Patrick Henry and the American Revolution

“All the Families of those men of your Militia that have joined Gen’l Washington by my Orders, may be in want of Salt,” wrote Patrick Henry (1736-99) on 12 November 1777 as the first governor of Virginia after independence. He addressed his letter to the County Lieutenant of Berkeley County, who was probably Josiah Swearington (1719-88). The letter continues, “And as their absence from home may be the means of misery or supply of that necessary article, I desire you will give notice to all such militia on their Return, or to their Families in their absence, that an application to William Coorr Esq. at Dumfries half a Bushel of Salt will be delivered to each soldier of your militia that acted in Concert with the grand army, paying what it cost the public.” Months earlier, George Washington had advised Patrick Henry to prepare his state militia for engagement with British forces, and several Virginia militia companies, including one from Berkeley County, joined Washington’s “grand army” in Pennsylvania. The 1777 letter shows Patrick Henry’s level of daily responsibility as governor, including such mundane details as the provisioning of salt to militiamen and their families, no doubt for use in preserving food.

Patrick Henry is best remembered today for his stirring patriotic speech, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” urging his fellow Virginians to take up arms against British forces. He delivered it on 23 March 1775 to the Second Virginia Convention, assembled at St. John’s Church, in Richmond. Henry had first served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, then the Virginia Convention and was governor of Virginia, 1776-79 and 1784-86. The letter is the latest addition to the Manuscripts Division’s growing Collection of Patrick Henry Materials, 1743-1796 (C1165), which includes about 20 autograph letters and signed documents. Other letters in this collection pertain to his career as an attorney, owner of tobacco plantations, slaveholder, and land speculator. A 1784 letter to Colonel Joseph Martin concerns policy toward American Indians. This collection has been largely been assembled thanks to a generous Barksdale-Dabney-Henry endowment created in 2006 by Mrs. Margaret P. Nuttle. She was a direct descendant of Patrick Henry and had many Princeton family connections, including her brother S. Barksdale Penick, Class of 1925, a longtime Princeton Charter Trustee; and her son Philip E. Nuttle, Jr., Class of 1963.

The endowment made possible the successful Library exhibition, “A Republic in the Wilderness: Treasures of American History from Jamestown to Appomattox” (22 February-4 August 2013); as well as the acquisition of other early Americana to support research and instruction. Recent acquisitions include a 1774 journal relating to Lord Dunmore (1730-1809), the last colonial governor of Virginia, and to Lord Dunmore’s War. The journal 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. For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts,

Patrick Henry. Engraving by Edward Wellmore.

Middle English Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library

Among the most frequently studied medieval manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections are those in Middle English, the form of the English language spoken from around 1150 to 1500. Most of Princeton’s Middle English manuscripts, more than thirty in number, date from the second half of the fourteenth century until the last quarter of the fifteenth. The Manuscripts Division has the largest number because of the generosity of two great Princeton collectors, Robert Garrett (Class of 1897) and Robert H. Taylor (Class of 1930). Several manuscripts are in The Scheide Library, part of the extraordinary bequest of William H. Scheide (Class of 1936), announced in 2015. Included are manuscripts of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, John Gower’s Confessio amantis, Ranulf Higden’s Polychronicon in John Trevisa’s translation, Mandeville’s Travels, and the Wycliffe Bible. Among the most recently digitized is Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden (see image below). These are supplemented by Middle English verses attributed to Sir George Ripley, in two Ripley Alchemical Scrolls (1590s and 1624), which are the focus of a Firestone Library exhibition, Through a Glass Darkly: Alchemy and the Ripley Scrolls, 1400–1700 (Spring 2020). In addition, there are various Middle English charters and seal matrices in the John Hinsdale Scheide Collection of Documents (C0704) and the Bruce C. Willsie Collection of English Sigillography (C0953). These are discussed in Don C. Skemer’s “Cover Note,” in Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 75, no. 3 (2014), pp. 439-444 (available online in JSTOR). Latin and Anglo-Norman manuscripts from England are also well represented in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Below is a checklist of Middle English manuscripts, with links to bibliographical records in Voyager, the Princeton University Library’s online catalog. Manuscripts are being digitized, either from the original manuscript or from existing greyscale microfilm, in order to reach the widest possible audience. To date, about half of the Middle English manuscripts have been digitized, with additional manuscripts being added over time. Voyager records provide links to manuscripts digitized in the Digital Princeton University Library (DPUL). Full textual and codicological descriptions (with bibliographies) are available for the Garrett, Taylor, Kane, and Princeton manuscripts in the published catalog: Don C. Skemer, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Princeton University Library (2013). This two-volume catalog is available in major research libraries, and it can also be ordered from Princeton University Press and online vendors of books. For questions about those in the Manuscripts Division, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, Concerning Scheide manuscripts, contact Paul Needham, Scheide Librarian,

