Gas Lamp Lighters Address. Broadside with two poems, illustrated with woodcuts, 500 x 375 mms., with imprint of E. Billing and Son, Printers, 186, Bermondsey Street. [London], c. 185-. [Call number: (Ex) Broadside 408] Purchased in 2008.

Seeking a gratuity at the Christmas season, the gas lamp lighter greets his customer with verse and pictures. His work is heroic, as the verse points out, achieving far greater wonder than steam power (“hurl mankind full fifty miles per hour”) and the “electric stream” (“transmits in moments news to distant land.” (In 1849, a telegraph line was laid under the English Channel connecting Dover to Calais; it took a number of years for locomotives, first introduced in 1804, to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. Coal gas — a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, etc — first illuminated Pall Mall in London in 1807. )

Delighting the eye are two large pictures:

At top, “The merry dance, the gay and festive throng/ Beneath the boughs of misselto’s bright green/ To jolly Christmas only can belong/ For now’s the time superior pleasures seen….” Certainly this must be Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball. (The original John Leech illustration first appeared in the first edition of Dickens’s masterpiece A Christmas Carol, London, 1843).

At bottom is “View of the Gas Works,” the centerpiece of a triptych flanked by images of dandy “Gasmen” in top hat. This large scene is derived from the 1821 print “Drawing the Retorts at the Great Gas Light Establishment, Brick Lane.”

Between the upper and lower large scenes are depicted further wonders. At middle left, above a scene of the birth of Christ is “The Gasometer.” At middle right, above the scene of the Crucifixion is “Drawing the Retorts.” (A gasometer or gas-holder is a large container for holding gas. “Drawing the Retorts” refers to clearing spent coal from the distilling apparatus.) The parallelism is most subtle — at left, images of promise and supply; at right, images of exhaustion and work done. ‘Tis a curious double message about who is the worker of wonders: God and /or man?


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The above is a graph generated by Excel from a table of the holdings for the general rare book collection at Princeton, commonly referred to as the Ex collection.

The x axis (horizontal) is date of publication. The y axis (vertical) is the number of books in the Ex collection with that date.

Of course, the obvious question to ask is: “What does this graph tell us about the general character of the collection?”

On the one hand, there is an expected answer. The number of books held in the collection and printed in a given year rises over time from the beginning of printing in the 15th century down to the present. This enlarging curve is comparable to the standard graph of all books produced worldwide from the beginning of printing down to the present. Print production follows the curve of expanding world population. It makes sense that as there are more books produced for a given year, there are more books collected.

However, if you look closely, you will see spikes at the following points: 1640s, 1680s, 1770s, 1790s, and the 1860s.

Q. What is the reason for these spikes?

A. War, revolution, and the threat of revolution.

The collections have long had a bias toward books printed in either Great Britain or the United States. Such were the cultural origins of many of past donors and providers of endowments. Recovering origins has long been a characteristic of collecting. But these reasons would only account for general trends.

More specifically, war and revolution are periods that produce a surge in the production of print. Contest and controversy accelerate communication. When it is over, however, it makes sense that there are those who seek to recover what has been lost and determine what has come about afterwards by collecting. Their collecting follows the publishing patterns of war, revolution, and the fear of revolution.

1640s - The English Civil War generated innumerable pamphlets
1680s - Restoration of Protestant monarchs to the English throne
1770s - War in the British Colonies in North America
1790s - Fear in England of the invasion of French revolutionary ideas as well as of Napoleon’s army
1860s - Civil War in the US / War between the States

Poor Richard's Biblomac



Volume 1, number 1, above the fold. Call number (Ex) 0100.733e

August 1940, New York City.
Publishers Burstein and Chappe issue Poor Richard’s Biblomac.
An excerpt from the lead editorial:

For the most part, Poor Richard’s Biblomac reflects and idea we have - an idea that anyone whose stock-in-trade is books - the librarian, the bookseller, the publisher—has a function in democratic society that means something more than delivering books from stack to reader. And, today, when the propaganda of self-acclaimed patriots and pundits is peddled among more and more customers so that democracy is in increasing danger of finding itself saved by totalitarians, when labeling individuals and groups with the neologism “fifth column” is becoming a national pastime and when the word and the book is suspect, there is a need for a publication which will discuss the issues which confront the bookman in his capacity as citizen, discuss his function and urge its exercize. Poor Richard’s Biblomac may not be that publication but we will try.

Because we believe that the book, as much as the bullet, is ammunition for the democratic state—that the needs of our American democracy are best served by more, and not less, democracy, we will expose and oppose trends and movements designed to cripple libraries and hamper book production and reading. We have made a start, we think by devoting part of this issue to the question: shall libraries censor reading?

We have no illusion that we shall turn tides or, more modestly, change attitudes. We are content if, from time to time, we shall be able to create interest and discussion in vital problems, ruffle the calm waters of the status quo and, if necessary, make nuisances of ourselves about things we think matter. Herbert Burstein.

Little is known about Burstein and Chappe. However, one of the contributors to this first issue was Lawrence Heyl, acting head librarian at Princeton during 1939 -1940, and long time library officer, retiring in 1962 as Associate Librarian. Presumably, because of Heyl’s interest in the publication, the Library preserved the Biblomac, which lasted only three issues. Today, it signals the acute concern of American librarians at the time — Archibald MacLeish foremost among them — that preserving democracy meant engagement not isolation.

A Sexagenarian in New Jersey

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Sixty years ago today, on September 7, 1948, Firestone Library, the University’s central main library, opened its doors to the public. The opening capped a process of analysis, planning, fund-raising, design, and construction stretching back into the early 1920s when it first became evident that Pyne Library, constructed 1896-97, was running out of space.

According to Meg Rich’s “Firestone at Fifty: History with a Human Face,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 60:1 (Autumn, 1998), p. 9 ff, during the summer of 1948, “thirty-seven undergraduates, 90 percent of them war veterans, worked for ten weeks to move the better part of 1.2 million volumes over a 100-yard ramp from old shelves to new.” The names and classes of all students involved appears together with their group photograph on page 19. [NB - When the author published this article she was known as Peggy Meyer Sherry.]

The photograph above right show students moving books from the dismal basement of Pyne. Adjacent is an early photograph of the front elevation of Firestone.

Parallel worlds -- The New Bibliopolis



At right is figure 1.4 in Willa Z. Silverman’s recently published The New Bibliopolis: French Book Collectors and the Culture of Print, 1880-1914 (University of Toronto, 2008). “Binding with silver and gold tooling by Pétrus Ruban (1896) for Voltaire, Zadig, ou, La Destinée (1893).” [Illustration credit: Princeton University Library, Rare Book Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, (Ex) PQ2082 .Z3 1893q]

Explaining why and how this book came into the Library, not to mention that it was first owned by Henri Beraldi (1849-1931), an important character in the New Bibliopolis, is a story unto itself. More fundamental is a larger narrative of two parallel worlds. Considering closely the story of the New Bibliopolis provides an intriguing glimpse at collecting in the New and Old Worlds at the end of the nineteenth century.

Prof. Silverman provides a comprehensive view of a world created by bibliophiles of a post-war generation. They are the “generation that came of age with the disastrous 1870 French defeat by Prussia.” (p.12) They were wealthy, literary men who took language and discourse seriously. They prized being able to recognize what the stakes were — technology was going to displace the humanity of communication. Technology was headed to up-end what they prized in communication, such as the stimulation of the imagination. They “established themselves as champions of a paradoxical ‘newness’ that in fact attempted to combine an allegiance to modernity with a stalwart defence of French traditions.” (p.19)

What is striking here is that this group shared a mood now recognized as part of a larger mood occurring internationally in the advanced capitalist nations at the end of the nineteenth century. For the United States, this mood is best documented in Jackson Lears’s No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880-1920, detailing in full the narrative of “a yearning for authentic experience” (p. xix) among the “ruling groups in a developed capitalist society” (p. xvi). This group too was a post-war generation, coming of age after Appomattox.

In both instances collecting served a restorative end. For the French “bibliophiles contemporains,” documented so well by Silverman, collecting meant creating, distributing, and preserving books signaling the ideals of their own era, rather than purchasing, re-binding, and shelving books from the past. For them, modern bibliophily meant being “creative,” “prospective,” and being “a wise friend of books, free from all ostentation and vanity”(p. 5, 16). They dubbed those of the old school as “the archeologicans of the book” (p. 22, 222 n. 4).

On the other hand, late nineteenth century American collectors sought out old books, paid high prices for “Americana” (early European books about the discovery and settlement of the Americas), and valued the transformative power of the original to “connect the present with the past.” Authentic experience was the prize.

The phrase above regarding “connecting” is that of Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), historian, book collector and first president of Cornell, who added that “in our work, it seemed to me well to impress, upon the more thinking students at least, the idea that all they saw had not ‘happened so,’ without the earnest agency of human beings; but that it had been the result of the earnest life-work of men and women, and that no life-work to which a student might aspire could be more worthy. … ” (Autobiography, p. 407-409)

Olympia Press

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In June, at Christie’s (New York), the Library acquired the collection of Olympia Press publications consigned by the Press’s bibliographer, Patrick Kearney. The work of many years, the Kearney collection brought together virtually the entire output of the Press, more than 400 volumes, published between the firm’s first imprint in 1953 and its last in 1974. Included are books issued in the firm’s several series, such as the Traveller’s Companion Series (Paris and New York), Ophelia Press, (Paris and New York), Collection Merlin, Ophir Books, Atlantic Library, Far-Out Books, Le Grande Séverine, Othello Books, and Odyssey Library.

Put “Olympia Press” into Google Book Search and back come thousands of citations. These range from appearances in such conventional works as Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature or the Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives to less expected locales such as Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary.

This range of attention reflects that particular double character of the Olympia Press. In 1965, the New York Times noted

“Mr. [Maurice] Giordias began the Olympia Press on a shoestring in 1953. He catered to English speaking tourists, with high priced, highly spiced books in plain covers, stamped ‘not to be introduced into the United States or the United Kingdom.’ Olympia, however, always published more serious books as well. Its current list has such title as ‘The Ordeal of the Rod,’ ‘The Bedroom Philosophers,’ and ‘Lust’ with Lawrence Durell’s ‘The Black Book,’ Valdimir Nabokov’s ‘Lolita,’ J.P. Donleavy’s ‘The Ginger Man’ and novels by Samuel Beckett.”

Illustrated above are the cover and first pages of the firm’s 1962 promotional price-list. The provocative red and black design raises questions.

What is censorship? Its history is that of a constant dialogue between the enforcer, the observant, and the violator. The terms of the dialogue change regularly with time and circumstance. Each side is bound by a sense of order. The enforcer and observant appeal to some sense of local, political order, while the violator usually appeals to some larger sense of order, such as that stemming from one’s sense of nature or of humanity.

It would be easy to push aside past known cases of censorship, as simply relics of a former age. On the other hand, if one is to understand the workings and character of the modern political state, then one must try to understand censorship. It is entirely possible that censorship is as definitive of the modern state as the doctrine of military power or the doctrine of copyright.

If we are to know what censorship meant for those who enacted, enforced, observed, and violated it, we need to see and know what was regarded as offending. A scholarly, disinterested motive to know the past is the basis on which the decision to make this purchase was made.

