Ethiopic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library

Among the latest additions to “Treasures of the Manuscripts Division” in the Princeton University Digital Library is Garrett Ethiopic Manuscript No. 42: The Book of Enoch (Mäṣḥafä Henok), which is part of the Robert Garrett Collection of Ethiopic Manuscripts, 1600s-1900s (C0744.03), the gift of Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897. Click for access. The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (or 1 Enoch) is a complete translation into Ge’ez, the sacred and liturgical Afro-Asiatic language of Ethiopian Christians, of an ancient Jewish religious text, which claims to have been written by Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church regards the pseudepigraphic text as canonical. The present manuscript was one of those used in R. H. Charles, ed., The Book of Enoch, Translated from Professor Dillmann’s Ethiopic Text… (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893). For conservation reasons, the manuscript was recently rebound by Mick LeTourneaux (Princeton University Library, Preservation Office) in an Ethiopic-style binding, replacing a nineteenth-century European binding that bears the ownership stamp of H. C. Reichardt, probably identifiable as Henry Christian Reichardt (d. 1897), a missionary for the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews. Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Princeton Class of 1897, acquired the Enoch manuscript shortly after Reichardt’s death.

The Princeton University Library is fortunate to have one of the largest collections of Ethiopic manuscripts outside Ethiopia, including nearly 180 codices and more than 500 magic scrolls, as they are called. Garrett was the principal collector. He acquired the bulk of his Ethiopic manuscripts from the eminent German philologist Enno Littmann, who (with Garrett’s financial backing) led a Princeton expedition to Tigray in 1905. The following year, Littmann led a German expedition to Aksum. In the 70 years since the Garrett donation, Ethiopic manuscript holdings have continued to grow by gift and purchase. In recent years, Bruce C. Willsie, Princeton Class of 1986, has been the principal donor of Ethiopic manuscripts, especially magic scrolls. Nearly all of the Ethiopian manuscripts at Princeton are in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections; plus one each in the Scheide Library and Cotsen Library, and an additional one in the Princeton University Art Museum.

Since King Ezana of Aksum embraced Christianity in the 4th century, Ethiopia’s history has been intertwined with that of its Church, and manuscripts have played a vital role in this history, along with other forms of artistic expression, such as processional and hand crosses, folding and pendant icons, and church murals. Despite a host of foreign influences over some 1,600 years, the style of religious art remains distinctively Ethiopian, with a Christian iconography to match. Manuscript production and illumination can be traced through the medieval centuries. Yet extant manuscripts, especially in North America, date predominantly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Text manuscripts include Gospel Books (such as Garrett Ethiopic MS 1, 2nd half of the 17th century), Psalters, homilies, liturgy, chant, saints’ lives and miracles, theology, law, and compilations of texts related to divination and popular magic. Nearly all of the manuscripts are in Ge’ez. Manuscripts are written in carbon-black ink on parchment, then bound with unsupported link-stitch in an archaized style reminiscent of early Coptic Christian or Byzantine manuscripts, looking much older than they are. There are also several manuscripts illuminated in the Second (or late) Gondar style, which emerged in the old imperial capital of Gondar in northern Ethiopia from the 1720s and 1730s.

Far less elegant, but no less interesting as expressions of Ethiopian spirituality and traditional beliefs, are the magic scrolls. These are textual amulets, copied on parchment by unordained clerics called debtera using written exemplars. Magic scrolls are concatenations of prayers, incantations, charms, invocations of divine names and helpful saints, and other brief apotropaic texts, written on narrow strips of parchment in roll format. These words and images offered protection against disease, death in childbirth, demonic possession, and malevolent spirits. The name of the person for whom they were prepared is often indicated. Contributing to their protective and healing power were painted images of guardian angels with drawn swords, magic squares and eight-pointed stars, the net of Solomon to capture demons, and other figurative illustrations and designs. Magic scrolls were generally rolled up and kept in small leather suspension capsules, so that they could be worn protectively around the neck and over the heart.