Garrett MS. 136: John Gower, Confessio amantis.
Garrett MS. 137: Thomas Hoccleve, The Regiment of Princes.
Garrett MS. 138: The Prick of Conscience.
Garrett MS. 139: John Lydgate, Fall of Princes.
Garrett MS. 140: The Sowdon of Babyloyne.
Garrett MS. 141: John Metham, Works.
Garrett MS. 142: John Hardyng, Chronicle of England.
Garrett MS. 143: Devotional Miscellany.
Garrett MS. 144: Devotional Miscellany.
Garrett MS. 145: Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden.
Garrett MS. 150: Prose Brut.
Garrett MS. 151: Ranulf Higden, Polychronicon.

Taylor MS. 2: John Lydgate, Fall of Princes.
Taylor MS. 3: Sidrac and Boccus; Prose Brut.
Taylor MS. 5: John Gower, Confessio amantis.
Taylor MS. 6: Ranulf Higden, Polychronicon.
Taylor MS. 9: Arthurian Metrical Romances.
Taylor MS. 10: Mandeville’s Travels.
Taylor MS. 11: Speculum vitae.
Taylor MS. 13: The Prick of Conscience. 253
Taylor MS. 16: Wycliffite Sermons.
Taylor MS. 17: Arma Christi and Prayers.
Taylor MS. 18: King Henry VI, Royal Household Bills.
Taylor MS. 22: Religious Verse.
RTC01, no. 237: Ripley Alchemical Scroll.

Kane MS. 21: Nicholas Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ.

Princeton MS. 93: Ripley Alchemical Scroll.
Princeton MS. 100: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales.
Princeton MS. 101: King Edward IV, Great Wardrobe Account.
Princeton MS. 138: Fragments, nos. 5(a), 5(d).
Princeton MS. 186: Nicholas Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ.

Scheide M12: Wycliffe Bible.
Scheide M13: Wycliffe New Testament.
Scheide M143: Psalter with Canticles.

Garrett MS. 145: Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden.

Recent Acquisitions on African American History

These days, Aaron Burr, Jr. (1756-1836), Princeton Class of 1772, is chiefly remembered as the man who, while serving as the third Vice President of the United States (1801-5), mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel (1804). Burr’s career in public life all but ended with the duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. Sometimes forgotten, however, is Burr’s earlier distinguished service as a Continental Army officer during the Revolutionary War and his subsequent career as a busy New York City attorney and litigator. He moved there in 1783 to practice law and would handle cases of every conceivable description, including some involving the city’s more than two thousand slaves. As part of ongoing efforts to expand holdings on African American history, the Manuscripts Division has just acquired Aaron Burr’s signed legal complaint in the Mayor’s Court (9 August 1784) relating to his legal client, William Stevenson, a local auctioneer, whose woman slave had been taken “craftily and subtlely” by a certain John Lake, alleged to have “converted and disposed of the said Negroe woman slave to his own proper use to the damage of the said Thomas of eighty pounds.” This was one of three slave cases handled by Burr in 1784, according to Nancy Isenberg’s Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (2007). At the time, Burr was a slaveholder, yet surprisingly he also favored the abolition of slavery and opposed restrictions on the rights of New York’s free blacks. The document has been added to the Aaron Burr (1756-1836) Collection (C0089).