Cataloguing the collection — book by book — is partially completed and continues through the fall. The purchase also included “approximately 34 folders and envelopes containing typescripts, correspondence from Maurice Girodias (signed), Marco Vassi, and others, pamphlets, leaflets, photocopies of journal articles, and additional miscellaneous items relating to the publishing history of the Olympia Press.” These additional materials are in two parts: one gathered as Manuscripts Collection number C1262; the other as (Ex) Item … (in process, oversize).

Princeton’s unique copy of the seventeenth century English engraving “A Mappe of the Man of Sin” is “Print of the Month” for August 2008 on the website British Printed Images to 1700, a digital library of prints and book illustrations from early modern Britain.

The 3,151 word article together with 22 footnotes explains this complicated engraving scene-by-scene and detail-by-detail.

The engraving is also described in Malcolm Jones, “Engraved Works Recorded in the Stationers’ Registers, 1562-1656,” Walpole Society, 64 (2002), p. 1-68 ff., number 176, p. 32 and fig 24.

Below is a detail from A Mappe of the Man of Sin: Wherein is Most Liuely Delineated the Rising Raigning and Ruine of the Kingdome of Antichrist [London, 1622]. Rare Book Division. Call number: (Ex) BT985 .W5e. Purchased from the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch in 1988.

‘Abby-lubber Preest’ • Click on the detail below to see entire original. Dimensions of original: 443 mm x 545 mm.


Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets
— The rest of the story

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Year in and year out, during summer, students help prepare finding aids, inventory lists, and the like, all aimed at item level control of collections, especially for collections of ephemera. This year was no exception.

One major project was the checklisting leaf-by-leaf of the contents of the Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets, previously announced in this web log.

Elizabeth Sarah Quirk Goodman (Harvard ‘08) prepared a 100 page listing, giving thousands of details about the more than 1100 jackets in the collection.

She also wrote the following reflections on the project —

Regarding the bound volumes

“The bound volumes look as if they were a running collection, in which the publisher’s staff pasted jackets for books by the same author on adjacent pages and left room for more jackets. The estimates must have been difficult to make, however: the authors are not in any particular order, and sometimes they reappear later or there are blank spaces on the pages. Nearly all of the jackets have yellow as the background color, and those in volume 1 are listed as H&S yellow jacket books. The spines are always yellow, and usually the cover art has yellow as a background or at least a yellow frame around another picture. The cover art, for the most part, varies: complete and colorful illustrations, or illustrations of people with no scenery but the yellow background, or illustrations with only three or four different colors in them. The colors used are usually true hues that all stand out from one another and catch the eye.
Most of the books have captions or catchy slogans on them. They may be thoughts from the book (“Determined to forget”) or lines of poetry, or dialogue supplied for the cover art (such as “The river is being watched,” when the cover art features a man whispering to another man). Sometimes they are more directly about the book (such as “The most romantic couple ever shipwrecked”), or statements advertising the quality of the book. As far as advertising the quality of the book goes, the idea seems to be to inspire author loyalty, to assure new readers or remind experienced ones that the author writes books they should want to read. Therefore, many of the books include the author’s name in a slogan about the author, such as “Switch off the wireless—it’s an Oppenheim”. Some make claims about the author, such as “Everybody likes her”. I have called these slogans “author’s epithets,” and put into that column anything that is more about the author than the particular book. I find that the captions make the book seem like something I would want to read once for a cheap thrill and then discard, because they point out one piece of mystery or romantic angst and one presumes the entire book is about that. The epithets are a bit better, and they may come from the authors themselves: one author, Seldon Truss, wrote a book titled Escort to Danger, and a lot of his books feature the slogan “Let Seldon Truss be your escort to danger”. Perhaps the problem is not the abundance of advertisement so much as its large fonts getting in the way of the rest of the book; more books nowadays have small-text reviews on the front, and perhaps an award stamp, which are easily enough ignored. But at least some of the books probably should not be judged by these covers, since they are the lesser-known books by authors such as L. M. Montgomery.
The first covers in the front of volume 1, which cost 9 pence, are only the front covers. Often they don’t have the author’s full name displayed, only the last name, and even that may be the enlarged part of a catchy slogan about the author. However, the later books in the back of volume 1 and all of volume 2, which cost 2 shillings (10 pence) or more, nearly always feature the spine as well. The spine lists the author, title, price, and H&S. The full dust jackets are quite interesting: in the first part of volume 2 they belong to the “H&S Half-a-crown library”, and the back cover is a simplified version of the front cover. No title or author appears, but the cover art appears in approximate mirror image, as a penciled sketch on a white background with one solid color in some places, and often the caption appears at the bottom. … The two full dust jackets in the inverted part of volume 2, which are not labeled in the same series, have colorless pencil sketches on the back that provide some sort of continuation of the front cover art. One has a man in a spotlight onstage at the front, and the back has an audience and the beam of light for the spotlight; the other has two people sitting and talking on the front, and one person hiding (perhaps eavesdropping) on the back. This art comes across better on a flattened cover, and it would work well when seen on the back of an open book.

Regarding the boxes of loose leaves

The three boxes proved much more difficult to sort out. Box 2 has covers mounted on light sheets of paper, but the sheets cannot possibly all come from the same wrapper book, because not only do they have different numbering styles but they also come in different sizes. Still, I was able to sort most of the leaves and half-leaves out into three wrapper books and put the rest in a folder together, numbering them. I used “M” before the number to show that it was not a page number that had already been written in. Many of the covers in this box were less garish than the usual yellowjackets, which were on perhaps half of the leaves. A lot of the covers had white backgrounds, used more colors for less stark cover art, and were without epithets if not captions. The captions were more often book review quotes such as one might find on covers now, though one caption claimed its book was “transfused with a white flame.”

Box 1 was probably originally a volume much like volumes 1 and 2 (labeled 3), because it has books on brown leaves, some of which are foliated in yellow and some in white. Unfortunately this led to difficulty because some of the leaves had been cut in half and a number appeared only at the corner of the right half, so I had to play a matching game and match unnumbered half-leaves with the numbered ones. This was unexpectedly successful, partly because two covers on one page usually feature the same author, and otherwise because whoever cut or tore the pages in half never did it quite the same way twice; he left a reasonable jigsaw puzzle. Box 3 has the remnants, including some dark brown half-leaves matched up, and a few leaves numbered differently. In these two boxes, one would often see a message such as “This is one of [auth.]’s most famous novels, and this is the edition for your Library” or “This is a completely NEW BOOK now first published”, and these seem to reflect different marketing ploys from the usual captions and epithets. In addition, there are some covers for 1-shilling books in a category one might call “Christian inspiration,” as they seem to have a missionary purpose. These are never yellow jackets, but always have thin white spines. They also didn’t have captions, as the attention was probably meant to be drawn by the titles themselves, such as What If He Came?

Conestoga Chief — Only copy recorded

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On November 15, 1857, the Philadelphia newspaper The Press carried this notice on page two:


The hopeful wish that the journal become “popular … profitable” clearly did not happen. No library is recorded as having a copy. Recently, a copy was found in the the Library’s Western Americana Collections. The Princeton copy was acquired on December 8, 1969 but was never entered into the Library’s main catalog. Its existence was noted only in two Princeton checklists of American Indian periodicals, one issued in 1970 and the other in 1979. (It still remains a mystery why a publication intended for a fraternal secret society of white men was included among periodicals published by or for native Americans.) Nonetheless, even though its existence was noted, it was not easily retrievable because it had no call number. During recent final days of a now completed five year campaign to box, inventory, and catalog American Indian periodicals, the Chief was found in a large, thin portfolio. During cataloging, its rarity and significance was discovered. The official record for the Chief now reads:

Title: Conestoga chief. Published/Created: Philadelphia, Pa. : H.L. Goodall, 1857. Description: v. ; 50 cm. Began with vol. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 28, 1857) Notes: “Devoted to the Improved Order of Red Men — popular literature, instruction and amusement.” Intended for weekly publication. Cf. Prospectus (vol. 1, no. 1, p. 8). No more published? Subject(s): Improved Order of Red Men —Periodicals. Related name(s): Improved Order of Red Men. Location: Rare Books: Western Americana Collection (WA) Call number: Oversize 2008-0020E

• • •

An extract from the July 1860 issue of The Ladies Repository, (p. 412-413) tells a tale of reader reaction to the Conestoga Chief. The story is titled “Indians’ Newspaper” and appeared in column headed “Recollections of a Deaf and Dumb Teacher, by Joe, the Jersey Mute.” (Actual name of the author was Joseph Mount.)

“In November, 1857, an Indian established a weekly newspaper at Philadelphia, called the “Conestoga Chief.” I bought a copy of the Chief for the double purpose of reading the thoughts of the red men, as expressed in the columns of that paper, and of showing it to my class, which was then, as now, composed wholly of boys. They were thrown in considerable excitement at sight of the word ”Chief” printed in such large characters, not exactly knowing that it was a “real, genuine, no-mistake” newspaper. They were in hot water, some declaring that they would be tomahawked, burnt alive, and all that sort of thing, and others that they would arm themselves with axes, knives, and the like, and stand with a strong front before the red face rather than submit to the Indian mode of burning alive, of which they had heard so much. As might be expected, all the school and the paper were together by the ears. I had considerable difficulty in restoring order in the schoolroom. I explained to the excited boys that the “Chief” was got up for the purpose of giving information, the same as the other papers of which the pale-faces had charge. They were convinced of their error, and had the magnanimity to own it up. They insisted upon knowing more of the Indians as they now exist, since I was thus placed in possession of a medium of communication with them. I marked three articles for recitation; namely, “An Eye for an Eye; or, an Indian Justice,” “The Indians,” and “Harper’s Mill,” which, in my opinion, were worth the price of the number. As I read those articles by signs, I never saw a more attentive audience in all my life, a fact which shows that even mute children of tender years regard the red face with lively interest, and ever wish to see more of it. One of my boys told me that the most beautiful girl he ever saw was a young squaw residing in the neighborhood of his home, and he said further that he wished to marry her. My boys particularly wished to see Indian girls, they said. Shame, shame on them for their partiality! But since they were then quite young, their ages varying from seven to twelve years, let their weakness in this respect be winked at.”

Archives in the Metropolis

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London, July 4, 2008. It’s a little before 10 pm. I can hear fireworks out my hotel window. Somewhere in this old metropolis, I would like to think, the loss of empire is ignored while former colonists celebrate independence. And, tonight at the British Museum in the grand room that once housed King George’s library, there were readings from Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The books have moved out to the new British Library building. With minimal intrusion, the room has been converted to exhibition space under the theme ‘Enlightenment.’ Although the trophies of empire are everywhere, from the native goods collected by Sir Hans Sloane to a famous engraved stone labeled ‘captured in Egypt by the British Army 1801,’ modern day labels remind us, in the section regarding eighteenth century overseas exploration, that, in light of the viewpoint of indigenous peoples, ‘discovery is a relative concept.’

Nonetheless, discovery is the reason why I am here. I made the journey in order to answer questions about American rare book collectors of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For them the empire of books led to London and a dealer known in his day as the ‘Napoleon of the Book Trade,’ Bernard Quaritch (NY Times, 19 December 1899). Founded in 1847, and continuously in business down to today, the firm generously made its archives available to me for my research. I couldn’t have been better greeted and treated. All the staff were wonderfully helpful and hospitable.