Over the past ten years, the Manuscripts Division has been able to catalog its Ethiopic manuscripts as a result of generous financial support from the David A. Gardner Class of 1969 Magic Project. The bulk of cataloging has been prepared by Professor David L. Appleyard, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London; and a portion by Kesis Melaku Terefe, with assistance of Professor Wendy Belcher, in Princeton’s Department of Comparative Literature. There is now a 450-page online catalog Ethiopic Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library. Potential researchers should contact Public Services staff of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, at

Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch
Manuscript, mid-19th century

The Vitality of Manuscript Study

The art historian Professor Kathryn A. Smith (New York University) had praised the recently published Manuscripta Illuminata: Approaches to Understanding Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts, edited by Colum Hourihane (Princeton: Index of Christian Art and the Department of Art and Archaeology, in association with Penn State University Press, 2014). She does so in a book review, “Let There Be Light: Essays Promoting Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts,” in The Art Newspaper (October 2014), no. 261, a London-based monthly. Manuscripta Illuminata is the sixteenth volume in the Index of Christian Art’s Occasional Papers. The volume’s thirteen articles began as papers given at a well-attended October 2013 conference, which was organized by the Index of Christian Art in conjunction with the publication of Don C. Skemer, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library (Princeton: Department of Art and Archaeology and the Princeton University Library, in association with Princeton University Press, 2013). In the past year, more than a hundred American and European research libraries have purchased the two-volume catalogue in the past year, which is available from Princeton University Press. Professor Smith describes Manuscripta Illuminata as “an engaging addition to the scholarship on the illuminated book and its place in medieval and early modern artistic, religious and intellectual history….Among the rewards of Manuscripta Illuminata is the opportunity it affords to learn more about Princeton’s rich holdings of western European material.” The book review reproduces a miniature of the Entry into Jerusalem, from a thirteenth-century English Psalter (Garrett MS. 35, fol 5v) in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. “Generously illustrated in (nearly) full colour,” Smith concludes, “Manuscripta Illuminata attests to the vitality of manuscript study and its centrality to cultural history.”

Manuscripta illuminata cover

Japanese Scrolls Digitized

The Princeton University Digital Library has digitized three illustrated Japanese scrolls dating from the seventeenth century (C0744.08, Garrett Japanese Manuscripts, no. 1). The set of scrolls contain an anonymous story about the Sagami River, with 18 magnificent illustrations. The scrolls appear to have been produced in Kyoto in the 1660s, most likely commissioned by a warlord of the Daimyo class. The calligrapher was probably Asakura Jūken (fl. ca. 1660-80), of Kyoto. Japanese block-printed books served as models for the paintings. The narrative begins with the building of a bridge across the Sagami River, in the prefectures of Kanagawa and Yamanashi on Honshu, the main island of Japan. The scrolls include scenes from the Heike period of the 12th-century, featuring Yoshitsune, Yoritomo, Kajiwara, and the Battle of Ichinotani (1184). Each roll is made up of a series of paper sheets, 3-feet wide. On the back of the scrolls one can see the 17th-century Japanese silk covering at the beginning and gold decoration of the paper over the length of the scroll. The scrolls are in a contemporary black-lacquer box and are individually wound around spindles with lathe-turned ivory ends. Professor Ishikawa Tōru, Keio University, examined the scrolls and provided additional information about their production.

The scrolls are now online in the Princeton University Digital Library, as part of “Treasures of the Manuscripts Division”: The scrolls benefit from software designed for increased speed and zoom capacity for displaying large tiled images and creating a “slippy” deep-zoom experience in web browsers. Access to the original is restricted for conservation reasons. The scrolls came to the Princeton University Library in 1942 as part of the collection of Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897. He probably acquired the Japanese scrolls from a British antiquarian dealer in the 1920s, who provided a detailed description, now accompanying the digitized scrolls in the Princeton University Digital Library. Garrett had only one other Japanese manuscript, a near-contemporary Sanjūrokkasen album of ca. 1660 in a concertina binding. This ca. 1660 album contains 36 portraits of Japanese poets, each accompanied by one of their poems: C0744.08 (Garrett Japanese Manuscripts, no. 2).

