Unfolding Time

Bound volumes of diaries and journals are one of most common genres in the Manuscripts Division. They are often consulted for research value as first-person, day-by-day narratives of travel, exploration, warfare, politics, academic life, and other activities. Particularly interesting are those that document historical events or trace the movement of people and ideas across geographical and cultural boundaries. A simple search of Voyager for the keywords “diaries” or “journals” and format “manuscript” identifies more than 400 individually cataloged manuscript diaries and journals in the Manuscripts Division. American and British examples are most numerous, but other areas are represented as well, generally dating from the 17th century almost to the present. In addition, a search of the Manuscripts Division’s finding aids for the keyword “diaries” or “journals” produces over 1500 hits relating to collections of personal and family papers that contain one or more diaries and journals, and occasionally constitute the entire collection.

Holdings of diaries and journals continue to grow by gift and purchase. The most significant recent addition was a series of three diaries kept by Walter Dundas Bathurst (1859-1940), which he kept as an officer of the Association Internationale du Congo (AIC), 1883-86 (C1544). These diaries relate to African colonization efforts of King Leopold II of the Belgians (r. 1865-1909) in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to the related activities of the British journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904). Other recent acquisitions include a diary kept in 1739-40 by the French aristocrat Abraham-Guy de Migieu, who traveled through Italy with the writer Charles des Brosses (1709-77). Around 1754, additional Italian travel journals by other people (1623-64) were bound with De Migieu’s manuscript (C0938, no. 839). Reproduced below is a two-page opening from one of these diaries, containing an antiquarian’s transcriptions of ancient Roman inscriptions. Another recent 18th-century acquisition is Antonio Josef de Vera’s Spanish-language narrative a voyage to the Holy Land in 1780, Breve description de los Santos lugares de Jerusalén (C0938, no. 840).

More recent diaries and journals include a series of 22 diaries kept 1822-65 by Emily Treslove of London, who was married to Thomas Crosby Treslove (a barrister in the Queen’s Counsel and a member of Lincoln’s Inn), which provide personal glimpses into London society as well as travedls on the continent (C1544). The Treslove diaries and related papers were the gift of Bruce C. Willsie, Class of 1986. Of considerable interest for intellectual history is the recently acquired reading journal of Lidiia Andreevna, Countess Rostopchina (1838-1915), a chronological journal kept 1867-73 by a highly literate Russian woman of her readings in Russian, French, and even some English literature (C0938, no. 748). For assistance, contact Public Services, at rbsc@princeton.edu

C0938, no. 839

Ziolkowski on Hesse

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that Professor Theodore Ziolkowski has donated his Hermann Hesse Collection (C1618) to the Library, along with additional literary correspondence. From the time that Ziolkowski joined the Princeton faculty in 1964 as a professor of German, he has been a leading interpreter of the work of German-born author Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), Nobel Laureate in Literature (1946), who became a Swiss citizen in 1923. Ziolkowski published several books on Hesse, beginning with The Novels of Hermann Hesse: A Study in Theme and Structure (1965), as well as dozens of other books and editions on German and comparative literature. In 1969, he was appointed Class of 1900 Professor of German and Comparative Literatures, and also served as dean of the Graduate School from 1979 to 1992. Professor Ziolkowski went to emeritus status in 2001, but has remained very active in the world of scholarship.

The Hermann Hesse Collection includes eight boxes of materials on the posthumous reception of Hesse in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Hesse was propelled to the ranks of popular icon and prophet of alienated youth with the help of English translations of celebrated works originally published in German: Demian (1923); Steppenwolf (1929); The Glass Bead Game (1943), first published in English translation in 1949 as Magister ludi; and Siddhartha (1951). Professor Ziolkowski’s collection helps trace Hesse’s American reception in everything from serious scholarly publications to the Hessomania of mass-market magazines and comics, calendars, posters, and even naming opportunities in popular culture. Some of these printed materials are annotated and accompanied by additional letters. The collection also included several autograph letters received from Hermann Hesse and his son Heiner Hesse; cards and photographs of Hesse; and Ziolkowski’s own literary and publishing files related to publications about Hesse. There is also additional literary correspondence between Ziolkowski and leading German authors, editors, and scholars. Correspondents include Heinrich Böll (and Böll family members), Friedrich Christian Delius, Hilde Domin, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Max Frisch, Günter Grass, Thomas H. Mandl, Ijoma Mangold, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Paul Schallück, Margot Scharpenberg, and Johannes Urzidil, as well as a file of correspondence with Lebanese poet and translator Fuad Rifka, who translated Hesse into Arabic.

