A Journal of Lord Dunmore’s War, 1774

On 10 September 1774, Lord Dunmore (1730-1809) arrived at a strategic American colonial garrison town that bore his name—Fort Dunmore, formerly Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne—now Pittsburgh, where the Ohio River forms at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. He was a Scottish peer, John Murray, Fourth Earl of Dunmore, who would be the last British royal governor of colonial Virginia, 1771-75. Soon Lord Dunmore was forced to flee to the safety of British-occupied New York, while Patrick Henry (1736-99), the great American patriot and orator, became the first governor of the state of Virginia. But on that day in 1774, Lord Dunmore was at the peak of his power, leading a brutal military campaign against the trans-Appalachian Shawnee and Mingo Indian nations. New archival evidence about Lord Dunmore’s War has just become available in the the Princeton University Library: “Journal of the Expedition down the Ohio under the Command of his Excellency John Dunmore Lieutenant and Governor General of his Majesty’s Colony and Dominion of Virginia, 1774.” The anonymous 28-page manuscript narrative, covering events between 10 September and 18 November, is written in a formal scribal hand, with what would appear to be authorial corrections, as well as two final cancelled pages, possibly prepared from an earlier version of the narrative kept in the field. The journal has a distinguished provenance. It was once owned by the Marquis de Chastellux (1734-88), a major general of French expeditionary forces under the Comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807) during the American Revolution, and later the author of the two-volume Voyages de M. le Marquis de Chastellux dans l’Amérique septentrionale, dans les années 1780, 1781 et 1782 (1788).

The journal begins with Lord Dunmore’s orders and a proclamation relating to the recent murder to “two friendly Delaware Indians killed near this Fort,” described as a act of “horrid barbarity.” Properly called the Lenape, the Delaware Indians were an Algonquin-speaking indigenous people that had lived in what in now New Jersey and adjacent areas for many thousands of years, until British colonial settlement and military incursions, especially in the second half of the 18th century, drove them from their ancestral lands and into the Ohio River Valley. Aside from this incident, Lord Dunmore’s interactions with native peoples were mostly brutal and bloody.
The journal treats the large numbers of Indian casualties, including non-combatants in villages, as signal accomplishments. Combat with Shawnees in mid-October made Dunmore redouble his efforts to “pursue the necessary Steps to chastise a Stubborn and Perfidious People.” The journal provides a detailed record of Lord Dunmore’s communications with Chief Cornstalk of the Shawnees. After an exchange of prisoners, including “one Sally Kelly, who had been taken from the great Kanhawa,” the conference resumed with Dunmore’s two-page address to the Shawnee. On 29 October, a peace treaty was finally concluded with lengthy addresses by “Nimoi a Shawanese Chief, with two Hostages, several white and some negroe Prisoners.”

Acquisition of the journal was made possible by an endowed fund created by Margaret P. Nuttle (1913-2009), who was a direct descendant of Patrick Henry and the mother of Philip E. Nuttle, Jr. (Princeton Class of 1963). Mrs. Nuttle’s generosity established the Barksdale-Dabney-Henry Fund to support the work of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections on early American history, especially during the time of her famous ancestor. This fund enabled the Princeton University Library to mount a very successful exhibition, “A Republic in the Wilderness: Treasures of American History from Jamestown to Appomattox” (2013), curated by Anna Chen, then Assistant Curator of Manuscripts, with the assistance of Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts. The Nuttle endowment has also enabled the Manuscripts Division to create a Princeton University Library Collection of Patrick Henry Materials (C1165), which grows by additions of autograph letters and signed documents relating to Henry as a Virginia attorney, landowner, and governor. Other manuscript acquisitions include a Suite de journal des campagnes 1780, 1781, 1782, dans l’Amérique septentrionale (1782), from the family of the counts of Forbach de Deux-Ponts, who led the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiments in Rochambeau’s army and distinquished themselves at the Battle of Yorktown. Additional purchases from the Revolutionary era include a letter book (1767-76) of the Loyalist merchant Daniel Silsby; and an account book of the American privateer “Junius Brutus” (1780-81).

For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, dcskemer@princeton.edu

C0938, no. 752

A Stranger in the Land of Egypt

The oldest book in Firestone Library is now online. Pharaonic Roll no. 5 is an ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, dating from the New Kingdom, probably near the end of the 18th Dynasty (1550/1292 BC) or beginning of the 19th Dynasty (1292/1189 BCE). This papyrus roll is part of the Manuscripts Division’s extensive Garrett Collection, the gift of Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897, one of the Library’s greatest collectors and benefactors. The roll contains more than two dozen spells, many fragmentary, written in black and red ink in a fine Hieroglyphic script, reading from left to right in columns, with a total length of nearly twenty linear feet and polychrome vignettes for several of the Transformation Spells, by means of which the mummy could assume other physical forms in the afterlife. Below is a vignette of a swallow perched on the mummy, lying down (spell no. 86). Other vignettes include birds and hybrid creatures atop mummies: a Gold Horus bird that resembles a falcon (no. 77); a thick-necked blue heron (no. 84); and a Ba-Bird with a human face (no. 85).