Other recent acquisitions include documents pertaining to the African slave trade and African Americans from slavery to freedom. The oldest is a slim volume of sailing directions for an unnamed English ship trading between the “slave coast” of West Africa and the Caribbean, 1760 (C1210).Added to the same open collection of documents were other items, such as a New Jersey slave bill of sale for a boy named Harry, sold by John Dixon, of Morristown, to Shubal Pitney, of Mendham, 1797 (see image below); a note concerning a runaway slave in Carroll County, Maryland, ca. 1817; a letter from James Holladay to William Langhorne, of Portsmouth, Virginia, discussing an advertisement for the sale of a slave girl, 1820; an order for the arrest and whipping of a black slave named “Negro Frank,” who was accused of insulting and striking John Kelly, a white man, 1851; and a slave bill of sale for five black men in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1857. The Hooe Family Papers is a separate collection (C1628) relating to a slave plantation in Prince William County, Virginia, 1829-50. Finally, the Manuscripts Division acquired a complete set of eleven Civil War muster rolls (1864) for U.S. Colored Troops, 39th Infantry Regiment and ten of its companies (C1626). Most of the black troops were from Baltimore and its environs, supplemented by others from other places. The regiment saw action in Virginia under the command of Colonel Ozora Pierson Stearns. Among the troops was Sergeant Decatur Dorsey, an African American honored for his actions at the Battle of the Crater (30 July 1864) and later settled in the town of Hoboken, less than two miles south of the Burr-Hamilton duel site.

Previous blog posts have surveyed holdings on the African slave trade and slave society in the Americas. For more information about recent additions, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts,

New Jersey Slave Bill of Sale, 1797.

Palimpsests, Before and After

Palimpsests of early manuscripts may be interesting even when they contain no underlying text. Garrett Coptic MS. 7 is a fragment of a late 6th-century or early-7th century parchment codex. The piece was discovered in 1993 among approximately 50 Coptic manuscript fragments that Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1896, had purchased in Cairo around 1930 and donated to the Princeton University Library in 1942. The scribe used iron-gall ink, composed of ferrous sulfate, gallotannic acid, a binder such as gum Arabic, and occasionally other ingredients. Writing is now only visible only on the flesh side of the piece of parchment, which suffered considerable losses over the centuries. The ink was originally a dark brown but is now very pale, yet readable under ultraviolet light, which causes the ink to fluoresce. (See before-and-after photographs below.) One can see two columns of the Sahidic Gospel of Matthew (14:8-17). Sahidic was the southern dialect of Coptic, the leading dialect in the pre-Islamic period. This passage relates to the death of John the Baptist. It begins with Herodias’s unnamed daughter, known to history and legend as Salome, dancing before King Herod of Judea for his birthday and, at her mother’s urging, asking in return for the head of John the Baptist. The brief accounts in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 14:8-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9), varying in their details, were much embellished over the next two thousand years in art, literature, and opera. Think of the lurid visual details in Aubrey Beardsley’s illustration (1893) for the French version of Oscar Wilde’s Salome (“J’ai baisé ta bouche Iokanaan”) and the “Dance of Seven Veils” in Richard Strauss’s opera Salome (1905).