I got some answers, especially about one of Princeton’s primary donors of rare books to the Library, Junius Spencer Morgan. But I also learned a lot about the context in which Junius Morgan made his purchases from Quaritch both retail and via auction. And, surrounding this story of just one American collector is the much larger story of Quaritch’s overseas expansion, in particular into America. Bernard Alfred Quaritch, son of the founder, made his first sales trip to the United States in 1890 and continued thereafter almost annually until his death in 1913. One letter in the archive sums up the outcome of BAQ’s efforts. From New York, on September 15, 1911, he wrote to his business colleague, E.H. Dring: “America is certainly our best market now.” Yet to be answered in detail is the obvious question about how and why did this come to be so. I picked up some signals this trip, but much more exploration is required. After all, ‘discovery is a relative concept.’

Exposition Universelle • Paris 1878


L’Album-Guide contient: La vue des Principaux Monuments de Paris, le Plan de l’Exposition, le Plan de Paris, le Plan detaille des differents Theatres, les Services Maritimes, l’Organisation des Services publics, Postes, Telegraphes, Moyens de Transport, Omnibus, Voitures publiques, Tramways, Chemins de fer de banlieue, Promenades dans les environs de Paris; et un mot, tout ce qui est de nature a interesser le Voyageur et l’Etranger venant a Paris. Nota. - Une Table des Matieres se trouve a la fin de cet Album. Administration: 36 , Boulevard Haussmann (Chaussee-d’Antin). D. Lubin, Editeur et Concessionnaire Exclusif. [Amiens, Imp. T. Jeunet]. 1878. (Ex) Item 4943082 oversize

The International Exposition or World’s Fair served for over 150 years as a primary arena for the display of national prestige. Manufactured product and the resources that produced it - natural, inventive, managerial - provided the common means by which nation could be measured against nation. Progress was regarded as visible, tangible and local. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to objects. Achieving individuals were inducted into Legions of Honor. In today’s world focused on speed, process, and individual celebrity, certainly in terms of public visibility, the Olympics have superseded the International Exposition as an arena for estimation by others.

For over one hundred years, the Library has been building its collection of materials relating to international expositions. Frederic Vinton, librarian from 1873 to his death in 1890, recognized the importance of these materials by listing them in his 894 page Subject Catalogue of the Library of the College of New Jersey (Princeton, 1884), under the headings: London international exhibition, 1851; Paris expositions, 1844, 1867, 1878 ; Philadelphia exposition, 1876; Vienna exposition, 1873. Since then, such materials have been gathered by such units as the Art Library, the Geology Library, the Architecture Library, Graphic Arts, the Theatre Collection, Numismatics, General Rare Books, as well as in the general circulating collection.

This latest addition, an Album Guide is the rare first edition of this charming large format guide for English and American visitors to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1878. It is not listed in WorldCat.

The following description of the contents is provided by Ed Smith of Pickering & Chatto (London) — “The work, complete with a large folding coloured Paris street map (and on the verso a map of the regional railways) provides all the information necessary for the visitor in negociating the language barrier on their way to, and at, the exhibition. After a brief introduction ‘to the elements of the language’, the first section provides useful phrases on the journey to France (‘the Landing and Custom House’, ‘At the Railway Station’ etc). This is then followed with further phrases useful at the hotel, when eating and drinking, at the Tobacconist or Hairdresser, and even when needing to take a bath. Part II gives details of exchanges and weights and measures, Paris Omnibuses (apparently much more comfortable than in London), Theatres, Music Halls, Promenades and Gardens, and a list of the entertainments to be given at the exhibition. The final section contains the professional and commercial list, bankers, doctors, milliners, perfumers, chemists and dentists, to name but a few. The work concludes with an advertisements section, both for Paris and London businesses. … This exposition was on a far larger scale than any previously held anywhere in the world. It covered over 66 acres (267,000 m²); the main building in the Champ de Mars occupying 54 acres (219,000 m²).

The illustrations and illustrated advertisements are of particular interest, as they are documenting the ephemeral nature of exhibitions, certain business, commercial design and places of entertainment, such as the 22 theatres colour-illustrated seating plans, together with price lists. On p. 7 is a half-page size woodengraved bird’s eye view of the exhibition ground.

Each double-page of this album has a large view of thestreet, landmark or square where the businesses advertised for are located. The highlights among the illustrated advertisements are: a full-page woodengraved composition of views of the workshops and the large shop of the manufacturer of sweets and chocolate Au Fidèle Berger (p. 2), a full-page tinted lithograph of the Grands Magasins de la Paix (p. 40), and a half-page advert for a shoe manufacturer printed in black, silver, gold and bronze (p. 46), a full-page advertisement for the ‘magnificent Summer Garden’, the Alcazar d’ Été near the Champs Élysées. There is advertising for various shipping companies, as well as a section of illustrated advertisements for hotels in Paris and French holiday resorts. Numbered page 99-100 is a large folding handcoloured map, Le nouveau guide de l’étranger dans les 20 arrondissements de Paris, (Paris : J. Gaultier, 1878), 50 x 67 cm.

Provenance: From the fashion shop run buy the Madames Biays in the Rue d’Échelles, whose advert is on p. 53, with their name stamped in gilt on front cover.”

Mr. Cox’s Perpetual Motion, a Prize in the Museum Lottery, single sheet, 225mm. x 174mm., full-page engraving with letterpress on verso, London, 1774. (Ex) Item 4848706

James Cox (c1723—1800) was a noted clockmaker, and developed this ingenious timepiece in the 1760’s in collaboration with John Joseph Merlin (with whom Cox also worked on developing automata). Cox believed that his design was a true perpetual motion machine, but in fact it was powered from changes in atmospheric pressure via a mercury barometer. This provided sufficient movement of the winding mechanism to keep the mainspring coiled inside the barrel. The clock was designed to enable the timepiece to run indefinitely and over-winding was prevented by a safety mechanism.

He exhibited the clock at his Museum in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, London, and as with other such marvels, it was accompanied by extravagant literary puffs to ensure public attention, and promote revenue from ticket sales. Cox’s Exhibition was the talk of London when it opened in 1772; a riot of brilliance, movement and sound, and an accumulation of bejeweled automata valued then at an enormous sum of £197,000. It was recommended by Johnson, visited by Boswell, featured in Fanny Burney’s Evelina and Sheridan’s The Rivals. “A peacock (now in the Hermitage, Leningrad) screeched and spread its tail when the hour struck, while a cock crowed and a cage with an owl inside revolved and twelve bells rang. A silver swan with an articulated neck glided across a surface of artificial water.., sixteen elephants supported a pair of seven-foot high temples adorned with 1,700 pieces of jewelry… a chronoscope inlaid with 100,000 precious stones evidently needed no animal guise.” (See: Richard Altick, The Shows of London, p. 69-72, 350-351, for a long and detailed account of Cox and his exhibition.)

Cox charged admission at the unprecedented rate of 10s. 6d, and the Catalogue was first issued March 2nd 1772, as a 20-page quarto edition. Such was the grumbling amongst even his most well-heeled clients that he was forced to cut the admission price by half to one quarter of a guinea and reduce the size of the catalogue. In 1773 an Act of Parliament was passed “allowing James Cox to dispose of his museum pieces by lottery”, and it is likely that this handbill was printed to promote the sale of this particular exhibit. The verso contains a full description of the piece, as well as a testimony as to its ingenuity by the noted astronomer James Ferguson, dated January 28th, 1774.

A note in Cox’s commonplace book, dated 1769, is the first recorded reference to the clock. It was purchased in the lottery by Thomas Weeks, who opened “Week’s Mechanical Museum” at 3 & 4 Tichborne Street, and after adding his own embellishments, exhibited it until his death in 1833. It was not included in the sale catalogue of his effects in 1834, and remained lost until 1898 when it was exhibited at the Clerkenwell Institute. After a period on loan to the Laing Gallery in Newcastle, is was auctioned, and then finally acquired by the V & A Museum in 1961. The engraving is recorded, occurring as a plate in The London Magazine for February 1774; but this hand-bill is unrecorded by ESTC. [This text supplied by Alex Fotheringham.]

219 years ago • Description of a Slave Ship

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Published in London in 1789, the broadside Description of a Slave Ship is an icon of the antislavery moment in England and the United States. Between March and July of that year, more than 10,000 copies of the plan of the slave ship Brooks, in one form or another, were issued. The plan makes visually striking what until then had been grasped only verbally or by consulting the statistical data gathered by Commons regarding the ships involved in the trade.

The 10,000 printed copies descended from three primary versions of the plan, which can be distinguished by their place of origin : Plymouth, Philadelphia, and London. The Plymouth version is the very first, occurring in two variants: (a) a four-page pamphlet with inserted plate, and (b) a broadside with engraving and text. The earliest Plymouth version appeared in March 1789. The Philadelphia version is based directly on the Plymouth version. It is known in three variants: (a) an inserted plate in the May 1789 issue of the journal American Museum, (b) a broadside with engraving and text in four columns bearing the imprint “Matthew Carey — Price 3d. — or 18s per hundred,” and (c) a broadside with engraving and text in three columns and no imprint. Philadelphia variants (b) and (c) were evidently issued in June and July 1789, respectively. Temporally between the Plymouth and Philadelphia versions is the London version, printed by James Phillips. It is known in two variants: (a) one illustrated by woodcuts, and (b) one illustrated with a copperplate engraving. It was first published between April 21 and 28, 1789. According to minutes of the London Committee of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the printing orders are recorded on July 28, 1789, as follows : “1,700 Description of a Slave Ship with copper plate ; 7,000 ditto with wood cuts” (see Cheryl Finley, “Committed to Memory : The Slave Ship Icon in the Black Atlantic Imagination” [Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 2002], 94, n.119).

The Plymouth version (a) is very rare ; only three copies of the pamphlet are recorded. One copy of the Plymouth broadside variant (b) is known. The Philadelphia variants are more common but still quite rare. Princeton owns a copy of the May 1789 issue of the American Museum (a) with the plate still intact. Princeton also acquired, evidently in the 1960 s, a copy of Philadelphia variant (b). It is beautifully preserved and shows signs of once having been folded so as to form a postal letter.

This accession was acquired from a London bookseller in early 2006. It was purchased in part with funds donated by Sid Lapidus, Class of 1959.

It is a fine copy of the London version (a), the variant with woodcuts. Historical evidence shows that the London version was by far the most commonly distributed version of the plan of the Brooks. As the years went by and the debate over the slave trade continued, the London version was reprinted time and again. It appeared in the précis of the proceedings of the Commons committee on the slave trade published in 1791. Princeton has two copies of this précis, one in the general rare book collections and another in the Scheide Library. It appeared several times after 1791, most notably in the 1808 History of the … Abolition of the African Slave-Trade by the Reverend Thomas Clarkson, a chief agent of the London Committee. (The Library recently purchased a copy of the London edition of the History; the Philadelphia edition has been in Princeton’s collections since the early nineteenth century.) On the eve of the American Civil War, the London version of the Brooks plan appeared in an abolitionist pamphlet, which was given to the Library in the late nineteenth century by John S. Pierson.

Color (Lat. color, connected with celare, to hide, the root meaning, therefore, being that of a covering — Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed.)

In 1794, publisher Johann Ferdinand, Ritter von Schönfeld (1750-1821) revealed an extraordinary system of calibrated, named, and numerated colors in the following work:
Wiener Farbenkabinet oder vollständiges Musterbuch aller Natur-, Grund-, und Zusammensetzungfarben, “Viennese Color Collection or Complete Book of Samples of all Natural, Basic, and Combined Colors.” [Wien und Prag: Verlag der Schönfeldschen Handlung, 1794]. 2 volumes: 272, [68] p.; 158, [2], [32], [124] p. • (Ex) Item 5577427 • Purchased with funds for the history of science and the general rare book collections.