Click to view Pharaonic Roll no. 5 in the Digital Princeton University Library (DPUL); click again on Contents and then Index to see all images; and click on individual images to navigate and magnify details.

This Book of the Dead has been the focus of scholarly interest since it was unrolled and mounted in the Library’s Preservation Office nearly two decades ago as part of the APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) Consortium Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, directed the APIS project at Princeton, and Ted Stanley, Paper Conservator, was in charge of papyri conservation. The consulting Egyptologist for Princeton was Leonard H. Lesko, Charles Edwin Wilbour Professor of Egyptology at Brown University. His brief descriptions of Hieroglyphic and Hieratic papyri can be found in the Descriptive Inventory of the Princeton University Collections, accessible through the Princeton University Library Papyrus HomePage. Lesko was surprised to discover that the name of the mummy in roll 5 was Semitic rather than Egyptian. Subsequent academic interest by Egyptologists has focused on this name, as well as ususual aspects of the roll’s text and vignettes.

Barbara Lüscher, University of Basel, discovered some unusual details of the textual recension and images, which had been prepared in advance by professional scribes and artists in an Egyptian workshop specializing in funerary rolls. The workshop left blank space for the deceased’s name to be added later. Lüscher identified the name inserted in the roll as a man called Jtwnjr’yh, who she described as an “acculturated foreigner of Semitic (Asiatic) origin,” perhaps living in or near the ancient city of Memphis, in Lower Egypt. This area, about fifteen miles south of the city of Cairo, was known to attract many foreigners. Meanwhile, Thomas Schneider, University of British Columbia, identified the deceased’s name as a Northwest Semitic theophoric sentence (that is, including a divine name), written in Hieroglyphics. The term Northwest Semitic refers languages of the Levant, such as the Canaanite and Aramaic dialects, as well as Ugaritic. Schneider transliterated the name as ‘adōnī-rō’ē-yāh (meaning “My lord is the shepherd of Yah”) and argued that this personal name is the oldest known historical reference to the god Yahweh as a shepherd of the region called Yah.

There had been earlier New Kingdom toponymic references to Yah, a mountainous area in the Kingdom of Edom (southern Jordan), during the reigns of Pharaohs Amenophis III (1417-1379 BCE) and Ramses II (1279–1213 BCE). But roll 5 offers the earliest evidence of a particular divinity (Yahweh) being associated with that Edomite area. Of course, Yahweh is familiar to us from the Hebrew Bible as the name of God, also rendered as the ineffable four-letter Tetragrammaton (יהוה‬ in Hebrew and YHWH in Latin script). We can infer that the deceased man was an acculturated foreigner, perhaps Caananite, who was prosperous enough, either personally or through his family, to receive a traditional Egyptian burial with a professionally produced Book of the Dead, filled with religious and magical text and colorful images to help guide and protect him in the Netherworld. Indeed, the papyrus roll did guarantee the mummy a measure of immortality, though in a way that he never could have imagined.

For in-depth reading about Pharaonic Roll no. 5, see Barbara Lüscher, Der Totenbuch–Papyrus Princeton Pharaonic Roll 5: Mit einem Beitrag von Thomas Schneider, Beiträge zum Alten Ägypten, vol. 2 (Basel: Orientverlag, 2008), 57 pp., 18 color plates; Barbara Lüscher, “Princeton Pharaonic Roll 5: An Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead for an Asiatic,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 71, no. 3 (2010), pp. 458–60; and Thomas Schneider, “The First Documented Occurence of the God Yahweh? (Book of the Dead, Princeton ‘Roll 5’),” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, vol. 7, no. 2 (2007), pp. 113–20. In addition to Pharaonic Roll no. 5, two other rolls (nos. 4, 10) have been studied in monographs; and the Princeton University Library has digitized four rolls for study (nos. 1, 2, 7, 8). See blog posts from 2014 and 2017.

Swallow and Mummy, Pharaonic Roll no. 5

Gifts that Keep Giving

Robert H. Taylor (1908-85), Class of 1930, was one of the most dedicated bibliophiles and Library donors in the history of Princeton University. Taylor devoted over a half century to amassing a superb collection of printed books, manuscripts, and other special materials on English and American literature, which he bequeathed to the Library in 1985. The Robert Taylor Collection, including the portion in the Manuscripts Division (RTC01), is a scholarly resource that supports campus-based research, classroom instruction, and researchers worldwide, who visit Rare Books and Special Collections and take advantage of selective digital access to holdings. During his life, Taylor contributed generously to particular acquisitions clearly intended for the Manuscripts Division, rather than his own collection, such as a mid-fifteenth century manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Princeton MS. 100), formerly owned by the Tollemache family of Helmingham Hall, Suffolk, England; and the George Ripley Alchemical Roll (Princeton MS. 93), late sixteenth century. Taylor also looked to the future, beyond his lifetime, and had the foresight and means to bequeath sufficient financial resources to allow the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections to continue building the Taylor Collection and acquiring other literary materials. The Taylor bequest is truly a gift that keeps giving.