As soon as the Ziolkowski Collection has been organized and described, it will be available for study in the reading room of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Additional Ziolkowski papers are found in University Archives (AC402). For more information about holdings of the Manuscripts Division, Public Services at rbsc@princeton.edu

Hermann Hesse. Undated sepia-tone photograph from the Ziolkowski Collection.

Linguists at Work

Academic researchers have long been able to rely an abundance of modern authors’ papers, publishing archives, and other manuscript collections in academic and research libraries to trace the genesis of major literary texts and study the creative process and working methods of canonical authors. Modern information abundance, academic libraries with millions of printed books and journals, and online digital access has made textual research much easier than it was for earlier generations of scholars. The field of genetic criticism, devoted to establishing texts and studying textual evolution and transmission, has worked well for canonical texts, but can work at any level and need not be restricted to literary works of the highest order. For example, the Manuscripts Division has examples of work in progress on unpublished linguistic texts, in the form of grammar books, dictionaries, glossaries, and other intercultural tools, intended to help people to master foreign languages. Evidence is preserved both in the Manuscript Division’s extensive holdings of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish manuscripts; as well as western European manuscripts in Latin, Greek, and other languages. Improvements in international travel and communications between Europe and Islamic world, beginning during the Middle Ages, had made language study increasingly important for trade, commerce, news-gathering, diplomacy, pilgrimage, religious missions, scholarship, textual transmission, and other activities. What started during the Middle Ages continued for centuries and left marks on both worlds.

One of the most fascinating recent additions to the Manuscripts Division is a rare first edition by the Stuttgart linguist and historian Hieronymus Megiser (1553-1618), Institutionum linguae Turcicae, libri quatuor (1612). It was the first European grammar book (in Latin) on Ottoman Turkish and is considered something of a landmark in Turkish studies. It was published with a dedication to the Austrian nobleman Hector von Ernau. A few years after the book was published, Johann Melchior Mader, a German linguist from Augsburg, interleaved, annotated, and expanded his copy of Megiser. Mader is known for several published works on Arabic: Oratio pro lingua arabica (1617), Grammatica arabica (1617); and Collegium arabicum (1618). Over time, Mader transformed the printed book by annotating it, then adding several hundred blank interleaved pages, to which he selectively added Ottoman Turkish words and phrases. He recorded a few Arabic inscriptions, including one translated from N.T. Romans 8:31 (“If God be with us, who can be against us?”); and then added several texts of his own, including Sententiae et proverbia Arabica and Proverbia et Sententiae Turcica in Arabic script, transliterated with accompanying Latin, Italian, and occasionally German translations. (See image below.) At some point, Mader had the much-expanded book rebound in a wrapper made from a 15th-century parchment manuscript leaf (O.T. Daniel 13, “Susannah and the Elders”). The overall impression is of a linguist at work, preparing a reference book either for personal use or as part of a future publication. Judging from the number of interleaved pages left blank, Mader never completed his work, perhaps because of the demands of his post as equerry (master of the stables) of the princes of Eggenberg, a prominent Austrian noble family, and wrote a treatise on horsemanship dedicated to his employers: Equestria, sive de arte equitandi libri duo (1621).

