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)

“A New View of Richard Halliburton’s Sea Dragon”

On March 3, 1939, the celebrated American travel writer Richard Halliburton (1900-39), Class of 1921, set out in the Sea Dragon, his new 75-foot Chinese junk, on what would turn out to be his final adventure. Halliburton planned to sail from Hong Kong to San Francisco, where the Golden Gate International Exposition was taking place. He hoped that the voyage of the Sea Dragon would serve as a show of American solidarity with China against Japanese military conquest at the beginning of World War II.

Among the many people who came to see the Sea Dragon at its Hong Kong mooring just before its ill-fated maiden voyage was a young Californian merchant marine and amateur photographer named Robert Pullen (1919-93), who had enjoyed reading many of Halliburton’s bestselling travel books, such as the Royal Road to Romance (1925). Pullen photographed the Sea Dragon with a Kodak-style folding camera and 2.5 x 4.25-inch black-and-white film. Unlike most views of the Sea Dragon, Pullen’s close-up view, never before seen, shows the junk’s stern, with the name Sea Dragon and home port of Hong Kong boldly emblazoned in Chinese characters below a yin-and-yang symbol. Further down, we see the large painted image of a phoenix, below which are a series of Chinese mythological scenes, including a phoenix and horses. The actual dragon can also be seen, painted on the side of the junk.

Just three weeks out to sea on March 23, the Sea Dragon sailed into a typhoon, lost radio contact, and disappeared. Later that year, Halliburton and his crew would eventually be declared lost at sea. But Pullen never forgot the excitement of seeing the Sea Dragon and being a witness to history. He kept the photographic negative and print for the rest of his life. Recently, his daughter Barbara Wilson, of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, thoughtfully donated the photo to the Princeton University Library so that it could be kept with the Richard Halliburton Papers (C0247), in the Manuscripts Division. The negative was scanned by Roel Muñoz in the Library’s digital studio to produce the image seen here. .

The Halliburton Papers include 20 linear feet of original materials documenting his life and writing, from his Lawrenceville School essay “Disillusioned,” through his Princeton University years, his years of worldwide travel, lecturing, and writing, to his posthumously-published “autobiography” of letters to his parents (1940). Autograph and/or typescript drafts of seven of his books–The Royal Road to Romance (1925), The Glorious Adventure (1927), New Worlds to Conquer (1929), The Flying Carpet (1932), Seven League Boots (1935), A Book of Marvels (1937), Second Book of Marvels (1938)–are present, as are some short stories, essays, and notes from his school days.

There are also passports, publishing contracts, memorabilia, maps, and newspapers clippings. Halliburton’s numerous letters to his parents (1919-1939) provide a vivid account of his travels, and they are supplemented with over 10 boxes of photographs of the exotic locales he visited, many of which were never published in his books. Correspondence of others includes letters from Devil’s Island prisoners (with some manuscripts). A large part of the papers consists of Halliburton’s research material for a biography of the British poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) that he never wrote: his correspondence with Brooke’s friends/acquaintances and summaries of interviews he had with them, as well as copies of Brooke’s works and correspondence, some clippings, and photographs. Here is a link to Halliburton papers finding aid:

Halliburton's Sea Dragon in 1939

Halliburton’s Sea Dragon

“Peter N. Heydon ’62 Gift of Browning Artifacts”

The Manuscripts Division is pleased to announce that Peter N. Heydon, Class of 1962, has made several important gifts, which are now on view in Firestone Library’s Eighteenth-Century Window. The first is the slant-topped mahogany writing desk of British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61), on which she is known to have written her epic poem Aurora Leigh. In Browning’s “novel in verse,” she has a young Anglo-Italian woman tell her own story in blank verse: “Of writing many books there is no end; / And I who have written much in prose and verse / For others’ uses, will write now for mine.” Elizabeth penned Aurora Leigh in Florence, where she lived with poet and husband, Robert Browning (1812–89), from 1846 until her death fifteen years later. Her writing desk had been sent from England shortly after the Brownings’ arrival and was in the Drawing Room of the Brownings’ spacious Casa Guidi apartment, which they rented from 1847 on the second floor of the fifteenth-century Palazzo Guidi, Piazza San Felice, 8. The desk is depicted prominently, front and center, in an oil that Robert Browning commissioned from his friend, the Greek painter George Mignaty, the day after Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s death on July 1, 1861. Browning never returned to the Casa Guidi, so the painting was his remembrance of their happy and productive years in Florence. Along with Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s writing desk, Heydon has also given Robert Browning’s Northern Italian walnut table, also depicted in the Mignaty painting, as well as the Brownings’ silver-plated “traveling” tea kettle, made by Henry Wilkinson & Co., in Sheffield, England. These are the first of several anticipated gifts to Princeton from Heydon’s extensive collection of Browning first editions, manuscript letters, and other Victorian memorabilia collected over four decades by the donor.