One of the most recent additions to the Manuscripts Division is a case in point. The Taylor bequest has permitted the acquisition of a substantial collection of manuscripts and other materials from the estate of Eva Marie Veigel (1724-1822), who was the widow of David Garrick (1717-79), the celebrated English actor, playwright, and theatre manager. He was a friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson, correspondent of Voltaire, and tireless promoter of Shakespeare. Among the estate papers is a volume, “The Accounts of the Estate of Mrs Eva Maria Garrick (who died 16 October 1822), undertaken by The Revd Thomas Rackett and George Frederick Beltz Esq Executors of her Will,” which includes an entry for seven guineas paid “Mr Gell for the Dean & Chapter of Westminster Abbey for leave to lay down a Grave Stone over the Spot of Interment of Mr & Mrs Garrick in Westminster Abbey.” Worthy of special mention is an account book for the 1750-51 season at the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane. The account book was kept by William Pritchard, who was the theatre’s treasurer and husband of actor Hannah Pritchard. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, one of Robert Taylor’s favorite authors, wrote for and later managed the Theatre Royal. The account book is a valuable source for the study of the theatrical and musical performance history of Georgian London.

This new collection (C1590) also contains selected family correspondence and transcripts of Garrick’s love letters to his wife Eva Marie; Garrick’s transcriptions of poetry; a 77-page handwritten catalog of play quartos in his personal collection, which he bequeathed to what is now the British Library; printed plays, broadsides, and theatre ephemera; materials pertaining to the Shakespeare Jubilee (1769) staged by Garrick at Stratford-upon-Avon, including the printed poem by James Boswell that was handed out and a printed list of subscribers to Samuel Johnson’s monument in St. Paul’s Cathedral; assorted medals, memorabilia, portraits, maps, and theatrical artifacts, including an early seventeenth-century kidskin glove (see below), which Garrick thought had been owned and worn by the Bard himself. By spring 2018, the Garrick collection should be organized, rehoused, and fully described. A finding aid will then go online to facilitate research use.

“Shakespeare’s glove”

Sergio Ramírez Wins Cervantes Prize

The Nicaraguan author Sergio Ramírez has been named the 2017 winner of the prestigious Cervantes Prize in Spanish Literature (Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes). He is the prolific author of more than twenty novels, including Margarita, está linda la mar (1998) and Mil y una muertes (2004), as well as short stories, essays, and journalistic writings. Ramírez was a long-time member of Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), a democratic socialist organization, which opposed the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza (1925-80) and his family. Ramírez served as vice president of Nicaragua under President Daniel Ortega, 1984-90, but retired from politics in 1997 and wrote Adiós muchachos (1998) as a personal memoir and analysis of the Sandinista Revolution. Since then, he has devoted himself almost entirely to the world of literature, winning wide critical acclaim. The Sergio Ramírez Papers (C1123), which have been in the Manuscripts Division since 2005, contain more than 165 boxes of manuscripts and drafts, correspondence, political files, photographs, and other papers documenting his creative work and public life since the 1950s. For a full description, see the finding aid.

The Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture created the Cervantes Prize in 1975 for lifetime achievement and began awarding it a year later. The forty-three authors so honored since 1976 are almost equally split between Spain and Latin America. It is interesting to note that Princeton holds some or all of the papers of a third of the twenty-one prize-winning Latin American authors, including Carlos Fuentes, Mexico (1987), Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru (1994), Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Cuba (1997), Jorge Edwards, Chile (1999), Juan Gelman, Argentina (2007), Sergio Pitol, Mexico (2008), and now Sergio Ramírez. In addition, Princeton holds extensive personal and editorial correspondence of Octavio Paz, Mexico (1981); and the Charles Scribner’s Sons publishing files for Juan Carlos Onetti, Uruguay (1980). Two of these authors are also winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: Octavio Paz (1990) and Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Many of the Cervantes prize-winners are represented in the correspondence files of more than eighty Latin American literary archives in the Manuscripts Division. Politics is a frequent theme in these collections and is complemented by the Library’s excellent holdings of Latin American political ephemera, a collecting effort and digital project coordinated by Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez, Librarian for Latin American Studies and related areas.

For more information about relevant archival holdings, consult the finding aids site. Researchers can also contact Public Services at rbsc@princeton.edu

Sergio Ramirez at a political rally in Nicaragua.

A Pilgrimage of Memory

Every old manuscript, however fragmentary, has a story to tell. And such is the case with Garrett Hebrew MS. 4. Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897, one of the Princeton’s most celebrated collectors, donated it to the Library 75 years ago as part of the extensive Garrett Collection. Long overlooked, the two parchment strips (see images below) appear to be remnants of a lost 16th-century Hebrew pilgrimage scroll, probably brought back from the Holy Land by a Jewish pilgrim. The fragments depict Temple utensils (sometimes called Sanctuary implements) used in religious ceremonies at Jerusalem’s ancient Temple; as well as the recommended itinerary for other Jewish sacred places in the Holy Land. Images of the Temple and its sacred implements had been depicted on illuminated double-pages bound into deluxe Hebrew Bibles from Castile, Catalonia, and Perpignan between the 13th and 15th centuries. These visualizations have been interpreted as representing the Messianic hopes of the Sephardic Jews in the Iberian Peninsula, when they began to face Christian persecutions and proselytizing during the final centuries of the Reconquista. The Garrett Hebrew scroll was informed in part by such imagery yet belongs to a later book tradition.