While Garrett Coptic MS. no. 7 has no undertext, there is much to see, such as hardpoint rulings in places, as well as what appears to be a portion of a vertical bounding line along the left side of the first column. Horizontal lines were ruled using vertical rows of prick marks, which can still be seen in the space between the two columns, and are most easily seen using transmitted light. So too is the thinning of the parchment wherever there is writing in iron-gall ink. As the parchment codex replaced the papyrus roll in the Roman Empire, particularly from the 4th century CE, prick marks were necessary to achieve the more-or-less uniform ruling of text areas. The text is written scriptura continua, with no spaces between words, in an upright Biblical majuscule datable to the late 6th or early 7th century. The original Coptic codex had probably been retired from use after a few centuries, stored in an Egyptian monastic collectarium, and then aggressively erased so the parchment could be written on again. Parchment was easily palimpsested, unlike papyrus, making it an attractive writing support for reuse. The flesh side of the parchment retained traces of the iron-gall ink, but writing on the hair side was obliterated. The word palimpsest is derived from a Greek word meaning “scraped again.” But most often, the text was erased for reuse by rubbing it with a wet cloth or sponge, perhaps with occasional spot-scraping if necessary.

Robert Garrett had purchased at least 17 of his Coptic parchment fragments in March 1929, according to annotations in his hand, from the Cairo-based antiquities dealer Maurice Nahman, along with some Greek papyri and early Arabic documents. Nahman was active in the inter¬national antiquities trade from the 1900s until his death in 1948. During the 1920s and 1930s, Nahman was selling Coptic fragments Coptic manuscripts and fragments to European and American libraries, museums, and private collectors. Many had been recovered from the White Monastery, the Coptic Orthodox monastery that St. Shenouda the Archimandrite had founded on the west bank of the Nile at Deir el-Abiad, more than 450 kilometers south of Cairo. By the 19th century, much of St. Shenouda’s large library was housed in the monastery’s “Secret Chamber.” In the 1880s and 1890s, innumerable fragments were sold to what are now the Bibliothèque Nationale and the British Library. Other fragments entered the antiquities trade and are now widely dispersed, from Russia to North America. It is possible that the Princeton fragments were among them. But Nahman also bought and sold Coptic manuscripts from other monasteries, so provenance cannot be certain. In 1942, Garrett donated these Coptic fragments to Princeton, along with the rest of his extensive collection of nearly 10,000 manuscripts that he had amassed since the 1890s.

For more information about the Coptic fragments, see the Preliminary Checklist in the Princeton University Library Papyrus Home Page.

Garrett Coptic MS. 7, photographed under
reflected and ultraviolet light, by Ted Stanley.

Publishing the Left Book Club

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce the acquisition of the publishing files of Victor Gollancz Ltd relating to its influential Left Book Club (LBC), one of the first book clubs in England. Sir Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) founded the Left Book Club in 1936, nine years after he had established the publishing house that bears his name, and was knighted in 1965. The goal of the book club was to publish books for paid subscribers, who received a new title each month, in order to popularize progressive and socialist ideals and to mobilize British public opinion against Hitler and fascism. Gollancz selected titles with the help of John Strachey and Harold J. Laski. The Left Book Club was so successful in publishing and marketing new titles that by 1939 it could boast 57,000 members and 1,200 organized reading groups. Membership declined during World War II, but the book club’s influence on British politics was significant and contributed to the upset victory of Clement Attlee’s Labour Party over Winston Church’s Conservatives in the 1945 general elections. Between 1936 and 1948, when it ceased operations, the Left Book Club published more than 230 titles, including works by Frederick Allen, Léon Blum, G.D.H. Cole, Arthur Koestler, Harold J. Laski, André Malraux, Franz Neumann, Clifford Odets, George Orwell, Edgar Snow, Stephen Spender, John Strachey, R. H. Tawney, Sidney Webb, Leonard Woolf, and other authors, social scientists, intellectual émigrés, and political figures. Four boxes of Left Book Club files, organized by author and title, include correspondence, publishing contracts, and printed promotional flyers (see image below), as well as occasion materials related to later reprints and anthologies. It should be noted that Rare Books already had a collection of the Left Book Club printed books.