What counts in this book? Here’s the answer, by the numbers:

• 4608 hand-painted specimens, organized virtually prismatically, individually numbered, labeled, and arranged 48 per page
• 14 prose divisions treating seven individual colors at length (black, blue, yellow, red, green, brown and white), watercolors, miniature painting (two sections), colorist’s techniques (for figures, landscapes, clothing, etc.), brightness and varnishes. Also discussed: coloring linen, cotton, wool, silk, leather, wood, ivory, bone, ceramics of all sorts, stone, papier-mâche and sealing wax, glass, enamel work, vellum and feathers. And there are notes on printing inks and papers used by book binders
• 250 terms used in various branches of the color industry arranged in an alphabetic dictionary
• 3 issues known: 54 plates = 2592 specimens (Smithsonian); 79 plates = 3792 specimens (Yale); 96 plates = 4608 specimens (Princeton)

Collecting in 19th Century America

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Leary’s bookstore stocked used and antiquarian books, illustration on rear pastedown of blankbook issued by the firm ca. 1880. Call number for blankbook: (MSS) C0938 (no. 62)

The survival of books occurs under contested conditions. In fact, you could say that the whole life cycle of books - creation, production, distribution, use, survival - occurs under contested conditions. Clearly then if the book historian has any job, his or her job is to investigate and understand those contested conditions. Since my work as a curator is chiefly about insuring the survival of books, I’m curious about the back-story to my work, namely, whatever relates to the story over the years regarding the survival of books and the contests surrounding survival.

Lately, I have been trying to understand the world of book collectors and dealers in the United States during the middle of the 19th century. I’ve picked those years because I’ve discovered that they represent a “take off stage” in the arc of the practice of bibliophily in this country. A number of bibliophilic writers maintain that in the US during the period from ca 1885 to ca 1930 there occurred sustained high practice in book collecting, often referred to at the “Golden Age.” It was an age marked by such titan collectors as Henry Huntington and J. Pierpont Morgan, funded by wealth produced the American economy, which by 1900 had become the world’s largest, a position it has held down to the present. It was also an age marked by an unprecedented out-pouring of collectible goods from England and other countries of Europe. One factor precipitating the English flow was the change in the entailment laws, instituted to help English nobles cover the shortfall in income resulting from reduced agricultural production of their lands. The change allowed them to sell manorial property, and the art and books therein were among the first to go. Other factors, such as sales done to meet rising death duties, sustained this flow for years to come. The general contours of the “Golden Age” are pretty well known - there are a handful of histories about this period; there are memoirs of dealers, collectors, accounts of auctions, in goodly abundance. In fact, the period has been institutionalized by the several collector’s clubs founded then and still surviving, the most famous of which is the Grolier Club in New York. The modern era in special collections in university libraries traces back to this period, as does that evidently uniquely American collegiate, bibliophilic institution, the undergraduate book-collecting contest.

My interest is in those years just before this so-called “Golden Age” for several reasons. I have a number of questions: Books, and collectors, and money were around before the t the so-called “Golden Age,” so why didn’t it occur earlier? We know the mores and methods of the generations of the “Golden Age,” so what did their predecessors do that was the same or different? What were the contests relating to the survival of books during these mid-century years? Unlike the story of the Golden Agers, there’s no place to turn to for an explanation of these mid-century years. With no place to turn, I decided to answer these questions on my own.

My hunt for the answers to these questions required and still requires that I look at a number of sources: chiefly, whatever documents I can find by collectors, dealers, or libraries of these years, or about the collectors, dealers and libraries of the mid 19th century. Consequently, I am reading the following:

• newspaper accounts of auction sales, collector’s libraries, stories about the book trade (such as W.C. Prime’s account of bookseller William Gowan’s cellar), etc.

• book trade journals, such as Joseph Sabin’s The American Bibliopolist (1869-1877). [Some vol. available at Google Books .]

• auction catalogues, in particular their front matter, or owner’s annotations. - the Poinier copy of the Rice catalogue (1870) is my best example.

• correspondence - precious little remains in the way of dealer’s correspondence (T. H. Morrell, and then a few others)

• diaries of collectors - see William Templeton Strong

In short, I’m on the hunt for whatever I can find as evidence. Both findings and evidence are very scattered, discontinuous, and scarce. Already emerging are some fragmentary particulars, which I group into three parts as follows: 1) regarding values and mores, 2) further themes and questions centering chiefly around norms, hierarchies, and the notion of gift, and 3) themes and questions yet to be investigated much further, especially the roles of the various agents

Values and norms of 19th cent collectors

• To be “Choice and Select” — “William Gowans, a bookseller who knew American literature better than most of his colleagues, was critical of [Albert Gorton] Greene’s ‘prodigious congregation of dirty second hand hymn books.’ [footnote 1] ‘To put them into a private collection is like choking an elegantly furnished parlor with a quantity of broken and dilapidated furniture, filling up space, and so obscuring the useful and ornamental piece.” [footnote 2]. These quotes from page 16 of Roger E. Stoddard, “C. Fiske Harris, Collector of American Poetry and Plays,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 57, First Quarter, 1963, 14-32.

• Understanding value — Gowans further criticizes Greene: “Had the judge been a more liberal buyer, his books to-day would many of them have realized ten times the cost. He seemed to think a rise in the price of any book was preposterous; and such a conviction prevented him from making many valuable acquisitions.” — page 17 in Roger E. Stoddard, “C. Fiske Harris, Collector of American Poetry and Plays,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 57, First Quarter, 1963, 14-32. Note: preposterous = contrary to the order of nature, or to reason or common sense.

• Value of the quotidian — In March 1875, C. Fiske Harris sent out copies of his Index to American Poetry and Plays in the Collection of C. Fiske Harris (Providence: Printed for Private Distribution, 1874). It listed more than 4,000 volumes of poetry, plays, and songs written by Americans. William Cullen Bryant remarked to Harris “Your work, Index to American Poetry and Plays, has amazed me by showing me what multitudes of persons on our side of the Atlantic have wasted their time in writing verses in our language.” [footnote 3]

• Many vs. the few —- “The Astor Library is truly a noble institution. … I hope it will be taken care of, but in the hands of the millions it will soon be tarnished. Books fare bad enough in a College library but when thrown open to Tom, Dick & Harry in a such a City as N[ew] Y[or]K. Heaven save the mark …” John Carter Brown to John Russell Bartlett. 15 December 1853. Papers of John Russell Bartlett, JCB.

“I would prefer a half dozen gems of the first water books beyond criticism, to a cartload of unimportant books - A sale of such richness in Americana may never take place again.” - John Nicholas Brown (age 23) to John Russell Bartlett. 7 January 1884. From Dresden, re: the Henry C. Murphy sale, 3-8 March 1884. Papers of John Russell Bartlett, JCB.

Themes and questions relating to norms, hierarchies, and the notion of gift

•With autograph collecting during the nineteenth century there was the assumption that they had an almost magical utility for mirroring directly the soul of the writer. Another way of putting this idea is that autographs offered an intimacy not reproducible any other way. Poe satirized the credulity of those who believed this proposition. That he satirized testifies to how widespread this belief was. See his “Autography” in Graham’s Magazine (Nov. 1841- Jan. 1842). Clearly at stake here are questions relating to norms and hierarchies: what’s collectible and what’s not, and what categories validate something as collectible.

•More on 19th century thinking about collecting — There is evidence that some then considered collecting to be a process of recovery - the process of collocating what belongs together because there’s a pattern which it is our task to come to realize. This is comparable to intuiting Providence by careful study of nature and nature’s patterns. The implication is that collecting is akin to a moral duty. This was the kind of thinking behind a college collecting publications of alumni, or locals putting together the works of a town’s literary lights. Giving a material form to “genius” was considered the right thing to do. The lowly physical acts of gathering material objects served higher, perhaps spiritual purposes.

•Clearly there are hierarchies among and embedded in collectibles - how do these get established, why are they necessary? I suggest one answer to the question about why hierarchies are necessary — it is because of the “gift economy” aspect of collecting, that is, collecting is done inside an exchange economy, but collecting is not, in the end, really about exchange of cash for goods, but goods for esteem. In a gift economy, the point of exchange is not to tie off relationships, to complete them, but rather to re-enforce them, to continue their binding nature.

•One very important aspect of the “gift economy” was literal exchanges between collectors. I am not precisely sure what all was involved here, but it seems to involve passing one’s duplicates to another in exchange for their duplicates. In autograph collecting, duplicate had a special meaning, yet to be fully determined.

•Genesis story - It seems that by the by the end of the century, it was a commonplace for a collector to have a “genesis story” - some sort of narrative which served to mark out the beginning of the endeavor. Another variant on the genesis story was the tale of the first practitioner, such as the Rev. William Sprague being the first collector of autographs in the US. (How could that be proved?) Such a genesis story may not be the real genesis story, but whatever was invented served the need. Where did the need come from? Perhaps as basic as having an individual having personal name in order to function in a society. The genesis story expanded by century’s end into the collector’s memoir. Early memoirs such as Henry Stevens’s is fraught with struggles with “egoism” or “egotism,” which I take to mean a kind of behavior able to undermine the “gift economy” or “love of man” (philanthropic) aspect of collecting.

•The making of privately illustrated or unique books was considered noble because it was creating a kind of gift. Many “illustrators” intended to leave them to their children as an important legacy. The gift economy was in high contrast to the growing capitalist economy of the nineteenth century.

The dictates of the gift economy may be another reason why Princeton librarian E. C. Richardson used the term “Kept Books.” Valuable gifts were included in that group, so the term connoting the role of gifts as books kept as bonds of relationship.

Also under the dictates of the gift economy, “exhibition” takes on another meaning. It is the making visible of what was or is invisible — the outward showing of an inward bond. And, so the exhibition room in a library is not only where you can see rarities, it is also a court of good will.

Note: change later overlays earlier terminology — the term “Treasure Room” — the term in wide use by the 1920s — is from the Greek “thesauros” meaning store or hoard. The denotation is possession rather than a state of being (viz. exhibiting, keeping).

Yet to be investigated much further — the roles of the agents

•Roles of those connected with the process of collecting and, in particular, those who created dialog about collecting — in particular, the <> Role of dealers (such as, Joseph Sabin and his American Bibliopolist, or Charles De F. Burns, who published American Antiquarian: a quarterly journal devoted to the interests of collectors of autographs, paper money, portraits, &c.) <> Role of public interpreters (such as Charles Dibdin, Herman Ludewig (bibliographer), John Russell Bartlett, or the newspaper reporters who wrote chiefly about the public auctions) <> Role of auctioneers (goods were pushed and pulled into the American market from abroad — dealers imported from London and auction these goods — carrying inventory over time was costly, so the auction created a sense of abundance without long term costs — how did they calibrate what to sell? Perhaps the sale of Charles Lamb’s books in New York in 1848 is a useful case study) <> Role of collectors (gossip that they exchanged with each other)

What does role mean here? There’s more than an exchange of goods. Both as a providing agent and an exchange agent for expert information, these men brought to light what had, so the story went, been hidden in darkness and they showed its relevance for current felt needs, such as keeping up with the “aesthetic wave” or preserving what was vanishing, such as the wave of collecting following on after two of the most important last of the Revolutionary generation, Adams and Jefferson, died in 1826. That is how the story went at that time. I sense a story hidden yet deeper, based in a value system understood at the time, but only uncertainly understood today.