In the second half of the 16th century, Jewish scribes and book artisans in Jerusalem and Safed, under Ottoman Turkish rule, began to custom produce Hebrew pilgrimage guides on parchment scrolls for the growing numbers of Jewish travelers to the Holy Land. No doubt, some were Sephardic Jews, whose families had fled the Spanish Inquisition and forced conversion. Several pilgrimage guides were definitely brought back to Italy as souvenirs, and a few most likely served as models for similar guides produced in Italy. Most of the seven extant pilgrimage guides are configured like medieval scrolls; that is, reading from top to bottom in one long column. This is the form of two well-preserved pilgrimage scrolls at the Jewish National University Library (nos. 1187 and 6947), respectively 140.0 cm and 219.0 cm in length. The first of the two was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent exhibition Jerusalem, 1000-1400: Every People under Heaven. They each have substantial text accompanying stylized images. Clearly, not all the holy places and objects were still extant or could actually be visited by Jewish travelers. Scroll producers did not hesitate to show the Dome of the Rock, topped by a crescent, as a stand-in for the Second Temple. But even when a physical visit was impossible, these scrolls could still serve far-flung Jewish communities in Europe and the Near East as visual reminders of sacred places and objects. Rolling them out for wall display or table-top consultation offered a virtual pilgrimage.

Garrett Hebrew MS. 4 is somewhat different than the best-known Hebrew pilgrimage scrolls of that era. To judge from what survives, which is perhaps a third to a half of the scroll’s original length, the text is more limited and the images not well executed. Moreover, it was configured in the form of a classical scroll, being unrolled and read from right to left, as were Torah scrolls and small-format scrolls of particular Hebrew Books of the Bible, intended for use on specific holidays: Ecclesiastes (Sukkoth), Book of Esther (Purim), Book of Ruth (Pentecost), The Song of Songs (Passover), and Lamentations (Ninth of Av). The small size of pilgrimage scrolls made them portable. Jewish pilgrims could easily transport them in a leather or fabric sack. Equally portable was a small codex, such as one produced in 1598 for a member of the Jewish community of Casale Monferrato, in northern Italy (Leeds University Library, Roth MS. 220). But scroll format had the advantage of laying out the entire itinerary in a straight line.

Mounted together, the two fragments of Garrett Hebrew no. 4 depict sacred places and objects as stylized illustrations, executed in iron-gall ink and red tempera, and individually labeled in Hebrew. Section A (12.7 x 41.5 cm) relates to the Temple of Jerusalem (right to left): Two Shofars, below which is the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Ten Commandments, each tablet with an abbreviated title; forceps for rites; the Altar of Sacrifice and Stairs; Menorah; Foundation Stone (checkerboard design, called The Drinking Stone); Shim’i the Ramati (or Place of our Lord) with hanging oil lamps. Section B (12.4 x 45.5 cm) includes scenes outside Jerusalem (right to left): Cave of Machpelah (near Hebron), which Abraham bought for the burial of Sarah and which came to serve as the burial place for the patriarchs and matriarchs; an unidentified cave identified as the Three Wells of Stone; Tomb of Rachel, with double arch, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem; Tomb of Zechariah, an ancient rock-cut stone monument in the Kidron Valley.

For further reading on pilgrimage scrolls and imagery, see Bianca Kühnel, “Memory and Architecture: Visual Construction of the Jewish Holy Land,” in Doron Mendels, ed., On Memory: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), pp. 177-93, figures 8.1, 8.2; Eva Frojmovic, “Messianic Politics in Re-Christianized Spain: Images of the Sanctuary in Hebrew Bible Manuscripts,” in Imagining the Self, Imagining the Other: Visual Representation and Jewish-Christian Dynamics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, edited by Eva Frojmovic (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 91-128; Eva Frojmovic and Frank Felsenstein, Hebraica and Judaica from the Cecil Roth Collection (Leeds: Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, 1997), pp. 16-17, no. 5. Special thanks to Professor Susan Einbinder, University of Connecticut, for deciphering the inscriptions in Garrett Hebrew MS. 4.

Garrett Hebrew MS. 4

Praying Like a Pharaoh

The oldest books in the Princeton University Library are a group of Pharaonic rolls written in Hieroglyphic and Hieratic script, preserved among more than a thousand ancient Egyptian papyri in the Manuscripts Division. Among the most interesting of these rolls has now been published in a scholarly edition by a Swiss Egyptologist: Sandrine Vuilleumier, Un rituel osirien en faveur de particuliers à l’époque ptolémaïque: Papyrus Princeton Pharaonic Roll 10, Studien zur spätägyptischen Religion, 15 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016), 593 pages; 25 color plates. Her research began as a graduate student at the University of Geneva. She studied the roll at Princeton with the help of a Princeton University Library Research Grant (2004-5). Vuilleumier’s book contains transcriptions, translations, commentaries, and color images, as well as a final chapter on the rituals, ceremonies, and other aspects of Egyptian religion.