The Megiser-Mader volume is designated C0938, no. 835. For other examples of unpublished bilingual grammar books and dictionaries from Europe and the Islamic world, 16th to 19th centuries, one can search for manuscripts in the Princeton University Library online catalog or contract Public Services at rbsc@princeton.edu

C0938, no 835

Documentary Films on Princeton Icons

The impact of the Manuscripts Division and other holding units within Rare Books and Special Collections can be measured in individual research visits, as recorded in Aeon circulation statistics; photoduplication, imaging, and permission requests; growing numbers of undergraduate classes and graduate seminars meeting in the department; and the many academic books and journal articles published each year with citations and acknowledgments to the department and its staff. Print and online use can also be measured in the tens of thousands of hits recorded in Google Analytics, Google Scholar, JStor, ArtStor, and DPUL (Digital Princeton University Library). Academic researchers and Princeton classes are clearly the primary users of special collections materials, including manuscripts and archives. Somewhat hidden in these measures of use are well-known documentary film makers and their researchers, who focus on iconic figures well documented in Manuscripts Division. Film makers may not be obvious among the thousands of researchers who visit the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room each year or contact Public Services and curators to request reference assistance, photoduplication, and digitization of audio-visual materials. Media acknowledgments are often consigned to the rolling credits.

In the last year, significant assistance was provided to several well-known documentary film makers, whose films reach large audiences beyond the academic world. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a documentary film by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, also well known as a portrait photographer. It was made for the PBS series American Masters and premiered in January 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film has been described as “an artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller that examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.” Her years teaching at Princeton are also covered in the film. Associates of Greenfield-Sanders did considerable research for the film at Princeton using the Papers (C1491) of Toni Morrison, Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, and Nobel Laureate in Literature (1993). Later in the spring 2019 semester, the documentary film will be viewed by students in two Princeton classes, which will be using the Toni Morrison Papers: AAS 555, taught by Professor Imani Perry; and English 414 / AAS 455, taught by Professor Autumn Womack. The film will be broadcast in the PBS American Masters series in late 2020. Another documentary film researched in part at Princeton is Hemingway, by the celebrated team of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It is a two-part documentary film about the life and world of Ernest Hemingway. The Manuscripts Division has excellent photographic holdings on the author in the Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons (C0101), Patrick Hemingway Papers (C0066), Sylvia Beach Papers (C0108), and other collections. Hemingway is also slated for national broadcast in the PBS American Masters series in 2020.

Finally, Moe Berg is a documentary film by Aviva Kempner (Ciesla Foundation), who with her associates used the Manuscripts Division’s Moe Berg Papers (C1413) and the Neil Goldstein Collection of Working Files on Moe Berg (C1449). This will be the first feature-length documentary film about Moe Berg (1902-72), Princeton Class of 1923, who was a major league baseball player for fifteen seasons, who famously served as an American spy during World War II for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Moe Berg will be released later in 2019. For information about any of these collections, contact Public Services: rbsc@princeton.edu

Toni Morrison with King Carl XVI of Sweden at the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm, February 4, 1994

Photographing Communities of Color

In celebration of Black History Month, the Manuscripts Division is pleased to focus on two African American photograph albums. The photographs are in commercially produced albums, which have cardboard leaves with pre-cut slots into which album owners inserted photographs over time. The albums were bound in sturdy leather and papier-mache covers, beginning with printed title pages and an “Index to Portraits.” Owners of these albums often identified the portraits of family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Church-goers in their Sunday best. The patented photograph albums were ideal for tintypes or ferrotypes, supplemented by cartes-de-visite (albumen prints mounted on cardboard). The tintype was an early photographic process by which positive black-and-white images were made on the silver-halide collodion emulsion, added to thin lacquered iron plates and fixed with potassium cyanide. Like the daguerreotype, the tintype was a French invention that came to be widely used in the United States for formal portraits, either taken in urban studios or mobile photo booths. Tintypes became popular during the U.S. Civil War, when soldiers proudly posed in their uniforms, and continued to be used through 1900 and beyond.