English Department and Comparative Literature students will be able to view these three recently received objects together with other Browning items already in Princeton’s collections. Heydon’s association items were sold in 1913 by London-based auction house Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, following the death of the Browning’s son and heir Robert Wiedeman Barrett “Pen” Browning (1849–1912). At the 1913 sale, British writer Florence L. Barclay (1862–1921) high-bid the writing desk, table, and tea kettle (along with many other personal treasures). Other Browning holdings in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections include dozens of manuscripts and autograph letters, held in the Manuscripts Division, and an author’s proof for the second edition of Aurora Leigh (London: Chapman and Hall, 1857), incorporating handwritten emendations in Robertt Browning’s hand as well as a manuscript note by Elizabeth Barrett Browning on the verso of title page (Robert Taylor Collection, Rare Books Division). These proofs served as setting copy for the first American edition of Aurora Leigh (New York: Francis & Co., 1857).

Peter N. Heydon first became enchanted with the poetry of Robert Browning as a Princeton undergraduate, while studying under English Professor Edward Dudley Hume Johnson. Heydon’s enthusiasm for the Victorians took him to The University of Michigan, earning both a MA (1963) and PhD (1970), studying with, among others, Professor Robert Super, Princeton Class of 1935. Heydon taught English Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Michigan between 1963 and 1986 on the faculties of both the English Department and Humanities Department. He is the founding President of The Browning Institute, Inc., based in New York and Florence, which acquired the Brownings’ Casa Guidi apartment in 1971; and for fifteen years as the Institute’s President oversaw the fifteen-room restoration of the apartment as a Museum and study center. It is presently owned and operated, like the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, by Eton College and the British National Trust. Heydon has authored a number of pieces on Robert Browning and his circle for Browning Institute Studies; and he was co-editor with Philip Kelly of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Letters to Mrs. David Ogilvy, 1849–1861: With Recollections by Mrs. Ogilvy (New York: Quadrangle Press, 1973). He continues to reside in Ann Arbor with his wife of forty-five years, horsewoman and humaniac Rita Montgomery Heydon.

For more information, contact Don C. Skemer, Curator of Manuscripts, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Writing Desk for blog post

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Writing Desk.

Hellenic Acquisition Honors Professor Kenneth Levy

The Manuscripts Division has acquired three post-Byzantine Greek music manuscripts in memory of Professor Kenneth Levy (1927-2013), *49 *55, Scheide Professor of Music History. The Library purchased them with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies, with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. Professor Levy was a distinguished music historian whose wide academic interests ranged from early Christian and Byzantine music to Western medieval and Renaissance music. He joined the faculty of Princeton in 1966 and twice served as chair of the Music Department (1967–70, 1988). Among his many publications are Music, A Listener’s Introduction (1983) and Gregorian Chant and the Carolingians (1998)

The three manuscripts are a Heirmologion (1764), an Anthologia (late 18th or early 19th century), and a Doxastika (early 19th century), volumes of Greek sacred chant and hymns with musical notation in late Byzantine neumes, intended for use in the Greek Orthodox Church. These manuscripts show continuity and change in Greek church music during the centuries that followed the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. They complement thirty post-Byzantine music manuscripts already in the Manuscript Division, most of which arey in Princeton Greek Manuscripts (C0879), a growing collection with more than 100 volumes dating from the 17th to 19th centuries. This manuscript collection has grown rapidly over the past two decades by cooperation between the Manuscripts Division and the Hellenic Studies Program (now the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies). It should be mentioned that Professor Levy and his wife Brooks Emmons Levy, former Curator of Numismatics, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, donated a Kratematarion (Princeton MS. 209). a music manuscript dating from the late 15th-century. Professor Levy was also responsible for the Mendel Music Library’s Kenneth Levy Microfilm Archive of Medieval Liturgical Chant, with more than 500 reels for Greek and other chant manuscripts (8th–16th century) from European and Near Eastern libraries. For more information about the post-Byzantine music manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, contact

Post-Byzantine music 101Post-Byzantine music 102

C0879, no. 101, Doxastika; C0879; no. 102, Anthologia.





Surveying American Mineral Resources in the Early 1880s

In the nineteenth century, the U.S. Census not only tracked population growth, but also gathered vital statistics about the nation’s economic life. For the Tenth U.S. Census (1880), special agents were employed to collect data on iron and steel manufacture, coal mining, petroleum drilling and refining, and other industries. As a surveyor with the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), founded in 1879, Bayard Taylor Putnam (1854-1886) compiled mining statistics for the 1880 Census. His work is documented in correspondence and field notes in the Bayard Taylor Putnam Family Papers, 1870–1934 (C1463), a recent addition to the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. 