1 Gowans. Catalogue of American Books, for Sale at the Affixed Prices, New York, 1864, No. 27, p.26

2 Idem.

3 Bryant’s letter of 12 Mar. 1875, quoted by John C. Stockbridge in The Anthony Memorial: A Catalogue of the Harris Collection of American Poetry with Biographical and Bibliographical Notes, Providence, 1886, p. xi.


“I am, and ever have been, a great reader, and have read almost everything — a library cormorant. I am deep in all out-of-the-way books, whether of the monkish times or of the puritanical aera. I have read and digested most of the historic writers, but I do not like history. Metaphysics and poetry and ’ facts of mind ’ (i.e. accounts of all strange phantasms that ever possessed your philosophy-dreamers, from Theuth the Egyptian to Taylor the English pagan) are my darling studies. In short, I seldom read except to amuse myself, and I am almost always reading.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge, November 19, 1796.

This past December, the Library purchased six books formerly owned by Coleridge, thereby doubling the number of books once in his library now held by Princeton. In one day we added as many as it had taken more than 100 years to accumulate. (Among the very first of those earlier arrivals was one acquired by Moses Taylor Pyne and given to the Library in 1895, as reported in the Daily Princetonian of November 8 for that year. The Pyne gift is marked with the accession number “Sesq. 562” which indicates book number 562 in a collection marking the “Sesquicentennial” of Princeton.)

The newly purchased books were among the 24 lots consigned by the direct descendants of the poet and sold at Sotheby’s in London on 13 December 2007. These 24 lots consisted of the following: • 5 lots were materials relating to the Coleridge family • 19 lots were S.T. Coleridge personal letters, papers, and inscribed books. Of the 19 lots, seven were manuscripts. The remaining lots were inscribed printed books.

The Library acquired the following books, listed here in chronological order by date of imprint:
• Hugh of Saint Victor. De sacramentis christianae fidei. Strassburg: [Printer Of The 1483 Jordanus De Quedlinburg (Georg Husner)], 30 July 1485. This copy also formerly owned by Michael Wodhull with his arms on the front cover and his inscription dated “Jan. 5th 1795”.
• Plotinus. Operum philosophicorum omnium libri liv in sex enneades distributi. Ex antiquiss. codicum fide nunc primum Graece editi, cum Latina Marsilii Ficini interpretatione & commentatione. Basel: Perneas Lecythus [I.E. Pietro Perna], 1580. Includes annotations by Coleridge.
• John Spencer. De legibus Hebraeorum ritualibus et earum rationibus…libri tres. Cambridge: Joan Hayes For (London) Richard Chiswell, 1685.
• Sir Francis Bacon. The Works…In Four Volumes. With Several Additional Pieces, Never Before Printed In Any Edition Of His Works. To Which Is Prefixed, A New Life Of The Author, By Mr. Mallet. London: A. Millar, 1740.
• William Cowper. The Life, And Posthumous Writings…With An Introductory Letter…By William Hayley. Chichester: J. Seagrave For (London:) J. Johnson, 1803.
• Charles Augustus Tulk (transl. and ed.) of Emmanuel Swedenborg, The Doctrine of New Jerusalem respecting the Lord. London: T. Bensley, Neely, and Jones, 1812. Inscribed on front endpaper: “For my Friend S. T. Coleridge from Cha: Aug: Tulk.”

These six were purchased at auction by antiquarian bookseller Christopher Edwards and were acquired by the Library directly from him shortly thereafter.


Catchpenny Dreadfuls! 24 broadsides given by Bruce Willsie, Class of 1986
by Hannah Lemonick, Class of 2010, University of Chicago, and student assistant in the Rare Book Division, Princeton University Library, 2008

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street first appeared in London plays and urban legends dating back to the 1800s. He did not spring fully formed from the head of film director Tim Burton or composer Stephen Sondheim. The recent gift to the Library of a set of broadsides — single-sheet sensationalist press pieces detailing murders and violent crimes which actually occurred during this time period — is a fascinating illustration of just how much of the Sweeney Todd legend was based in a genuinely terrifying world, and how believable the original urban myth must have been.

The universal constant in these examples of street literature is the firm and absolute judgment they pass on their unfortunate objects. There is no ambiguity; in all cases a terrible crime has been committed, and justice has rightly struck down the perpetrator. The broadside Blackburn Tragedy is especially telling in that it details how an innocent vagrant was nearly hanged for the murder of Emily Holland, a seven year old girl, before a local man volunteered the use of his dogs and allowed the police to discover parts of her body and skull in the home of William Fish. It is perfectly clear - indeed, the text admits - that although there can have been little evidence against the other man, “Yet people have been hanged for less, and Robert Taylor probably escaped a similar doom by the narrowest chances.”

The genre combines absolute, unwavering judgment with unbelievable rapidity — most execution broadsheets were being sold within moments of a hanging, and were often written the night before the hanging even took place, even while purporting to contain the last words of the deceased. Then again, the courts seem to have acted with only slightly more deliberation than the printers; men were hanged within days of being apprehended, and in many cases, for crimes that we would consider mild, like breaking and entering. If life in London’s underbelly in the 1800s was violent and dangerous, so were the courts and the popular press.

The broadsides provide evidence of the need for ordinary people to make sense of a world in which such things happened — where children were starved and beaten by their parents and women were literally torn limb from limb. It was certain that crime was punished without hesitation — an understanding contrasting strongly to today’s concern regarding due process and fair trial.

Illustration: Detail from Particular Account of a most Barbarous and Inhuman Murder Committed by John Holloway upon the body of his Wife by Cutting off her Head, Legs, and Arms, with his Confession[London]: J. Catnach, n.d.   Large tiff image of complete broadside.

List of the gift

• An Account of Matthew Clydesdale and Simon Ross, who were executed in front of the Prison, at Glasgow, on Wednesday the 4th of Nov. 1818, for the crimes of Murder and Housebreaking. [London]: T. Duncan, 1818.[Download file]
• Apprehension and Committal of Mrs. Sloane. London: E. Hodges, n.d.
• Cruel & Inhuman Murder of a little Boy, by his Father. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• Dreadful Cruelty to a Servant. [London]: n.d.
• Dreadful Tragedy at Kingston. London: Taylor’s Song Mart, n.d.
• Horrid Murder and Mutilation of a Woman, and recovery of different parts of the body from various places on the banks of the River Thames. London: Disley, n.d.
• Horrid Murder. [London]: E. Hodges, n.d.
• Inhuman Treatment of Two Children by their Father. London: Taylor, n.d.
• Lamentable Lines, on the Death of Joseph M’Mahon who was Shot in Dorset-street, On the 28th March, ‘82. [London]: 1882.
• Mournful Copy of Verses, concerning John Fawcett, who Shot his own Son, And will take his Trial in a few Days. [London]: Catnach, n.d.
• Murder of a Carrier, at Barrow-on-Soar, and the Committal of the Murderer for Trial. London: Disley, n.d.
• Particular Account of a most Barbarous and Inhuman Murder Committed by John Holloway upon the body of his Wife by Cutting off her Head, Legs, and Arms, —with his Confession. [London]: J. Catnach, n.d.   Large tiff image
• Particulars of the Riot at Dover, Which took place on Friday last, May 26, 1820, in which the Gaol was nearly all pulled down, and the Prisoners set at liberty. [London]: Statesman Newspaper, 1820.
• Sentence of William Fish, the Blackburn Murderer. London: H.P. Such, n.d.
• Shocking Case of Cruelty and Starvation, In Cannon Street Road. London: Taylor, n.d.
• The [Sorr]owful Lamentations and Last Farewell to the World of James Fitzwilliams, Henry Wilkins, William Bull, for Burglary, and John Caffan, a Black Man, for a Rape upon a Child Ten Years of Age. [London]: Catnach, n.d.
• The Leeds Tragedy: Or, The Bloody Brother. [England]: [c. 1790].
• The Trial and Execution of Richard Smith, aged 45, for feloniously assaulting and ravishing Mary Green, executed this Morning, March 30th, 1836, at the new drop. [London]: Robinson, 1836.
• The Trial and Sentence of Frederick Peter Finnigan, for the willful Murder of his infant daughter, and who is Ordered for Execution on Monday next, at Horsemonger Lane Gaol. [London]: Smeeton, n.d.
• Trial and Sentence of G. Bentley, For the murder of John Pool, at Eccleshall, on Wednesday, the 10th of January last. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• A Warning Cry from the Cells of Nottingham! Or, Sorrowful Lamentation of Geo. Needham and Wm. Manderville, the two unfortunate Men who now lie under Sentence of Death in Nottingham County Gaol for Housebreaking. Nottingham: Ordoyno, n.d.
• What do you think of Billy Roupell. London: H. Disley, n.d.
• White, John.Blackburn Tragedy. Liverpool: White, 1876.
• White, John. Thebais Winner of the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks, and Ten other Prizes. Liverpool: J. White, n.d.

What ever happened to the Broadman Library?


A recent gift to the Library reminded me that I had first read about the Broadman Library in an old back issue of The New Yorker. Joseph Broadman (1883-1966) was a Manhattan medical doctor who eventually gathered more than 500,000 pamphlets, posters, periodicals, and newspapers relating to World War I and the unstable peace thereafter. He also developed a patented method for the preservation of wood pulp papers, chiefly newsprint. The story in The New Yorker was like other stories about his collecting — all either mentioned directly or alluded to common themes, namely, that, in the case of Joseph Broadman, collecting had become:

  1. A pastime turned into a vocation. The theme here is unintended consequences; also, that fulfillment is found unexpectedly, rather than resulting from a series of conventional steps. Example: “Over twenty years ago Dr. Joseph Broadman of New York City, began the pursuit of an unique hobby. Shortly thereafter that unique hobby began the pursuit of Dr. Broadman.” — opening paragraph by Hayden Welles in 1935 article in New York University Alumnus. [See list of sources below for details.]

  2. A private activity now conducted on a scale that makes it a public utility. Example: “Dr. Joseph Broadman of 141 West Forty-first Street, without any previous training in history or library work, without any realization of the magnitude of what he was attempting, has assembled this collection with brings exclamations from historians and librarians.” — paragraph two of a 1930 New York Times article “Novel War Library Grows From Hobby”

  3. A lesson as to what our pubic priorities ought to be. Example: “It is our hope that some day this very valuable library will be on public display. It is a commentary on the times - that no money is available for a collection of information that could well be a vital force for peace.” — Editorial headnote to 1959 article on the Library by Broadman published in General Practice.

  4. An activity that others will eventually “finally” tally. Example: In the 1935 NYU article, the author Welles closes by speculating: “It will be hard when Dr Broadman’s contributions to history are finally tallied to decide which is the greater. Will it be his Library on the World War …or will it be his paper preservative? Welles answers his own question “Probably the latter, for without the preservative, ravenous Time will slowly but irresistibly devour the Library.”

So what happened to the Broadman library?

For years, he tried to sell the collection. His efforts, starting in the 1930s, were directed at university libraries, such as Indiana, and Princeton. After the end of World War II, he renewed his efforts to place the collection by publishing a 35 page pamphlet entitled Broadman Library of World War I and World War II: Including the Years Intervening and Following. Its Inception, Growth, Contents, World Opinion.

Despite Broadman’s efforts, no one took his collection for many years, and one can only speculate on why this was so, as I do later in this note.

Eventually, late in life, in 1966, he gave the collection to a newly established Quaker institution on Long Island, the Friends World College. The college moved around the island several times and eventually settled on the North Shore in Lloyd Harbor. That is where the collection was last seen.