The older of the two albums in the Manuscripts Division (see first image below) is the H. M. Tyndale photograph album, dating from the 1860s and 1870s (C0938, no. 511q). The blank album was manufactured by the Henry Altemus Company, at 806 Market Street, Philadelphia, under an 1863 U.S. patent. The album contains 32 tintypes and 16 cartes-de-visite, one of which bears the label of the Philadelphia photographer Joseph Fenton. All but one of the portraits are of African Americans, identified by name at the beginning of the volume. Included in the index is a certain Annie Tyndale and another person with that surname. The city had an sizable African American population since the mid-18th century, including slaves and free blacks, and there were other free communities of color in the Philadelphia area. The U.S. Census for 1870 lists a married couple named Harold and Anna Tyndale, living in Philadelphia. H. M. Tyndale cannot be identified with the best-known Philadelphian having the same surname, Hector Tyndale [i.e. George Hector Tyndale] (1821-80), a white merchant who had served as a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War. Considerable local history research will be needed to identify and firmly localize the people in the album.

The Manuscripts Division has recently acquired another African American photograph album from the Philadelphia area (see second image below). The album is from Lawnside (formerly East Magnolia), now a borough in Camden County, N.J. It is located fifteen miles southeast of Philadelphia and two miles south of Haddonfield. The album contains 21 tintypes and 2 cartes-de-visite of African-Americans, including one taken in a Philadelphia studio (Holt’s Bell Studio). Most of the images appear to date from the 1890s though the early 20th century. Abolitionists had purchased the land in 1840 for African Americans, including freed and escaped slaves. The town was one of several African American towns in New Jersey; others included Marshalltown (Mannington Township) and Timbuctoo Village (Westhampton Township). In 1926, Lawnside became the first independent self-governing African American community in the north. Even today, Lawnside’s population is nearly 90 percent African American.. The blank album, similar in style to the Tyndale album, was manufactured by William W. Harding, Philadelphia, with a printed title page (The Photograph Album). The verso of the front end paper bears an inscription in pencil, “Property of / Hannah Hicks / Charleston Ave. / East Magnolia.” She was born about 1878 and was married to Newkirk Hicks. There are tintypes of the two in the album. At a later date, a family member identified the individuals on the photographs themselves. In addition to Hicks, surnames include other Lawnside families, such as Jones, Johnson, Summers, Fawcet, and Arthur. Many were probably members of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Lawnside.

The Tyndale album is available for study. The Lawnside album will be available after its binding is repaired. For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, dcskemer@princeton.edu

Tyndale Album


Lawnside Album

Recovering Lost Manuscript Evidence

Close study of physical evidence and provenance can lead to significant insights into the history of medieval manuscripts, early printed books, and other rare or unique special collections materials. We can see this in connection with Le Roman de la rose, which was one of the most widely read, admired, and influential Old French works of literature, in some 21,000 lines of allegorical verse. It was begun by Guillaume de Lorris around 1230 and completed by Jean de Meun (d. 1305?) four decades later. So popular was Le Roman de la rose that about 300 complete manuscripts are extant, including many illuminated copies. The Manuscripts Division has two complete manuscripts of the text (Garrett MS. 126; Princeton MS. 227), as well as a fragment of a manuscript leaf and a fifteenth-century selection of handwritten extracts. The abundance of manuscript copies has allowed the work to be carefully edited with attention to the inter-relationship of textual witnesses and images. Beyond using manuscripts to establish and edit the text, researchers are interested in tracing evidence of production, provenance, and readership. Such evidence has been noted when available for about 250 manuscripts surveyed by Ernest Langlois in his book Les manuscripts du Roman de la rose (1910); and for more than 130 manuscripts included in the Roman de la rose Digital Library.

Yet evidence of this sort elusive when unreadable or lost, especially when new owners erased old inscriptions and volumes were rebound or otherwise physically modified. Fortunately, recovery of lost manuscript evidence is still possible, as we can see with Princeton MS. 227. It is a relatively recent addition to the Manuscripts Division, which understandably has received far less attention than Garrett MS. 126, the gift of Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897. The latter is an illuminated copy dating from the mid-fourteenth century and can be viewed among Treasures of the Manuscripts Division in DPUL (Digital Princeton University Library). Princeton MS. 227 contains Le Roman de la Rose and Le testament, an Old French moralistic text by Jean de Meun, also found in Garrett MS. 126. Some of Princeton MS. 227’s provenance is well-documented. It was in the library of the French scholar Dominique Méon (1748-1829), who used it as one of his authoritative manuscripts in his edition of Le Roman de la rose (1814); and it was later manuscript no. 4363 in the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), the great English private collector of medieval manuscripts.