Bayard Taylor Putnam was the son of George Palmer Putnam (1814–1872), founder of the publishing firm G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Victorine Haven Putnam (1824-1891). Bayard Taylor Putnam decided not to go into the family’s New York publishing business, and instead became a geological surveyor for the U.S.G.S. Division of Mining Geology. Putnam worked under Raphael Pumpelly (1837–1923), the division chief appointed Special Agent of the Census Office in charge of gathering coal mining statistics.

As Expert Special Agent for the 1880 Census, Putnam was sent to several parts of the country, including Michigan, northern New Jersey, Kentucky, and the Far West to survey iron and coal mining. Around 1881, he became involved with the Northern Pacific Railroad’s Northern Transcontinental Survey. Organized by Pumpelly, this survey (parts of which were also included in the 1880 Census) collected information on the topography and economy of the Dakotas, Montana, and Washington territories in order to identify mineral resources near the railroad lines.

Letters relating to Putnam’s survey work are primarily those from Pumpelly that were sent while Putnam was out in the field. Three volumes contain detailed geological and mineralogical field notes, as well as sketches of maps, mines, plats, plans, and cross sections, document his work in Michigan and northern New Jersey (including the surrounding areas of New York and Pennsylvania) as well as his time surveying mines in Montana for the Northern Transcontinental Survey.

The Bayard Taylor Putnam Family Papers also relate to the patented chart holder that Putnam invented for sailing and contain correspondence by several family members, particularly his wife, Grace Sanderson Thacher Putnam (1855–1900). Most of the letters to Grace, which date from the time of Bayard’s death in 1886 until Grace’s own death fourteen years later, are those she received from her close friend, Bishop Henry Codman Potter, who was the seventh Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Letters relating to Bayard’s daughter, Mary Putnam, are of particular interest as they document a contentious period within the history of the Putnam family and G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Discussing the family’s stock in and ownership of the publishing company, the correspondence relates to the recent merger of G.P. Putnam’s Sons with Minton, Balch & Co., (1930) whereupon the owners of the latter became the majority stockholders.

For more about the Bayard Taylor Putnam Family Papers, contact Researchers interested in learning more about G.P. Putnam’s Sons can access the George Palmer Putnam Papers (C0685) and George Haven Putnam Papers (C1350), which are also part of the Manuscripts Division.Putnam letter

Raphael Pumpelly, Letter to Bayard Taylor Putnam concerning New Jersey mining, February, 16, 1880.


Samuel Comfort Family Papers

The Samuel Comfort Family Papers (C0407), in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections,  have been recently reprocessed, and the finding aids is now online ( Most important are the papers of Samuel Comfort (1837–1933), a Union officer during the U.S. Civil War, which is well documented through his extensive correspondence with family, friends, and fellow officers. The papers include Comfort’s diary from August 1864 to May 1865, official documents, muster rolls, and photographs.

It was around this time 150 years ago at Camp Couch in Philadelphia that Union officer Samuel Comfort was solidifying the core of his all-volunteer independent cavalry unit, Company “L” of the 20th Cavalry Regiment, 181st Pennsylvania Volunteers. Comfort began recruiting (and financing) his company the previous summer, spurred on by General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.

This was Comfort’s second military stint in the Civil War. Previously, in the fall of 1861, he was selected to be a part of “Anderson Troop,” another independent Pennsylvania unit, which served as body guards to Major General D. C. [Don Carlos] Buell. After the Battle of Shiloh, April 6–7, 1862, Comfort became disabled by typhoid fever and was honorably discharged before reenlisting in June 1863. Stationed along the Shenandoah Valley, the 20th Pennsylvania Regiment took part in several key battles, including the Battle of New Market (May 15, 1864). Comfort was promoted to the rank of major in March 1865 when the 20th  Regiment became involved in the pursuit of Confederate forces that led to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Comfort was mustered out and honorably discharged from military service in July 1865.

The Samuel Comfort Family Papers also document Comfort’s time after the war as a foreign representative for Standard Oil Company, a predecessor of Exxon. It was while living abroad that Comfort’s daughter, Emma, met her husband, Harry Maule Crookshank. Descended from a distinguished military and political Scotch-Irish family, Crookshank was a decorated physician and surgeon who served as British Controller-General of the Daira Sanieh Administration in Egypt from 1897 to 1907. Previous to this appointment, Crookshank was a surgeon with the British Red Cross Society, and served in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) and the Serbo-Turkish War (1876–1878). Crookshank is documented in the Samuel Comfort Family Papers through both personal and professional correspondence, official documents, ephemera, and photographs.