Pharaonic Roll no. 10 dates from the Ptolemaic Era—the period between the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE) and the Roman conquest of Egypt (30 BCE). Lacking its first part, the roll contains portions of seven chapters arranged in twenty-two columns of Hieratic texts, some of which are known from other sources and others not. Performance of ancient Egyptian rituals for the gods Osiris (god of the afterlife) and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris is central to the texts. The roll is unusual in that it was a ritual compilation from different sources and was used for burial instead of a Book of the Dead, the most common of Pharaonic funerary texts interred with mummies. Embedded in the text are the personal names of two men, Padihorpakhered and Mesreduwief, who were perhaps brothers. The surviving text in Pharaonic Roll no. 10 has seven chapters, dealing with processions, destruction of enemies, navigation, ritual of offerings, litanies, formulas, officiants and beneficiaries, and other subjects.

Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897, among the Library’s greatest benefactors, probably purchased the roll in the 1920s. It was then still fully rolled, as it had been for two thousand years, and the roll remained that way after Garrett donated his extensive collection of manuscripts to the Library in 1942. Pharaonic Roll no. 10 was not opened, conserved, and mounted until 1998, as part of the multi-institutional APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, was the Library’s project director; Ted Stanley, Paper Conservator, supervised the unrolling and mounting of the roll in the Library’s Preservation Office; and Leonard H. Lesko, Charles Edwin Wilbour Professor of Egyptology, Brown University, served as textual consultant. Several other Pharaonic rolls were also unrolled and conserved as part of the APIS project, including several Hieroglyphic Books of the Dead, an almost-intact Hieratic Book of Breathings, and other texts. Scholarly articles have been published about several of Princeton’s Pharaonic rolls.

Descriptions of the Pharaonic rolls (with bibliographic citations) are found in the Descriptive Inventory in the Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page. Selected Pharaonic rolls may be viewed online in the Princeton University Digital Library (PUDL), where they can be found by searching for the keyword “Pharaonic.” For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at dcskemer@princeton.edu

Knowing the Future

Throughout recorded history, people have turned to magic, prophecy, prognostication, divination, astrology, and other forms of pseudo-science in a vain effort to know the future and control the course of events in an uncertain world. In the late Middle Ages, plague and internecine warfare gave added impetus to the medieval penchant for prognostication and lead to forms of popular literature that circulated in custom-produced manuscripts. By the second half of the fifteenth century, the demand for inexpensive copies of almanacs, prognostications, and other such texts was sufficient for early printers to produce large numbers of copies on speculation and market them through street hawkers and itinerant peddlers. Yet manuscript dissemination would live on for centuries, long after the Printing Revolution, and it was always possible for individual readers to transcribe printed texts in whole or part for inclusion in manuscript compendia and commonplace books.

Manuscript copies of new texts could circulate privately for years or decades, almost like pre-prints, until finally being printed. We can see this with a scribal manuscript of a work by the Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano (1501-78), who played a major role in development of the Renaissance pseudo-science of metoposcopy. This form of divination claimed that one could determine a person’s character and destiny from patterns of lines in their forehead. A French manuscript copy of ca. 1615 (C0938, no. 499) is one of several versions of Cardano’s metoposcopy text that circulated before the Latin text was published in 1658 as H. Cardani medici Mediolanensis metoposcopia. The Princeton manuscript is essentially a hybrid book comprised of an engraved title page, with handwritten author’s name and title; and manuscript prologue; and 102 unnumbered folios, with four faces of men on each page, to which the same scribal hand added identifying numbers (1-816) and forehead lines, with accompanying prognostications for the particular face (1-769). Other metoposcopy treatises were never printed, such as an Italian manuscript of 1762 (C0938, no. 556). See image below.

Also circulating in manuscript before being printed were treatises on chiromancy (palmistry), according to which one’s future could be predicted from lines in the palms of hands. Ludwig Heinrich Lutz’s Chirosophia concentrata appears to have circulated in manuscript (C0938, no. 687) before the treatise was printed in 1672, 1674, 1679, and 1685. While each of the diagrams in the Princeton manuscript occupies a full page, the diagrams are grouped several to a page in the copper-engraved plates of the printed editions. But other chiromancy texts circulated as manuscripts for centuries and were never printed. For example, “Libro della Chiromantia di Ercole da Ferrara. Scritta da me Gio[vanni] Cristofano Crispolti nel anno 1676” (C0938, no. 745). Crispolti was the scribe responsible for this manuscript, which contains the main portion of a larger, unpublished sixteenth-century Italian text by Ercole Forte, da Ferrara, “Libri trè de Chiromantia e della Fisionomia,” ca. 1560-65, which survives in Brussels, Royal Albertine Library. Other manuscript copies are cited in eighteenth-century printed library catalogs. In the Princeton manuscript, the chiromancy treatise is followed by a brief anonymous text on Pythagorean numerology.

