A Statement of Invoice from Roger Payne (1739-1797), English bookbinder

Statement of invoice prepared by Roger Payne for binding The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New. Edinburgh: James Watson, 1715. (Ex) 5179.1715. Ms. stored apart from the book in Manuscript Collection C140, Box 37, folder “Payne.’

In rare book libraries, fine bindings made with great skill are often encountered simply on their own, with little sense of their maker other than a name.  Extraordinarily, on a rare occasion, one finds a description of the binder’s work in his own words.  Such is the case with the undated statement of billing from Roger Payne illustrated here.

Scheide Librarian, Eric White, has said of Payne: ‘Roger Payne (1738–1797), perhaps the most famous of all English bookbinders, was well known both for his exquisite gold tooling and his squalid lifestyle. He worked at Eton beginning in the late 1750s, then at London with the support of the bookseller Thomas Payne (no relation). There he served many illustrious patrons,’ including Dr. Benjamin Moseley, Michael Woodhull, C.M. Cracherode, and the second Earl Spencer.

A near contemporary of Payne, the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) described Payne’s invoices as ‘original and diverting,’ ‘replete with the garrulous chit-chat of an old stager of four score; in parts resembles a Coach-maker’s account,’ and ‘loquacious and … original specimens of arithmetical compositions.’

Our reaction today is to treat the invoices more fair-mindedly as rare contemporary documentation showing what was regarded as valuable at that time.  In this and other statements (at least, another 13 are known and transcribed; see list below) Payne draws our attention to factors crucial to making the binding.  In this instance, he covers these factors starting from the outside of the book to the inside.  But for purposes of getting a sense of his process, the following comments cover from the inside of the book to the outside.

The first of these factors includes the time and effort taken to clean, unwrinkle, mend and otherwise prepare the pages of the text block: ‘Some few places had a little writing ink I took it out safe.’  Then, he draws our attention to the materials of the binding  ‘back lined with Russia Leather under the Blue Morocco cover very strong’  or ‘sew’d with silk on strong & neat bands.’  He’s stating these terms about materials because he knows that binders can choose cheaper components such as linen thread or lining the spine with paper. Lastly he sets forth details about the finishing of the binding ‘all the gold impressions  … worked first plain afterwards work’d in Gold & Double Gold used thro ye whole Work.’  He sums up the work, and in this case his summary occurs initially, with the words ‘Bound in the best manner’ or, in the example illustrated here, ‘finished in the Richest & most elegant Taste  Richer & more exact than any Book that I have ever Bound.’

At the left upper corner of the statement of billing is a diagram of the lettering on the spine. It appears in just this format on the book itself, an edition of the Authorized Bible printed at Edinburgh in 1715 (ESTC T91151). The binding has the initials ‘T P’ on the front cover.  These are those of publisher and antiquarian bookseller Thomas Payne, who served at Roger Payne’s guardian (supplying ‘regular pecuniary assistance’) during the physical decline of his later years.  The total cost for the binding is £ 2.1.6.

The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New. Edinburgh: James Watson, 1715. Ex 5179.1715 Spine height: 19 cm. Larger image














Ownership history

1877 – Ellis & White, booksellers, London,  item 61* in catalogue 41: Catalogue of Valuable Books comprising Many Volumes of great Rarity and Curiosity, including Early Printed Books n English, Latin, German, Italian, & Flemish: Rare Old English Poetry; Some very Remarkable  Volumes Illustrated with Wood Engravings of an Early Date, &c. &c.’ Priced at £42





1890  – Sale of the books of Sir Edward Sullivan, at Sotheby’s, London, 19 & 27 May 1890, lot 770.  Sold to James Bain Ltd. for £62

1892  – William Lorings Andrews, Roger Payne and his art. A short account of his life and work as a binder.  (New York, 1892), p. 31 states that the book is the possession of a New York collector

1895 – Illustrated in Robert Hoe’s One hundred and seventy-six historic and artistic bookbindings dating from the fifteenth century to the present time pictured by etchings, artotypes, and lithographs after the originals selected from the library of Robert Hoe (New York, 1895)

1911 – Sale catalogue of the Library of Robert Hoe, April 24 and ff., lot 297.   Cyrus Hall McCormick (Princeton class of 1879) purchased the book at the sale for $900

1936 – C. H. McCormick dies in 1936 and the books pass to his widow, Alice Marie Holt McCormick.  She later remarries and becomes Alice H. Brown (Mrs. Marshall Ludington Brown.)

1948 – Alice H. Brown gifts the books of her first husband C. H. McCormick to the Princeton University Library.

List of other statements of invoice by Roger Payne
Dibdin records and transcribed the following bills in The Bibliographical Decameron, London, 1817, vol. II, p. 511 ff.:

  1. Glasguae. MDCCXCV. (ESTC T86592): Dibdin, BD, II, p.512 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 70, illustrated plate 31), undated original in the John Rylands Library. Invoice total £ 16.7.0
  2. Petrarch, described in Spenceriana, vol. 4, p. 141-143: Dibdin, BD, II, p.512-513 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 71). Undated. Invoice total £ 4.7.0
  3. C[l]avis Astro[logiæ] Elimata, bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R39993): Dibdin, BD, II, p.513. Undated. Invoice total £ 0.4.0
  4. Harmony of the World by Heydon London 1662, bound for Dr. Benjamin  Moseley (ESTC R16451): Dibdin, BD, II, p.514. Dated ‘1796, 11th’ Invoice total £ 0.10.6.  This book is held by the Scheide Library at Princeton and will be the subject of a future blog posting.
  5. Soul of Astrology, by Salmon, London 1679, bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R6301): Dibdin, BD, II, p.514. Undated. Invoice total £ 0.9.6
  6. Vesalli Humani Corporis Fabrica, bill in possession of Edward V. Utterson: Dibdin, BD, II, p.514 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 72). Undated. Invoice total £ 0.15.0
  7. Sandys Travels MDC.X. Wheeler and Spons Travels M.DC.LXXV, bill in possession of Edward V. Utterson (ESTC S121765 [1615 ed. and many later ed.] and ESTC R9388 [1682 ed.]): Dibdin, BD, II, p.515. Dated ‘Dec. 1st’ Invoice total £ 1.13.0

C. Davenport records the following bills in Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], in addition to those noted above:

  1. Cambridge 1694 (ESTC R24132): Davenport, RP, p. 69, illustrated plate 29, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 4.9.0
  2. Lilly’s Christian Astrology. London, 1695. Bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R233955 [1647 ed. and several later ed.]): Davenport, RP, p. 73, (also transcribed in Sydney Glover, ‘A Famous Bookbinder …’, The Collector’s Magazine (London, 1905), p. 42) undated original in 1908 Sotheby’s auct. of the books of Lord Amherst of Hackney. Invoice total £ 1.3.6
  3. The Faerie Queene … MDXCVI (ESTC S117748): Davenport, RP, p. 74, illustrated plate 30, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 2.10.0
  4. Mosaical Philosophy by Fludd. London, MDCLIX (ESTC R6980): Davenport, RP, p. 75, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 1.13.6
  5. Heydon, Elhavarevna. London, 1665. (ESTC R8694): Davenport, RP, p. 76, undated original in the British Library, shelf mark C.66.b.1. Invoice total £ 1.18.0
  6. Plot (Robert). The Natural History of Staffordshire. Oxford, 1686. (ESTC R21986) Davenport, RP, plate 32, undated, original owned by booksellers John Tregaskis and Son, ca. 1929. Invoice total £ 4.14.6


Transcription of Payne’s statement of invoice

"" Letter’d in ye most exact Manner, exceeding rich small Tool Gilt Back of a new pattern studded in Compartments. The outsides finished in the Richest & most elegant Taste Richer, & more exact than any Book that I ever Bound.
The insides finished in a new Design exceeding elegant. Bound in the very best manner sew’d with silk on Strong & Neat Bands. The Back lined with Russia Leather under the Blue morrocco cover very strong & neat Boards.

The Finest Blue Morocco All The Gold Impressions except studds worked first Plain afterwards work’d in Gold & Double Gold used thro ^ye whole Work


Frontispiece was pasted very clumsy on another leaf I took it off & cleaned the paste off & mended 3 places. Title 1 piece

Jeremiah III. Proverbs XIX. Saint Matthew VIII ) Mended and several placed ruled where the pieces was put on.
A hole in ye printing have endeavour’d to make perfect by another Holy Bible. I cleaned all the printing part from ye other side required great care & time & several Back margins mended which cannot now be seen. ___ Some few places had a little writing ink I took out quite safe.


Roger Payne in his workshop. 














By S. Harding. Frontispiece to C. Davenport, Roger Payne (Chicago, 1929).

Sir Thomas Phillipps – Illustrations of his distinguishing marks of ownership in books and manuscripts from the Phillipps Library

Supplementing examples posted by Peter Kidd on his website ‘Manuscripts/Provenance,’ in the entry for Sir Thomas Phillipps http://www.manuscripts.org.uk/manuscripts/provenance/collectors/phillipps.htm

A. N. L. Munby writes in Phillipps Studies No. 4 (Cambridge, 1956), p. 165

In the 1820s Phillipps commissioned an armorial bookplate, which was however inserted very sparingly in books and manuscripts (fig. 1). Many of the early acquisitions bear a stencilled stamp of his crest, a lion rampant, applied rather crudely to the front paste-down or to the first leaf (fig. 2), and, on the paste-down, in the case of manuscripts, was inscribed the number allotted to the book in the Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum (fig. 3); in most instances this number was repeated on a tiny printed slip glued to the spine (fig. 4). Many thousands of manuscripts are identifiable at sight by their drab buff boards, Phillipps’s usual binding style. (fig. 5) A very large number of the printed books have no identification of ownership by Phillipps other than the small pencilled initials ‘MHC’ at the top of the front paste-down, denoting that the item in question had been entered, but not necessarily printed, in the Middle Hill Catalogue (fig. 6). Many books in the great residue of the library purchased in 1946 by Messrs Robinson have been provided with a discreet armorial label which identifies their provenance (fig. 7)

Figure 1 – Armorial bookplate

Figure 2 – Stencil

Figure 3 – Stencil with number

Figure 4 – Slip on spine

Figure 5 – Middle Hill Boards

Figure 6 – MHC (Middle Hill Catalogue)

Figure 7 – Bibliotheca Phillippica – W. H. Robinson Ltd.

Proofs of Pine’s Horace (1731-1733)

Princeton is fortunate to own what are the only recorded marked-up proof pages from one of the most famous illustrated engraved books of eighteenth-century England, commonly known as Pine’s Horace published in London, 1733-1737.   [For full details about Pine’s Horace see “Engraved Throughout: Pine’s Horace (1733) as a Bibliographical Object,” the 2015 Lyell lecture given by Prof. Michael Suarez https://rarebookschool.org/first-lyell-lecture-available-to-view/]

The proofs are bound in early 20th century brown polished goatskin and consist of the first 67 pages of volume one.  They were gifted to the Library in 1916 by Robert Patterson, Class of 1876, as yet another donated accession to the large collection of editions of Horace that he had first established by the academic year 1908-1909.

We have no idea how they came into Patterson’s hands because there are no marks of provenance within the book.  During the decades that the  proofs have inhabited the shelves, they seem to have been overlooked by scholars, because there is no mention of them in academic or library publications.

What follows is a glimpse of some of the salient features of the proofs, which taken together give some sense of the process by which this famous book came into being.

These features fall into two groups: on the one hand, the proof pages themselves independent of any correctors’ markings and, on the other hand, the annotations supplied by various correcting readers, which are quite numerous, occur on almost every page, and can be identified as tracing back to four separate readers.

First, the pages, themselves.  There are several points here:  1) the proofs are on the same paper as the finished book. laid paper watermarked with ‘Strasbourg Bend’; 2) the leaves are are a mixed set, that is, a few are proofs before letters (such as p. 67), but most are proofs with lettering; and 3) on page 31 the proof has a vignette of Prometheus being tortured by the raven whereas the finished book depicts Prometheus fashioning a human skeleton.

Second, the annotations:  There are 4 distinct sets of annotations, each in a different contemporary hand.

  1. A red ink now much faded marking usually single variations from the copy text, such as noting that the copy text had a ‘J’ where Pine engraved an ‘I’
  2. A closed up italic hand rendering several types of notes: 1) observations about the images ‘A large wolf would have been properer here. Or a Moor with a bow and quiver’ (p. 42) beside the full length figure of Hercules; 2) regarding typographic style ‘You have never before put a capital to a common noun  …’ (p. 28) or ‘This e should be of the small size …’ (p.20)
  3. A larger looser italic responding to the notations rendered by 1 and 2 above; examples: ‘that y should not touch the l = I doubt its too late to put it back’ (p. 21);  ‘Put the admiration after ludo!’ (p. 4) [That is, put an exclamation mark after  … — ed.]
  4. Pencil annotations correcting the Greek inscriptions in the illustration on page 40

Of the for 4 sets of annotations, set number 3 turns out to be of  particular interest. The writer of set number 3 pays especial attention to textual matters, orthography, and indentation relating to the layout of stanzas.   Those attentions suggest someone particularly interested in the text of Horace rather than the illustration.  To find a candidate for these annotations, I looked at the roster of names acknowledged in Pine’s preface.

In the front matter to the book, Pine acknowledges the following for their aid in the project.

  • Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (1694-1753); known as the ‘Architect Earl’
  • Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke and 5th Earl of Montgomery (c. 1656-1733); collector of fine art and ancient coins
  • Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753); art collector
  • Sir Richard Mead (1673-1754); eminent physician, collector
  • Sir Thomas Sadler, Deputy Clerk of the Pells
  • Thomas Bentley L.L.D. (1693-1742); classical scholar; onetime librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge; edited editions of Callimachus, Caesar, et al.

Of these 6, Pine especially notes Thomas Bentley as ‘eminent in learning’ and given that Bentley edited an edition of Horace in 1713, I suspected that the notes of set 3 might be his, but I needed to find examples of his handwriting.

One contemporary example is a 1731 letter written by Thomas Bentley to Zachary Pearce (1690-1774) preserved in the Turnbull Library at the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington.  The letter was reproduced in facsimile in the Turnbull Library Record, vol. xiv, issue 1, 1 May 1981.

The convergence of the hand of the set 3 annotations and the hand of the Turnbull letter is convincing, as in the example below  (Turnbull left; Princeton right)


Lastly, when you compare the corrections in the Princeton proofs with the finished book, it is clear that in a number of cases Pine made the requisite changes.  This brief description and analysis are by no means exhaustive.  There is still much more to learn from these proofs.

>>> Census of other copies of the proofs

  1. Copy described by Maurice de Péreire in his article ‘Notes d’un amateur sur les livres illustrés du xviii siècle (suite 1) published in Bulletin de bibliophile et du bibliothécaire.  (Paris: Henri LeClerc, 1921) p. 197 to 200.  Present whereabouts not known.  De Péreire describes this copy has having the prospectus title page with date Feb. 24, 1730-31, followed by a list of subscribers, together with the first 67 engraved pages.
  2. Bodleian, Oxford – Proofs of vol.1, pp.1-67. Preceded by a list headed Subscribers, with an additional list in MS. by J. Pine. Pasted in are Proposals for engraving by subscription. The date is erased]. Shelfmark: Pre-1701 Weston 590502835
  3. Morgan Library, New York City — Prospectus volume for Pine’s edition of Horace, 1733, containing ‘Proposal’, printed list of subscribers, and early proof impressions of book I, pl. 1-67 of Odes.  Bound in contemporary calf.  Shelfmark: PML 65587 http://estc.bl.uk/N39784
  4. Victoria and Albert — Library states that this copy is ‘assumed lost’  — 24, 1730-31. Proposals for engraving by subscription, on copperplates, the works of Horace … as the specimen annex’d. Shelfmark: Forster 12mo 6931  [Given the February date of the prospectus, it is assumed that this copy had proofs of vol. 1, pp. 1-67]
  5. Princeton University Library. Shelfmark: PTT 2865.321.233



Charles Lamb’s books at Princeton

Bartlett & Welford’s sale catalogue of 60 lots consisting of volumes from Charles Lamb’s library (February, 1848) [ExL 0513.557.55] The Princeton copy includes a hand written table giving the buyers for each lot and the amount paid.  The catalogue and the mss. table have been digitized.

The story begins in 1848, an annus mirabilis in the tale of Charles Lamb’s library.  This was the year in which 60 lots of Lamb’s books came up for sale in New York. (The 60 lots comprised more than 136 titles in total.)  The lots appeared in a  private sale on the premises of the Astor House booksellers Bartlett & Welford in the first part of the year. The booksellers claimed that the books were selected from the mass of Lamb’s books and ‘the remainder destroyed … so that no other such opportunity can offer to the admirers of C. Lamb, for securing a memento of their favorite author.’  Then, in October, 1848, 17 lots bought by John T. Annan of Cincinnati in the Bartlett & Welford sale were auctioned by the New York firm of Cooley, Keese, & Hill. Unlike collectors across the Atlantic, American book collectors had a special affection for Lamb, his writings, and his books, and were willing to pay strong prices.

The distinct character of this American passion for Lamb is brilliantly recounted in Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America by Denise Gigante (Stanford; Princeton PhD. 2000), recently published by Yale University Press.