At some point in the manuscript’s early history, the scribal colophon at the end of Le testament (fol. 209r), below the final “Amen,” was partially erased by washing with a wet finger or rag and scraping with a knife. Whoever did this was trying to remove the scribe’s name, but erased other parts of the colophon as well. Too faint to read was the partial date, essentially a “note to self” written by the same scribe at the end of Le Roman de la rose (fol. 175v). Erased and seemingly unreadable inscriptions can be recovered and deciphered by doing digital photography under ultraviolet light (UV), a standard technique for most of the twentieth century, based on the fluorescence of light and erased iron-gall ink under a “black-light” source. This temporarily makes the erased brown ink appear darker so that it can be read or photographed. Digital photography has made it possible to enhance the UV digital images by image-processing and manipulation in Adobe PhotoShop. At one’s desk, it is now possible to increase contrast, alter colors, and reverse the written text so that it displays as white or light-colored writing against a black background. One must also extend medieval abbreviations, add apostrophes where needed, and do some conjectural reading. This involves paying close attention to parts of letters (especially ascenders and descenders), counting obliterated characters, and making educated guesses about words of equal length that work in context or follow established scribal formulas. The imaging results for the two inscriptions in Princeton MS. 227 can be seen at the end of this blog post: fol. 209r (above); fol. 175v (below).

The scribal colophon can now be transcribed in full, as follows: “Ce livre est par fini guillaume charpentier et l’escrist de sa main et fut parfait de la second jour de l’octobre l’an de grace mil ccclxxv.” The faint scribal note on fol. 175v appears to read “En xv juillet.” Reading the two scribal notes, we can see that Guillaume Charpentier completed writing and correcting the entire volume on October 2, 1375, having finished work on Le Roman de la rose about ten weeks earlier, on July 15. 1375. More can be learned using this information. With the help of a perpetual calendar for 1375, readily available online, we determine that July 15 was a Saturday and October 2 a Monday. That means that the scribe, if he had worked Mondays through Saturdays each week, only resting on the Sabbath, would have had 67 days in which to copy Le testament on 69 pages (fols. 176v-209r. However, we know that medieval scribes working on a non-deluxe manuscript like Princeton MS. 227 would have been able to copy about three pages each day. For this reason, we can be sure that Guillaume Charpentier was only working part-time on this manuscript.

Who then was Guillaume Charpentier? Ernest Langlois mentions him but only in connection with the present manuscript. Charpentier’s name does not appear among scribes identified in the six-volume Colophons de manuscrits occidentaux des origines au XVIe siècle (1963-82). However, there was a royal clerk named Guillaume Charpentier, who was active in the 1360s and 1370s in the Dauphiné of Viennois (a royal province in southeastern France), then held by the son of King Charles V (r. 1364-80). Concerning this Guillaume Charpentier, see Guvtave Dupont-Ferrier, Gallia regia ou État des officiers royaux des baillages et des sénéchausses de 1328 à 1525 (1942), vol. 2, p. 382; Anne Lemonde, Le temps des libertés en Dauphiné: L’integration d’une principauté à la Couronne de France (1349-1408) (2002), p. 138. Higher-level document clerks, public notaries, and working administrators occasionally “moonlighted” by copying vernacular literary manuscripts on a part-time basis for local patrons. There is ample evidence of this phenomenon in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in England, Italy, and other places. Someone like this royal clerk probably had sufficient writing skills to copy an entire manuscript. Still, his name is so common in France that an exact identification of the scribe is impossible at this time. Certainly, it is a matter meriting further investigation.