In addition to treatises, some texts were prepared in manuscript form because they were intended for the exclusive use of particular people. Wealthy patrons commissioned custom-made horoscopes and collections of genitures. Princeton MS. 187 is a multi-part custom horoscope prepared by an anonymous German astrologer around 1583 for an unnamed person born in 1549, as indicated in the geniture (fol. 5v), indicating the precise time of birth. The manuscript is possibly from the duchy of Saxony because it refers to an elector of Saxony from the 1550s and 1560s. The text cites ancient authorities such as Galen and Ptolemy, and Renaissance figures such as Andrea Alciati (1492-1550) and Gerolamo Cardano. A group of three German custom horoscopes (C1500) were prepared between 1670 and 1687 for Baron Alexander von Enke (1650-87), who served in the army of the Electorate of Saxony, fought against the Ottoman Turks during the Great Turkish War (1683-99), and died of a fever on the Ionian Greek island of Zakynthos (Zante) in 1687. Johann Henrich Voigt (1613-91), a northern German astronomer, astrologer, and almanac-compiler, who lived in the city of Stade and other places, prepared two of the horoscopes. The author of the third is unknown.

Almanacs and prognostica were very popular in print, like Farmer’s Almanacs in later centuries. François Rabelais (ca. 1494-1553?) satirized such popular literature. Despite large press runs, there was still a demand for custom prognostica in manuscript form. For example, Princeton MS. 171 is an entire volume of pseudo-Solomonic prognostications prepared for the Rousset family of the Loire Valley in the late fifteenth century. The main text is comprised of anonymous French verse prognostications prepared for Huguet Rousset. After a prose introduction interpreting the heavenly bodies in terms of Christian doctrine and astrology, the anonymous author has verse prognostications about agriculture, weather, commerce, and related issues of importance to provincial landowners. These are provided for a 28-year cycle of solar years, as indicated in incipits and explicits for the sections. Also in the volume are other verse prognostications, possibly prepared for Nicolas Huguet, grandson of Huguet Rousset. The verses end with prophecies pertaining to the years 1542 and 1572. Serving much the same purpose is a 1698 French manuscript, “Almanach universel” (C0938, no. 702), which provides predictions for a different 28-year cycle, 1689-1716, with climate and crop predictions, particularly for French wines in Auxerre and Poitou, along with business advice.

Among the strangest unpublished texts are Italian manuals that claimed to show gamblers how to win local lotteries by coming up with winning numbers. A manuscript of ca. 1714-50 labeled “Cabala” (C0938, no 564) is filled with prophecies, prognostications, numerology, and cryptography. Reference is made to older prophecies of St. Malachi, Joachim of Fiore (ca. 1132-1202), and St. John of Capistrano (1386-1456). Another such Italian collection (C0938, no. 730) is a recently acquired composite volume of approximately 600 pages, in 50 paper booklets of varying dimensions, bound together in the mid-nineteenth century. The texts were written by different hands in Italian (with occasional Latin), each in a separate booklet. These were bound together in the mid-nineteenth century, with the handwritten title “Cabale.” Most were probably copied and/or translated from earlier manuscripts and printed books that pertain to Cabalistic systems for lotteries. While undated, internal dates given in individual texts are from the 1760s to 1830s. The texts contain many numerical and alpha-numerical tables, astrological diagrams, and other figures presenting information in geometric forms, such as number squares and pyramids. Authorship of individual texts is attributed, perhaps through an intermediary text, to Ramon Llull (1232?-1316), Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola (1470-1533), and Rutilio Benincasa (1555-1626).

For more information about manuscript holdings, consult the online catalog, published catalogs, and relevant finding aids. Researchers can also contact Public Services at rbsc@princeton.edu


Italian Metoposcopy Manuscript, 1762
C0938, no. 556

Clarence Brown Papers Open

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that the Clarence Brown Papers (C1571) are now open for research in the Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The papers were the generous gift of the Estate of Clarence Brown, through his widow Jacqueline Brown, Executor. Clarence Brown (1929-2015) had a long and distinguished teaching career in Russian and Comparative Literature at Princeton from 1959 until his retirement in 1999. He was a faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures from 1967 and in the Department of Comparative Literature from 1971.

Brown’s name will forever be associated with that of the great Russian poet Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938), a tragic victim of Stalinist repression. Brown spent decades studying Mandelstam’s life and work, and translating his poetry and prose. It was through Brown’s friendship with the poet’s widow Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980) that the papers of Osip Mandelstam were donated to Princeton in 1976, together with all literary rights. Brown initially served as custodian of the papers, which were later transferred to the Manuscripts Division. The Princeton University Library has digitized the Mandelshtam Papers (C0539), including a significant portion of his extant manuscripts, in order to make them available to researchers worldwide. Brown’s papers include correspondence with Nadezhda Mandelstam, chiefly relating to the publication of her memoir Hope Against Hope (1970); files pertaining to Brown’s successful collaboration with the American poet and translator W. S. Merwin (Princeton Class of 1948) on the English translation, Osip Mandelstam: Selected Poems (1974); and Brown’s Russian travel diaries (1962-66) and notes on conversations with poet Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966).

The Clarence Brown Papers also contain his extensive correspondence with Guy Davenport (1927-2005), a prolific fiction writer, poet, critic, translator, artist, and illustrator. Both were South Carolina natives, fellow students at Anderson Boys’ High School, and undergraduates at Duke University. Davenport taught at the University of Kentucky. There are seven folders of Davenport’s original letters, mostly typed, dating from 1945 to 2005. The letters include Davenport’s discussions of their respective literary interests, recent publications, ongoing projects, teaching careers, and other topics. The Manuscripts Division already had five folders of Davenport correspondence in the archives of the distinguished literary journal The Hudson Review (C1091), to which Davenport was a frequent contributor, 1949-2005. Jacqueline Brown also donated Davenport’s 1946 self-portrait (Graphic Arts Collection).