The head note in Catalogue of Charles Lamb’s library, for sale by Bartlett & Welford, booksellers and importers, 7 Astor House, New York states
>> During the long illness of Miss Lamb, the collection of books that had formed the solace and delight of her brother’s life, met with neglect and partial dispersion among his friends; at her death the following volumes were selected from the mass as worthy of preservation, containing notes, &c., by the late possessor, and the remainder destroyed—so that no other such opportunity can offer to the admirers of C. Lamb, for securing a memento of their favorite author. The notes, remarks, &c., referred to and quoted in inverted commas, in the following list, are warranted to be all in the autograph of Lamb (except when otherwise mentioned), and it will be seen that many of his most favorite works are there; no attempt has been made to re-clothe his “shivering folios;” they are precisely in the state in which he possessed and left them. <<

Bartlett & Welford didn’t disclose who made the selection of the 60 items. From Book Madness,(p. 42) we learn that it was Charles Moxon, Lamb’s publisher and husband of Lamb’s adopted daughter, Emma, who had inherited the books.  Moxon was quite familiar with the enthusiasm in America for Lamb, and in the autumn of 1847 he worked out a deal with Charles Welford to market the books in America (p. 52).  The  February 5, 1848 issue of Literary World announced ‘These books, which Lamb so loved that they seemed a part of himself, have been plucked from the smoke of London, deracinated from the pavements of Cockneydom, and now they are in the Astor House, all written over in the margin by Coleridge and Southey and Lamb himself. What will their fate be now?’

Evidently during February and perhaps in some following months Bartlett & Welford sold all the lots and a record of the buyers and prices is recorded in the Princeton copy of the catalogue, a gift from Charles Scribner, Class of 1913, as part of his Lamb collection.

Of the 60 lots, the following are now at Princeton

Ben JonsonWorks (London, 1692).
“The blank leaves, margins &c., are filled with extracts from the old Dramatists and early English Writers, with additional poems, corrections of the Text & co. &c., in Charles Lamb’s early hand-writing, forming a most curious and valuable memento of his favorite studies.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848).  Provenance:
• Lot 20 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by George Templeton Strong for 25 dollars.
• Lot 904 at Bang’s sale of George T. Stong’s books (New York, 1878)
• Lot 964 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897). Sold to Charles Scribner’s Sons for $375.
• Christie’s NY, Dec. 14, 2000, lot 104 (“Property of a Gentleman”) via James Cummins to Pirie.
• Collection of Robert S. Pirie, Sotheby’s NY, 2 Dec. 2015, lot 987, to Princeton. (Call number: RHT 17th-739a RHT / Digitized )

John SucklingFragmenta Aurea (London, 1646) “Charles Lamb’s copy, with mss notes from Aubrey’s Lives, Notes, & co.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848). Provenance:
• Lot 48 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by Horatio Woodman for 5 dollars.
• Lot 960 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897), sold to Frank Howard Dodd and Edward S. Mead for $270.
• Henry Bache Smith (collector), A Sentimental Library ([New York], Privately Printed, 1914) p. 148
• Halsted B. Vander Poel (Christie’s London, 3 March 2004, lot 106). via Quaritch to Pirie.
• Collection of Robert S. Pirie, Sotheby’s NY, 2 Dec. 2015, lot 988 to Princeton. (Call number RHT-551A / Digitized )

The history of Philip de Commines, knight, Lord of Argenton.  
“With interesting MS notes by Charles Lamb at the commencement and ‘Memorabilia’ by Coleridge at the end on the free towns and republics of the Middle Ages & c.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848). Provenance:
• Lot 59 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by George Templeton Strong for 10 dollars.
• Lot 374 at Bang’s sale of George T. Stong’s books (New York, 1878)
• Lot 960 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897), sold for $135.
• Charles Scribner’s Sons subsequently purchased it for $180.
• Henry Bache Smith (collector), A Sentimental Library ([New York], Privately Printed, 1914) p. 146
• A.S.W. Rosenbach (bookseller) then sold to Princeton, June 1947. (Call number: Ex 1509.146.26.11q  / Digitized )  N. B. See article about this book by Prof. Jeremiah Finch published in the Princeton University Library Chronicle at https://www.jstor.org/stable/26401659

Old Plays & c. spine title on a sammelband  consisting of 12 items   Lamb lists the contents on the front pastedown.   Provenance:

• Lot 54 in the Bartlett & Welford sale catalogue, but there described as ‘Tracts, Miscellaneous, 1 thick volume, 12mo. Descriptive Catalogue of Pictures, and Poetical and Historical Inventions, by William Blake, 1809. Lord Rochester’s Poems, Lady Winchelsea’s Poems, C. Lamb’s Confessions of a Drunkard, with Corrections, &c., Southey’s Wat Tyler, &c. 12 tracts, with MS list of contents.’  Sold to John T. Annan for $6.
• Lot 376 in Cooley, Keese, & HIll, Catalogue of a private library, embracing a large collection of rare and valuable works in early English literature; … and eighteen volumes from the library of Charles Lamb.  New York, 1848.  Sale consisted of books from the Library of John T. Annan of Cincinnati.  Sold to Campbell for $4.25 (per priced copy of the catalogue at the American Antiquarian Society; thanks to Elizabeth Pope who supplied images of the pages for lots 359 to 376, headed in black letter ‘Charles Lamb’s Books.’)
• Seven Gables Bookshop (NY) to Robert H. Taylor, February 1972.  Taylor legacy to Princeton in 1985. (Call number: RHT 19th-305)


Lamb has annotated the poem ‘A Noctural Reverie’ ‘the best poem in the collection’

The First American Edition of ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ (1767)

Recently acquired. The Michael Zinman copy of the first American edition of The Vicar of Wakefield. (2022-0031N). With contemporary signature ‘Sally Walker’ and later signature ‘S.W. Tarleton.’

How do we know that Princeton’s recently acquired Dublin ‘fourth edition’ is indeed the first American edition of The Vicar of Wakefield?

American bibliographer John Alden and Irish bibliographer Mary Pollard have studied this question closely and determined that despite the Dublin imprint, this edition of The Vicar of Wakefield was printed in Boston by the firm of Mein and Fleeming in 1767.  Their determination was based on several factors including: one, the font of type used to print the text; two, advertisements published by Mein and Fleming in various Boston newspapers; and three, paper stock.  Both have published convincing arguments for this determination.

In brief, the story begins early in 1810, when the patriot printer and printing historian Isaiah Thomas published in his History of Printing in America remarks on Mein’s bookselling practices

‘Some [of his stock] had a false imprint, and were palmed upon the public for London editions, because Mein apprehended that books printed in London, however executed, sold better than those which were printed in America, and, at that time, many purchasers sanctioned his opinion.’ (Thomas, Hist. of Printing in Amer., [Worcester, 1810), I, p.362).

Some 130 years later, bibliographer John Alden picked up on this statement  and examined closely, one by one, the imprints of Mein and Fleeming during the years of their partnership, 1767 to 1769. Alden first detailed his findings in a research paper prepared at the University of Michigan in 1940 and then published his work in 1942 in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America.  In the 1980s, bibliographer Mary Pollard extended Alden’s work and using her knowledge of Irish printing, a topic in which she was an expert, she convincingly assigned the Vicar to the shop of Mein and Fleeming, based on typographic and other evidence. Rather than try to summarize further, I refer you to their respective articles listed at the end of this essay.

While the story of the identification of this false imprint is interesting, equally telling is the tale of the marketing and advertising of this edition of Vicar in Boston.  It is the story of a bookseller caught in the vortex of abruptly shifting consumer demands, caused by American reactions to punitive British Parliamentary commercial acts.

Marketing in times of shifting consumer demands –

The Edinburgh-native bookseller, John Mein, arrived in Boston in October 1764. At the time, Boston had about a fifteen printers and booksellers, serving a population of over 15,000. (New York and Philadelphia had larger populations by about 3 to 5,000 more.)

At first, Mein had a bookstall on Marlborough Street where he sold not only books and pamphlets but also Irish linens and “excellent bottl’d Bristol beer near two years old.” By October 1765, he took over the leading bookshop in Boston, the London Book-Store on King Street. Concurrently, he opened a commercial rental circulating library, the first such in Boston.  It offered a stock of 1,200 volumes ‘in most branches of polite Literature, Arts, and Sciences,’ at an annual subscription price of £1 8s or a quarterly subscription at 10s 6p.

While the rental circulating library appears not to have continued past May 1767, he maintained the London Book-Store, offering imported books to his Boston clientele. He even conducted an auction of ‘several libraries of curious and valuable books’ in late May and early June 1766. Moreover, he further extended his business by venturing out as a publisher.  He was not a printer, so he took a printer to partner for his projects, at first William M’Alpine and later John Fleeming.  M’Alpine printed an edition of Issac Watt’s Hymns for Mein in 1766 (ESTC W7723) and a few other works.  However, Mein’s partnership with Fleeming was more robust.  Together they issued more than 50 separate publications between 1766 and 1769.  These locally produced books were offered together with imported stock at Mein’s London Book-Store. Further, Mein and Fleming first began issuing a newspaper, the Boston Chronicle in December 1767.

Alden identified 16 false Mein and Fleeming imprints issued between 1766 and 1768.

How did Mein go about marketing these? We’ll take the case of the Vicar as a case in point.

We first encounter Mein offering the Vicar  in 11 September 1766 issue of Boston Evening Post. It appears in subsequent ads in Boston newspapers in following weeks.

But, on 6 July 1767 in the Boston Gazette, Mein steps up his efforts and publishes a long blurb and offers the book at 6s (previous advertisements did not give a price).   His ‘blurb’ is worth quoting in full

>> The Vicar of Wakefield.  A Tale. Supposed to be written by himself. (Price 6s,) Sperate miseri, cavete felices.

The Vicar unites in himself of the three greatest Characters upon Earth: he has a Priest, an Husbandman, and the Father of a Family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready to obey;  as simple in Affluence and majestic in adversity. Every reader must be delighted with him for his sincerity, his hospitality, his fervent and overflowing affections, his divine propensity to forgiveness and reconciliation, his unaffected magnanimity in deep affection, and his exemplary moderation when raised to affluence and joy. The Family of Wakefield, in which a kindred likeness prevails of minds as well as of persons, and the other characters introduced are well marked and properly supported, and there are interspersed much rational entertainment, genuine strokes of nature and humour, and pathetic pictures of domestic happiness and domestic distress,  drawn from Life, and directed to the heart.

This excellent novel does great honor to the author Dr. Goldsmith, for moral tendency; and for recommending and enforcing in the most exemplary matter, the great obligations of universal Benevolence: the most amiable quality that can possibly distinguish and adorn Human Nature.  <<

Mein’s publicity campaign appears to have taken a turn toward larger promotion of the Vicar.

Another of Mein’s false imprints, his edition of Tissot’s Advice to the People … with Regard to their Health, according to Alden, showed a similar pattern of publicity – first just brief statements (in July 1767), then in October 1767, two columns of advertisement. Alden concludes that the earlier ads were for imported editions, but the October 1767 ad is for a new edition, Mein’s own edition with a false London imprint.

It’s entirely possible that Mein’s promotion of the Vicar followed a similar path.  The earlier ads (September 1766 ff) were for imported editions, while that fulsomely announced in July 1767 is Mein’s own edition with the false Dublin imprint.


‘Hath Just Imported’ – p. 183 in issue for 2 May 1768 of Mein’s Boston Chronicle. (ExOV 0921.201 v.1)

In Mein’s own newspaper the Boston Chronicle, he continued to advertise the Vicar. For example, in the 2 May 1768 issue of the Boston Chronicle, he prints an entire full page of advertising  (3 columns, more than 2600 words) detailing that he ‘Hath Just Imported’ more than  100 separately published titles, falling into the following categories: general interest (52 titles), psalmody (5), law (14),  new novels (19), school books and classics (20).  He further supplemented his individually named offerings by adding that also on offer were ‘all the lawbooks most in use,’ and ‘also a numerous collection of the best novels and books of entertainment in the English language.’ And among the novels, is listed: ‘Vicar of Wakefield. 2 vols. Moral, entertaining, and pathetic.’ Also in the May 9 supplement, he printed a long excerpt from the Vicar, viz. Chap. 10 of Vol. 2.

He continued to advertise it in his twice weekly newspaper during subsequent weeks.  The last ‘Hath Just Imported’ ad ran in the issue of the Boston Chronicle for August 29, 1768.

As a book importer, Mein had much to gain by holding fast to the status quo for bringing in British goods into Boston. However, local merchants in reaction to the recent Townsend Acts restricting trade, pivoted in their preferences and started what was called the Non-importation movement.  Their insistence was on now on goods made in America.

Change in consumer preference –

Within 13 months, by the fall of 1769, circumstances had radically changed. Despite his own preferences, Mein overhauled his messaging about his stock, and on 26 October 1769 in the Boston Chronicle, he issued a new book stock advertisement, this time headed ‘Printed in America.’

Of the 20, titles in that stocklist, all were books in high demand, each for their own reasons. There were books popular as practical texts (Dilworth’s spelling book, Tissot’s Advice on Health, McKenzie’s Art of preserving health) and books conforming to preferred religious sentiment (Orton’s Memoir of Dr Doddridge, Dr. Fordyce’s Sermons, Tate and Brady’s Psalm book). Others picked up on the political sentiments, such as Dulany’s Considerations on taxes or the pro-American Sermons to Asses, alleged to have been written by Benjamin Franklin. Some were popular entertainment such as Garrick and Colman’s Clandestine Marriage. And there were children’s books, such as Tommy Thumb’s Little Storybook.

And, added to this mix of steady sellers, were editions of Sterne’s Sentimental Journey and Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield, both false imprints but at least contextually declaring themselves to be American imprints.

Likely because of loyalist political sentiments, Mein left Boston by 1770 as stated by Isaiah Thomas, or perhaps in the later part of 1769, according to other scholarship.

But, that’s not the end of the marketing of Mein’s ‘Dublin’ edition of Vicar.  When one looks closely at Mein’s ad ‘Printed in America’ (including his edition of Vicar) one sees a linked gathering of Mein books, all now claimed to have been ‘Printed in America’ and some with false imprints.  The linked network includes Tissot’s Advice, Garrick and Colman’s Clandestine Marriage,  Sterne’s Sentimental Journey, Fordyce’s Sermons, ‘Franklin’s Sermon on Asses, etc.

In April 1772, this same linked network of books is advertised by the English booksellers Edward Cox and Edward Berry in the Boston News Letter (April 9), for sale ‘cheaper than can be bought at any Shop in Town.’ In this ad you will find, along with the Vicar, Tissot’s Advice, Garrick and Colman’s Clandestine Marriage,  Sterne’s Sentimental Journey, Fordyce’s Sermons, ‘Franklin’s Sermon on Asses, etc.

Clearly, this linked network of stock had been remaindered to these booksellers, who also advertised the Vicar in their stock catalogue of 1772.

Based on available evidence, this is the end of tale of the marketing of Mein’s edition of the Vicar, for within a few years, with the outbreak of war, Cox and Berry resettled in New York, soon to be occupied by the British by the summer of 1776.

Chap. X of Vicar laid side by side with excerpt of the same chapter published in Mein’s Boston Chronicle, Supplement for issue Monday May 9, 1768. (ExOV 0921.201 v.1 and 2022-0031N)


John Eliot Alden, ‘Notes towards a bibliography of Mein Imprints’ (University of Michigan, June 1940) https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003242614

John Eliot Alden, ‘John Mein, publisher: an essay in bibliographic detection,’ Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 36 (1942), 199-214. https://doi.org/10.1086/pbsa.36.3.24293527

Mary Pollard, ‘The First American Edition of ‘The Vicar of Wakefield,’’ in Peter Fox (ed.) Treasures of the Library, Trinity College Dublin (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1986) 123-130





A Magnificent Manuscript of 1458, Signed by its Scribe — and by its Illuminator?

Giovanni Balbi, Catholicon. Scheide Library M 163, f. 2r

An immense folio manuscript of Giovanni Balbi’s Catholicon, the essential Latin dictionary of the later Middle Ages, is one of the most spectacular illuminated manuscripts preserved in the Scheide Library. Bound in 15th-century tooled calfskin over wooden boards, it consists of 326 vellum leaves measuring 534 x 355 mm, and is estimated to weigh as much as a well-nourished toddler. The book was first recorded in 1783, in the library of the Augustinian Canons of Heilig Kreuz (Holy Cross) in Augsburg, Germany.1 

The completed manuscript, one of the longest of all medieval Latin texts, was signed by its diligent scribe, Hainricus Lengfelt, on Saturday, 18 December 1458. Lengfelt, originally from Erfurt but active in Augsburg, is known to have produced two additional manuscripts: a very similar second copy of the Catholicon, written for the Cistercians of Aldersbach bei Passau in 1462 (illuminated by Johannes Bämler, now at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Clm 2975); and a German translation of Arnoldus de Villanova’s Remedia ad maleficia (Colmar, Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms 81), dated 1467.

Hainrich Lengfelt’s signature (1458) in the Scheide Catholicon, f. 303r.

Scheide Catholicon, f. 76r

The rich illumination of the Scheide Catholicon, which includes 29 large capital letters painted on gold leaf with extensive foliate borders, long has been securely attributed to Heinrich Molitor, a leading calligrapher who worked both in Augsburg and for the Benedictine Abbey of Scheyern during the 1460s.2

It was recently noticed that the large initial M on folio 182 recto has a handsome brown-ink M written in the margin to its left, whereas the other illuminated letters of the alphabet have a much smaller guide letter. A similar M, written next to various large initials in a Latin Bible manuscript illuminated by Molitor, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Ms lat. 140), appears to serve as Molitor’s signature.3

Scheide Catholicon, f. 182r (with Molitor’s ‘M’ in left margin?)

Latin Bible, Paris, BNF, Ms. lat. 140, illuminated by Heinrich Molitor, with ‘M’ written next to other illuminated initials.

If this interpretation of the otherwise unexplained M proves to be correct, then the Scheide Library’s Catholicon would be one of the extremely few 15th-century manuscripts that was ‘signed’ both by its scribe and by its illuminator.

Lengfeld’s pride in his calligraphic skill (and possibly Molitor’s justifiable pride in his illuminated initials) should be considered in light of the immense changes in book production methods that arose in Germany during this period. The emergence of Europe’s typographic printing technology in Mainz during the early 1450s, credited to Johannes Gutenberg, led to the publication of extensive folio editions of the Catholicon at Mainz in 1460 (by Gutenberg?) and by Günther Zainer in Augsburg in 1469, as well as some twenty further editions printed by others by the year 1500. Whereas Lengfeld and Molitor would have had many more books to write and illuminate, future generations had far fewer opportunities to work on this scale and at this level of luxury.