After graduating from Princeton in 1897, Garrett returned home to Baltimore, became a Princeton trustee in 1905, and embarked on a half century of manuscript collecting. The high point of his extraordinary collecting life was the 1920s, followed by years of less activity during and after the Great Depression. Garrett acquired many manuscripts at the major auction houses, from leading European and American antiquarian dealers, and by private purchase. Garrett’s goal was to acquire representative examples of every known script and language in order to illustrate five millennia of the history of writing. Robert Garrett began collecting in the 1890s, guided to some extent by the scope of Joseph Balthazar Silvestre, Universal Paleography; or, Facsimiles of Writing of All Nations and Periods, Accompanied by an Historical and Descriptive Text and Introduction by Champollion-Figeac and Aimé Champollion; translated from the French, and edited, with corrections and notes by Frederic Maddan (London: H. G. Bohn, 1849), 2 vols. Garrett would recall a half century later, “I was really off on my manuscript journey, determined to find examples of as many of the scripts illustrated in that publication as possible. I was not able to do the job systematically nor completely but by the time my efforts ended I had something like thirty-five different scripts, and naturally many more than that number of languages.”

For more information about the Garrett Collection and “Treasures of the Manuscripts Division,” contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at

Japanese scroll detail for blogpost

Félix Candela, Structural Artist

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that the Félix Candela Papers (C1455) are now available for use by researchers in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Félix Candela (1910–97) was an internationally renowned architect, structural engineer, and master builder. He is best known for his innovative designs using reinforced thin-shell concrete to create the highly efficient hyperbolic paraboloid shapes utilized in his construction of many well-known churches, factories, stadiums, and other buildings, primarily in and around Mexico City in the mid-20th century. The Candela Papers are a recent transfer from Princeton’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, where they had been housed since their acquisition in 2006 and 2007 by Professor Maria E. Moreyra Garlock and Professor David P. Billington, who are the authors of Félix Candela: Engineer, Builder, Structural Artist, Princeton University Art Museum Monographs (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Art Museum, 2008). The finding aid is available online.

Candela had to leave Spain because of the Spanish Civil War and adopted Mexican citizenship in 1941. An award-winning athlete in his youth and successful student of architecture at La Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (1927–35), Candela abandoned plans to continue his studies in Germany in 1936 to join the Republican struggle against the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco (1892–1975). During the Spanish Civil War, he gained practical construction experience as the Spanish Republic’s Captain of Engineers and led projects to renovate old buildings for military use. His work, however, led to his eventual capture and imprisonment in an internment camp in Perpignan, France, until the end of the war in 1939, when he was one of a few hundred prisoners sent by ship to Mexico.

Candela’s practice flourished in Mexico in the 1950s and 1960s, where he and his siblings, Antonio and Julia, founded Cubiertas Ala S.A., a company dedicated to the construction of reinforced concrete shell and laminar structures. Candela’s 1950 design for the Pabellón de Rayos Cósmicos on the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México campus was the first to employ his novel hyperbolic parabaloid shell structure, and remains one of his best-known works, remarkable for its incredible thinness of 5/8 inch, allowing for the measurement and study of cosmic radiation. A number of photographs of the laboratory, along with photographs of many of Candela’s other structures under construction and in completion, are present within Princeton’s holdings, including images and drawings of L’Iglesia de la Medalla Milagrosa (1953), La Capilla Lomas de Cuernavaca (1958), Los Manantiales Restaurant at Xochimilco (1958), the Bacardí Rum Factory in Cuautitlán (1960), and the Sports Palace for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