For more information about this or other manuscripts, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at dcskemer@princeton.edu

In Her Own Words

The chance survival of autograph manuscripts by unknown women of centuries past can help to illuminate their lives and times, innermost thoughts, and writing methods. Looking back at England in the 17th century, in addition to well-known authors such as Aphra Benn and Katherine Philips, there were obscure women writers yet to be discovered. A case in point is an abridged history of medieval England by a certain Susan Pigott (RTC01, no. 238), probably writing early in that century. Her 104-page manuscript, recently acquired by the Manuscripts Division, begins with a signed dedicatory letter to the king of England, filled with tantalizing autobiographical details. Pigott describes herself as a “poore oppressed widdowe,” with two children. Her late husband, Pigott wrote, had rendered “dutiful and dangerous services faythfully accomplished to your heighnes. And this our native countrey, in a forrayne nation, whereby he lost his life.” Since his death, perhaps two and a half years earlier, Pigott claims to have been a victim of “rare opressions and hevy injuries outrageously heaped upon me and myne agaynst all good order of law and like course of justice usual in any Christian Commonwealth.” She even mentions “secrett papers … penned from tyme to tyme” for royal use. Pigott’s signed but undated letter prefaces a summary history of the kings of England, from William the Conqueror to Henry VII. Pigott wrote and corrected her manuscript in English Secretary hands of the early 17th century, consistent with those illustrated in Martin Billingsley’s writing manual, The Pens Excellencie or the Secretaries Delighte (1618). The paper has a heraldic watermark dating from around the same year: a shield with the arms of Strasbourg and fleur-de-lys; below the shield is a terminal flourish “WR,” which in the 16th century had stood for Wendelin Riehel but continued to be used and imitated in later centuries. If Pigott’s epitome is contemporary with the script and paper, then the king in question should be James I (r. 1603-25).

Pigott describes her work as “a shorte sumanary [sic] of examples of youre majesties most noble progenitors, royall kings of this your heighnes realme sethens [i.e. since] the last conquest.” She compiled her epitome by paraphrasing (her operative word is “collected”) scattered bits of text from Raphael Holinshead (1525-80?), Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1577), a collaborative multi-volume history. Pigott only used the four volumes relating to England and added Holinshead folio references in the margins. This popular work is best known today because William Shakespeare used the 1587 second edition of Holinshead as a source of information for King Lear, Macbeth, and various history plays (such as Richard III). Yet the identity of Susan Pigott is uncertain. The Pigott surname (with variant spellings) is of Norman origin and not unusual in England. British public records identify various widowed women named Susan Pigott. Among them is one who was a plaintiff in 1578-79 in a law suit involving a certain John Walton, Richard Groffield, Thomas Southern, and others; and another who in 1658 presented the curate Elnathan Pigott (d. 1675/76) to the Church of St. Marie, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. But neither Susan Pigott can be connected with the author of the present manuscript, and more research will be needed to identify her. There is no way to know if she actually presented it to the king. What we do know is that the manuscript was in various English and Irish libraries, including those of Nathaniel Boothe, 1747; Thomas Connolly, 1860; and Frederick William Cosens, 1890. The manuscript came to the Library in desperate need of conservation treatment. The Library’s Book Conservator, Mick LeTourneaux, has now completed that work.

The Robert H. Taylor Collection of English and American Literature has two other autograph manuscripts by English women of the 17th century. The best known is My Booke of Rememberance by Elizabeth Isham (1608-54), an autobiographical work written around 1638, when she was about thirty. She was the daughter of Sir John Isham and once fianceé to John Dryden. In Isham records her fervent religious beliefs and inner thoughts, while living at Lamport Hall, her family’s Northamptonshire home (RTC01, no. 62). Isham’s manuscript has been digitized and is available online in DPUL (Digital Princeton University Library). An online edition is available from the University of Warwick. Another autograph memoir in the Taylor Collection is that of Mary Whitelocke (b. 1639), dating from the 1660s and bound in a contemporary embroidered binding (RTC01, no. 226). Whitelocke’s memoir is an intimate and detailed account of a wealthy Puritan gentry woman, whose father was a London merchant. Addressed to her eldest son, Whitelocke’s memoir encompasses her life from the time of her first marriage at age sixteen to Rowland Wilson (d. 1650), a Member of Parliament, also from a London mercantile family. Whitelocke’s second marriage in 1650 was to the prominent lawyer and politician Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605-75), with whom she had seven children. The memoir often focuses on Whitelocke’s family and domestic affairs, though discussion of public affairs and events is also in evidence, particularly in connection with her second husband’s public life. For more information, contact Public Services, rbsc@princeton.edu