1 Philipp Wilhelm Gercken: Reisen durch Schwaben, Baiern, angränzende Schweiz, Franken, und die Rheinische Provinzen… 1: Von Schwaben und Baiern (Stendal, 1783), pp. 258-59.

2 John T. McQuillen, ‘Fifteenth-Century Book Networks: Scribes, Illuminators, Binders, and the Introduction of Print’, The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 107, No. 4 (December 2013), pp. 495-515.

3 I thank Paul Needham, Scheide Librarian (Emeritus), for bringing this Bible to my attention.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER? Pairing and Comparing the Scheide and Kane Copies of Fifteenth-Century Books

Question: What could be better for the study of early printed books than examining a copy of a rare 15th-century edition?

Answer: Examining two copies of a rare 15th-century edition.


Thanks to several formerly independent channels of 20th-century collecting, now united, Princeton University Library’s Special Collections owns multiple copies of more than thirty 15th-century editions. We do not consider them ‘duplicates’, as that would imply that they are absolutely identical, and that nothing is to be learned from the ‘second’ copy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if every letter of every word printed on every page were virtually identical (with printing shop corrections and other improvements, this is often not the case), the individual copies would still reflect entirely different histories of readership and survival, preserving unique material evidence that may be crucial to the attentive researcher, or of worthwhile interest to the casual student of book history.

Illustrated below are four examples of 15th-century editions represented by two copies. In each case, one of the copies was owned by Grenville Kane (1854–1943) of Tuxedo Park, New York, whose fine library of early books and Americana was purchased by the Trustees of Princeton University in 1946, while another copy is in the incomparable Scheide Library, long on deposit in Firestone Library but bequeathed to Princeton University in 2015 by the late William H. Scheide (1914–2014), Class of 1936. The first things that strikes most present-day viewers are the differences in their hand-decoration, and in their various bindings – copy-specific features that were added only after the individual sets of printed sheets were sold to their first owners. Moreover, three of the selected pairs also exhibit distinctive typographic variations, belying the notion that they are ‘duplicates’. Here we offer only the briefest introductions to these pairs of books, which call out for further study and comparison:


Cicero, De Officiis. [Mainz:] Johann Fust & Peter Schoeffer, 4 February 1466. 

Scheide 31.17

These two small folios, both printed on vellum, are from the second edition of Cicero’s treatise on the honorable fulfillment of moral duties, one of the first Classical works to be published. The Scheide copy, richly illuminated in Franco-Flemish style, is among the most beautiful of the roughly 50 copies that survive. It emerged from the collection of Ralph Willett (1719–1795), whose library at Merly was sold by Sotheby’s in 1813, and later was owned by Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773–1843), and Robert Stayner Holford (1808–1892), of Gloucestershire, respectively. In 1925 Holford’s son sold the book to the Philadelphia bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach, from whom Gertrude Scheide Caldwell purchased it as a Christmas gift for her brother John H. Scheide in December, 1927.

EXKA Incunabula 1466

Princeton’s other copy, decorated in German style, has been traced back to 1572, when ‘David Weisius’ was recorded as its donor to the town library of Augsburg. This individual was probably David Weiss (1531–1593), Augsburg patrician and town benefactor. It remained in Augsburg until 1798, after which it passed through three important private collections in Moscow.1 In 1931 the Soviet government sold it through Maggs Brothers, London, to Grenville Kane, whose collection came to Princeton University Library in 1946.




Recent research has led to the important discovery that the pair of painted coats-of-arms on the first page of Princeton’s Cicero refers to the German noble families of Truchseß zu Wetzhausen (left) and Wilhelmsdorf (right). To date, the only known union between these families was the mid-15th-century marriage of Jakob Truchseß zu Wetzhausen of Dachsbach and Susanna von Wilhelmsdorf.2 Their son, Dr Thomas Truchseß zu Wetzhausen (ca. 1460–1523), Dean of Speyer Cathedral, one-time student and later defender of Johannes Reuchlin, and correspondent and host of Erasmus of Rotterdam, was almost certainly the owner of Princeton’s 1466 Cicero.

Comparison of the Princeton and Scheide copies also reveals several typographic variants, including the presence in the Scheide copy of a four-line Latin incipit, printed in red on the first page, but omitted from the Princeton copy, in which a shorter titulus was written in by hand; numerous instances of each of these contingencies survive. Another striking difference is found on f. 14 verso, where the Scheide copy has the heading printed as usual in red type, while in the Princeton copy, the entire heading was printed upside down – an isolated accident that resulted from one of the many complications of printing with two colors.


St Augustine, De Civitate Dei. Rome: Conradus Sweynheym & Arnoldus Pannartz, in domo Petri de Maximo, 1468.

EXKA Incunabula 1468

This Royal folio is either the second or the third edition of this foundational text of Western Christendom, following the Subiaco edition of 1467 and possibly the Strasbourg edition, datable not after 1468. The first page of the text in the Princeton copy was illuminated in colorful Italian ‘bianchi girari’ style. Interestingly, for the gilt initial G that introduces the words ‘Gloriosissimam civitatem dei’, a woodcut stamp, not printed in other copies, provided black outlines for the illuminator’s work, which continued free-hand into the margin. Several pages bear extensive contemporary annotations. The volume was bound in the 1790s for the British bibliophile Michael Wodhull (1740–1816), and was acquired by Princeton in 1946 with the Kane collection.


Scheide 59.5

By contrast, the copy purchased by John Scheide in 1940, which emerged from the Syston Park Library in 1884 and was rebound in London by Douglas Cockerell in 1903, never received its requisite initials or decoration by hand; indeed, the book reveals virtually no evidence of use by early readers. The copy is nevertheless of considerable interest, as its introductory leaf bears a beautifully written and historically significant gift inscription (below), which records that Nicolò Sandonino (1422–1499), Bishop of Lucca beginning in 1479, presented this book to the Carmelites of San Pietro Cigoli in Lucca in 1491. It is curious that these friars, who disposed of numerous important books during the early 18th century, seem to have had no use for the bishop’s gift.

The Bishop of Lucca’s gift inscription, 1491.


Leonardo Bruni, De bello Italico adversus Gothos. Foligno: Emiliano Orfini & Johann Neumeister, 1470.

EXKA Incunabula 1470 Bruni

The first book printed in the small Italian town of Foligno was this history of the 5th-century Goth invasion of the Italian peninsula, compiled in 1441 by Leonardo Bruni. It was published in 1470 by Johannes Neumeister, a peripatetic printer from Mainz who made a career of enticing investors into supporting unsustainable printing ventures. It is bound with another rare Chancery folio, the only copy held in America of Bernardus Justinianus, Oratio habita apud Sixtum IV contra Turcos. [Rome]: Johannes Philippus de Lignamine, [after 2 Dec. 1471]. The rubrication throughout is French, and the bottom margin of the first leaf bears the inscription ‘Jacques le Chandelier, 1550’. This owner is probably to be identified with the contemporary Royal Secretary in Paris by that name. The volume later wandered through a series of distinguished European private libraries and came to Princeton University with the Kane collection in 1946.3

Scheide 40.1

The Scheide copy, illuminated in the Italian ‘bianchi girari’ (white vine) style, is probably the one offered by the Ulrico Hoepli firm in Milan in 1935. It subsequently entered the library of Giannalisa Feltrinelli (1903–1981), an Italian heiress and bibliophile who had homes in Rome, Milan, Geneva, and Stanbridge East, Canada. The book was auctioned at Christie’s in New York on 7 October 1997, lot 19, to H. P. Kraus. When his firm’s inventory was auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York in December 2003, the book remained available and was bought after the sale by William H. Scheide.



In addition to featuring contrasting French and Italian hand-decoration, the two copies are differentiated by variant typesetting in their colophons, which include different spellings of the surname and hometown of Neumeister’s patron, the master of the papal mint in Foligno, Emilianus de Orfinis. Whereas the colophon in Princeton’s copy reads ‘Ursinis Eulginas’, that of the Scheide copy has been corrected to ‘Orfinis Fulginas’ (below).


Ptolemy, Cosmographia. Ulm: Lienhart Holle, 16 July 1482.

The Super-Royal folio ‘Ulm Ptolemy’ of 1482 is famous for its 32 large woodcut maps, including the great double-page ‘World Map’ carved by Johannes Schnitzer of Arnsheim, 26 regional maps based on Ptolemy’s 2nd-century CE descriptions, and five new maps of Italy, France Spain, Scandinavia, and the Holy Land, based on manuscript projections by the editor of the work, Nicolaus Germanus, a Benedictine monk from the diocese of Breslau who lived and worked in Florence.

EXKA Ptolemy 1482

The Princeton copy, sold by the Rappaport firm in Rome toward the beginning of the last century, came with the Grenville Kane collection in 1946. The Scheide copy, richly hand-colored throughout, was inscribed in 1509 by Johannes Protzer (d. 1528), a scholar and bibliophile of Nördlingen, Germany. It emerged in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps in the 19th century and was acquired by John H. Scheide from A.S.W. Rosenbach in 1924.

Scheide 58.6

Although bibliographers sometimes discuss two 1482 Ulm ‘editions’ of this book, in fact there was only one edition, albeit one with many of its maps accompanied by textual descriptions that can appear in one of two or more alternate settings. For example, in the Princeton copy (below, left), the ninth map for Asia is accompanied by text that was composed into columns of 27 lines within a somewhat cramped square-shaped woodcut frame. By contrast, in the Scheide copy (below, right), the same page was composed more spaciously into 30 lines, fitting less tightly into a taller rectangular frame. To date, there has been no conclusive analysis of all the variant pages. Only a systematic comparison of multiple copies will provide a clearer understanding of the production of the 1482 Ulm Ptolemy.


What Could be Better?

Whereas traditional rare book librarianship tended to look upon the acquisition of ‘duplicates’ as undesirable or wasteful, given that precious funds could go toward adding texts that were not already represented in the collection, it is worth considering the special pedagogical and research value of comparing two copies from the same edition side by side. Experienced scholars as well as first-time students can appreciate that the two copies present distinct multiples of the original creation, each one preserving its own archeological record of survival and human intervention. Rubrication, illumination, binding, annotation, censorship, damage, repair, and other reflections of ownership and use offer fascinating traces of their disparate trajectories through history, revealing the many ways in which old books, as Milton observed, ‘are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them’.


Readers may be interested in the Morgan Library’s virtual tour by John McQuillen, “Why Three Gutenberg Bibles?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIteWBHSa00&fbclid=IwAR2615uiqBWL15HGX8kAnOykQfWUBshMmNUIv1CRI6fBlQ8IvZ6jzz-jbjk


1 Count Aleksei Golowkin (d. 1811) of Moscow, whose gilt coat of arms appears on the front cover of the red-dyed goatskin binding; Alexandre Vlassoff (d. 1825), Imperial chamberlain in Moscow; Prince Michael Galitzin / Golitsyn (1804–1860), also in Moscow, with whose family it remained into the 20th century.

2 Johann Gottfried Biedermann, Geschlechtsregister der Reichsfrey unmittelbaren Ritterschaft Landes zu Franken Löblichen Orts Baunach (Bayreuth: Dietzel, 1747), table 197.

3 Early owners included Paul Girardot de Préfond (during the 1760s) in Paris; Pietro Antonio Bolongaro Crevenna (1735–1792) in Amsterdam; Michael Wodhull (1740–1816) in London; and William Horatio Crawford (1815–1888) at Lakelands in Cork, Ireland. In 1897 it was offered by the Quaritch firm (Catalogue 166, no. 770).



East Meets West in an Early Seventeenth-Century Book from Oxford

Browsing in Princeton University Library’s rare books vault, I came across a copy of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in parallel Greek and Latin (Hanover: Wechel, 1610), bound in tooled calfskin at Oxford, which was inscribed on the rear end leaf by a 17th-century hand in dark black ink:

This incke came from Japan w[hi]ch is 17,000 myles from England.”

Evidently, a traveler to Japan brought a sample of sumi ink home to England, where someone tried it out on a blank leaf of the 1610 Oxford Aristotle. According to a helpful email from Ad Stijnman, noted researcher on historical inks, “the sumi ink will have been brought to England in the form of a stick, the way oriental writing ink is kept, likely not in a bottle European style, and only prepared shortly before writing.”

This strikes me as a potentially very early and interesting instance of contact with Japanese material culture in England, dating perhaps only a few years after the first English contact with Japan, established in 1610 by William Adams (who did not return to England), and the more diplomatically successful 1613 voyage by John Saris, who brought numerous Japanese objects back to England the following year. The alleged distance that the ink had traveled, 17,000 miles, may offer a clue as to which sea and/or land routes were taken.

Scholars with greater expertise in this area are invited to comment!

Two 16th-Century Cambridge Bindings by Garrett Godfrey


Virgil. Opera Vergiliana docte et familiariter exposita. Jodocus Badius, ed. Paris: François Regnault, 1515.

Junius Morgan Collection 2945.1515q

While reviewing Princeton University’s extensive collection of early editions of Virgil’s poetry, I noticed that the Paris edition of 1515, presented to Princeton by Junius S. Morgan toward the beginning of the last century, was preserved in a worn but handsome early 16th-century blind-tooled calfskin binding that was unmistakably English. Upon closer inspection, the letters “GG”, embossed repeatedly into the elaborate cover decoration, caused a flash of recognition: this is the monogram of Garrett Godfrey, a bookseller and binder active in Cambridge from 1502 until his death in 1539, now recognized as one of the most notable figures of the early modern English book trade. As Princeton did not otherwise own a binding by Godfrey, this was a significant discovery.

Like many of England’s binders of the period, Godfrey came from the Netherlands. According to Roger Ascham’s Toxophilus (1545), “Garret our bookebynder” recalled that when his famous countryman Erasmus of Rotterdam made several long visits to Cambridge (between August 1511 and January 1514), the great humanist scholar would ride his horse around the market hill as a respite from his studies before returning to his quarters. Many of Godfrey’s surviving bindings enclose works by Erasmus, and it has been suggested that Erasmus lived in the home of the bookbinder during his visits to Cambridge.

The fact that a 1515 Parisian edition of Virgil’s works had been imported to Cambridge is not surprising. Although Virgil’s poetry was studied, and enjoyed, throughout Europe, it was not until 1570 that England would print its own Latin edition of this Classic work. The present book, with extensive scholarly commentary and notes, was owned early on by an Englishman whose name is inscribed on the title page: “…Magistri Thome Lane quondam vicarii de Reydon et Southwold in Suff.” This individual seems to be Thomas Lane (d. 1541), vicar in Reydon and Southwold in Suffolk, about 75 miles east of Cambridge.

Godfrey’s binding of the 1515 Virgil also includes two pastedowns recycled from the vellum leaves of a discarded manuscript of Averroës (Ibn Rushd), In Aristotelis Metaphysicorum libros commentarii, Book 5, that apparently was produced in Cambridge in the 13th century (the initial E for “Ens” begins chapter 7; the P for “Potentia” begins chapter 10). A survey of other Godfrey bindings likely will reveal related fragments, likewise used as pastedowns.


Godfrey’s activities as a bookseller and binder in Cambridge are particularly well documented thanks to the chance survival of several leaves from his account books, which were found in one of his bookbindings now at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The surviving accounts, datable from 1527 to 1533, include lists of book titles, often with their prices, as well as the names of their buyers. These records refer to four copies of Virgil’s Opera bound for various patrons, but it seems impossible to match up such transactions with Princeton’s book.


[Johannes Justus Landsperger]. Candela Evangelica. [Cologne]: Eucharius Cervicornus, 1527.

[Bound with:] Johannes Fabri, Bishop of Vienna. Causse rationabiles. Cologne: Petrus Quentell, 1527.

Princeton University Library recently purchased two theological works printed in Cologne in 1527, recognizing that the items offered far more significance for the history of books than the bookseller had realized. The two octavos were bound together in what the dealer described online as a period blind-tooled calfskin binding. More precisely, it is a rare signed panel-stamped binding by Garrett Godfrey.

The calfskin binding is one of two dozen (or so) that survive with Godfrey’s panel stamp bearing his monogram, “GG.” These initials normally appear on the upper cover within a shield at the foot of a large Tudor rose surrounded by scrolls bearing the couplet “Hec rosa virtutis de celo missa sereno Eternu[m] florens regia sceptra feret.” On Princeton’s acquisition, the leather is worn and the shape of the shield is difficult to see. At either side of the rose are two angels in a field of flowers with the arms of St. George on the left and those of the City of London on the right.

 The panel stamp on the lower cover bears the royal arms of Henry VIII beneath a crown, all supported by two angels amid flowers. 

Godfrey’s accounts mention both of the titles contained in Princeton’s recently acquired volume. In fact, they appear in consecutive order in two distinct entries. Unfortunately, both entries are among those that do not supply the prices or the names of their buyers. The earlier entries read:

candela evangelica

1 cause febri 

The second entries, written amid several other bindings datable to 1527, read:

candela evangelica

1 cause fabri 

One of these pairs of books, or one just like it, bound together and sold by Godfrey, must be the pair now at Princeton University Library.