In the spring of 2006, I gathered the story of its last days from former college officials and from local town’s people. To quote my notes:

“I eventually reached Donald W. Smith of Greenport, NY who was on the board of trustees of the FWC in 1990-1991. (1991 was the year in which the FWC merged into Long Island University and became the Friends World Program. The merger had been brought on by a funding crisis.) He told me on April 2, 2006 that the Broadman Library was stored on the grounds in various buildings such as the second floor of the Barn and in some of the stables. He further said it had been offered around by FWC to a number of public libraries as well as to Swarthmore College. No one wanted it. Thus, he continued, when the remaining real estate of FWC at Lloyds Neck was sold in 1990, the grounds, buildings, and contents such as the Broadman Library, passed to the new owner.”

The FWC property was known as Livingston Manor. The new owner eventually pulled down all the outbuildings together with the main house, evidently ca. 1994-95. When the barn containing the Broadman Library was demolished, the contents too passed into oblivion.

Ironically, all that remains of the Broadman Library, as far as I can tell, are records about it, such as correspondence files at the New York Public Library, the FDR Library, Indiana University, even here at Princeton. Publications about the collection issued by Dr Broadman himself also remain. His collection has vanished.

Further reflection • Broadman tried to claim value for the collection by making it part of a category of value that had not been collected by traditional collectors whose goods are preserved by the workings of the antiquarian book market. Instead, and perhaps because of his professional training, he chose to make it a part of a category of value that was created by universities and research institutions. It is they — the professionals — who value breath, depth and equal opportunity for all viewpoints.

There were advantages and disadvantages to Broadman’s approach.

On the one hand, it brought him regard with those from whom he sought regard, such professional men as university presidents, historians, and diplomats.

On the other hand, he did not completely share their values. He challenged an emerging consensus among them regarding the use of microfilm as a means of dealing with the preservation of large twentieth century archival collections. Broadman challenged claims about the stability of microfilm as a satisfactory means for preservation of records. Evidence of the challenge comes from Broadman’s exchange of letters on this subject with Princeton librarian Julian Boyd. In a letter to Broadman dated November 29, 1941, Boyd wrote: “I have read your comments with much interest, though I regret to say with almost complete disagreement. … I am in most complete disagreement with your suggestion that the National Bureau of Standards has been under undue influence in its tests of films, …” Moreover, Broadman also insisted that his collection be preserved with his patented process. (Such a project would cost the host institution untold sums.)

In the end, it was not just lack of money preventing sale of the Broadman Library . For many years, there appears to have been insufficient funds of institutional good opinion, so that, after any money was spent, those in the institution could feel that their opinion had been validated. Just as Broadman wanted to feel better after adding to the Library — he said “There are hundreds of thousands of doctors, but there’s only one library like this” (1941 New Yorker article) — so those in an institution would want to feel better after acquiring the Broadman Library. It takes more than money to preserve a collection.

Another further reflection • The evidence is only suggestive, but I can not help but wonder if Broadman’s motivation for collecting was to accumulate a protective surrogate. Some examples: Official records state he was born in Austria and that German was his native language. The country in which he made his living and raised his family was anti-German. It was clear that he was defensive about his hertiage, as evidenced by a letter to the editor of The New York Times (September 18, 1924) protesting the Times editorial “The Steuben Society Bloc.” Broadman controverted many points, such as the article of the Versailles Treaty that fixed responsibility for the war on Germany. In reply, Broadman wrote “… the publication of the secret archives, Russian, German, Belgian, and Serbian, proves the fallacy of this charge.” In 1940-41, Broadman began issuing “Research Bulletins” with such titles as “Facts vs. Propaganda” and “Hitler, the Man of Honor …?” New York Herald Tribune reporter Barrett McGurn, in his article on Broadman, August 3, 1941, stated that Secretary of the Navy William Franklin “Frank” Knox responded to Broadman’s bulletins as “warning … the world situation leaves no room for complacency.” McGurn concluded that “Dr. Broadman was now stressing in his bulletins the need for America to use all its forces to make certain a repetition of the Allied victory over Germany.”


• Newspaper and periodical articles

“Novel War Library Grows from Hobby. Dr. Joseph Broadman’s Collection of Human Data on Conflict Called Best of Kind. Experts Praise It Highly. Contains Magazines, Newspapers, Clippings Costing Thousands - Several Colleges Seek to Buy It. Has Cost Thousands of Dollars. Untrained as Librarian. Fine War Library Grows from Hobby. Foot Notes Give Many Facts.” The New York Times, Sunday, July 20, 1930.
[available at NY Times archive 1851-1980]

“A Hobby That Became an Institution: the Story of the Broadman Library That Grew From a Handful of Newspaper Clippings Into a Collection of 400,000 Items and an Amazing Invention.” New York University Alumnus, vol. XV, no. 5, January, 1935.

“500, 000 Items in War Library Offered as Gift. Dr. Joseph Broadman, Who Collected Big Work, Will Donate to Any Institution That Agrees to Preserve It.” The New York Herald Tribune, September 8, 1938, page 10.

“Library.” The New Yorker, October 4, 1941, page 15-16. [available at The New Yorker archive]

“One-Man, 50-Ton War Library Wins Renown. Doctor’s Collection, Begun in Pockets, Now Arsenal of Facts Against Nazis.” The New York Herald Tribune, August 3, 1941.

“Dr. Broadman, 83, Library Creator. Author of Book on Curative Role for Bee Venon Dies.” The New York Times, February 26, 1966, page 17.
[available at NY Times archive 1851-1980]

• Pamphlets

William Steward Ayars. Broadman Library of World War I and World War II: Including the Years Intervening and Following. Its Inception, Growth, Contents, World Opinion. (New York: Broadman Library Foundation, 1948) 34 pages. Includes several photographs. [Copy of the brochure is at Mudd Library in AC123 (Library Records), series Librarian’s Records, sub-series Boyd, old box number 148]

Joseph Broadman. The Broadman Library on “War, Peace and International Relations” (New York, 1959). 8 pages. Reprinted from the October 1959 issue of General Practice.

[Related work] Joseph Broadman. The Scientific Preservation of Perishable Papers; A Comparison of the Various Processes of Preservation of Originals and Photographic Reproduction. (New York, Broadman process, inc. [1941]). Includes photograph of Dr. Broadman reproduced above. Broadman is pointing to parcels labeled “Letters to Editors.” This category was one of 12 major sub-divisions of the Library as listed in “Section B” of the Ayars 1948 pamphlet. The other sections were: Newspapers, Indices, Scrap Books (about 1500), Propaganda—Pamphlets and Leaflets, Books (about 3000), Official Records, Posters, Cartoons (several thousand), Scrap Book Index (about 60,000 cards), Periodicals, and Miscellaneous.

• Archival

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY • President’s Official File #4825, “Broadman, Dr. Joseph, 1939-45,” contains 71 pages (approx. 20 letters and memoranda) • Samuel I. Rosenman Papers. Folder titled, “Broadman Library of the World War.” It contains 52 pages which consist of some 21 letters and memoranda between March 1942 and November 1943 and attachments. These papers included an 8 page document, “Brief and Incomplete Description of Contents of the Broadman Library.” Broadman and FDR discussed donation of selected runs of periodicals for the library at Hyde Park.

Indiana University. Archives. Bloomington, IN. • File on Broadman in the papers of President Herman Wells, 1938-1943.

New York Public Library. New York, NY. • File on Broadman in the administrative archives of the Library: RG6 (Central Administration Central Administration - Director - Lydenberg, Hopper, and Beals - General Correspondence — Box 7)

Swarthmore College. Friends Historical Library. Swarthmore, PA. • Records of the Friends World College. (RG 4/ 082) Minutes of the Board of Trustees. Vol. 11-13 (April 1971 - January 1974). The minutes of the Trustees Executive Council for August 10, 1972, page 10, “Broadman Library. As previously reported, the Broadman Library collection (an early gift to the college of documents for a peace library comprising a large collection of materials from World War I through World War II). has been badly damaged by vandalization last year of the Nike building in which it was stored. Through the efforts of Francis Koster of C.W. Post College, their chief librarian had taken a look and found it still valuable. That college may help us get funds and a place for it. A further report will be welcomed.”

Princeton University. Archives (Mudd Library). Princeton, NJ. • Library Records (AC123). Sub-series for the papers of librarian Julian Boyd.

Limp parchment wrapper • Use, re-use, continued use

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Contemporary laced limp parchment wrapper made from a bifolium of a 14th century [?] Italian missal, rubricated, red and blue initials. Binding for: Francesco Massari, … In nonum Plinii de naturali historia librum castigationes & annotationes. Basel: Froben, 1537. (ExRockey) 2008-0021N • Massari (fl. 1530), a Venetian physician, comments on the ninth book of the Natural History of Pliny (1st cent. AD), covering fish and marine life. The work’s editor, Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), stated that Massari’s comments were based on his extensive voyages and observations in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Illustrated above is the wrapper folded out completely. The parchment fragment is the upper two thirds of a bifolium. Scribal text is two columns per page, with red and blue initials. Visible at middle are the original sewing holes. To the right of the center fold are the sewing supports (for the leaves of the 1537 imprint) laced into the wrapper. At far left, there is a flap designed to cover the book’s fore-edge. An extremely detailed scan of the entire wrapper is available here.

For more on the use, re-use, and continued use of so-called “waste” from broken and / or discarded books, see the following section on the topic in the Library’s online exhibition on bookbinding. The link is:

For more on limp parchment wrappers, see:

For the future, the Library will keep the wrapper intact and protected by a specially made enclosure. • In sum: • First use: bifolium of a missal • Second use: protective wrapper for a book printed in 1537 • Present and future use: vivid example of how the frugal decision of a bookbinder provides multiple evidence about the survival of texts. More on this later topic can be found in Nicholas Pickwoad, “Onward and Downward: How Binders Coped with the Printing Press Before 1800” in A Millenium of the Book, ed. Robin Myers and Michael Harris. Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, and Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1994, pp 61-106.

Library publishes digital facsimile of 1930s Princeton newspaper


During stack reorganization this past summer, staff at the Princeton University Library discovered the only surviving copy of a 1930s Princeton newspaper. When The Local Express began publication on Thursday, October 24, 1935, it described itself as “a newspaper devoted to the interests of the people of Princeton and vicinity.” As part of the local celebration of “Princeton in the 1930s,” all four volumes have been scanned and made publicly available on the Library’s “Digital Collections” website.

The Local Express is a valuable addition to the body of information available about Princeton in the late 1930s, and its digitization should make it available to a broad audience,” said Howard Green, co-curator of the exhibition “Princeton in the 1930s” currently at the Historical Society of Princeton. “In particular, the paper seems more sympathetic to Roosevelt and the New Deal than the other Princeton weeklies, the Herald, and the Packet.”

The first several Local Express issues were distributed as complimentary copies. William L. Stout and Lloyd Dilks published the newspaper and gave Dilk’s home, 87 Jefferson Road, as its office address. Stout and Dilks were young men, as indicated by listings for their families in Polk’s Princeton Directory for the late 1930s. In an era when jobs were scarce, it made sense to try to capitalize on one’s local knowledge and youthful energy. An early partner, Joseph R. Bourne, dropped out after the first issue and was replaced quickly by Henry A. Rosso. Stout and Dilks quit the paper just six months later, leaving Rosso on his own in late March 1936. Rosso dubbed the Express “Princeton’s Progressive Newspaper,” clearly trying to distinguish it from the two well-established local newspapers, The Princeton Herald and The Princeton Packet.

