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Celebrating the Presidency of Princeton

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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).

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“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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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]



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.

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.    

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.

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 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.

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.

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)

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

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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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