An inscription on the rear endleaf provides the identity of a 16th-century owner: “Iste liber pertinet [ad me] Edmundo Poulter.” Our earliest post-16th-century knowledge of the book is its appearance in the collection of the English bibliographer and bookbinding historian Edward Gordon Duff (1863–1924). It was sold in the auction of Duff’s books at Sotheby’s, London, 16 March 1925, Part I, lot 38, going to the book historian and bookseller E. P. (Ernst Philip) Goldschmidt (1887–1954) for £8 5s.* The book appeared again for sale in the catalogue of E. P. Goldschmidt & Co., Ltd., Early Printed Books: Medicine, Mathematics and Early Science, XVIth Century Books and Many Specimens of Early Bindings, Bibliography, Etc. (London, [1928]), no. 249. It came to light again and was auctioned as an anonymous property at Sotheby’s, Catalogue of Atlases, Maps, and Printed Books (London, 29 June 1981), lot 407. At some point thereafter, a change in ownership resulted in a loss of knowledge, and so the initials “G.G” tooled in gold lettering on its old cloth box (probably Duff’s) no longer held any discernible meaning. It was only when the book was offered online in 2019 that I recognized the binding as the work of Garrett Godfrey and snapped it up for Princeton.

* I thank Dr Arnold Hunt, Cambridge University, for contributing this information.



In the summer of 2019 Lara Katz, a high school junior at Pierrepont School (Westport, CT), volunteered for a one-month directed research project on medieval manuscript fragments found in bookbindings of Princeton University Library’s early printed books. Surveying dozens of fragments, Lara was able to identify numerous medieval Latin texts that were highly abbreviated and difficult to read. Among these were two recycled pastedowns in the octavo Garrett Godfrey binding (above), which preserve portions of Johannes Duns Scotus (ca. 1266–1308), Quaestiones super libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis, Book 5; a rubricated headline across each leaf, which reads “Metha[physi]ce V,” confirms Lara’s discovery.


We are delighted to note that Lara Katz has been accepted to Princeton University and will be attending as a member of the Class of 2024. Congratulations, Lara!

Who played Brutus?

Call no. 3925.35.13.1692

If you examine the close-up image of the seventeenth-century title page on the left, you will make out a few handwritten letters showing through from the other side of the paper. There they are, hiding between the printed lines of the title and subtitle. What do they say, or mean? I found these mystery marks while working in Princeton University Library’s Rare Books department, perusing a London 1691 printing of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

This book looks old, and it is: the old English type wobbles, jumping from large to smaller fonts; the tall letter s looks like f; and the paper is textured and mottled, shading toward brown. This is a far cry from how most of today’s readers encounter Shakespeare’s plays, in tidy modern publications, edited and re-edited by generations of scholars, and machine-printed on bright white paper. What do we really know about Shakespeare’s early legacy? How did people read and perform his work during the long period between his death in 1616, and the paperbacks with explanation and commentary we read in high school?

By far the most famous edition of Shakespeare is the First Folio of 1623, a mammoth undertaking that collected almost all of Shakespeare’s plays for the first time. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, however, different printers were hard at work producing editions of individual plays. These were relatively cheap quartos (a smaller format that was ideal for individual plays) that often got bound together with other plays and tracts. Today, relatively few copies of these early editions survive.

A recently launched project, the Shakespeare Census, aims to catalogue all existing copies of 17th-century editions of Shakespeare in libraries across the world. English professors Zachary Lesser (University of Pennsylvania) and Adam Hooks (University of Iowa) developed the project to collect valuable information about the early publication and reception of Shakespeare. If you search the Census, you’ll see that Princeton University Library has 35 copies of individual Shakespeare plays published between 1598 and 1700.

As it’s relatively rare to find significant marks made by early owners within these books, Gabriel Swift (Reference Librarian for Special Collections) and I were delighted when we noticed that the scribbles on the title page of Princeton’s 1691 Julius Caesar were actually inky show-through of four names written among the dramatis personae printed on its verso. Someone who saw the play had recorded the names of the actors playing various parts! We found a ‘Mr. Wilks’ and a ‘Mr. Booth’ — a jarringly familiar combination of names — but of course the murderer of Abraham Lincoln, a member of a lauded family of Shakespearean actors, was a much later figure (he appeared in Julius Caesar in 1864, but not in the role of Brutus).

With more research, we found a different production that included all four actors listed in Princeton’s Julius Caesar: Wilks, Booth, a Mr. Powell and a Mr. Mills. This occurred between 1708 and 1715 in Drury Lane, London (see C. B. Young, Introduction to The New Shakespeare Julius Caesar, Cambridge University Press, 1955, p. xxxvi-xxxvii). These names echoed through the 18th and 19th centuries. Shakespearean acting was a dynastic business, and actors with these names in multiple generations worked on both sides of the Atlantic. If you were a literate book-buying London theater-goer in 1710, you might have read an encouraging review and sought out these actors, or you might have been surprised by their performances and wanted to record the memory. You might have bought a copy of the play and annotated it.

Handwritten records like this one are one way that historians understand how people have enjoyed Shakespeare’s plays in different times and different places. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: If you go to a Broadway show and keep the ticket, or if you attend your daughter’s elementary school concert and underline her name on the program, you’re contributing to the historical record!

These are the kinds of discoveries we hope to make when we contribute to a research project like the Shakespeare Census, which aims to enrich our understanding of the literary past. The little detail of the actor identities, which we found three centuries later, helps us imagine the faces of the audience seeing Julius Caesar in 1710, gasping at the sudden flash of the knife, and hearing the now-familiar lines, perhaps for the first time.

Miranda Marraccini is a PhD candidate in Princeton University’s Department of English.

A Fifteenth-Century Rubricator’s Complaint

The 1483 Horace, with Donatus fragment visible.

In November 2017, Notabilia reported Princeton University Library’s acquisition of a copy of Horace, Opera (Venice: Johannes de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, et Socii, 17 May 1483), the original binding of which included two fragments of the Ars minor of Aelius Donatus, printed with the same typeface that had been used to print Gutenberg’s 42-Line Bible in Mainz, ca. 1455.


One intriguing aspect of the book that we were unable to explain was the rubricator’s cryptic inscription at the end of the Horace:

We contacted Dr. Falk Eisermann at the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke in Berlin, who consulted with Dr. Christoph Mackert at the University of Leipzig, who provided the answer. The rubricator complained, quite understandably, that he had completed his arduous work, encompassing hundreds of red and blue initials and thousands of paragraph marks and red capital highlights, with “DIGITIS FESSIS” — tired fingers.

Some of the rubricator’s handiwork.

Rare Book Working Group Examines “Her Book”

Portrait of Lady Caroline Lamb, in her Verses from Glenarvon (1819), painted by Eliza Jones. 2018-0034N

The “Rare Book Working Group” (RBWG) at Princeton University Library began its second year of programming by exploring the topic of “Her Book” on October 25, 2018. Eric White, Curator of Rare Books, and Gabriel Swift, Reference Librarian for Special Collections, brought out more than 50 books from the 17th and 18th centuries, each inscribed by an early female owner. The RBWG participants, which included graduate students, faculty, and library staff, discussed the value and implications of this provenance information as historical evidence, and recorded the data for entry into the library’s online catalog — which historically has overlooked much of this kind of evidence.

White and Swift introduced the “Her Book” workshop with examples of women’s early achievements in book production and collecting. These included a copy of De viris illustribus, printed in Florence in 1478 by the Dominican nuns at San Jacopo di Ripoli; book illustrations by Suor Isabella Picini, a prolific engraver at the Franciscan convent of Santa Croce in Venice at the beginning of the 18th century; an unsigned 17th-century English embroidered dos-a dos binding, very probably made by a woman; Lady Caroline Lamb’s presentation copy of her rare Verses from Glenarvon (1819), hand-embellished with her portrait by Eliza Jones (above); and the 1819 auction catalogue of the library of Anne-Thérèse-Philippine, Comtesse d’Yve (1738–1814) of Brussels, whose rich and diverse collection included a copy of the Gutenberg Bible in its original binding (now at Eton College).

New Testament and Psalms (1628). Embroidered dos-à-dos binding.          RHT 17th-35

Frances Wolfreston’s copy of Guillaume de Bartas, His Deuine Weekes & Workes (London, 1605). RHT 17th-223

For the longer “workshop” portion of the two-hour session, participants examined a selection of books from the Robert H. Taylor Collection, signed (and occasionally annotated) by the Englishwomen who owned them. These included six titles inscribed “Frances Wolfreston hor bouk [her book],” which Swift brought out in order to highlight the possibilities of reconstructing women’s libraries and reading habits; a scholarly project on this little-known 17th-century owner, led by Sarah Lindenbaum, who first located Princeton’s specimens, is already well under way. See: https://franceswolfrestonhorbouks.com/

The participants also examined Jane Franklin Mecom’s copy of her brother Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America (1769), featured in Jill Lepore’s exemplary study, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (2013).

Jane Austen’s copy of A Companion to the Altar (London, c. 1790). EX 5866.934

In addition to deciphering names (such as Jane Austen’s) written in books, the RBWG also explored larger patterns of book ownership and the scholarly value of mining a broad corpus of evidence. Faculty participant Seth Perry agreed that RBWG workshops offer an excellent opportunity to approach broader questions and find new avenues for research that arise from a rich but often hidden historical record.


Ownership inscriptions in the selected books include:

Jane Austen, April 24th 1794

Fanny Burney

Fanny Anne Burney, from her Grandfather

Anna Seward

[Lady] M[ary] Cowper

Mary Tolson her book [wife of the author, Rev. Frances Tolson]

(continued below)

Margaret Clarke her Book […] Elizabeth Harris

Anne Thomas 173[?] (trimmed; with printed bookplate: “Ann Thomas No. 104”)

Ann Savil Shepherd 1780

Rhoda Spaulding Gaffrey

Jane De L’Angle

Mrs. Mary[?] Leo Feild her Book 1720

Mrs. Audley given to William D[—?] 1833

Ann Goodkind her Book February 2[?]th 1761

Elizabeth Greyon given me by my Aunt Alice Abdy, November the 24 1682

To Mrs. Rose of Kilravock, with Mr. [Robert] Burns’s best compliments

Elizabeth Calldicot

Mary Portmant

Mrs. Eliza Symonds

Mary Luth[?] (trimmed)

Catherine Fleminge Book

Francis Glossop the gift of his Aunt Catherine Gibbs

Mary Ibborson

Elisabeth Dickenson […] Elisabeth Richardson […] Hannah Dickenson […] Mary

Abigail Burby given by Sir Tho Tyrell

Ann Piggot 1700

Euphime Proctor 1769 [gilt leather label]

For the complete RBWG worksheet, see: Her Book – Sheet1

Eric White and Gabriel Swift wish to thank student assistants Jessica Terekhov, Rosamond van Wingerden, and Conner Johnson for their help compiling and organizing the “Her Book” RBWG workshop.


Revolution-Era Textbook ~ A Time Capsule from Princeton’s Past

Homeri Ilias, v. 1 (London: Charles Rivington, 1768).

A recent gift to the Princeton University Library opens a time capsule from the university’s remote past. At the dawn of America’s Revolutionary War, when Princeton was still known as the College of New Jersey, at least four students signed their names to a copy of an assigned text. The book, volume 1 of Homer’s Iliad in Greek with parallel Latin text and notes, was printed in London in 1768, the same year that John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, became the university’s sixth president. Used heavily during the 1770s, the book offers today’s Princetonians a lesson in institutional history and a glimpse of the earliest actors involved.

Samuel Whitwell, Jr. was the first of the students to have used the 1768 Iliad. His signature appears on the book’s flyleaf and title page. His father’s name appears in the printed bookplate, pasted inside the front cover, which also bears an inscription by Isaac Tichenor, who presumably inherited the book from his upperclassman. The names of Robert Wharry and William Ross, non-graduate members of the class of 1778, are written on the flyleaf.

The younger Samuel Whitwell, of Boston, was among the students who met John Adams during the latter’s visit to Princeton in August 1774. He completed his degree that year, studied medicine after graduation, and served as surgeon to the 3rd Massachusetts Regiment from 1777 to 1783. Wharry (also Wherry) followed in his footsteps as a surgeon’s mate in a Pennsylvania regiment from 1778 until the end of the war. Little is known of Wharry’s classmate, William Ross.

Isaac Tichenor was perhaps the most active reader and ultimately the most prominent member of the group. The next page of the book, actually a fold-out map of ancient Greece that faces the title page, also bears Tichenor’s signature. His interlinear glosses (his signature appears among the annotations on p. 10), demonstrate his attempts to parse the classical text and render words and phrases into English. Upon graduating in 1775 after two years at Princeton, the Newark native studied law in New York and assisted the Continental Army at the Battle of Bennington in Vermont. The end of the Revolutionary War saw him settled in Vermont, where he pursued a long career in legislature as a state assemblyman, councilor, supreme court justice, and governor, and as a Federalist senator in Congress from 1796 to 1797 and 1815 to 1821.

In politics, Tichenor was (respectfully) nicknamed “Jersey Slick” for his polished appearance and manners, but he and his fellow Princetonians assumed other pseudonyms as members of the Cliosophic Society on campus.[i] “Handel” may have referred to Tichenor’s affinity for music, while Samuel Whitwell borrowed his alias, “Dickinson,” from the first university president.[ii] Robert Wharry was known as “Warren” after the physician, Joseph Warren, a hero of Bunker Hill.[iii]

Tichenor would likely have heard John Witherspoon’s “Address to the Students of the Senior Class,” delivered “on the Lord’s Day preceding Commencement, September 23, 1775.” The president divided his remarks into three branches: “your duty to God, and the interest of your souls”; “the prosecution of your studies, or the improvement of your talents, as members of society”; and “prudence in your commerce with the world in general, your outward provision, and other circumstances in life.”[iv] If his speech differs in tenor – and certainly in length – from a contemporary commencement address, his enforced curriculum at Princeton has little in common – except perhaps rigor – with an average course of study today. A speech Witherspoon delivered in 1772 outlines four years of instruction:

In the first year, [students] read Latin and Greek, with the Roman and Grecian antiquities, and rhetoric. In the second, continuing the study of the languages, they learn a complete system of geography, with the use of the globes, the first principles of philosophy, and the elements of mathematical knowledge. The third, though the languages are not wholly omitted, is chiefly employed in mathematics and natural Philosophy. And the senior year is employed in reading the higher classics, proceeding in the mathematics and natural philosophy, and going through a course of moral philosophy.[v] 

Witherspoon added to this the four lectures he delivered annually to juniors and seniors on chronology, history, composition, and criticism and indicated that he would continue to teach French to interested students. Tichenor, then, would have been early in his Princeton career during his lucubrations (imaginably) over Homer.

That the president’s account was unembellished is supported by a letter from an undergraduate to a prospective student during Tichenor’s term at the College. Edward Crawford wrote to his brother, James, who hoped to enter the junior class:

‘The studies you will be examined on…are Virgil, Horace, Cicero’s Orations, Lucian, Xenophon, Homer, geography, and logic. Four books of Virgil’s Aeneid together with the Bucolics and Georgics and four books of Xenophon are only looked for; but I would advise you if you come to college to study the whole of Xenophon…Try to accustom yourself to read Greek and Latin well as it is much looked to here and be accurate in geography; study if you can the five common rules of arithmetic, interest, rebate, equation of payments, barter, loss and gain, fellowship, compound-fellowship, the double rule of three, comparative arithmetic, geometrical progression, vulgar and decimal fractions and the square root.’[vi] 

An A.B. candidate at Princeton today, as every undergraduate knows, must fulfill a writing and a foreign language requirement in addition to distribution requirements in seven fields. Homer is no longer mandatory reading, but Isaac Tichenor’s 1768 Iliad survives as a memorable precursor to a standard issue from the Loeb Classical Library.

[Homer. Iliad]. Homeri Ilias graece et latine, annotationes in usum serenissimi principis Gulielmi Augusti, ducis de Cumberland, &c. Regio jussu scripsit atque edidit Samuel Clarke, S.T.P., vol. 1 (London: Excudit Car. Rivington, Impensis J. Pote, [etc.], 1768), 7th edition. This item from the library of Rev. Alfred L. Baury (1794-1865), Episcopal Minister in Newton, MA, was thoughtfully donated by Caroline Knox of Waltham, MA, with assistance from Nell K. Carlson, Curator of Historical Collections, Andover-Harvard Theological Library, of the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. It is an outstanding addition to Princeton’s early bibliographical heritage.

[i] Tichenor, Isaac; 1775; Undergraduate Alumni Records, 18th Century, Box 32; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[ii] Whitwell, Samuel; 1774; Undergraduate Alumni Records, 18th Century, Box 29; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[iii] Wharry (Wherry), Robert; 1778; Undergraduate Alumni Records, 18th Century, Box 38; Princeton University Archives, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

[iv] The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon… Vol. 3. Philadelphia: William W. Woodward, 1802. p. 101.

[v] Witherspoon, John. “Address to the Inhabitants of Jamaica, and other West-India Islands, in behalf of the College of New Jersey.” The Miscellaneous Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon. Philadelphia: William W. Woodward, 1803. p. 349.

[vi] Edward Crawley to James Crawford, Aug. 29, 1774, Presbyterian Historical Society. Quoted in: Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Princeton, 1746-1896. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946. pp. 93-94.

~ Jessica Terekhov, PhD candidate in English, is the graduate assistant to the Curator of Rare Books, Princeton University Library


Vestiges of a Lost Carolingian Bible Discovered at Princeton

Ink offset on the upper board of EXI Oversize 5707.674q

The fifteenth-century binding of Princeton University Library’s copy of Nicolaus de Ausmo, Supplementum Summae Pisanellae et Canones poenitentiales (Venice: Franciscus Renner, de Heilbronn and Nicolaus de Frankfordia, 1474), preserves the ghostly remains of one of the greatest of all lost books: the ninth-century “Tours Bible” of Trier, a large-format manuscript written at Tours ca. 835 as part of the religious reforms initiated by Charlemagne (742–814), later deposited at the Imperial Benedictine Abbey of St Maximin in Trier, only to be discarded for use as binding waste in Trier during the fifteenth century.