With the issue of May 12, 1938 (vol. 3, no. 30), The Local Express became The Princeton News. Rosso was sole editor, with Edward E. Felker serving as business manager. Clearly costs were affecting production: the new title was smaller in trim size and printed on cheaper paper stock. The final issue appeared March 9, 1939.

Content of the day was much like today’s local news: politics, schools, business, social, entertainment, and sports. A novelty is the one-time appearance of a color-printed comics section on September 24, 1936 (vol. 1, no. 49), including the following strips: “Happy,” “Peggy Wow,” “Silly Willie,” “The Jamms,” “Pop’s Night Out,” and “Adventures of the Red Mask.”

The University Library received issues of the newspaper as they were published, then bound them for addition to the Library’s PB (Princeton Borough and Township History) collection. An important source for local history, the PB collection was formed by the Library sometime between 1900 and 1920, and new materials were added regularly for several decades thereafter. The PB collection is now in the care of the Rare Book Division at Firestone Library.

Scanning of The Local Express was done by Roel Muñoz and the Library Digital Projects staff during this fall. Cataloguing and interpretative notes were prepared by Joyce Bell and Steve Ferguson. Final arrangements for Web display were done by Jon Stroop and his colleagues in the Digital Library Group.

“The timing of the newspaper’s re-discovery and digitization couldn’t be better, as Princeton in the 1930s continues to be on view through July 13, 2008,” said Eileen K. Morales, Curator, Historical Society of Princeton. “Once the exhibition is closed, the digitized version of The Local Express and the original photographs and manuscripts at the Historical Society of Princeton will continue to enable members of the public to learn about this important decade in Princeton’s history.”

Other local Princeton history materials are available on the Library’s Digital Collections website, such as the Historic Postcard Collection. See:

Recently acquired: Comunismo Argentino Collection

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Recently the Library acquired an extensive collection (approximately 1,300 items) of pamphlets, serials, books, and other documents from the Partido Comunista de la Argentina and other communist political organizations from that country. These are now stored and serviced by the Rare Book Division. Publication dates range from 1918, year when the PCA was founded, to the present. The collection includes official party resolutions, declarations, congress proceedings, conferences, bulletins, educational, and electoral materials, as well as the works of numerous communist intellectuals and publishers. Also present in the collection are more than forty periodical titles published throughout most of the 20th century. Some of those periodicals are Documentos del Progreso (1919-1921), Soviet (1933-1935), Problemas de la Paz y el Socialismo (1958-61), and Comentarios (1978-83). The collection consists of duplicates from the Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas en la Argentina and obtained through an intermediary. Overall, the collection is one of the most important collections of its type outside of Argentina.
The collection joins the Library’s growing collections of pamphlets, periodicals and ephemera relating to political, social, economic, and religious movements in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, and a number of other countries in Latin America, as well as Argentina.
For further details, contact Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez [].

Beers' Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 • Only copy recorded

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Garland C. Boothe, Jr., class of 1954, presented to the Library the only known copy printed as single sheet of Beers’ Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 (New Haven, 1811).

Almanacs were a staple of printer’s trade for centuries, with some editions being printed in hundreds of thousands of copies. Purchasers ranged from the hard-scrabble farmer to the prosperous proprietor and everyone in between. “All our domestic operations are carried on by the aid of this daily manual; and we do not stir from our firesides without running over the long thin columns of days, sun’s declination, time of rising and setting, or without a wishful glance at the hazardous assurance of the bright moon-light nights, and pleasant days.” (Atlantic Magazine, August 1, 1824, page 298)

The usual publishing format was a book styled for a gentleman’s pocket or a lady’s desk. For public places, such as a coffee house wall or above a merchant’s desk, printers provided the text imposed on a single sheet. Useful while current and hanging, but, once out of date, requiring disposal, sheet almanacs rarely survive today. Pocket almanacs stood a better chance of survival. They could remain on the shelf with other books, especially if they were handsomely bound so as to complement a fancy mahogany desk.

According to the titlepage of the pocket edition, Andrew Beers, “Philomath,” provided the “Lunations, Conjunctions, Eclipses, Judgment of the Weather, Rising and Setting of the Planets, Length of Days and Nights, Tide-Table, Time of Sitting of the Courts in Connecticut, with other Matter, Useful, Instructive and Entertaining.” He assured the reader that his calculations “may serve for either of the towns in Connecticut, or the adjacent States, without any essential difference.”

The Boothe gift is now catalogued and shelved as (Ex) Broadside 392.

[Illustration above adapted from page 28 of Many Things Upon Money Matters for the Use of Young People in the United States (West Bradford and Boston, 1835)]

The Scheide Library on New Jersey Public Television

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_Feb_02_03_2_WHS.jpg NJN’s “State of the Arts” series has produced a television feature on the Scheide Library in a program entitled “Public / Private.” First broadcast on Friday, November 16, 2007 @ 8:30 pm with second broadcast, on Wednesday, November 21 @
11:30 pm, the program is also available as a webcast at:

The program features interviews with William Scheide, his wife Judy M. Scheide, Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian, and Princeton graduate students. Also featured are many Scheide family photographs and footage about the Bach Aria Group, founded by William Scheide in 1946.

Further details are available at the NJN “State of the Arts” website:

Penny Dreadfuls • Newly acquired

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Proof covers for the first 51 numbers of the Aldine Publishing Company’s “O’er Land and Sea” Library. 51 single octavo leaves, rough trimmed, some mounted on thin card, others showing signs of mounting. [London, 1890-1891]. Call number (Ex) Item 4697736.

The Aldine Publishing Company, 9 Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London, “was the foremost of the reprint presses that, from the late 1880s, published American ‘dime novels’ in Britain, notably those featuring such favourites as Frank Reade Junior, Buffalo Bill, and Deadwood Dick.” * In 1890, A. P. C. issued number one in “The Aldine ‘O’er Land and Sea’ Library.” The series ran for 408 numbers, the last issued in 1905. A typical number cost 2 pence, and consisted of 64 closely-printed pages, with color-printed wrappers. The company thrived until the late 1920s to early 1930s, when changes in reading taste caused decline. A book salesman noted this change in a purchaser’s preference: “Highwaymen, pirates, and red Indians don’t excite his imagination; he wants fights with submarines, daring stunts in aeroplanes, and wonderful electric machines, … tales of Dick Turpin, Claude Duval, and Jack Sheppard interest him not.”
This gathering of the covers of the first 51 in the series came from the collection of Barry Ono, the Penny Dreadful King, whose collection was bequeathed to the British Library in 1941. Link here for details about the Barry Ono collection, including a portrait photograph of him surrounded by examples from his collection.
Among his many major purchases was the entire set of editorial file copies of the Aldine Publishing Company. Together with this gathering of covers is a photocopy of a typed note, dated May 31, 1940, signed by Ono announcing his purchase and stating that “these fine old wrappers are undoubtedly the only set in existence.”
*John Springhall, “‘Disseminating Impure Literature’: ‘: The ‘Penny Dreadful’ Publishing Business Since 1860,” The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 47, No. 3. (Aug., 1994), pp. 578.

On September 28, about 55 delegates to Congress XXV of the Association Internationale de Bibliophile (International Association of Bibliophiles, or AIB) visited the Library for the entire day. In honor of the occasion, the Library published The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library by Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian. Three components make up the large format book: 16 four color illustrations, at exact size; a masterful essay on the Scheide family’s three generations of collecting framed inside the larger narrative of how questions about early printing have been and will be explored; and a final section of 36 bibliographic entries titled “Checklist of Printing in the Scheide Library Pre-dating 1468.” ISBN 978-0-87811-050-6. 32 pages. $15 plus shipping ($2.50 domestic; $9 international)
Send order to Linda Oliveira,

Four Drawings by Renoir


The Library has just acquired the first illustrated edition of Emile Zola’s famous novel of working class life, L’Assommoir. The novel first appeared in serialized form between 13 April 1876 and 7 January 1877, and sold well. Building on this popularity, the Paris publishers Marpon and Flammarion issued an illustrated edition in 59 parts in 1878. Each part had one illustration, keyed to a particular page. More than ten artists contributed artwork, which was published as a wood engraving. (More than five wood engravers were involved.)

The artists were notable in their day, and, for some, their reputation endured. Among those, the best known today is Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). He contributed four drawings to the project. Illustrated above is that adjacent to page 283, in which the heroine of the novel, Gervaise, and her lover Lantier listen at a café to Mademoiselle Amanda, declared by Lantier to be a “high class singer.” (Click on image for larger view.) Other pages contributed by Renoir are also scenes, indoors or out: page 136, La loge des Boche; page 192, Le père Bru piétinait dans la neige pour se réchauffer.; and page 368, Les filles d’ouvriers se promenant sur le boulevard extérieur. “Elles s’en allaient, se tenant par les bras, occupant la largeur des chausses.” Each work exhibits his painterly, impressionistic line, contrasting sharply with the acute lines of other illustrations by such artists as André Gill (1840-1885) or Maurice Leloir (1853-1940).

The result of this collaboration of artists, wood engravers, printers and publishers was a large, deluxe book with each illustration printed twice: once on a thick stock used also for the text (“papier de Hollande”) and once on China paper, whose soft surface caught shadings of ink more vividly than thick paper. The parts were bound in a red morocco half leather binding by Paul-Romain Raparlier, evidently on the commission of the London bookseller Henry Sotheran. (The names are stamped on the upper left corner of each front endpaper.) The Princeton copy is number 41 of a limited edition of 130 and has the booklabel of Eduardo J. Bullfinch, a lawyer and businessman in Buenos Aires in the first half of the twentieth century.
Call number: (Ex) Oversize 2007-0689Q

Characters of the Present Most Celebrated

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Jessica Grose’s article “Before Lindsay or Paris, There Was Mrs. L_fle: Imagine Lindsay Lohan in 18th-century England” in today’s New York Times details the dish behind the new novel The Scandal of the Season recently published by Princeton English professor, Sophie Gee. The novel is a “a fictionalized account of the true story behind Alexander Pope’s 1712 poem, ‘The Rape of the Lock.’ ” • “The idea of gossip and scandal and celebrity culture that we have today was really coming into being in 18th-century London” notes Prof. Gee. The article is based on Ms. Grose’s interview last month with Prof. Gee in the Library. The color photograph of Prof. Gee was taken at the window of the first floor seminar room in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone. • During the interview, Prof. Gee showed and discussed the following books from the rare book collections: Characters of the Present Most Celebrated Courtesans Exposed, With a Variety of Secret Anecdotes Never Before Published (London, 1780), The History of Betty Bolaine, the Canterbury Miser, Containing an Account of Her Avarice, Whimsical Amours, and Wonderful Escapes from Matrimony (1805?), Town and Country Magazine (London, 1769 ff) and The Spectator (London, 1711 ff). Some titles, such as The Spectator, have been in the collections for years, but, others, such as Betty Bolaine have been added as part of a recent effort to deepen the literary holdings to include popular and / or ephemeral narratives.