The Manuscript Division holds papers of other former faculty in Comparative Literature, including R. P. Blackmur, Robert Fagles, Joseph Frank, Edmund Keeley, and Allen Tate. For information about collections, consult finding aids or contact Public Services, at rbsc@princeton.edu

Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin at Princeton Commencement, 1993.

All Things Trollopian

The Manuscripts Division’s extensive holdings on the celebrated English Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-82) have grown measurably thanks to a generous recent gift by the Rev. George S. Rigby, Jr., of Media, Pennsylvania. The George S. Rigby, Jr., Collection of Anthony Trollope (C1582) contains 122 autograph letters of the author, many of which are not in The Letters of Anthony Trollope, edited by N. John Hall (Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1983), 2 volumes. In addition, the Rigby Collection includes autograph envelopes, notes, and documents; leaves from his novel Castle Richmond (1860) and Australian journal (1872); selected letters of his older brother, the novelist Thomas Adolphus Trollope (1810-92), and other members of the Trollope family; original photographs; and caricatures, including an original watercolor (reproduced below) by the French artist “Sem” [Georges Goursat (1863-1934)], which is similar to a caricature done by him for Sem’s Pantheon of Celebrities of the Day (1876). Printed editions of Trollope’s work were also donated as part of the Rigby Collection and will be cataloged and housed in Rare Books.

In an original autograph manuscript leaf, in the Rigby Collection, for an article published in The Century Magazine (July 1883), the American author Henry James (1843-1916) observed, “Trollope did not write for posterity, he wrote for the day, the moment; but those are just the writers of whom posterity is apt to take hold. So much of the life of his time is reflected in his novels that we must believe a part of the record will be saved; and they are full of so much that is sound and true and genial that readers with an eye to that sort of entertainment will always be sure … to turn to them. Trollope will remain one of the most trustworthy … of the writers who have helped the heart of man to know itself….” Henry James’s confidence in Trollope’s enduring place in English literature has been borne out by generations of readers, drawn to the author’s portrayals of politics, society, gender, and other timely issues.

George S. Rigby, Jr., the collector and donor, was born on 27 April 1937, and raised in Media, Pennsylvania. He was educated in Media public schools, graduated from Asbury University (1959), and the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, B. Div. (1963) and M. Div. (1972). Rigby was ordained to the United Methodist Church ministry in 1960 and served six churches in eastern Pennsylvania until his retirment in 2002. Since he retired, the Rev. George S. Rigby, Jr., has served as minister-of-visitation for a church in Aston. Pennsylvania. Rigby has had a life-long interest in collecting. After first collecting holographic material of English and American authors, Rigby began in 1980 to focus on Anthony Trollope. His Trollope collection really began with the purchase of a single autograph letter from the George MacManus Company (Philadelphia), through David Holmes, whose career as an antiquarian bookseller began in that firm’s rare books and manuscripts department. Holmes subsequently opened his own business and, until his untimely death in 2016, was the sole source of all the Trollope material in the Rigby Collection. A few items were purchased since 2016 from Holmes daughter, Sarah Holmes Bookbinder.

Rigby donated the Trollope Collection to the Princeton University Library in September 2017 so that it could be (in the donor’s own words) “maintained as a unit and preserved in a facility suitable for its care, and in an institution which contained material consonant with [his collection].” His collection nicely complements the rich holdings of Trollope in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, especially in the Morris L. Parrish Collection of Victorian Novelists and in the Robert H. Taylor Collection of English and American Literature. More than a dozen complete Trollope manuscripts are preserved in these collections, including Orley Farm (ca. 1860) and North America (ca. 1861), along with a wealth of correspondence, journals, illustrations, and other materials. These two collections have grown over the years by judicious acquisitions, such as selected papers of Thomas Adolphus Trollope and Lionel Grimston Fawkes’s original illustrations for Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now (1875). For more information, consult the relevant finding aids and online catalog. Researchers can also contact Public Services at rbsc@princeton.edu


Anthony Trollope, by “Sem.”

Renaissance News Reporting

Information is so abundant and readily available today through the internet and social media, it can be difficult to imagine the glacial pace of news reporting in the distant past, before the advent of printed newspapers and organized postal services. In the Middle Ages, long-distance travel occasionally enabled such news reporting through oral and written accounts. By the fifteenth century, personal letters and news sheets written on paper, readily available and far less expensive than parchment, facilitated dissemination of international news by merchants, diplomats, soldiers, clergy, and other travelers. Information included in personal letters could be repackaged or aggregated in news sheets, at first handwritten and later printed, to report on current events of broad geopolitical and economic interest. The Manuscripts Division has examples of both types of news media, complementing other holdings in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

The Ottoman Empire’s challenges and threats to the Christian West was a recurrent news theme from the fifteenth century and is the subject of the best-known international news report in the Manuscripts Division: Testament de Amyra Sultan Nichemedy (Garrett MS. 168), an elegant manuscript, decorated with the royal arms (see below), was produced in Bruges (ca. 1482) and then bound by the Caxton Binder in Westminster. The manuscript was for Edward, Prince of Wales (b. 1470), who ascended the English throne briefly as King Edward V (r. 9 April–25 June 1483), under the control of his uncle, the Lord Protector, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who ascended the throne as Richard III (r. 1483-85). The text of this manuscript, available in print, is a French translation of an anonymous Italian letter of 12 September 1481, concerning the death and funeral of the Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1444-46, 1451-81), whose conquest of Constantinople in 1453 marked the the fall of the Byzantine Empire. The text also concerns the civil war faced by his successor, Beyazid II (r. 1481-1512).