The papers include a large quantity of photographic materials in several different media, including black-and-white and color photographs, slides, and negatives that document Candela’s professional projects. In addition, there are architectural drawings and designs, notes and typescripts of lectures and published articles, a group of professional and personal correspondence, itineraries and documents regarding professional travels and conferences, daily appointment books, student notebooks and artwork, awards, personal documents, and reference files and clippings on various topics in architecture and structural design, as well as on Candela’s own work. The Candela Papers complement other engineering collections held by the Manuscripts Division, including the Anton Tedesko Collection (C1456), John A. Roebling’s Sons Company Records (C1483), Arthur M. Greene Collection (C0434), Lewis B. Stilwell Papers (C0584), and soon to be accompanied by Anton Tedesko’s own papers (C1478), recently transferred from the School of Engineering.

For information about using the papers, contact Photographic materials and architectural drawings are housed onsite, while writings, correspondence, personal materials, and reference files are stored offsite. Please consult with the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections about having offsite materials recalled to Firestone Library, a process that normally takes 48–72 hours notice.


Documenting the Abolitionist Movement: Gamaliel Bailey Correspondence (C1482)

The Manuscripts Division has recently acquired a significant collection of the correspondence of Gamaliel Bailey (1807–59), a leading American abolitionist, who helped found the Republican Party and played a dominant role in shaping the direction of the abolitionist movement, particularly its influence and visibility within the national political arena. He was able to accomplish this largely through his role as the editor of prominent antislavery newspapers, including James G. Birney’s Philanthropist and the Washington, D.C.-based National Era. The Gamaliel Bailey Correspondence, 1839-1868, consists primarily of letters between Bailey and his close friends and associates, statesman Salmon P. Chase (1808–73) and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John McLean (1785–1861). Other friends and business associates, including John McLean’s wife, Sarah B. McLean, are represented to a lesser extent. Among other things, the letters document the abolitionist movement, particularly within the state of Ohio, and the business of the newspapers Bailey edited as well as antislavery journalism more broadly. The finding aid is available at

Editing the National Era from the paper’s founding in 1847 until his death, Bailey combined antislavery articles with popular literature, and used the paper to promote his philosophy of using politics as a way to end slavery in the United States. Several years into its publication, Bailey in a letter dated October 24, 1855, to Salmon P. Chase, discusses how the Era’s success was ironically resulting in the paper’s demise: “I am now on the eve of reviewing the [subscription] list of the Era. The Know Nothings have done me all the damage they could, and will not trouble me much this year. The indications are that I should hold on to what I have, perhaps increase some: but I cannot expect much. The Era has been a signal success, but times have changed. So many local papers have adopted its policy in relation to slavery, that it is no longer regarded such a necessity as it once was…I see clearly that there is no other paper which understands so thoroughly the philosophy of our movement, and points out so definitely what is to be done…but the thinkers alone appreciate this—while the crowd sees no difference except that the Era is $1.50 and the others, $1 a year. But I am content to look forward to the time when the Era shall not be needed.”

In 1851–52, Bailey published Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the National Era in serial form. In a letter dated June 28, 1857, Bailey provides some details regarding the story’s publication: “In the beginning of the year 1851, I remitted to Mrs. H.B. Stowe $100., and requested her to write just when, how, what, and much as, she might see proper. This was my mode of dealing with my contributors. I heard nothing from her for several months, when she wrote me that she was proposing to publish in the Era a story, to be entitled, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or the Man That was a Thing. She soon sent me two chapters, with the title modified, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life Among the Lonely. Neither of us supposed it would be long, but it grew upon her– it was a work of real imagination and my subscribers became greatly excited about it…”