Since the closure of St Maximin in Trier in 1802, approximately 85 fragments from this lost Carolingian Bible have come to light, all within fifteenth-century book bindings from this monastery’s library. Many are preserved in Trier’s Stadtbibliothek, while others are in Vienna, London, Berlin, Bonn, Koblenz, Walberberg, and three institutions in the United States: Indiana University’s Lilly Library, Cornell University’s Olin Library, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Carolingian ink offset on the lower board, reversed and enhanced image.

Princeton’s vestiges of this lost Carolingian Bible are neither a full vellum leaf nor a small fragment, but rather the reversed offset of ninth-century minuscule script, written in red and black ink, which has adhered to the Trier binding’s bare wooden boards, formerly covered by two vellum fragments from the discarded Tours Bible, which were removed at an unknown date. Decipherable with the aid of enhanced digital images shown in reverse, the preserved text consists of the Latin chapter summaries for 4 Kings (IV Regum), which would have preceded the beginning of that biblical book. The vellum leaf that bore this offset text, which was cut into two pieces and pasted down horizontally across the interior surfaces of the upper and lower boards, appears not to have survived. Thus, the offset in the Princeton binding is the only witness to its existence and the only record of its contents.

Detail of the Moutier-Grandval Bible. London, The British Library © British Library Board.

Some idea of the lost Tours Bible from Trier may be obtained by comparing the offset discovered at Princeton to the same biblical text in the ninth-century “Moutier-Grandval Bible” at the British Library, one of the greatest of all surviving Carolingian manuscripts. In both bibles, a red-ink rubric reads “Incipit capitulatio de Libro regum quarto,” while a series of Roman chapter numerals and initial Ds written in red ink descends the left side of the column. The script and spacing exhibited in each of the bibles is closely comparable, suggesting that they were produced within the same scriptorium.

Comparison of the Princeton offset (top) and Moutier-Grandval Bible in London (bottom).

Inscription on f. 1r

The Princeton copy of Nicolaus de Ausmo, printed in Venice in 1474, reached St Maximin in Trier soon after its publication. There, presumably during the later 1470s, it was inscribed “Ex libris Imperialis Monasterij S. Maximinj” and was bound (with the Carolingian Bible fragments) in wooden boards covered with blind-tooled calfskin; one of the tools impressed into the leather verifies its early provenance, bearing the words “Codex sancti Maximini.”

Detail of binding: “Codex sancti Maximini” stamp



When St Maximin in Trier was dissolved in 1802, many of its library’s books went to the local Stadtbibliothek, but many others were scattered to the four winds. The Nicolaus de Ausmo of 1474, along with several other books from St Maximin, became part of the collection of Joseph von Görres (1776–1848), a German writer and historian in Koblenz. His collection of printed books was sold by Süddeutsches Antiquariat in Munich (Katalog 32, dated 1903 [i.e. 1902]), no. 2. The catalogue entry mentioned the book’s provenance from St Maximin in Trier, but not the Carolingian binding waste or its offset. The book was owned next by Edward Duff Balken (1874–1960), Princeton Class of 1897, who presented it to Princeton University Library in 1940. The Carolingian offset was discovered and identified by Eric White on March 29, 2018, during preparations for a meeting of RBSC’s Rare Books Working Group, an informal book history workshop for interested Princeton University graduate students.

For further reading:

Die Touronische Bibel der Abtei St. Maximin vor Trier: Faksimile der erhaltenen Blätter… Ed. Reiner Nolden (Trier, 2002).

Florentine Mütherich, “Die Touronische Bibel von St. Maximin in Trier,” in: Studies in Carolingian Manuscript Illumination (London, 2004), 341-60.

Princeton Acquires a Vellum Fragment of the Gutenberg Bible Preserved as a Book Cover

Biblia Latina (The 42-Line Bible). [Mainz: Johannes Gutenberg, c. 1455].

Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the most significant specimen of the ‘Gutenberg Bible’ discovered during this century. This single leaf printed on vellum (calfskin) is a remarkable survival from what is widely considered the first book printed in Europe: the large folio Latin Bible that demonstrated the immense potential of the typographic method that Johannes Gutenberg, with financial backing from Johann Fust, developed in Mainz during the early 1450s. Given that Princeton University has been a leading center for Gutenberg-related studies ever since 1958, when the Scheide Library and its beautifully preserved two-volume paper copy of this Bible were deposited in Firestone Library (the collection was bequeathed to Princeton by William H. Scheide in 2014), the new vellum fragment provides welcome additional avenues for research into the early history of printing in the West.1

The fragment owes its survival to the fact that – more than two centuries after the Bible was printed, and long after its historical significance had been forgotten – its vellum was considered useful as recycled waste from which to make book covers. Although this grim fate once was common among obsolete books of all descriptions, this is in fact the only specimen of the Gutenberg Bible still preserved as a book binding ever to appear on the rare book market. Clearly, a discarded copy of the Gutenberg Bible was cut into hundreds of pieces for this purpose – but where, and when? The Princeton fragment itself provides evidence of unusual specificity, as it still encloses a copy of the Erneuerte und verbesserte Landes- und Procesz-Ordnung, an ordinance of litigation within the Electorate of Saxony, printed at Cöthen, Germany, in 1666. Moreover, a contemporary inscription indicates that the slender quarto volume was owned by the noted jurist Adam Cortrejus (1637–1706), who earned his doctorate at Jena in 1666, long served as Syndic in Halle, and died in Magdeburg. This owner’s limited itinerary and the strictly local interest of the Cöthen law book both suggest that the bindery of this book – and likewise the lost Gutenberg Bible – should be localized to Saxony-Anhalt, northwest of Leipzig, during the last decades of seventeenth century.

This localization is especially interesting in light of Eric White’s previous research, published in 2010, concerning several dozen other vellum fragments of the Gutenberg Bible that survive as binding waste.2 Categorized by their distinct styles of rubrication (headlines, initials, and chapter numerals added by hand), these fall into eleven groups, each localized to the region in which they first were discovered, or were used as binding waste. One such group, consisting of six identically rubricated leaves, includes three leaves found in 1819 on two different bindings at the Landes- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden, two leaves at the Grolier Club in New York City owned by Friedrich Barnheim at Insterburg in 1867, another leaf sold by the Leipzig antiquarian Theodor Oswald Weigel by 1865 (now at the Museo Correr in Venice), as well as a leaf from Apocalypse formerly at the Universitätsbibliothek in Breslau, now lost. Dr. White localized this otherwise lost Gutenberg Bible to the vicinity of Dresden and predicted that any yet-to-be-discovered fragments exhibiting the same rubrication style very likely would hail from that same region. The fact that the rubrication exhibited by the Princeton fragment closely matches that of the Dresden group indicates that all seven fragments derive from the same lost Bible. Moreover, the three German towns associated with Princeton’s binding – Cöthen, Halle, and Magdeburg – are just to the northwest of Dresden and Leipzig.

Front cover, turned sideways, showing the rubricated initial and the chapter numeral v.

Initial F on the Princeton binding.                            Initial F on a fragment found in Dresden.

Detail of front cover, showing rubricated headline PA RA [-lipomenon], i.e., I Chronicles.

Detail of headline P found in Dresden.                          Detail of headline A found in Leipzig.

The Princeton binding was discovered by Stefan Krüger, a bookseller in Cologne, within an unexamined mixed lot of mainly 19th-century law books auctioned in Bonn c. 2006. Krüger made no announcement of his discovery until November 2016, when he advertised online that the binding would be sold on January 26, 2017, at the 31st annual Ludwigsburg Antiquaria, held near Stuttgart. In accordance with the traditions of that fair, the item would be available at a substantial (but by no means inflated) fixed price to the first applicant, or, in the event of a broader interest, to the winner of a lottery among those in attendance.

Chaos ensued on the first day of the Ludwigsburg fair, where at least 76 bidders (including Princeton’s Curator of Rare Books) drew lots for the item. The winning number belonged to a member of a consortium of German dealers headed by the independent bookseller Detlev Auvermann, an emigré to London who formerly had worked for Quaritch, Ltd. He agreed to Princeton’s immediate request for ‘first refusal’ upon determination of his sale price. While Princeton University Library administrators contemplated this major purchase, Auvermann expressed his intention to offer the item at the annual New York Book Antiquarian Book Fair beginning on March 9, 2017. The negotiations formalizing Princeton’s acquisition were completed at the end of February, and Auvermann was able to display the binding at the New York fair, marked ‘sold.’ Princeton took possession of the item on March 12.

Although the surface of the Bible fragment is somewhat abraded and stained, as is usual for vellum leaves used as book coverings, the condition of the binding is excellent; the structure is intact, and the connections between the spine and the covers are strong. Internally, the 1666 Cöthen law book is in very good original condition. A new clam-shell box covered in navy blue Asahi backcloth was created by Princeton’s Collections Conservator, Lindsey Hobbs.

Today, 36 paper copies and 12 vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive reasonably intact, either as complete Bibles or as incomplete bound volumes. Added to these are an incomplete paper copy dismantled in 1920 for sale as individual books or single leaves, and three copies on paper and eleven copies on vellum known only from binding waste. The study of the impact of early printing in Europe is well served by giving closer scholarly attention to the fourteen copies, including the one represented by Princeton’s fragment, that may not survive in the form of books, but which do survive, nevertheless.


Like William Scheide himself, Princeton’s librarians, particularly the successive Scheide Librarians, have researched and published on many aspects of Gutenberg’s invention and the earliest printed books. Moreover, Princeton’s faculty have embedded book history into the university’s curriculum and are training their undergraduate and graduate students to approach the discipline with open-minded curiosity and direct experience of the original artifacts. This major acquisition is intended to continue and enrich that tradition:

  • Princeton’s acquisition of the Gutenberg fragment brings a historically unique and physically ‘at risk’ survival from the first European printing enterprise into permanent institutional protection.
  • Whereas all other Gutenberg Bible leaves discovered since 1900 have been removed from their host bindings, destroying historical evidence, Princeton’s purchase of this specimen establishes forever the premium value of leaving early binding waste intact.
  • Contributing to an emerging field of book history research – the loss of books – this ‘miraculous’ fragmentary survival effectively encapsulates the extreme fluctuations in the Gutenberg Bible’s historical fortune over five centuries.
  • To a degree unsurpassed by any similar specimen, this fragment and its host volume document the time and place at which an otherwise lost copy of the Gutenberg Bible was discarded for use as waste material for book bindings.
  • The physical states of the Gutenberg Bible in Princeton’s Scheide Library and this the fragment perfectly complement each other: two paper volumes in their original binding preserved in benign neglect in Erfurt until 1840 vs. a vellum fragment from a copy cut apart by a binder c. 1666. No American library holds a similar pairing.
  • Prior to this acquisition, Princeton owned the Scheide copy of the Gutenberg Bible and 19 paper leaves from 3 others (worldwide, only the Morgan Library represents as many copies). The addition of this fragment introduces a specimen printed on vellum and provides the unique opportunity to analyze the varied rubrication and provenance evidence of five copies of the Gutenberg Bible in one library.

Call #: (ExI) 2017-0006N



Eric White, PhD
Curator of Rare Books
Princeton University Library


              1 Paul Needham, The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library, 2007).

              2 Eric Marshall White, ‘The Gutenberg Bibles that Survive as Binder’s Waste’, in Early Printed Books as Material Objects. Proceedings of the Conference Organized by the IFLA Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Munich, 19-21 August 2009. Bettina Wagner and Marcia Reed, eds. (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2010), 21-35.


THREE DISCOVERIES IN ONE: New Evidence for a Book Bound and Owned in Ulm, ca. 1500-1531

ottoThree discoveries by three different researchers have cast new light on a remarkable 500-year-old book that has been at Princeton University since 1873: Otto von Passau’s Die vierundzwanzig Alten, oder Der goldne Thron, completed by the Strasbourg printer Johann Schott on 28 March 1500. In this work, illustrated with 25 woodcuts, the Twenty-Four Elders of Revelation 4:4 expound upon passages of scriptural wisdom so as to guide the reader to the “golden throne” of eternal salvation.

The first discovery was made in 2007 by Scott Husby, Princeton’s conservator for Rare Books and Special Collections (since retired), who identified the folio’s original (ca. 1500) blind-tooled pigskin-covered binding as the work of bookbinders at Ulm in southern Germany. ulm-o-123The tooled emblems found on the binding, including a distinctive Lamb of God, Winged Lion of St. Mark, and Pierced Heart, are associated both with the bindery of the Augustinian canons of the “Wengenkloster “ of St. Michael in Ulm, and with Konrad Dinckmut, a printer active in Ulm from 1476 and recorded as a bookbinder in that city from 1481; Dinckmut’s sons Hans and Michael appear to have continued binding books with his tools into the sixteenth century.

A Reformation-era inscription within the book supports this localization, as it records that the volume was the property of the Franciscan fathers of Ulm until the eve of the feast of St. Francis (4 October) 1531, when the city’s adoption of Protestantism led to their expulsion (“Gehort den vatter[n] zu Ulm als sy uszogen seind umb Francisci im xxxi jor”):


The second discovery was made by John Lancaster, Curator of Special Collections, Emeritus, Amherst College Library, in October 2016. He identified the mysterious printed paper sheet that had served the bookbinder as a pastedown inside the folio’s front cover. Noting that it came from a Latin grammatical work printed idsc_0007n quarto format, he quickly determined that “the text is Alexander de Villa Dei, Doctrinale – of which there are hundreds of editions. But the lack of commentary rules out many editions, so a quick look for editions without commentary, preferably quite late (since the Otto von Passau was printed in 1500), led to success! [Ulm: Johann Schäffler], 15 Feb. 1500.”

This Ulm edition of the Doctrinale is truly rare: it exists only in a single incomplete copy at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, and – as we now know – the single sheet of binding waste discovered at Princeton. As the sheet appears to have been printed on one side only and was never cut into individual leaves, it would have been discarded by Schäffler’s printing shop in Ulm ca. 1500 and handed over as waste material for use by the Ulm binder of Princeton’s Otto von Passau, a book that likewise was printed in 1500 and imported to Ulm soon thereafter.

The third discovery came in November 2016, when Eric White, Princeton’s Acting Curator of Rare Books, tackled the nagging problem of the handsome coat-of-arms painted inside the book’s back cover, beneath the initials P and R and the date 1505. A longer-than-desired period of fruitless searching ultimately was rewarded when a match was found in a sixtdsc_0008eenth-century compendium of German armorials: the quarters on the right, divided per fess into black over white, refer to the civic arms of Ulm, while on the left the white unicorn on a black field identifies the crest as that of the family Roth von Schreckenstein, prominent patricians of Ulm.

The initials PR are believed to belong to Paulus Roth von Schreckenstein (b. 1435), the Bürgermeister of Ulm during the 1470s. Although his date of death is not known, he may well have left the book to the Franciscans of Ulm soon after 1505. Another Ulm binding with a nearly identical painted coat of arms and the initials PR is at the University of Gießen; it encloses Dinckmut’s rare Ulm edition of Der neuen Liebe Buch (not before 1486) and three Strasbourg editions from 1507 to 1509.

These discoveries increase the scholarly value of Princeton’s copy of Otto von Passau by bringing unusually rich context to the relationships between printers, bookbinders, and both mendicant and secular book owners in Germany five centuries ago; they may also shed particularly interesting light on the broader but heretofore forgotten book collecting activities of a prominent member of Ulm’s patriciate, Paulus Roth von Schreckenstein.


Princeton University Library Rare Books and Special Collections. Call no. ExI 5959.692. Purchased by the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1873 along with an important collection of Reformation pamphlets owned by Dr. Adolf Trendelenburg of Berlin.

Acquisitions at the Pirie Sale


Stephen Ferguson
Associate University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections

“I’d never intended to practice law,” said Robert S. Pirie (1934–2015), a prominent New York lawyer and investment banker. “I wanted to become the rare book curator.” Pirie was the youngest in a cohort of twentieth-century American collectors of early English literature, among whom Robert H. Taylor (1909–1985) was the oldest. Long-time Princeton resident and major antiquarian bookseller John Brett-Smith (1917–2003), although British-born, was also a member of this cohort. There were many commonalities among the three. All had a bond and loyalty to the legendary New York antiquarian bookshop Seven Gables, which supplied each of them with tasteful, distinguished, and provenance-rich copies of major and minor monuments of England’s literary greats. (For more on the Seven Gables cohort, see Nicolas Barker, “Robert S. Pirie, 1934–2015,” The Book Collector 64.2 [Summer 2015]: 202–10.) Furthermore, their collective imagination and achievement projected their reputations beyond the Northeast and clear across to Britain. In some respects, the attainments of two members of this group are preserved in the Princeton University Library. Robert Taylor’s bequest is well known. Perhaps less well known is the work of John Brett-Smith, who, as bookseller and sometimes donor, augmented, supplied, and extended our collections of English literature. Therefore, when the Pirie collection came to auction in December 2015, we had another—and perhaps the last—opportunity to capture some of the glory of this remarkable group of twentieth-century collectors. Guiding our bidding decisions were themes already strong in the Taylor collection: annotated books, books of notable provenance, and extraordinary books signaling the literary taste of early modern England. The fifteen books purchased at the Pirie sale are listed below.



Thomas Tusser, Five Hundred Points of Husbandry (London, 1580); annotated by Gabriel Harvey (1552/3–1631).

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War [in Greek] (Venice: Aldus, 1502), bound with Pausanias, Works (Venice: Aldus, 1516); annotated by Roger Ascham (1515–1568) and Richard Morison (c. 1514–1556) (pictured above).

Ben Jonson, Works (London, 1692), and John Suckling, Fragmenta Aurea (London, 1646); both annotated by Charles Lamb (1775–1834).

Pliny, Epistolae (Venice: Aldus, 1508); annotated by Nicholas Udall (1505–1556).

Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, 4th ed. (London, 1658); annotated by Browne (1605–1682).

Matthias Eberhart, Scholastica (Wittenberg, 1572); annotated by Robert Burton (1577–1640).