From the mid-sixteenth century, news reporting by personal letter came to be complemented by organized scribal copying and dissemination of news sheets. The Manuscripts Division recently acquired a handwritten Genoese news sheet of around 1535 (Princeton MS. 239). This 21-line avviso, labelled “Copia de litera di Genoa de 22 Iulii,” offers an Italian news report, copied by a scribe on the recto of an unwatermarked paper sheet (28.3 x 19.5 cm) in a rapid cursive script, with abbreviations and corrections. The news sheet was presumably copied from a manuscript exemplar and dispatched to its intended reader by hand or post. The subject is the imminent defeat of the Ottoman Turkish Admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa (d. 1546) and death of the feared Turkish naval commander Aydin Reis (d. 1535), known as “Cacciadiavolo.” In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Genoa and Rome were close rivals of Venice in gathering and disseminating news. By the time it was written, news was already being circulated by printed news sheets, presumably in press-runs of 200 or more copies.

More common in the Manuscripts Division are personal letters conveying international news, such as a recently acquired three-page letter of 11 October 1480, with traces of a red wax seal (Princeton MS. 138.76). In it the Venetian merchant shipper Antonio Soranzo conveyed breaking news to Ierolimo Venier, member of an old Venetian noble family. The news was from the Greek fortress of Methoni, a town that the Venetians called Modon, located in the southwestern Peloponnese. Soranzo’s news dispatch concerned recent Ottoman military assaults by the forces of Sultan Mehmed II. Ottoman attacks were against a fortress known as the Castle of St. Peter (or Petronium) to the Knights Hospitalers of Saint John, and as Bodrum Kalesi to the Ottomans. The fortress built by the Knights Hospitalers was in the southwestern Turkish port city of Bodrum. They also had a fortress on the Greek island of Kos, twenty-four kilometers to the southwest. The Knights Hospitalers were able to resist attacks on both fortresses. Soranzo was a member of a Venetian family of merchant shippers, whose firm specialized in the importation of Levantine cotton from the Syrian ports of Hamā, Latakia, and Tripoli, for use in the European textile industry.

Italian news and diplomatic reports are found in other collections. A recent acquisition (Princeton MS. 138.77) is an anonymous Italian report dispatched from France around March 1552 to convey intelligence about the military preparedness of King Henry II (r. 1547-59), early in the Italian War of 1551-59. From stations across Europe and in the Ottoman and Persian empires, Venetian ambassadors prepared and submitted detailed diplomatic reports, which were later transcribed from archival copies for dissemination as bound sets of relazioni, such as Princeton MS. 157, dating from the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The Seventeenth-Century Italian Letters Collection (C0920) contains 97 letters and documents of various Italian church and political figures, primarily in Florence, Pisa, and Rome, 1598-1699. Many letters contain information about military and diplomatic history, focusing on the Farnese dukes of Parma, Spanish occupation of Milan, and political ambitions of the Holy See. Reporting on current events can also be found among the letters of Ottavio Falconieri (1636-75), the Papacy’s diplomatic internuncio in Flanders. His papers include 135 autograph drafts and secretarial copies of outgoing letters to Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679) and others, chiefly written from Brussels between February 1673 and December 1674. This correspondence covers many subjects, including church affairs, international politics, books and learning, and everyday life. Also found in the papers is Affari d’Inghilterra, a 23-page political report on England (C1305).

International news reporting was not restricted to Italy. Many German, Dutch, English, and French printed examples in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections are preserved in the Folke Dahl Collection of Early Newsbooks, Corantos, and Newspapers, 1512-1787. The oldest example in this collection is a report by the German humanist and historian Michael Köchlin (or Coccinius) of Tübingen (1478-1512), De rebus gestis in Italia (Strasbourg: Johann Grüninger, 1512), a 24-page news sheet, which covered the Spanish siege of Bologna, the Venetian occupation of Brescia, the Battle of Ravenna, and other recent events. Printed news sheets can also be found by searching the online catalog under the subject heading “Newsbooks.” Printed news continued to coexist with personal news dissemination. For example, found in the Radcliffe Family Papers (C0926), of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, are twenty-seven business letters written from the Turkish city of Galata (near Istanbul) and eleven other letters from Aleppo (modern Syria), ca. 1703-57, relating in part to current political conditions that impacted trade and commerce between England and the Ottoman Empire.

For more information about holdings of the Manuscripts Division, consult the online catalog and finding aids site or contact Public Services, rbsc@princeton.edu

Garrett MS. 168, folios 14v-15r