The letters also document the political maneuvering of the Liberty, Free Soil, and subsequently, the Republican Parties at the state and national levels; and the political careers and presidential aspirations of both Chase and McLean. Bailey’s correspondence reveals that he was not committed to any one candidate or even to any one party—”I never was a party man or politician,” he said in a letter dated June 28, 1857. He was dedicated solely to the antislavery cause. In several letters to Chase, Bailey discusses whether Chase or William H. Seward—a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years—was the more viable Republican candidate for the Presidency. Although he notes that he favors his friend over Seward, in a letter dated October 24, 1855, Bailey explains that he would back the more popular Seward if it resulted in the advancement of the antislavery cause: “Personally, I care nothing for Mr. Seward’s elevation, and can have no interest in it—but were he the candidate selected honestly by the Party of the People, or Republicans, as they choose to be called, I would support him earnestly, for the sake of the principle. Personally, I care for the political elevation to the Presidency of no man but yourself but I would not split the movement on my attachment to you…I should work simply from devotion to the cause itself. I do not now believe that we can carry the election of 1856—but we can throw it into Congress. This would startle the nation, and secure us the vantage ground for 1860.”

Gamaliel Bailey Correspondence, 1839-1868, is a noteworthy addition to Princeton’s vast collection of Americana manuscripts. For information about using this collection, contact

Bailey letter

Ohio Antislavery Society Financial Appeal Circular sent to Salmon P. Chase
from Gamaliel Bailey, Corresponding Secretary, August 31, 1839.

Papyrological Institute at Princeton University Library

The Princeton University Library is hosting the Papyrological Institute (July 7-August 8), an intensive five-week summer course for graduate students in Classics, History, and other disciplines. This is the ninth in a series of such institutes held under the aegis of the American Sociey of Papyrologists, with the objective of providing participants with “sufficient instruction and practical experience to enable them to make productive use of texts on papyrus in their research and to become active scholars in the field of papyrology.” The focus this year are Greek documentary papyri from Byzantine Egypt, dating from the fourth to seventh centuries. The principal instructors are the distinguished papyrologists Jean-Luc Fournet, Professor at l’École Practique des Hautes Études, Paris; and Nikolaos Gonis, Reader in Papyrology, University College, London. Professor AnneMarie Luijendijk, Department of Religion, was the Princeton organizer. The Institute was made possible by funding from several Princeton sources, including the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Fund, Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, and the departments of Classics, History, and Religion. External support came from the Onassis Foundation and the American Society of Papyrologists.

Like the faculty, the eleven graduate students are very international. There are 11 graduate students in Barcelona; Chicago; Manchester; Notre Dame, Indiana; Oslo; Ottawa; Paris; Princeton; State College, PA.; Toronto; and Vienna. Classes have been meeting daily in the newly renovated Hellenic Studies study room on A-Floor, Firestone Library. Most days are divided between lectures and transcription exercises focused on unpublished papyri in the collections of the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Most of these unpublished papyri were either donated by paid for by Robert Garrett, Class of 1897, one of Princeton’s premier collectors. Guest lecturers in the Institute include Professor Roger S. Bagnall, Leon Levy Director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University; Professor Raffaela Cribiore, New York University; Professor James Keenan, Loyola University, Chicago; and Gesa Schenke, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, gave a paper, “Magic Writ: Textual Amulets from Papyrus to Printing.”

After the Institute concludes, Professors Fournet and Gonis plan to edit additional Princeton papyri. These combined with two dozen or so student-edited papyri will form the basis of a published volume of Princeton papyri, complementing the three volumes in print: Alan C. Johnson and Henry B. Van Hoesen, eds., Papyri in the Princeton University Collections (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1931); Edmund H. Kase, Jr., ed., Papyri in the Princeton University Collections (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1936); and Allen C. Johnson and Sidney P. Goodrich, eds., Papyri in the Princeton University Collections (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1942). The Library’s Digital Studio is contributing new photography to facilitate the work of the Papyrological Institute and eventual publication of a new volume.