Figures • Upper: Title and price stamped in gilt on front cover. Middle: Title page with verses from William Cowper’s “The Task,” book II, lines 40-45, first published in 1785. Bottom: Illustrated pages (19 and 51). Click on thumbnail for full-size view.
Call number for the book: (Ex) 2007-1634N
The Library has recently purchased the rare first edition of an important American slave narrative with funds provided by the President’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching, At Commencement 2006, Prof. William Gleason of the Department of English received the award, which included a portion for Library purchases. He directed the book portion go toward acquiring Moses Roper’s Narrative, first published in London in 1837. Graphic and poignant, the text went through several editions before the Civil War, then was not reprinted again until 1969 when it appeared in the Rhistoric Publications (Philadelphia) Afro-American History series. The text remains in print today.

A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery (1837) gave the antislavery movement in England and America exactly what it wanted—a hard-hitting tour of slavery as a visitation of hell on earth, conducted by someone who had seen and suffered it all but who had survived to tell his story in a manner likely to evoke both credence and sympathy. The British clergyman who wrote the preface to Roper’s narrative solicited curious and prurient readers by promising them a kind of pious pornography: “There is no vice too loathsome—no passion too cruel or remorseless, to be engendered by this horrid system [of slavery]. It brutalizes all who administer it, and seeks to efface the likeness of God, stamped on the brow of its victims. It makes the former class demons, and reduces the latter to the level of brutes.” The twenty-two-year-old author of the Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper delivered what his white antislavery sponsors desired. The first scene of Roper’s Narrative details in a shocking but deadpan manner how the author, born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of his master and one of his master’s slaves, barely escaped death at the hands of his master’s enraged wife. Light-skinned and cooperative as a boy, Moses was trained for the comparatively mild duties of a domestic slave. But when he was sold to a South Carolina cotton planter whom Roper identifies only as Mr. Gooch, teenaged Moses was put to work in the fields, where he was subjected to floggings almost daily. Roper’s portrait of Gooch as an unmitigated sadist gave American antislavery literature the first example of what would become in Stowe’s horrendous creation Simon Legree a distillation of all that black America despised in the arrogant Anglo-Saxon: brutality, violence, hypocrisy, and tyranny.” — William L. Andrews, “General Introduction” to North Carolina Slave Narratives (Chapel Hill, 2003), p.5-7.

Catalogue of the Virgil Collection: a progress report

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Between July 2 and August 21, Professor Craig Kallendorf of Texas A&M University spent nearly every weekday in the Dulles Reading Room examining the Library’s collection of editions of Virgil, the core of which was donated in 1896 by Junius Spencer Morgan, Class of 1888. Morgan regularly added to the collection until his death in 1932. The Library adds to the collection to this day. Kallendorf is preparing a detailed printed catalogue of the collection, the first such since 1956. Each entry gives not only a physical description but also particulars about text and commentary as well as notes, such as details about each book’s former owners. Building on work Kallendorf started nearly eight years ago, he examined more than 700 early printed books, consisting of several dozen 15th century printings, hundreds of editions of the complete works, many finely illustrated, together with numerous translations into English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Romansch, and Hungarian. Kallendorf expects the manuscript of his catalogue to be ready for his publisher, Oak Knoll Press, about the middle of 2008. His research was supported in part by a grant from the Davies Project.
Junius S. Morgan

Craig Kallendorf

Strange Adventures of a German Female Robinson Crusoe (1780)

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When first published in 1719, Daniel Defoe’s story of castaway Robinson Crusoe was a runaway success. Many translations and imitations of Robinson Crusoe followed. In fact, the progeny was so great that it became a genre unto itself called, in the plural, “Robinsonades.”
Princeton is the sole library listed in WorldCat, “the world’s largest network of library content,” to own a copy of a 1780 German Robinsonade featuring a heroine whose journey is a search as much for love and romance as it is for wealth. The work is entitled Merkwürdige Begebenheiten einiger deutschen Frauenzimmer, welche auf Reisen, sowohl zu Lande als zu Wasser durch Verheyratungen sehr reich und glücklich worden, und durch Ankauf ansehnlicher Güter sich in Niedersachsen niedergelassen aus eigener Erfahrung niedergeschrieben von Holston und Augusta. The actual names of the authors Holston and Augusta are unknown. At left is the frontispiece of the book. Click on it to see details of dress and scenery. For further information about the genre, see Jeannine Blackwell, “An Island of Her Own: Heroines of the German Robinsonades from 1720 to 1800” in The German Quarterly (1985), 58, 5-26.

Call number for the book: (Ex) 3459.68.363

Brayton Ives, collector

Brayton Ives (1840-1914), Civil War general, president of the New York Stock Exchange, and railroad president, formed a library on the model of those from which he obtained his books: Sunderland, Hamilton Palace, Beckford, Syston Park, and Woodhul. The auction of his collection in 1891 was said at the time to be the “greatest sale of books ever held in America.” In the sale catalogue, Ives noted that three of his books, the Gutenberg Bible, the Virgil of 1470, and the Homer of 1488, “will command forever the admiration and respect of educated people as the worthy objects of the highest form of skillful and conscientious typographical work.”


Remarkably, these three books are now at Princeton, having arrived at different times. First was the 1470 Virgil, purchased by Junius Spencer Morgan after the auction and given to the Library in 1895. Ives’s 1488 Homer was bought by Robert Hoe and then acquired by Cyrus McCormick, Class of 1879, at the Hoe sale in 1911; McCormick’s widow gave the volume to Princeton in 1948, twelve years after her husband’s death. When William H. Scheide moved his family library to Princeton in 1959, he brought with him Ives’s Gutenberg Bible.

Additions to Book History ephemera • Posters

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No Knowledge=No Bread. Knowledge Lies in Books. Books are on the Cooperatives. (Russia, 1925)
Graphic Arts GA 2005.01165
The Girl Who Reads Sensation Story Papers. (United States, ca.1891). (Ex) Broadside 392 [Larger image]


Newly catalogued • Hodder and Stoughton dustjackets

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Wrappers of books published by Hodder and Stoughton Limited (London, 1900-1940)
Call number: (Ex) 2010-0025E

Freshest advices! A complete listing of this collection is now available (4 August 2008). See

A collection of approximately 1200 wrappers and dust jackets, in albums and loose [viz. 2 vols. and 3 boxes], originally part of the publisher's archives. Items mounted on leaves, arranged as follows:

[H&S vol 1] Bound in brown cloth, Guildhall Library shelfmark on spine: Ms 16346A vol 1, ca. 1920-40: books at 9d, also (inverted at end) at 2s; [H&S vol 2] Bound in brown cloth, Guildhall Library shelfmark on spine: Ms 16346A vol 3, ca. 1920-40: books at 2s, also (inverted at end) at 2/6, 3/6 and 5s.; [H&S box 1 - unit 1] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 2s "Yellow Jacket" series, leaves numerated in white 1 to 50, probably ca 1920-1940 [approx. 53]; [H&S box 1 - unit 2] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 3/6 and 2s, leaves numerated in yellow 2 to 71, leaves 2 to 51, books at 3/6, leaves 52 to 71, books at 2s Probably ca 1920-1940 [approx 60] ; [H&S box 2] 38 leaves (white) with wrappers for books at 1s. 2s, 2/6, 6s, leaves numerated and not numerated [approx 75] ;
[H&S box 3 - unit 1] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 3/6, some "Yellow Jacket Western" series, leaves numerated in yellow 52 to 58 [approx. 18]; [H&S box 3 - unit 2] Leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and unpriced, leaves numerated in white: 25, 10[1], 10[2], 113 [approx. 12] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 3] 18 leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various prices, leaves not numerated -- [approx 70] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 4] 45 torn fragments of leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various other prices [approx. 45]; [H&S box 3 - unit 5] 26 cut fragments of leaves (brown) with wrappers for books at 9d and various other prices [approx. 26] ; [H&S box 3 - unit 6] 23 unmounted wrappers [23]

Provenance: Princeton collection formerly on deposit at the Guildhall Library, London. In March 2001, Hodder and Stoughton withdrew these and eventually sold them. Princeton purchased this lot from a Boston bookseller in April, 2007.


    Purchased in spring 2007 with funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library. Professor Anthony Grafton’s comments on this book: “The Milanese humanist Angelo Decembrio provides in his De politia litteraria a uniquely vivid, if fictionalized, record of literary life at the court of Ferrara in the age of Leonello d’Este. His court was the favorite habitat of the great humanist teacher Guarino of Verona; the architect, humanist and theorist of the arts Leon Battista Alberti; the poet Tito Vespasiano Strozzi; and many other scholars, writers, and erudite soldiers of fortune. In Decembrio’s unique dialogues we listen to these men debating the value of ancient and modern poetry, discussing the quality of Flemish tapestries and other works of art, examining the Egyptian obelisk that still stands in Vatican City in the Piazza S. Pietro; and describing the ideal renaissance library and how it should be kept. The text has fascinated students of the Renaissance for the last century and more, and parts of it have been edited (the one on the obelisk, for example, by Brian Curran, now of Penn State, and myself; that on works of art by Michael Baxandall).
“In collaboration with Christopher Celenza of Johns Hopkins, I plan to edit and translate parts of this text, … But it won’t be an easy text to edit. Decembrio’s work survives in two distinct recensions: one preserved in a Latin manuscript in the Vatican, of which we have a full copy; the other in two printed editions based on a manuscript stolen from the Vatican in 1527 and now lost. The differences are multiple and subtle, and the supposedly critical edition that appeared four years ago in Germany is very problematic. We [can] collate the divergent texts far more easily [now that] Firestone ha[s] both printed texts.
“The edition itself is of considerable interest, moreover: its title page illustration is a spectacular rendering of learned conversation, one of the most brilliant ones of this period, and the text it offers is curious in many respects.” Email:

Call number for the book: (Ex) Oversize 2008-0435Q

bk_co_durham.jpg From a descendant, the Library purchased the remaining personal collection of Noah Webster’s son-in-law, William Chauncey Fowler, professor, clergyman and legislator. The 311 titles come to a total of 392 volumes and include books on a wide variety of subjects as well as his personal, marked-up copies of his own works also ranging widely in subject, from anti-slavery to what sorts of books young people should read. Also included are two books formerly owned by his father in law, one of which, Jeremy Belknap’s American Biography (1794), has Webster’s annotation contradicting the author. In addition, because the Fowler family was a share holder in one of the earliest public libraries founded in the United States - the Book Company of Durham, Connecticut (founded 1733), they obtained a number of books from the Library’s stock when the company was dissolved in 1856 and the members voted “to divide the books by auction.” These are variously marked “Book Company of Durham, new library” or “Durham, new library” and include stock numbers (with date of accession as inscribed): 26, 35 (“1789”), 38, 45, 47, 71 (“1791”), 72-76 (“Jan. 3, 1792), 78 (“Jan. 1793”), 86 (“presented by Dr. Stiles, April 8, 1793”), 88 (“presented by Dr. Stiles, April 8, 1793”), 96, 97 (“A.D. 1795”), 101 (“A.D. 1795”), 108 (“1795”), 110 (“A. D. 1795”), 114 (“A.D. 1796”), 129 (“March 5, 1798”), 132, 142-144 (“1800”), 192 (“June 5th, 1812”), 199, 201, 202, 212 (“Jan’y, 1817”), 216, 224, 225, 229, 256, 257, 258, 279, and 286. One book with no stock number is marked “Ethosian Society, Durham, Conn.,” a debating society with a library known to have been formed in 1783 and dissolved in 1793. Few libraries of nineteenth century professors are traceable as a collection today. Equally few are gatherings of books known to have been in one of the thousands of social libraries active in ante-bellum America. Historians of reading are eager not only to know what those books were but to actually examine such documented survivors as these.

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