RTC01, no. 238

Navigating the Mediterranean World

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce the acquisition and digitization in DPUL (Digital Princeton University Library) of a 1640 portolan navigational chart of the Mediterranean Sea (Princeton MS. 254). This portolan chart (image below) shows the Mediterranean, from the Iberian peninsula in the west (top) to the Greek Isles and the Holy Land in the east (bottom). It is oriented 90 degrees clockwise relative to modern maps, with Sicily (where it was produced) at the center. The well-known Italian cartographer Placido Caloiro e Oliva, active in Messina from 1611, prepared this manuscript map on the flesh side of a single parchment skin (85 x 44 cm, at widest points), writing in brown ink and decorating it in shades of red, green, blue, and brown watercolor. The map provides the Italian names of coastal ports and harbors, all of which are readable online using DPUL’s magnification tool. We also see rhumb lines, compass roses, cartouches, and other details. Twelve major port cities are indicated, including Genoa and Venice, each with buildings and festooned with colorful banners displaying the arms of that place. Some rivers are shown in blue, the Red Sea in red, and the north African coast (left) with two palm trees. At the top is an image of the Virgin and Child (85 x 85 mm), below which the mapmaker has signed and dated the map in gold: “Placidus Caloiro et Oliva fecit in Nobili urbe Messanae anno 1640.” He is one of at least sixteen Oliva family members active as mapmakers in the period 1538-1673. This portolan chart was acquired with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies, with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund and matching funds provided by a gift of the Orpheus Trust to the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic Studies at Princeton. The chart will be on view in Welcome Additions, the Library’s first exhibition in the new Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery (6 March–23 June 2019).

Portolan charts were first produced in thirteenth-century Italy, based on careful observations by sea pilots of harbors, trade routes, compass directions, and estimated distances. Production of these navigational maps, which marked a significant advance over western cartography rooted in ancient models, spread to Spain and Portugal during the Age of Exploration and continued until the eighteenth century. Later portolani covered not only the Mediterranean, but also the British Isles, Baltic Sea, west coast of Africa, and the Americas. The Manuscripts Division already had a small portolan atlas with four double maps (Kane MS. 57), executed in the style of Jaume Olives (fl. 1557–1566), a mapmaker from the Majorcas. It has been digitized. The Scheide Library has a portolan atlas of 1642 with three double maps (Scheide M33), said to have been produced in Messina by Giovanni Battista Caloiro and Placido Oliva. The Manuscripts Division also has a late eighteenth-century Italian manuscript isolario for the islands of the Greek Archipelago (C0938, no. 735). Its 56 maps show many minor islands but sometimes omit major islands, such as Chios, Mytilenē, Rhodes, and Crete. This isolario was also acquired in cooperation with Program in Hellenic Studies, with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund and matching funds provided by a gift of the Orpheus Trust to the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies. For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at dcskemer@princeton.edu

Portolan Chart, 1640

Alicia Ostriker: Poet and Critic

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to congratulate poet and critic Alicia Ostriker on being named the eleventh New York State Poet, succeeding poet Yusef Komunyakaa. Ostriker’s papers have been in the Manuscripts Division since 2002. In announcing her appointment, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York noted that Ostriker is being recognized for her collective body of work and the impact it has had on the people of New York and beyond. Previous poets who have served in the position include Marie Howe, Jean Valentine, Billy Collins, John Ashbery, Sharon Olds, Jane Cooper, Richard Howard, Audre Lorde, Robert Creeley, and Stanley Kunitz (whose papers are also in the Manuscripts Division). She was born in New York City in 1937 and came to prominence as both a poet and a critic in 1986, when she published her prize-winning volume The Imaginary Lover, a collection of poems, and Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, in which she makes a controversial argument concerning the women’s poetry movement in the postwar and post-1960s America. She is a professor emerita at Rutgers University, Department of English, and was a long-time resident of Princeton, with her husband, Professor Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Department of Astrophysics. Alicia Ostriker is currently teaching in the Program in Creative Writing, Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton.