There are approximately 1,250 papyri in the Manuscripts Division, chiefly acquired from around 1900 to 1930, as well as a 3 leaves of a Greek mathematical treatise in the Cotsen Children’s Library and 21 leaves of the Book of Ezekiel in the Scheide Library. Papyri are in all the languages and scripts of Egypt, from the Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic periods. Most numerous are Greek literary, sub-literary, Christian, and documentary papyri. For an inventory of Princeton papyri and 30 digital images, go to the “Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page” at In the next year, the Manuscripts Division hopes to put digital images of more than 200 published papyri online in the Princeton University Digital Library (PUDL). For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at

Papyrology seminar for blog

Nikolaos Gonis (left) and graduate students working on Princeton papyri.

Egyptian Book of the Dead Online

Pharaonic Roll no. 8, a 6th century BCE Egyptian Book of the Dead and one of the oldest books in the Princeton University Library, has just been re-released as part of “Treasures of the Manuscripts Division,” in the PUDL (Princeton University Digital Library), here. It was originally digitized in the late 1990s as part of the APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) Consortium Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Pharaonic Roll no. 8 is actually comprised of two complete rolls of the Saite recension of the Book of the Dead, including chapters 67–165. The rolls measure 28.5 cm (height) x 1160.0 cm (total length). Written in Hieratic script, a simplified version of Hieroglyphics, the text contain contains hymns, prayers, spells, magical formulae, and images to guide and protect the deceased through the netherworld. Among the accompanying vignettes in black ink are the Weighing of the Heart and the Elysian Fields. The rolls are made of linen cloth, far less common than papyrus for funerary texts placed in the coffins with the mummy. The Saite recension is the standardized version of this ancient Egyptian funerary text and remained in use, with some changes, from the 26th Dynasty or Saite Period (ca. 685–525 BCE) through the Ptolemaic Period (323–30 BCE).

This Book of the Dead includes the name of the owner, Hekaemsaf (or Heka-m-saf), whose mother was Tinetmehenet; and of its royal scribe Ankh-hetep, son of Nefer-en-Shepet. Hekaemsaf was an Egyptian naval officer who served as Chief of the Royal Ships under Pharaoh Amasis II [or Ahmose II] (570–526 BCE), 26th Dynasty. The Chief of Royal Ships was then also responsible administratively for the taxation of goods transported on the River Nile. In 1904, the intact tomb of Hekaesaf was discovered at Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient capital of Memphis, located about 30 kilometers southeast of Cairo. A total of 401 blue-green faience shabti (ushabti, shawabti) funerary figures or statuettes of Hekaesaf were excavated from his tomb, some of which are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other leading museums with Egyptology collections. The beaten-gold mask and embroidered covering for Hekaemsaf’s mummy is preserved in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. On 8 August 1928, the British coin and antiquities dealer Spink & Son, Ltd. (King Street, St. James, London) offered this Book of the Dead for sale to Robert Garrett (1875–1961), Princeton Class of 1897. He was then staying at Bisham Abbey, a historic English manor house in Berkshire. The next day, Garrett agreed to purchase the Book of the Dead for £700, which was payable in monthly installments. At the time of purchase, the two linen rolls had already been mounted on ten cardboard strips, as they have remained to the present. Pharaonic Roll no 8 was part of Garrett’s 1942 donation of his manuscript collection to the Princeton University Library. Garrett was the donor of nearly all the Pharaonic rolls in the Manuscripts Division. They are in the Robert Garrett Collection (C0744), but housed with the Princeton Papyri Collections. For descriptions of other Pharaonic rolls, as well as the rest of Princeton’s collections of papyri, go to the Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page, at

Re-release of the images in the PUDL takes advantage of the increased speed and zoom capacity of Loris, an image server that implements the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) Image API, developed at the Princeton University Library by Jon P. Stroop, Digital Initiatives Programmer/Analyst; and OpenSeadragon, an open-source JavaScript library for displaying large tiled images and creating a “slippy” deep-zoom experience in web browsers. OpenSeadragon was originally developed in Princeton by Blaise Aguera y Arcas, Princeton Class of 1998.