See the finding aid for the Victor Gollancz Publishing Files (C1617), which also includes files relating to Gollancz’s titles by Irish authors and books on Africa, race, colonialism, and related subjects. The Manuscripts Division also has the Victor Gollancz Author Files (C1467) for Miguel Ángel Asturias, Edith Sitwell, and Richard Wright. For other archives of British and American publishers and books clubs, search finding aids or contact Public Services,

Left Book Club promotional flyers

Treasures of Armenia

Armenian manuscripts have long been studied by medieval art historians for the quality of the book production, elegant script, distinctive illumination, vividly colored decoration, and original or treasure bindings (when extant). The Princeton University Library is fortunate to have a small but fine collection of Armenian manuscripts, dating from the 11th to 18th centuries. Most are in the Manuscripts Division, including those in the Garrett Collection of Armenian Manuscripts, which was part of the great 1942 donation by Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897. Reproduced below is a two-page opening from one of Garrett’s finest Armenian manuscripts, an exquisitely illuminated Gospel Book (1449), here open to Baptism of Christ (left) and the Last Supper (right). In the 1930s, Seymour DeRicci and W. J. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (1935-40), included Armenian manuscripts among western manuscripts, no doubt because of the Byzantine influence on Armenian book illumination. But other artistic and cultural traditions played a role as well.

DeRicci, vol. 1, p. 868, listed seven of Garrett’s Armenian manuscripts, and this numbering was followed decades later in a far more authoritative catalogue: Avidis Krikor Sanjian, A Catalogue of Medieval Armenian Manuscripts in the United States (1976), pp. 392-417. At the same time, Princeton was using different sequences of manuscript numbers for Garrett’s Armenian manuscripts, which were shelved them next to Princeton Armenian Manuscripts. This led to confusion about the numbering of Princeton’s Armenian manuscripts because of their inclusion in two published surveys. In the interest of clarity, what De Ricci had designated nos. 17-23 (among western manuscripts) became Garrett Armenian, nos. 1–7; followed by Garrett Armenian Manuscripts, nos. 8-14, which Sanjian had designated Armenian Supplementary Series because they were not in DeRicci. In 1993, two other Armenian manuscripts were discovered in the Garrett Collection and assigned Garrett Armenian numbers. The list below provides old and new manuscript numbers, which will also be indicated in Voyager bibliographic records.

Three other Armenian manuscripts are in the Princeton Collection of Armenian Manuscripts and two in The Scheide Library. These are also described in Sanjian, pp. 418-32. Princeton Armenian, no. 2, accessioned by the Princeton University Library in 1951, has an interesting Garrett family connection. The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople gave this manuscript to Cleveland H. Dodge (1860-1926), Class of 1879, in New York, on 3 January 1919, in recognition of his humanitarian and philanthropic work for the Armenian people during World War I. The manuscript passed by descent to his twin sons, Cleveland E. Dodge and Bayard Dodge, both members of the Class of 1909. Bayard Dodge’s daughter Margaret married Johnson Garrett, one of Robert Garrett’s sons, in 1936. In addition to the excellent descriptions in Sanjian, a number of the manuscripts have been described in an Armenian journal Sion (July-August 1971), vol. 45, pp. 265-70; and exhibited at the Pierpont Morgan Library and described in Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts, edited by Thomas F. Mathews and Roger S. Wieck (1994). For additional information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts,

● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 1. Gospel Book, Late 17th century. Formerly Garrett MS. 17.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 2. Gospel Book, 1449. Formerly Garrett MS. 18.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 3. Psalter and Breviary, 16th century. Formerly Garrett MS. 19.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 4. Breviary, 17th century. Formerly Garrett MS. 20.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 5. Hymnal, 17th century. Formerly Garrett MS. 21.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 6. Psalter, 16th century. Formerly Garrett MS. 22.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 7. Alexander Romance (6 illuminated leaves), 1526. Formerly Garrett MS. 23.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 8. Discourses by St. Gregory the Illuminator, 10th-11th century. Formerly Supplementary Series, no. 1.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 9. Gospel Book, 11th century. Formerly Supplementary Series, no. 2.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 10. Astronomical text, 1774-75. Formerly Supplementary Series, no. 3.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 11. Amulet Roll (Phylactery) with 11 miniatures, 18th century. Formerly Supplementary Series, no. 4.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 12. Armenian Gospel miniature, 1311. Formerly Supplementary Series, no. 5 (missing since 1980).
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 13. Gospel Book, 16th century? Found in 1993 among Garrett Islamic MSS, Enno Littmann series.
● Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 14. Uncataloged. Found in 1993 among Garrett Islamic MSS, Enno Littmann series.