The Alicia Ostriker Papers (C0910) contain more than 20 linear feet of paper and electronic files donated by the poet, documenting her life and work as a poet and critic. The papers include manuscript drafts and proofs for dozens of volumes of poems, nonfiction books, critical commentary, essays, articles, reviews, interviews, and other writings, as well as some unpublished writings, song lyrics, student writings, and drawings. Ostriker’s extensive personal and professional correspondence includes letters exchanged with friends and fellow scholars and poets, along with reader mail and family correspondence. Her correspondents include many of the best-known American poets of the post-World War II period, such as Adrienne Rich, Robert Bly, Toi Derricotte, Stephen Dunn, Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, Sharon Olds, Robert Pinsky, and May Swenson. The most recent gift of papers includes Ostriker’s correspondence (1995-2002) with Peter Pitzele, creator of Bibliodrama, for the interpretation of the Bible through performance.

Ostriker’s poetry and criticism investigates themes of family, social justice, Jewish identity, and personal growth. “People who do not know my work ask me what I write about,” the poet notes. “I answer: love, sex, death, violence, family, politics, religion, friendship, painters and painting, the body in sickness and health. Joy and pain. I try not to write the same poem over and over.” Joyce Carol Oates, Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor of the Humanities. has observed about Ostriker’s place in American letters, “Alicia Ostriker has become one of those brilliantly provocative and imaginatively gifted contemporaries whose iconoclastic expression, whether in prose or poetry, is essential to our understanding of our American selves.” Ostriker’s work and influence has been studied in a recent collection of essays: Martha Nell Smith and Julie P. Enszer, eds., Everywoman Her Own Theology: On the Poetry of Alicia Suskind Ostriker (University of Michigan Press, 2018). For more information about the papers, consult the finding aid or contact Public Services, at rbsc@princeton.edu

Alicia Ostriker. Photo by Jeremiah P. Ostriker

Picturing Sylvia

The papers of Sylvia Beach (1887-1962), the American expatriate proprietor of the Paris bookshop Shakespeare & Company, best known for publishing the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), have been one of the most frequently consulted literary archives in the Manuscripts Division for more than a half century. Beach’s English-language book shop was a meeting place for American authors of the Lost Generation, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, as well as for French, English, Irish, and other writers during the 1920s and 1930s. Found among almost eighty linear feet of papers are thousands of photographs that document Beach’s life, times, and friendships. These include portraits by Man Ray, Berenice Abbott, Gisèle Freund, and other leading photographers. For details about the papers, consult the finding aid.

Beach’s superb photo archives have been complemented recently by a fortuitous rediscovery within the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. After Beach’s death on 5 October 1962, these materials remained in her Paris apartment at 12 rue de l’Odéon. In 1964, Howard C. Rice, head of Rare Books and Special Collections, traveled to Paris and stayed at the Font-Royal Hotel for the months of March and April, during which time he packed Beach’s archives, library, paintings, and other materials for shipment to Princeton. The Library formally purchased them later that year from Beach’s estate, administered by Holly Beach Dennis, her sister and executor. While in Paris, Howard Rice wisely asked André Jammes, son of the antiquarian bookseller Paul Jammes, whose bookshop was in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, to photograph Beach’s apartment and library with everything in place. André Jammes, it should be noted, was to become an eminent historian and collector of modern photography. Jammes gave Rice a roll of twenty-two 35-mm black-and-white negatives, recently rediscovered in Rare Books and Special Collections. The negatives are being scanned so that high-resolution images of eight different views can be kept on file. Researchers consulting Beach’s papers will be able to review the images in the Reading Room. Below is one of the photos, showing Paul-Émile Bécat’s well-known portraits of Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, as they were in Beach’s apartment. The two portraits are today proudly displayed on the first floor of the renovated Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library.

Additional photographs related to Sylvia Beach, including some that show her as a child growing up in Princeton, have also come to the Manuscripts Division in recent years in the Frederic Dennis Papers on Sylvia Beach (C1540) and Noel Riley Fitch Papers (C0841). For more information, search finding aids or contact Public Services, at rbsc@princeton.edu

André Jammes, Photograph, 1964