Erycius Puteanus, Comus (Oxford, 1634); annotated by Leigh Hunt (1784–1859).


Arthur Duck, Vita Henrici Chichele (Oxford, 1617); with the initials of Isaak Walton (1593–1683).

Michel Montaigne, Les Essais (Paris, 1625); with a note in the hand of Abraham Cowley (1618–1687) and bookplates of later notable owners.

Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum (London, 1626); with supralibros of H[enry] G[oodere] and labels of other owners.

Elkanah Settle, Thalia Triumphans (London, 1717); binding with the arms of Henry Fiennes Clinton, 7th Earl of Lincoln (1684–1728).

Abbe d’Aubignac, Pratique du théâtre (Paris, 1657); with the signature of William Congreve (1670–1729) on the title page.

William Burton, Description of Leicester Shire (London, 1622); binding with the crest of Robert Glascock.


A Sammelband, in a contemporary binding, of eight English translations from Ovid, by George Chapman (1559?–1634), Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593), Thomas Heywood (c. 1574–1641), and others, all published between c. 1625 and 1640.



Don C. Skemer
Curator of Manuscripts

Pirie3The Manuscripts Division acquired three works at the Pirie auction: an Elizabethan prayer book c. 1580; a 1666 scribal copy of “The Second and Third Advice to a Painter,” a text that Professor of English Nigel Smith attributes to Andrew Marvell (1621–1678); and the 1660s memoir of an English woman named Mary Whitelocke. The daughter of London merchant Bigley Carleton, Whitelocke penned a fascinating 175-page memoir of her life and intimate thoughts for her eldest son. She traces her life from the time of her first marriage at the age of sixteen to Rowland Wilson (d. 1650), Member of Parliament, also from a London mercantile family. Whitelocke’s second marriage in 1650 was to the prominent Puritan lawyer, politician, and diplomat Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605–1675), a Member of Parliament and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, with whom Mary had seven children. Much of the memoir relates to Mary’s family, home, and religious beliefs. Particularly interesting is Whitelocke’s poignant account of a miscarriage that occurred during her first marriage. There is some discussion of public affairs and events, particularly in her defense of Bulstrode Whitelocke’s public life. The manuscript has been in private collections since 1860, when it was cited and quoted in a biography of Bulstrode Whitelocke. All three manuscripts have been added to the Robert H. Taylor Collection of English and American Literature (RTC 01).

Princeton’s Greek Bible of 1545, annotated by Martin Chemnitz

 Chemnitz.tp.1000             Chemnitz.Adam.1000

On December 8, 2015, it was discovered that Princeton University Library’s “copy 2” of the Greek Bible, Tēs Theias graphēs : Palaias Dēladē kai Neas Diathēkēs hapanta (Basel: Johannes Hervagius, 1545), with a Latin preface by the Lutheran reformer Philipp Melanchthon, has an important but long forgotten provenance. The title page bears a mid-sixteenth-century inscription written by Johannes Willibrochius (d. 1606) of Danzig that records his presentation of the Greek  Bible to his friend “M. Martino Kemnitz,” i.e., Martin Chemnitz (1522–1586). Chemnitz.inscription.1000
Both of these men were pupils of Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg in the early 1550s, and Chemnitz went on to became the most important Lutheran scholar of his generation. He came to be known as “Alter Martinus” (the Second Martin), as his theological writings were essential for the sustained success of Lutheranism after the death of its founder and namesake in 1546.

Early biographies of Chemnitz mention his careful study of the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek during the early 1550s, and indeed the Old Testament of Princeton’s Greek Bible bears thousands of marginal annotations in Greek and occasionally in Latin, written in a neat script that matches that of Chemnitz’s autograph letters. The annotations are mainly content notes, with some brief definitions and comments, but not many extended thoughts.

Johannes Willebrochius, who gave the Bible to Chemnitz, was an important figure in his own right. After his graduation from Wittenberg in 1552 he became a leading physician in Danzig. Later, he served as court physician to Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria at Prague and Innsbruck. Like Chemnitz, Willebrochius wrote theological works that ended up on the Tridentine Index of Prohibited Books. The few notes within Princeton’s Greek Bible of 1545 that were not written by Chemnitz clearly match the handwriting found in the letters of Willebrochius.

Front cover (tooling enhanced for legibility)

Chemnitz.rollDated 1550, the folio Bible’s pigskin binding bears the stamped initials “JW.” These initials clearly were added for Johannes Willebrochius before he gave the book to Chemnitz. Other stamps and rolls used to decorate the covers, including a rolled frieze (at right) with roundel portrait busts of Duke Friedrich of Saxony, Hercules, Antoninus, and Septimius Severus, dated 1524 on the surface of the tool itself, indicate that the binding was produced in Wittemberg by the noted master binder Nikolaus Müller.

The Greek Bible was donated to Princeton University Library on December 8, 1965, by Dr. Margaret Irving Handy (1889-1977), pioneering pediatrician of Delaware. It bears the signature of her grandfather, Rev. William Collins Handy (1835-1909), Princeton Class of 1855 (Divinity), later a prominent Presbyterian of New Scotland, New York, who seems to have purchased the old Bible for $1.83 in 1862. His brief autobiography of 1895, reprinted in the Princeton University Library Chronicle 30/3 (Spring, 1969), 200-203, unfortunately makes no mention of his Bible. Interestingly, the rediscovery of the Chemnitz provenance occurred exactly 50 years (to the day) after the granddaughter’s gift to Princeton.

Chemnitz.EvaThe “Chemnitz Bible,” heretofore unrecognized, is rich in research potential: for example, Princeton’s Prof. Anthony Grafton noticed that one of Chemnitz’s Latin marginalia, concerning the Vulgate version’s corruption of Genesis 3:15, cites “Philip” and quotes Melanchthon’s letter of January 1, 1539, addressed to “studiosis adolescentibus” (see Melanchthoniana paedogogica, ed. Karl Hartfelder (Leipzig: Teubner, 1892), 55). The Bible may be consulted in the Rare Books Reading Room; its call number is EX Oversize 5156.1545aq.


Hercules and the Nemean Lion • Lyons, 1490


Woodcut on leaf A1 of Raoul Lefèvre Le Recueil des histoires de Troyes (Lyons: Michel Topié and Jacques Heremberck, 10 Oct. 1490). Goff L-114. [Call number (ExI) Item 6921096]. One of nearly 100 woodcuts, some full page in size, many half page. This new acquisition has several 16th / 17th signatures passim, all of the surname ‘de Saumery.’
❧ Killing the Nemean lion was the first labor of Hercules. He holds the lion’s skin which was said to be impervious to weapons. Looking on are his host, the shepherd Molorcus who lived near Cleonae as well as the companion of Hercules, Philotes. Lefevre’s Hercules is a “a medieval knight through and through” (The Classical Tradition [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010], p. 426.) William Caxton’s first major publication was his translation into English of Lefèvre’s Recueil.

Readers respond to a war of 18th century editions: the case of Anti-Machiavel

 Call number: (Ex) 7510.606.36.12

Frederick II, King of Prussia, 1712-1786. Essai de critique sur le prince de Machiavel. A Londres, 1751. French translation of Machiavelli’s Il principe by Amelot de La Houssaye and Essai in parallel columns together with ms. annotations in ink headed ‘Différences entre cette édition a cette faite chez a Van Duren que l’on tient être l’originale.’ Call number: (Ex) 7510.606.36.12

The publishing history of Anti-Machiavel is admirably told by Kees van Strien in his Voltaire in Holland 1736-1745 (Louvain: Editions Peters, 2011) p. 103-134, 391-440. Attributed to Frederick II (1712-1786), this refutation of Machiavelli’s The Prince was praised by the enlightened and disparaged by Roman Catholics, strict monarchists, and other conservatives. The Dutch publisher Jean van Duten (1687-1757) published the text in full on October 4, 1740 to the dismay of Voltaire, who had delivered the manuscript to him. Evidently, Voltaire thought some passages should be softened so as not to offend powerful individuals not in sympathy with Frederick’s tenets on government and religion. Voltaire immediately countered with a revised edition. Partnering with the publisher Pierre Paupie, he issued it about 15-17 October, 1740 with the imprint “A la Haye, aux depens de l’Editeur. M. DCC. XL.’ It claimed to correct the errors of the earlier edition.

In this competition of editions, readers wanted both texts together in one book such as this exemplar combining print and manuscript in hybrid (van Strien, p. 127.) In the exemplar illustrated above, the printed text consists of the sheets of the ‘l’Editeur’ [Voltaire] / Paupie edition (1740). Added in manuscript are the bits of original text expunged or otherwise modified. (Who made these transcriptions in ink is not known.) Also preceding the text is a printed title page with imprint ‘Londres. 1751.’ (No such edition appears in ESTC.) In these edition wars, ‘Londres’ was a code for the original unaltered text because one of the opening salvos was Van Duten’s production of the full original text with the imprint of London publisher William Mayer / Meyer (ESTC T191141 and T91110.) (As to ‘1751’, it’s difficult to answer why this year appears, rather than an earlier year during the 1740s when the edition war was active.)

Hybrid copies such as the Princeton exemplar were edged from the market by the publication in 1741 of editions replicating the manuscript annotations of a hybrid in the printed text. Voltaire was the force behind these editions, which appeared under the false imprints of ‘les Frères Columb’ (Marseille) and ‘Jaques La Caze’ (Amsterdam).

Abraham Ortelius presents a book


Inscribed at foot of titlepage: Pietate & humanitate venerabli D[omi]no, D[omino] Francisco Superantio Abraham Ortelius dono mittebat. [Abraham Ortelius has sent forth this gift to Lord Francesco Soranzo, venerable master in devotion and in cultured learning.]

❧ Francesco Soranzo (1557-1607) was a Venetian noble who served as ambassador to Spain from 1598 to 1600. • In 1597 in a letter to his nephew, Ortelius described his friend Soranzo: “At Venice, I doubt if I have, among the many friends there, any greater than Francisus Superantius (his venancular name is ‘de la Soranzo’), for I have felt myself to have had his benefits very often.” [Hessels, Epistulae Ortelianae (1887), 303: Venetiis magnum inter ceteros amicum Franciscum Superantium (vulgo de la Soranzo) habeam subdubito, at habuisse me saepius sensi suis beneficiis.] • Not only had Soranzo provided hospitality in Venice to Ortelius, he more notably provided him with books coming from the Venetian publishers. [See Hessels, Epistulae Ortelianae (1887), 85 and 141]. In return Ortelius sent him books. Books marked their friendship and the regularity of exchange was clearly noted. In the same 1597 letter to his nephew, Ortelius remarked further that it had been a while since he had received books from Soranzo and he just didn’t know why – perhaps ‘lost in transit’ he speculated. • This book clearly survived the trip between northern Europe and Italy as well as much between, eventually and arriving in Princeton in the late 1940s as part of the Grenville Kane Collection.
❧ Ptolemy. Geographiae libri octo. Cologne: Gottfried von Kempen, 1584. The first edition of Ptolemy’s Geography with maps by Mercator. Call number: EXKA Ptolemy 1584. Cf. Wilberforce Eames, A List of Editions of Ptolemy’s Geography 1475-1730, (New York, 1886), p. 25-26.
❧ For more on Soranzo see Barozzi, Nicolò, ed. Relazioni degli stati Europei lette al Senato dagli ambasciatori Veneti nel secolo decimosettimo (Venice, 1856) ser.1, v.1, p. 27 ff.

Accessioned 101 years ago


Purchased by Thomas Shepard (1635-1677), clergyman of Charlestown, Massachusetts, on February 24, 1660 • Accessioned by the Princeton University Library on March 26, 1913. • Digitized by Google on September 19, 2008 • Available now on Google Books [link] as well as Hathi Trust [link].

Rutherford, Samuel, 1600?-1661. A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience: Tending to Resolve Doubts Moved by Mr. John Goodwin, John Baptist, Dr. Jer Dr. Taylor, the Belgick Arminians, Socinians, And Other Authors … London: Printed by R. I. For Andrew Crook, 1649. Inscribed on p. 1: ‘Thomas Shepard: pret: 12 solid: 24.2°.60.’ For more on books owned and annotated by Thomas Shepard (1635-1677), see companion blog ‘Rare Book Collections @ Princeton’ [link1], [link2], [link3].

Gallery of sigla and other notations used by Shepard at

Bookplate of Margaretta Elizabeth, Baroness Arden (1768-1851)


Bookplate in the Princeton copy of Gianvincenzo Gravina (1664-1718). Della ragion poetica tra’ Greci, Latini ed Italiani. Edited by Thomas James Mathias. (London: T. Becket, 1806) [Call number: (Ex) 2950.406]
❧ This bookplate is not recorded in such standard sources as Franks Bequest: Catalogue of British and American Book Plates bequested to the Trustees of the British Museum (London, 1903). By good fortune, there is tipped in at front an 1806 letter by the book’s editor Thomas James Mathias (1754?- 1835). The letter provides a substantial clue about the name of the bookplate’s owner — Mathias addressees “you and Lord Arden.” The coronet in the bookplate is that of a baron, signaling that “Lord Arden” must be the “Baron Arden” of the day, Charles George Perceval, 2nd Baron Arden (1756–1840). His wife is Margaretta Elizabeth, Baroness Arden, and we can directly see her initials (“M.E.A.,” including those initials reversed) in the monogram below the coronet.



A Victorian collector makes an incunable

Adnotatio on back pastedown.
Binding with the monogram of John Eliot Hodgkin
[On right] Facsimile leaf made ca. 1860 by John Harris [leaf 118]

❧ The present physical make-up of this 1476 Milan edition of Horace resulted from the fabricating instructions of engineer and book collector John Eliot Hodgkin (1829-1912) of Richmond, Surrey.

To understand this book physically we must reverse-engineer it. Doing so we discover the chronological sequence of its production:

1. About 1860, John Eliot Hodgkin came into possession of an imperfect copy of the 1476 Horace and about that time, he states, he obtained from John Harris a facsimile of leaf 118. [For more on John Harris, see “John Harris the Pen-and-Ink Facsimilist”
by Toshiyuki Takamiya, Keio University (Link)]
2. The assemblage went into the hands of a binder who added margins to damaged leaves thus bringing all leaves to a uniform size of 25.6 cm tall x 15.7 cm wide. The leaves were washed and bleached leaving ghosts of annotations throughout. On the last leaf, faintly appears the name ‘Zanner Amerigoti.’
3. The text block was sewn onto five cords laced into boards covered in brown calf tooled in gilt with the recessed monogram “I E H”. All edges gilt.
4. On the back pastedown, Hodgkin mounted his ‘Adnotatio,’ in effect a memorial tablet detailing the recording of this edition by authoritative bibliographers and cognoscenti collectors.
5. In 1902, JEH published his descriptive notes about this copy in his Rariora.


The book was sold at Sotheby (London) at Hodgkin’s sale in May 1914. In November 1914, Robert Patterson, class of 1876, presented it to the Library. Call number: PTT 2865.1476

The Publisher’s file copies for over two hundred issues of The Glocester Journal for 1794-97


“The publisher’s file copies for over two hundred issues of The Glocester Journal for 1794-97 (volumes 73-76), all but three numbers profusely annotated with information about each advertisement – how many times it has been inserted, the name of the advertiser, and how long it was to be run for. This is an exceptional discovery: not only are runs of 18th century provincial newspapers extremely rare outside the major libraries, but files copies originating from the publishing house and comprehensively annotated by the partners are, surely, almost unknown.

“Many of the notes are signed ‘R.R.’, which must mean that the paper was actively run by its publisher Robert Raikes (1736-1811), who had inherited this profitable and influential newspaper from his father and namesake (d. 1757) a week before his twenty-first birthday. Raikes went on to run the Journal for almost fifty years, retiring only in 1802 and dying nine years later, becoming a pillar of Gloucester society and a leading figure amongst its citizenry.

“This set must have served two purposes to the printing office of the Journal: first, as a record of the newspaper over four years of its existence in the mid-1790s; second, as a record of which advertisements had been run before, and how long they were to stand for. ‘First’, ‘3d’ ‘2 more’, ‘till forbid’ (presumably, until further notice) are reasonably clear, but a few other recurrent notes, such as ‘In turn’, ‘Tymbs’, ‘Heath’, ‘Wilkes’ (these last three the names of the advertiser, one assumes), ‘Taylor & Paper’ and others may need interpretation, as will the initials of those signing the notes – R.R. is common, but other initials are also found, M.W. being the most common.

❧ The above paragraphs are extracted from the description of antiquarian bookseller Christopher Edwards, from whom the Library purchased these issues in March 2013. These issues not only provide evidence about publisher’s practices but also serve as material for such research into provincial newspapers as found in John Jefferson Looney, Advertising and Society in England, 1720-1820: a statistical analysis of Yorkshire newspaper advertisements. Thesis (Ph.D.)–Princeton University, 1983.

• Call number: (Ex) Oversize Item 6561945e

1761 • Banning Jesuit books


Arrêt de la Cour de Parlement, du 6 août 1761.
A Paris : Chez P. G. Simon, Imprimeur du Parlement, rue de la Harpe, à l’Hercule 1761]. Arrêt, with contemporary manuscript annotations, interdicting a list of twenty-four Jesuit books which, in turn, were to be ‘lacerés et brûlés en la Cour du Palais, au pied du grand escalier d’icelui’ in August 1761, having been deemed ‘seditious, destructive in respect to the principles of Christian morals, proposing abominable doctrines not only against the life of common citizens but against the life of the sacred person of the sovereign.’ Call number: (Ex) Oversize Item 6740870Q

Dodona’s Grove: an early English publisher’s binding (1650)

Copy to come

Dendrologia. Dodona’s grove, or The vocall forest. Second part. By James Howell esquire [London, : Printed by W.H. for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop …, 1650.] Call number: RHT 17th-324

The Library’s copy in the Robert H. Taylor Collection is comparable to copies at Folger, University of Pennsylvania, the Bodleian, and the British Library. According to Frank Mowrey (Folger): “One of the earliest English ‘publisher’s’ bindings, decorated with a block specially cut for the book. … [However] this does not mean that the whole edition would have been bound in this way, as was the case with 19th-century and later publisher’s bindings.” ❧ Brown sheepskin over pasteboards with blind, gilt, and silver decoration. Two-line border in blind. Covers blocked in silver with an oval panel of three trees lettered “DODONA’S GROVE” inside a wreath. Red and black sprinkled edges. ❧ The Taylor copy also has contemporary manuscript annotations identifying the original corresponding to each allegorical name.