● Princeton Armenian MSS., no. 1. Menologion, 1683 (2 leaves).
● Princeton Armenian MSS., no. 2. Gospel Book, 1730.
● Princeton Armenian MSS, no. 3. Uncataloged.

●Scheide 84.16. Gospel Book, 1239. Formerly Scheide M74.
●Scheide 83.11. Gospel Book, 1625-33. Formerly Scheide M80.

Garrett Armenian MSS., no. 2, fols. 16v-17r.
Gift of Robert Garrett, Class of 1897.

Peter C. Bunnell and Modern Photography

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that Peter C. Bunnell, McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art Emeritus, is donating most of his extensive papers to the Princeton University Library. They comprise about 110 archival boxes of materials documenting his long and distinguished career devoted to the study of modern photography. The papers include his correspondence with modern photographers, historians of photography, curators, publishers, and members of the Princeton University community. His correspondents include Ansel Adams and members of his family, Ruth Bernhard (whose papers are already in the Manuscripts Division), Alvin Langdon Coburn, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Beaumont Newhall, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Jerry N. Uelsmann, and others; extensive research files of printed materials and additional correspondence relating to the history of photography and particular exhibitions, much of it organized alphabetically by names of photographers; drafts and corrected typescripts for his many books, exhibition catalogs, journal articles, and other scholarly publications; lectures, lecture notes, and other teaching files; and photography by Bunnell or pertaining to him. He has also donated files for two organizations that he chaired: The Society for Photographic Education (SPE), organized in 1963, when art departments were first offering courses on photography; and the Friends of Photography, founded in 1967 by Ansel Adams and others.

Bunnell was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and was an undergraduate at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied with Minor White. He earned graduate degrees from Ohio University (1961) and Yale University (1965). He served as Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, then in 1972 joined the faculty of Princeton University’s Department of Art and Archaeology. At Princeton, Bunnell became the first McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art. He also served as director of the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM), 1973-78; and acting director, 1998-2000. For 30 years, Bunnell was Curator of Photography at PUAM, where he was also responsible for acquiring the Minor White Archive and the Clarence H. White Collection. He has had a long association with the journal Aperture, established in 1952 by photographers by Ansel Adams, Melton Ferris, Dorothea Lange, Ernest Louie, Barbara Morgan, Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Dody Warren, and Minor White. He also taught at New York University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University, and has lectured widely. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.

Bunnell is the author of the monograph Minor White: The Eye That Shapes (1989) and he edited Photography at Princeton (1998). Bunnell has published two volumes of his collected essays: Degrees of Guidance: Essays on Twentieth-Century American Photography (1993) and Inside the Photograph: Writings on Twentieth-Century Photography (2006). He edited A Photographic Vision: Pictorial Photography, 1889-1923 (1980) and Edward Weston on Photography (1983); and Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 1952–1976 (2012). He was the coeditor of two Arno Press reprint series The Literature of Photography and The Sources of Modern Photography.

The Bunnell Papers will be available for research after processing. Please note: The papers donated to the Library are complemented by his recent gift to the Princeton University Art Museum of more than 30 years of his correspondence and other materials relating to its Minor White and Clarence H. White archival collections. See announcement. For more information, contact Don. C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, at

Peter C. Bunnell

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

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

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

C0938, no 835