Harry Frederick Comfort Crookshank, the son of Harry and Emma Comfort Crookshank, is also represented in the collection, though modestly, through a few letters and photographs. A distinguished World War I veteran, Harry was a British Conservative politician who served as Minister of Health from 1951 to 1952, Leader of the House of Commons from 1951 to 1955, and Lord Privy Seal from 1952 to 1955. Of special note is a letter from Crookshank to his family written during the Battle of the Somme (September 14, 1916) as well as a letter from Winston Churchill (December 7, 1954).

For more information about the Samuel Comfort Family Papers and about the Manuscript Division’s extensive holdings of personal papers pertaining to the Civil War, contact

Comfort 2 Comfort photo

(Left) Letter from Comfort to his father about his involvement in the Battle of Appomattox Court House, April 10,1865. (Right) Samuel Comfort.


Berthier’s Manuscript Maps of America, 1781–82

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce that it has digitized and put online Louis-Alexandre Berthier’s manuscript maps of the United States in the final years of the American Revolution. The 111 numbered maps and related journals are Berthier’s record of the 680-mile overland march of the French army of some 5,750 men under Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, during the summer and early autumn of 1781, and the return march of the French Army from Virginia to Boston, July–December 1782. The French army joined forces in July 1781 with the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington at Philipsburg, New York, and then with the French fleet under Admiral de Grasse, resulting in the defeat and surrender of British forces under Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, on October 19, 1781. The maps were executed, presumably soon after the momentous events of the American Revolution, from sketches and other information made on by Berthier during the march. The maps fall into two interrelated series: (1) the French Army’s camp sites on the southward march from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, and on the return march northward in the summer and autumn of 1782; and (2) “Itineraries” or daily marches of the Army (from Newport as far as Elkton, Maryland, in 1781. The daily marches for the 1782 northward journey are lacking among the Berthier Collection at Princeton. Another set of Berthier’s maps is preserved among the Rochambeau Papers in the Library of Congress; this set, although duplicating in part the Princeton set, is apparently less complete. Harry C. Black, Class of 1909, acquired the Berthier Collection, formerly in the Berthier family archives at Château de Grosbois, France, and donated them to the Library in 1939.

Berthier’s road maps are the most spectacular part of the collection, documenting the march of French and Continental forces and providing an early cartographic record of a few major cities, such as Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as many small towns and villages. There are two maps of Princeton (nos. 54, 55), one of which shows the location of Nassau Hall. Other places in New Jersey include Pompton (Pompton Plains), Whippany, Bullion’s Tavern (Liberty Corner), Somerset Courthouse (Millstone), and Trenton). The maps cannot be fully appreciated without the accompanying textual material of his journal (1780-1783), which provides a detailed description and explanation of the routes covered by the maps. In addition, there are related manuscripts and documents, including a letter (1785) from Rochambeau, notes on the history of Virginia, and Berthier’s journal of his later visit to Prussia (1783).In later years, Berthier continued to be employed in staff posts, and to earn regular promotions. He saw active military service during the French Revolution. In 1796 he accompanied General Bonaparte in the Italian campaign, as chief of staff of the army. Soon after Bonaparte became Emperor Napolean I, in 1804, he chose Berthier as one of the eighteen army officers to be named Marshal of the Empire. Subsequently, Berthier acquired other titles: Duke of Valangin, Price of Neufchâtel, Prince of Wagram. Marshal Berthier was with Napolean in the campaigns of Austerlitz, Jena, and Friedland; he was in the Peninsular Campaign (1808), the Austrian Campaign (1809), in Russia (1812), Germany (1813), and France (1814). In 1814 he abandoned Napoleon, and died the following year, on June 1, 1815, at Bamberg.

To view the finding aid for the Louis-Alexandre Berthier Collection (C0022), go to At the main screen, one can either browse under “Contents and Arrangement” (on the left side) or download the finding aid by clicking on “View Entire Finding Aid” (upper right). To search for maps of particular cities and towns, enter the place name and the word map in the search window (“Search this Collection”). Then review the search results, select the particular map of interest, and click on “View Image.” Please note, images are not to be published or broadcast without permission of the Princeton University Library. For conservation reasons, access to the original manuscripts is restricted. Researchers should use the digital images provided online. The best study of Berthier’s journals and maps is Howard C. Rice, Jr., and Anne S. K. Brown, The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972), 2 volumes. For more information about the Berthier Collection or permission to publish and/or broadcast images, contact the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at

Berthier map of Philadelphia 1781

Map of Philadelphia, 1781