Mrs Jane Mecom, Her Book • 1769

Benjamin Franklin. Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America, by Benjamin Franklin, L.L.D. and F.R.S. To which are added, letters and papers on philosophical subjects. The whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one volume. London: Printed for David Henry; and sold by Francis Newberry, MDCCLXIX.

Benjamin Franklin. Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America, by Benjamin Franklin, L.L.D. and F.R.S. To which are added, letters and papers on philosophical subjects. The whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one volume. London: Printed for David Henry; and sold by Francis Newberry, MDCCLXIX. Call number: (Ex) QC516 .F852 copy 2.

“Franklin sent his sister a copy from London on February 23, 1769, writing, ‘There has lately been a new Edition of my philosophical Papers here. I send Six Copies to you, which I desire you would take care to have delivered as directed. There is one for your Trouble.’ Jane’s copy of this edition is housed at [the] Princeton [University] Library. It is inscribed ‘[Mrs] Jane Mecom, Her Book.” [Franklin biographer, Carl] Van Doren probably acquired this book in the 1930s; it went to Princeton with Van Doren’s papers following his death in 1950.” — Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Knopf, 2013), p. 315 (part of ‘Appendix F. Jane’s Library,’ p.312 to 323)

Jill Lepore adds “I have been able to locate five volumes inscribed with her name: … [Experiments being one of the five] … I have no reason to suppose these five volumes are the same five volumes found in her house at her death. Her letters reveal her to have either owned or read a wealth of books, magazines, and newspapers …” (p.313)

Revival of Self: an Original Comedy, first published in 1856

Sidney Frances Bateman’s 1856 play “Self,” at the Metropolitan Playhouse, offers timeless humor centered on social climbers.
❧ Review and picture in The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1fN1vvi





Self: an original comedy, in three acts by Mrs. Sidney F. Bateman; to which are added, a description of the costume, cast of the characters, entrances and exits, relative position of the performers on the stage, and the whole of the stage business. (New York: Samuel French [1856]) Call number: Princeton University Library, Rare Book Division, TC023 (Playbooks Collection) Box 8.
      Note: This copy marked for the part of “Aunt Chloe: an old colored Nurse.”

New data about an Elizabethan stationer


anno 1569 . februarye 13 .,.
L[awrence] Graham owneth me and bought me of Jhon Judson Stacyoner
in paules church yard, at the signe of the Hedghogge, anno, 1569 .,

John Judson, Stationer in London, 1542?-1589? [per K.F. Panzer, Printers’ and Publishers’ Index [STC, vol. 3: London, 1991]. This inscription provides a dated, mid-career address for Judson. No address recorded for him in H.R. Plomer, Abstracts from the Wills of English Printers and Stationers (London, 1903), p. 28. The British Book Trade Index provides addresses only for the beginning and end of his career.

This inscription on the title page of John Gower, De Confessione amantis London: Thomas Berthelette, 1554 (ESTC S120946) Call number: (Ex) 3757.9.32.12. Also, note this copy once owned and annotated by John Horne Tooke (1736-1812).


Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke • Shelf-mark

“All volumes uniformly bound in dull red morocco, with a heavy gilt back and a very narrow dentelle around the sides, usually with small fleurons in the angles. Shelfmarks in pale red ink on the upper right hand corner of the first flyleaf [and instructions to the binder pencilled in capitals on the first page of the book usually consisting of the lettering he wanted on label of book]: Examples: “Dd.8″,”Lo.5″,”Vh.3″ Library at Wilton House, near Salisbury. Sales: 25 Jun 1914 (Sotheby); 15 Mar 1920; 3 Dec 1951; 4 Feb 1963. WAJ:DeR 40,41 DRsc” — from the notes of Denis Woodfield (1933-2013)
Horace. Entendimento literal, e constrvicão, portvgveza de todas as obras de Horacio ... Latinos lyricos, com index copioso das historias, & fabulas conteudas nellas. Emendado nesta 2. impressaõ por industria de Matheus Rodriguez 	 Lisboa, Na officina de H. Valente de Oliueira, 1657. Call number: PTT 2865.1657

Horace. Entendimento literal, e constrvicão, portvgveza de todas as obras de Horacio … Latinos lyricos, com index copioso das historias, & fabulas conteudas nellas. Emendado nesta 2. impressaõ por industria de Matheus Rodriguez Lisboa, Na officina de H. Valente de Oliueira, 1657. Call number: PTT 2865.1657

Another example at the University of Pennsylvania
Earl of Pembroke shelf-mark - Example from University of Pennsylvania

“Fill in the blank” Dedicatee

[W. Howard] The Happy Government: or, the Constitution of Great-Britain. Humbly Presented to the [----]. London: Printed for the author, 1738.  Call number: (Ex) AC911.xE53

[W. Howard] The Happy Government: or, the Constitution of Great-Britain. Humbly Presented to the [—-]. London: Printed for the author, 1738.[ESTC N32837; variant of Foxon H340] Call number: (Ex) AC911.xE53, no. 8.

Note inscription after ‘Humbly Presented to the’

“the most Hona[ble] John Hay, marquess & Earl of Tweed[dale], one of his Majesty. Principal Secret[ary] of State.”

Eighteenth-century poet W. Howard was described as “an aged and infirm man, in order to relieve his wants, circulated his [poetry] by printing on every title-page an address to some distinguished person.” Foxon’s English Verse 1701-1750 records several titles published between 1730 and 1747 “issued with variant title-pages with alternative dedicatees” (cf. H337 to H344). • In this instance, the dedicatee is John Hay (1695-1762), fourth marquess of Tweeddale. According to the Oxford DNB, he became principal secretary of state for Scotland in 1742. This is some years after the poem’s printing in 1738, suggesting that Howard used his stock as occasions developed, rather than distribute it all at one time.

Earls of Shaftesbury • Shelf-mark

The characteristic shelf mark of the library in St. Giles House, Wimbourne, Dorset, seat of the Earls of Shaftesbury. Books from this library sold at Christie’s (London) in November 1966 and February 1967.
Other exemplars (based on a search of the Web):
• Inner D2-7 [details]
• Outer H3-29 [details]
• Outer H4-24 [details]
 Pierre Desmaizeaux,  1673?-1745. The Life of Mr. Bayle: in a letter to a Peer of Great Britain. London : s.n., 1708. Call number: (EX) BX9459.B39 D4713

Pierre Desmaizeaux, 1673?-1745.
The Life of Mr. Bayle: in a letter to a Peer of Great Britain.
London : s.n., 1708.
Call number: (EX) BX9459.B39 D4713
Shaftesbury shelf-mark: “Inner B4-32”

Example of note by H.D. Lyon (1917-2004), London antiquarian bookseller

From the obituary of H.D. Lyon published in the Times (London) on 7 August 2004:



Lyon’s note on front free endpaper of: John Anderson (1798-1839). Historical and genealogical memoirs of the house of Hamilton; with genealogical memoirs of the several branches of the family. Edinburgh, John Anderson, jun., London, Simpkin & Marshall, 1825. Presentation copy to William Beckford from the Duke of Hamilton, with Beckford’s manuscript notes. Binding has ticket: Bound by Carss & Co[mpan]y. Glasgow. • Lyon notes on the lower margin of Bernard Quaritch’s Hamilton Palace Library bookplate “Lot 241 in part 1 of sale £19/10/-” [Call number: (Ex) 1494.429.124q. Purchased from Lyon by the Princeton University Library in 1968.]

“H. D. Lyon.” Times [London, England] 7 Aug. 2004: 40.

Mrs Jane Mecom Her Book No. 11


Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Mrs Jane Mecom, is the subject of a captivating article by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker for July 8 & 15, 2013. [link]. Perhaps Franklin sent his sister this book now in the Princeton University Library: Experiments and observations on electricity, made at Philadelphia in America, by Benjamin Franklin, L.L.D. and F.R.S. To which are added, letters and papers on philosophical subjects. The whole corrected, methodized, improved, and now first collected into one volume … London: Printed for David Henry; and sold by Francis Newberry, MDCCLXIX. Call number: (Ex) QC516 .F852 copy 2. [Given in 1954 by Margaret Van Doren Bevans, Barbara Van Doren Klaw, and Anne Van Doren Ross, daughters of the American historian and Franklin biographer, Carl Van Doren.]

Shelf-marks of Sunderland books

Sunderland.shelf.mark Horace. Ars poetica with commentary of Aldus Manutius (Venice, 1576) Call number: PTT 2865.311.076. [Shelf mark on verso of front free endpaper, which is marbled on recto. The front paste-down is marbled. These are the only marks of ownership.]
Sunderland.shelf.mark.De.R Charles Spencer, third Earl of Sunderland (1674-1722), his “books are easily recognizable by the bold shelf-marks written in ink on the verso of the upper cover in the upper left hand corner.” S. DeRicci, English Collectors of Books & Manuscripts (1530-1930) and Their Marks of Ownership (Cambridge, 1930), p. 39.

For more about the history of the Sunderland Library, see the record for the 18th century manuscript catalogue of the Library held at John Rylands Library:

An Enigmatic Binding • ca. 1565

Ex.N7710.J96.copy4.front Ex.N7710.J96.copy4.back

Front: Solitudo Acerbitas Mera — Solitude – Bitterness — Unadulterated
Back: Dulcis Comes Tilia — Sweet Companion — Linden Tree

Hadrianus Junius (Adriaan de Jonge), 1511-1575. Emblemata
Antwerp: Christophor Plantin, 1565. (Ex) N7710 .J96 copy 4See William S. Hecksher “Heliotropes and Romantic Ruins,” Princeton University Library Chronicle45:1 (Autumn, 1983), p. 39-40 for discussion.

Inscribed on front free endpaper: Me utitur Jacobus Reepmakerus.
The books of Jacob Reepmaker were sold in 1701: Catalogus variorum insignium, & rarissimorum librorum … Jacobi Reepmakeri … quorum auctio publica habebitur in officina Joannis ab Oosterwyk … Ad diem 7 Junii [1701], & diebus sequentibus, etc. Amsterdam, 1701.

A Collector speaks to posterity

“This was the first old book I ever acquired. I bought it from Edgar H. Wells late in 1925 or early in 1926, and was up half the night reading and examining it. I did not know then that I had found the road to the most enduring friendships and the greatest pleasures of my life. R.H.T. Mar. 16, 1977.”
❧ Inscribed on front free endpaper of first volume of: Samuel Johnson. The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets: With Critical Observations on their Works. A New Edition Corrected. (London, 1794) Call number: RHT 18th-321.
❧ Robert H. Taylor (1908-1985) made this purchase during months prior to entering Princeton with the class of 1930. His collection was deposited in Firestone Library in 1972 and was received as a bequest in 1985. A link to more about his collection.

Over-wrap • early 19th century American binding repair

Binding reinforced and / or repaired with an over-wrap. Partially removed subscription or circulating library label suggests this copy endured regular use.
❧ Foster, Hannah Webster, 1759-1840. The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton; a Novel; Founded on Fact. Boston, Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1797. Call number: (Ex) PS744.F7 C6 1797. [This copy also has a early handwritten listing identifying the actual names for the three principal characters.]

Monkey Island, Illustrated •1839

“This beautiful and romantic islet is situated in the most picturesque part of the Thames, between the Willows and Maidenhead Bridge; it is the favored resort of aquatic parties in the vicinity of Windsor, and is a delightful resting place for those bound to Cliefden, Henley, or Marlow – the woodland beauty of the scenery being unrivalled on the banks of ‘Thames winding stream’. The (third) Duke of Marlborough selected this sequestered spot for the enjoyment of Isaac Walton’s “gentle art”, and embellished it by the erection of two elegant buildings – a pavilion and a temple. The former is decorated by finely-executed paintings of monkeys, in various grotesque and humorous characters (which, with the pavilion, are represented by the drawings), and continue to prove an attraction to the curious…. it is asserted that the whole cost the Duke of Marlborough £12,000. It was purchased by H. Townly Ward, Esq., and is now the property of P.C. Bruce, Esq., of Taplow. The tout ensemble presents an imposing idea of aristocratic grandeur and magnificence.”

Preface to Monkey Island, Illustrated, by a series of Humorous Figures and a View of the Pavilion. From original sketched by M. Penley, drawn on the new patent zinc plates by T. Fairland. Dedicated to the Young Gentlemen of Eton College. Windsor: published by J.B. Brown … ca. 1839. This copy inscribed on front wrapper: “Robert H.J. Heygate from his brothers Frederick & William Heygate, March 28, 1839.” Call number: (Ex) Item 6473315

Trade label: Jacob Kops in Hamburgh bij der mueren.

All kinds of East Indian cottons and Dutch linen cambric, linen goods [or linen drapery], calico [or muslin] and white-linen tape for sale: in Hamburg by the wall, at Jacob Kops. [Woodcut prospect of Haarlem above this text.]

Allerhande ostindische Cattoennen und
hollandisch linwant Camertuch weijs-zweern [i.e. Weisswaren?]
Kattuen und weijslinnen-bant Zu Kauf: in
Hamburgh bij der mueren. bij Jacob Kops.

One of more than 536 trade labels, chiefly for the linen thread trade, pasted into three albums with title Houtsneden door Izaak van der Vinne [Woodcuts by Isaac van der Vinne (1665-1740)]. Call number: (Ex) NC1002.L3 V56f [This label: volume 2, leaf 19.]

Presentation to Johann Martin, Freiherr von und zu Aichelburg

Stamped in silver on front cover: “Dem Wolgebornen Herrn, Herrn Johann Martin Freyherrn von und zu Aichelberg, Herrn auf Zassenegg, und Rodenhoffen, einer löbl. Laa. alda deren Lands-Vochten, und Landshauptman[n]ischen Verhören Beysitzern, &c Meinem gnädigen Herrn, Herrn zu einem glückseeligen Neuen Jahr 1732”

Larger image

[Almanach und Progosticon] [n.p., 1731?]
Text includes table of chronology, almanack, bloodletting table, prognosticon, and “Natur-und-Kunst Curiositäten Calendar.” Call number: (Ex)AY851.N37
[Transcription courtesy of Mark Farrell, senior cataloguer]

Rat-Catcher warns Book-pirates • 1768

N.B. If any Persons shall Reprint this Book, or offer to Pirate it, they will be Prosecuted according to law, it being entered in Stationers-Hall. ❧
The Universal Directory for Taking Alive and Destroying Rats, and All Other Kinds of Four-footed and Winged Vermin, In a Method Hitherto Unattempted: Calculated for the Use of the Gentleman, the Farmer, and the Warrener. By Robert Smith, Rat-Catcher to the Princess Amelia. London: printed for the author, 1768. Call number: (Ex)SB993.S64 ❧

First map depicting only New Jersey to be printed and published in America • 1784

Larger image here

“State of New Jersey” map (58.5 x 28.5 cm) facing verso of final printed leaf of The Petitions and Memorials of the Proprietors of West and East-Jersey, to the Legislature of New-Jersey New-York: Printed by Shepard Kollock, no. 156, Water-Street., [1784] Call number: Ex 1174.271.2 c.1. Copy with ownership signatures of John Rutherfurd (1760-1840), who compiled the text of Petitions and Memorials.
❧ Joseph J. Felcone in his New Jersey Books 1698-1800 (1992) covers the publishing history of this book (entry 22). He states “It is the first map depicting only New Jersey to be printed and published in America.” Alas, the identity of the mapmaker is not known, but there is evidence to suggest it was John Hills. As of 1991, the original copper plate survived and owned by Howard Sereda of Edison, NJ.

The Mysterious Mother

Horace Walpole (1717-1797). The Mysterious Mother: a tragedy by the Hon. Horace Walpole (Late Lord Orford); with the Author’s Postscript. London : Printed by A. Macpherson, Russell Court, for Ann Lemoine, White-Rose Court, Coleman Street, and J. Roe, No. 90, Houndsditch, [1802]. Call number: TC023, box 163. ❧ Only other copies recorded are those at the National Library of Wales. ❧ Provenance: ThX copy has the autograph signature of E. Nason–possibly Edwin F. Nason–a New York publisher in the latter half of the 19th century. Nason identifies this copy on the t.p. as ”rare,” one that he ”ordered from London 1860.” At the bottom of the t.p., Nason notes: ”this the only copy I have seen in this country.” The latter note, in addition to an internal note about the writing of The Mysterious Mother, are both signed ”E.N.” ❧ Internal notations in ink and pencil signal that this book was accessioned by a library in 1892 and had come from Samuel Putnam Avery. This evidence plus the genre of the publication suggest that this book was once part of the Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum, dispersed by the Columbia University Library, and from which Princeton received parts in 1971. ❧ (This impartment from rare book cataloger Scott Carlisle.)

Title labels

“Several alternative schemes for labeling fore-edges were devised by seventeenth century librarians, including the pasting on of paper tabs or labels, attached to either the boards or one of the leaves, carrying shelf numbers or titles.” – David Pearson, English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800: A Handbook (London, 2005), p. 107.

17th century armorial binding and contemporary slip case

Figure 1
❧ The figures explained: Armorial binding covering
Ogier Ghislin de Busbecq, Legationis Turcicae epistolae quatuor.
Frankfurt, A. Wechels Erben, C. de Marne et J. Aubry 1595. Call number (Ex) 1789.229.13.