For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts:



Publication of Conference Papers on Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Princeton

On October 25-26, 2013, a well-attended international conference at Princeton, organized by the Index of Christian Art with grant support from the Council of the Humanities, presented papers on medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The conference was conceived in part as a celebration of the recent publication of Don C. Skemer, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library (Princeton: Department of Art and Archaeology and Princeton University Library, in association with Princeton University Press, 2013), 2 vols. Expanded versions of most of the papers presented at the conference have now been published in the sixteenth volume of Index of Christian Art Occasional Publications: Manuscripta Illuminata: Approaches to Understanding Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, edited by Colum Hourihane (Princeton, NJ: Index of Christian Art, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, in association with Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014), paperback, 287 pp., 168 color and 10 black-and-white illustrations. ISBN: 978-0-9837537-3-5.

The contributors to the volume are Adelaide Bennett, Walter Cahn, Marc Michael Epstein, Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, Henry Mayr-Harting, Elizabeth Moodey, Stella Panayotova, Virginia Reinburg, Mary Rouse, Richard Rouse, Lucy Freeman Sandler, Don C. Skemer, Anne Rudloff Stanton, and Patricia Stirnemann. Among the Princeton manuscripts studied in particular articles are Garrett MS. 35, Kane MS. 44, Taylor MS. 22, and Princeton MS. 223. The studies make every effort to help us understand the power of the written and illuminated word, while placing Princeton’s significant holdings in the broader framework of manuscript studies. The book is available from Pennsylvania State University Press:

Manuscripta illuminata cover

William Bell Scott and the Pre-Raphaelites

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce the acquisition of the William E. Fredeman Collection of William Bell Scott, the Scott Family, and Alice Boyd (C1459), a recent addition to Princeton’s extensive Pre-Raphaelite manuscript holdings. William Bell Scott (1811–90) was a Scottish poet, painter, art critic, and engraver, known for his association with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded in London by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais. Included in the collection are drafts and corrected page proofs for Scott’s poetry and prose works, proofs of engraved illustrations, binding dummies, bound volumes, drawings, correspondence, personal documents, and family papers. The collection also includes personal and family correspondence of Alice Boyd (1824–97), Scott’s life partner and mistress from 1859 until his death in 1890. Alice Boyd owned and resided at Penkill Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland, where the Boyd family had lived since the thirteenth century. There Scott and his wife Letitia spent half of their time beginning in the early 1860s, the three residing together in Scott’s London flat for the rest of the year. Scott completed one of his major works on the castle’s staircase, a series of large historical murals illustrating “The King’s Quair,” a poem attributed to King James I of Scotland (r. 1406–37).

William E. Fredeman (1928–99) was a respected scholar of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite literature who taught at the University of British Columbia from 1956 until 1991 and amassed an extensive personal collection of materials related to the Pre-Raphaelites, especially Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The materials acquired by Princeton are comprised of papers of William Bell Scott and Alice Boyd once at Penkill Castle. Fredeman obtained the papers from descendants of Alice Boyd. The collection also contains letters of Christina Rossetti, W. J. Linton, William Morris, and others. Also notable is a complete bound manuscript of A Poet’s Harvest Home, Scott’s final collection of poetry published first in 1882 and again in 1893, which Scott copied out in its entirety by hand over several months in 1881. He inscribed and presented the manuscript, containing many corrections and revisions, to Alice Boyd. Some early drafts of these poems, written during a flurry of activity at Penkill Castle during the late 1870s, are also included, as well as drafts and page proofs for the 1854 and 1875 versions of Poems.

In addition to William Bell Scott’s works and correspondence, the Scott family papers include official documents regarding marriage, guild membership, and feudal property, along with estate papers, correspondence, and writings of several known family members, including William Bell Scott’s brother, the historical painter David Scott (1806-1849); and their father, Robert Scott (1777–1841), an engraver of book illustrations and landscapes. Of note are several lengthy letters from David Scott to his father describing his study of art in Rome in the 1830s, and an 1845 letter to his brother elucidating his general philosophy of art, which William Bell Scott likely used in writing his brother’s memoirs.

A finding aid, which provides a more detailed description of the collection’s contents, can be accessed online at This collection joins Princeton’s other William Bell Scott holdings, in the William Bell Scott Collection (C0959) and the Janet Camp Troxell Collection of Rossetti Manuscripts (C0189). For more about the William E. Fredeman Collection of William Bell Scott, the Scott Family, and Alice Boyd, along with Princeton’s other Pre-Raphaelite holdings, researchers should contact

Penkill Castle drawing, n.d.

Drawing for Penkill Castle, n.d.

Scott Proof Engraving for blogpost

Proof engraving for Poems (1854)



Studies in Black and White: The Papers of Ruth Bernhard (C1468)

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that the papers of German–born American photographer Ruth Bernhard (1905–2006) are now available for study. They were transferred to the Library by the Princeton University Art Museum, to which Bernhard had bequeathed them. Bernhard is best known for her complex black-and-white photographs of still-lives and female nudes, in which she reimagined the relationship between photographer and model as one of identification rather than objectification. The resulting photographs provide a sensual rather than erotic image of the female body as an ideal form, similar to classical sculpture.  In 1927, after two years at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin studying art history and typography, Bernhard followed her father, graphic designer Lucian Bernhard (1883–1972), to New York City, where she worked as a commercial photographer. She was responsible for the photography in Machine Art (1934), the Museum of Modern Art’s first exhibition catalogue.

What would become a life-long study of the nude began in 1934 when Bernhard asked a dancer friend to pose in a large industrial stainless steel bowl. Her first photographic monograph, The Eternal Body (1986), a collection of fifty nudes, remains an influential work on nude photography. In 1935, after meeting her mentor, photographer Edward Weston (1886–1958), in Carmel, California, Bernhard became interested in the the work of West Coast photographers, such as Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Minor White, and Wynn Bullock. After spending time in Los Angeles in the mid-1930s, where her first solo show appeared at the Jake Zeitlin Gallery in 1936, Bernhard moved to Carmel in 1944 and later settled in San Francisco in 1953. There she would reside for the rest of her life. Many of her best known photographs date from the 1950s and 1960s, including Classic Torso (1952), In the Box, Horizontal (1962), and Two Forms (1963). From 1961, Bernhard led workshops and courses at the University of California Extension Program, the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite, the John Sexton Workshops in Carmel, as well as international master classes. Her printers Michael Kenna and Saïd Nuseibeh continued to produce prints from her negatives. Bernhard devoted herself increasingly to teaching photography after her near-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning in the mid-1970s and remained active as an educator well into her 90s.

For a detailed description of Ruth Bernhard’s papers, one should access the finding aid at  Bernhard’s 78 boxes of papers include correspondence, manuscripts, and artists proofs for published and unpublished books, publicity materials, teaching materials, appointment books, and a large series of memorabilia. There are informal photographs of Bernhard from childhood onwards, gifts and artwork from friends and students, personal effects, awards, and some audio and visual materials. Of note are a complete manuscript and several drafts of The Eye Beyond, an unpublished book  Bernhard began in the 1960s. It provides insight into her teaching methodologies and general philosophy of art. Also included are props and found objects used in teaching and still-life photography, including the cow skull with imbedded rosary pictured in her well-known Skull and Rosary (1945), dating from her days as a farmhand on the Pitney Farm in Mendham, N.J., during World War II.

For information about using the papers, contact  The collection is stored offsite. Please consult with the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections about having materials recalled to Firestone Library, a process that normally takes 48–72 hours notice. Bernhard’s working library is in the Rare Books Division. For information about the Ruth Bernhard Archive at the Princeton University Art Museum, contact Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography, at


Ruth Bernhard, 1957


Props for Skull and Rosary (1945)