J. Basil Oldham in Shrewsbury School Library Bindings (Oxford, 1943) notes the following regarding one such book bound for Ramiro de Guzmán, Duque de Medina de las Torres (ca. 1600-1668): On both covers there is a “narrow border formed by a simple conventional foliage roll, with a foliage ornament in each angle; in centre, an heraldic stamp 96×75 mm; a shield, surrounded with the following letters in circles CGDDMMAHPPMIGPCLA, and surmounted by a coronet under which is a scroll bearing the letters FEI. On the upper cover: arms: two coats impaled: Dexter (arms of Felipe Ramirez de Guzman, Duke of Medina de las Torres, Marquis of Torrel): Two caldrons checky with snakes issuing therefrom, flanked in saltire by ten ermine-tails (5 and 5), within a bordure gobony of Castile and Leon; Sinister (arms of Anna Caraffa, Duchess of Sabbioneta, Mondragone and Trajetto, Princess of Stigliano): Quarterly of six (two in chief and four in base): 1. Per fesse (a) three bars (Caraffa) and (b) a band counter-embattled between six stars (Aldobrandini); 2. a cross patty between four eagles crowned, and over all an escutcheon quarterly of three bars and a lion rampant (Gonzaga); 3. four pallets (Aragon); 4. per fesse a castle (Castile) and a lion (Leon); 5. four pallets flanked in saltire by two eagles crowned (Sicily); 6. a column ensigned by a crown (Colonna). On the lower cover: arms (unidentified): Upon a terrace in base, a plant growing between reeds or tufts of grass; in chief an arched band inscribed REVOLUTA FOECUNDANT, with, beneath it, and ranged in the same manner, three rows of stars.”
Ramiro de Guzmán’s arms impale those of his second wife, “Anna Caraffa, daughter of Antonio Caraffa, Duke of Mondragone, and Elena Aldobrandini. He had previously married Marie de Guzman, daughter of Gaspar de Guzman, Count of Olivares, Philip IV’s minister, to whose titles, through his marriage, he succeeded on Olivares’ death in 1645, for which reason he used the acrologic inscription round the shields which Olivares had used as an adjunct to his armorial insignia. The letters (C and G being transposed towards the end) stand for: ‘Comitatui grandatum ducatum ducatum marchionatum marchionatum arcis hispalensis perpetuam praefecturam magnam Indiarum chancellariatum primam Guzmanorum lineam addidit.’ The letters FEI stand for: ‘Fortuna etiam invidente.’
As the owner of the book would not be likely to use the boastful inscription of his father-in-law until he had, by the latter’s death, succeeded to his titles, the book was probably not bound till after 1645, and in Spain, not Naples, because by that time the owner had ceased to be Viceroy of Naples. A larger variant of these heraldic stamps is found on some books.” (p. 120-121; Shrewsbury School Library example illustrated on plate XXVI)
❧ Figure 2 • Two inscriptions on titlepage:
Alongside right margin, “[Guil.] Godophin” [See a comparable example at the University of Pennsylvania.] This is the signature of English diplomat, Sir William Godophin (1634?-1696) •
At bottom:”Ex libris bibliothecae Domus S[anct]ae. M[ari]ae M[ontium] Piorum Operariorum” From the library of the Congreation of the Pii Operarii, a group of religious founded at Naples in 1602.For comparable provenances, see exemplars at Cambridge University Libraryand at
Universitats de Catalunya.]
❧ Figure 3 • A remarkable survival • 17th / 18th century slip case custom made for this book. Why would such a case have been made? Perhaps to protect the book during travel — Busbecq’s Turkish Letters provided important detailed information about the Ottoman state and were highly prized (and still are.)

Figure 2 (above) ❧ Figure 3 (below)

Grace Talbot Cavendish

Lady Grace was the youngest daughter of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. Recent scholarship gives 1562 as her birth year and ‘after 1625’ for her death. She was married in 1567 (sic!) to Henry Cavendish, eldest son of Bess of Hardwick and Sir William Cavendish. It was Bess who proposed the marriage as precondition to her taking the Earl as her fourth husband. ❧ This copy was also once owned by Richard Heber. It is listed as item 336 in A Catalogue of Heber’s Collection of Early English Poetry (London, 1834).
❧ George Chapman, 1559?-1634.Andromeda liberata. Or the nuptials of Perseus and Andromeda. London, : printed for Laurence L’Isle …, 1614..
Call number (EX) 3672.6.312.

P.T. Barnum receives The Philosopher’s Stone

❧ Upper cover is folded toward the front, in order to be used for mail­ing this copy to a recip­i­ent; it has been addressed in ink: ”P. T. Bar­num Esqr. Amer­i­can Museum New York”; below the address are the words ”By Steam Liv­er­pool June 1.” (the year ‘‘1850’’ is writ­ten in graphite beside the num­ber 1).
In the cor­ner of the folded sheet is the book­sellers’ label of T.H. Lacy, used as the return address. At an unknown time, someone removed the postage stamp at right.

In addi­tion, this copy has two marks of own­er­ship on the t.p.: the ink stamp of the William Sey­mour The­atre Col­lec­tion and a note in graphite, which reads: ”Very good of the kind, but not of our class.” It is not known whether the note was writ­ten by Bar­num him­self.

Taylor, Tom, 1817-1880.
The philosopher’s stone : an entirely new and original satirical and politico-economical Whitsun morality, extremely serious and very comical / by the author of Diogenes, The vicar of Wakefield, &c., &c.
London : T.H. Lacy, 17, Wellington Street, Strand, [between 1849 and 1857]
Call number (THX) TC023 Box 156a

Series: Lacy’s acting edition ; 14
Notes: Libretto only.
T.H. Lacy was located at 17 Wellington Street, Strand from 1849 until 1857. In 1857 he moved to larger premises at 89 Strand. Cf. Oxford dictionary of national biography.
“First produced at the New Strand Theatre, Monday, May 20th, 1850”–T.p. verso.
Includes titles of airs (popular and borrowed) to be sung.
Includes cast list.

Text supplied by rare book cataloger, Scott Carlisle.

Trade custom of pre-dating

“The Rule in general observed among Printers is, that when a Book happens not to be ready for publication before November, the date of the ensuing year is used.” — John Nichols, Literary Anecdotes (London, 1812) iii, p. 249n. According to Philip Gaskell, Nichols is describing 18th century practice. Evidently the custom dated somewhat earlier as per this example.

Narcissus Luttrell corrected the imprint date in his copy of Francis Manning’s Panegyrick (London: Printed for J. Weld, 1698.) Call number: (Ex)3598.999q vol. 64, no. 4.

Another example: Inscribed on title page ‘Angelsey. The guift (sic) of the author. Dec. 19, 1674.’ of  Winston Churchill, Divi Britannici: being a remark upon the lives of all the kings of this isle, from the year of the world 2855. unto the year of grace 1660. London, Printed by T. Roycroft, to be sold by F. Eglesfield, 1675 (Ex DA130.C56q). The recipient was Arthur Annesley, Earl of Anglesey (1614-1686)

Cypher of Comte Henri Siméon (1803-1874)

Comte Henri Siméon had a distinguished public career during the Second Republic and the Second Empire. He also devoted years to translating Horace; his work published during his final years. He had a notable library, about which see Leon Techener, “Le Comte Siméon,” Bulletin du bibliophile(1874) p.245-246. Twenty five of his books are found in the Library’s Horace collection. They include editions and translations published between 1650 and 1872. Some have presentation inscriptions, including one from Paul Lacroix (“le bibliophile Jacob.”) All are bound and marked distinctively: the bindings are signed “Petit succr de Simier” and have Siméon’s cypher consisting of the initial H and S in “majuscules fleuronnées” surmounted by a “couronne de comte.” Correspondence documenting the Horace collection shows that a number of Siméon’s books were acquired from Maggs Brothers ca. 1912.

Armorial bookplate dated 1739: Francis Massy, Esq. of Rixton, Lancashire

“Francis Massy, lord of the manors of Rixton and Glazebrook, born 1703, and who died unmarried 28 September 1748, when the family became extinct. By his will, dated 27 February, he left his estate and effects to his kinsman George Meynell of Yorkshire.” – Remains Historical & Literary Connected with the Palatine Counties of
Lancaster and Chester.
Published By The Chetham Society. Vol. CX. (1882), p. 224.
❧ Bookplate signed “I. Skinner, Bath, sculpt.” Jacob Skinner was active between 1732 and 1753.
❧ The Massy bookplate is on the front pastedown of Gabriel Harvey’s copy of Livy (Basle, 1555). Call number (Ex) PA6452 .A2 1555q. A complete digital scan of this remarkable annotated book is available here, however, the scanning project did not include full coverage of this piece of ownership evidence.

Formerly owned by Sir Hans Sloane

Earlier today researchers with the Sloane Printed Books Project confirmed that the Princeton copy of G. Lockhart, Memoirs concerning the Affairs of Scotland (London, 1714; call number RCPXR 14825.592.11) is from his library. The project’s website explains a number of ways to recognizing his books, cf. “Identifying Sloane’s books.” The bookstamps “Mvsevm Britiannivm” and “British Museum Sale Duplicate 1787” are one instance of evidence (verso of title page showing through.) However, key evidence is that Sloane’s manuscript catalogue lists this work (vol. 5 f 232 r) as “a 2015.” At the foot of the title page the “a” and the “2” are visible. ❧ Other embossements and markings signal Princeton’s accession of this book in the 19th century. ❧

John Boyle, 5th Earl of Orrery (1707–1762)

Bound in vellum stained green

A Collection of the State Letters of the Rt. Hon. Roger Boyle, the first earl of Orrery (Dublin, Printed by and for G. Faulkner, 1743). Call number (Ex) 1473.16.691.
❧ With his badge: “O” surmounted by an earl’s coronet stamped on spine:

For further details, see British Armorial Bindings, http://armorial.library.utoronto.ca/stamp-owners/BOY003

❧ Inscribed on front free endpaper: “Orrery. Leicester Fields. Feb: 8th 1750-51”

❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧

Call number (PTT) 2865.321.241.
A nonce volume bound for John Boyle, Earl of Orrery, for his literary endeavors.
Bound in calf with spine title “Orrery’s Odes of Horace & Co.” Signed on front free endpaper “Orrery. Caledon: October 17th, 1746.”
❧ Bound together in this volume are interleaved copies of his First Ode (ESTC T35560), Pyrrah (ESTC T46133), and Poem to the Memory of Edward Sheffield (ESTC T42559) as well as 23 blank leaves at front and 23 blank leaves at back. Some of the interleaves have his autograph comments on the facing text. Moreover, on pp. 2-8 of front blanks: his two autograph poems: 1) “Translation of a Copy of Verses in Mr Waller’s Poems, entitled On my Lady Isabella playing on the Lute” (in Latin with Waller’s poem in English on the facing page) and 2) “Lusus Pilae amatorius. Petronii Afranii” with “Imitated. 1727” on the facing page. On p. 1 of back blanks: his autograph poem (English): “To Mr Rysbrack. On his Buste of **********”.
❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧

Ange Goudar (1720-1791).
Pensées diverses. A Londres, chez Mr. P. Vaillant in the Strand. Chez Mr. W. Meyer in Mays-Buildings. Chez Mrs. Nutt at the Royal-Exchange. Chez Mr. Jollife in St. James-Street. Chez Mr. G. Jones in Ludgate-Street, 1750. ESTC T109290. Call number: Ex 3255.5417.371

Bookplates ❧ In A Collection of the State Letters

His bookplate dating to 1751 or later;
John succeeded his father as fifth earl of Orrery in 1731 and his kinsman as fifth earl of Cork in 1751.

❧ ❧ In The Workes of Benjamin Jonson. (London, 1616) Call number (EX) 3806.1616q

His bookplate with arms of Boyle impaling Hamilton to commemorate his marriage in 1738 to Margaret, the only daughter of John Hamilton, Esq., of Caledon, co. Tyrone. and his initials “I.O.” to left of coronet. ❧ For further details about his bookplates see: Journal of the Ex Libris Society vol. 7 p.57 for “Notes on some Boyle bookplates” at

❧ His sale: Catalogue of the valuable and extensive library and collection of autograph letters of the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Cork and Orrery removed from Marston, Frome which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods at their great rooms 8 King Street, St. James’s Square on Tuesday, November 21, 1905 and two following days at one o’clock precisely. London: Printed by William Clowes and Sons. [1905]. 736 lots, mostly itemized.

Manuscript subscription list made by Thomas Meade for a 1795 English pamphlet on the French Revolution


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Henry Goudemetz (1749-1826?). Judgment and Execution of Louis XVI. King of France; with a List of the Members of the National Convention, Who voted for and against his Death; and the Names of Many of the Most Considerable Sufferers In … Continue reading

Claude Crespigny of the South Sea House

Claude Crespigny of the South Sea House
[This post first published in December 2011. Revised May 2013]
❧ Armorial bookplate, signature, crest, cipher, inscription. ❧
Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1706-1782). At death, he left his library to his great nephew, Hugh Reveley (1772-1851) whose signature is in pencil on recto of the free endpaper. ❧ On spine is Crespigny’s cipher (interlaced C’s) and crest (On a chapeau, gules, turned up, ermine, a enhit arm erect, holding a broad sword, proper). ❧ Inscribed on pastedown: “This book was given me by the Hon.ble John Spencer Esq.r A.o 1745.”
❧ Johann Heinrich Cohausen (1665-1750). Hermippus redivivus : or, The sage’s triumph over old age and the grave. Wherein, a method is laid down for prolonging the life and vigour of man. Including a commentary upon an antient inscription, in which this great secret is revealed; supported by numerous authorities. The whole interspersed with a great variety of remarkable, and well attested relations. London : Printed for J. Nourse, 1744. Call number: (Ex)3437.93.345.6

1752 Irish prize binding

Prize bookplate from Trinity College, Dublin to William Stopford, presented by Brabazon Disney, at the beginning of Michaelmas Term, 1752. Armorial stamp of Trinity College, Dublin, on front and back covers.

According to William B. Todd in “Note 571 Academic Prize Books” (Book Collector 49:3 (Autumn, 2000) p. 442-444, William Stopford in the same year was also awarded as a prize book: Juvenal & Persius, Dublin, 1746. (Illustrated in Prof. Todd’s 1961 catalogue Prize Books)

Terence. Comoediæ. (Dublin: Typographia Academiæ, 1745)
Call number (Ex) Item 6201299

Constanter 1658

“Constanter 1658” the ex libris of Constantine Huygens (1596-1687) on the title page of Willem Piso, De Indiae utriusque re naturali et medica, libri quatuordecim (Amsterdam: L. and D. Elzevir, 1658) Call number (Ex) 8607.723q.

  For more details on the library of Constantine Huygens, see:

See further particulars about Constantine Huygen’s copy of the First Folio A.J. West’s article published in Foliomania! (Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Libary, 2011.)

Other copies of his books at Princeton:❧
Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626.
Resuscitatio, or, Bringing into publick light severall pieces of the works, civil, historical, philosophical & theological, hitherto sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, Viscount Saint Alban. According to the best corrected coppies. Together with his lordships life. By William Rowley …
London, Printed by Sarah Griffin for W. Lee, 1657.
RHT copy has inscription on t.p.: Constanter 1660. (Ownership inscription of Sir Contantijn Huygens, 1596-1687) RHT copy with the autograph of Jas. Rigg on front flyleaf, and with the armorial bookplate of Downfield [seat of the Rigg family; Franks catalogue no. 25049]. (18th cent) There are no markings for 19th cent owners. 20th cent markings are as follows: dealer’s code for Ximenes Rare Books, NYC, [book listed in their Occasional List No. 69 (1984)] and then RHT booklabel. Call number
(RHT) 17th-701.
Gayton, Edmund, 1608-1666. Pleasant notes upon Don Quixot. London, Printed by W. Hunt, 1654.Call number (EXOV) 3170.686
Ex copy has inscription on t.p.: Constanter London Aug. 1663. (Ownership inscription of Sir Contantijn Huygens, 1596-1687). This copy was auctioned in the sale of March 15, 1688.
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674. The Worlds Olio
London, J. Martin and J. Allestrye, 1655. Call number (RHT) 17th-753. RHT copy has inscription on t.p.: “Constanter” and the following record of presentation from the author “Antverpiae 17 jul. 1655 dono March. Newcastle mariti autoris.” Huygen’s journal for 17 July 1655 states “Saluto marchionem NEW CASTEL.” This copy was auctioned in the sale of March 15, 1688.
Imperiali, Giovanni, 1596?-1670. Musaeum historicum et physicum. Venetiis, Apud Juntas, 1640. Call number (EX) In process. Acquired October 2012.
Ex copy has inscription on t.p.: Constanter 1650. (Ownership inscription of Sir Contantijn Huygens, 1596-1687).

Daniel Russell (ca. 1642-1679) bequeaths a book to Thomas Shepard (1658-1685)

Inscription on front free end paper: ‘Tho: Shepard’s booke being part of the 10th legacy of my H[onore]d Friend Mr D[aniel] Russell who died of the small pox in Charlestown after his acceptance of a call to join with myself in the work of the ministry there. 15. 3o. 1679.’ In a different hand: ‘The Price of this Book is 13 shillings.’
Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626.
Sylva sylvarum; London, 1670.
Call number (Exov) 3614.389
Also has additional inscriptions on second and third front free end paper: ‘Daniel Russell, His Book, 1675.’ ‘Daniel Russell, His Book, No 303, 22.2.1675.’

Trotter family library copy • armorial bookplate with motto: In promptu

Trotter family library copy • armorial bookplate with motto: In promptu
Inscribed: ‘I bought this book from Jo[h]n Vallange meerly for ye Style w[hi]ch being affected pedantical & Latinized was it would seem the mode in these times wherein it was writt.’ This is evidently by John Trotter, d. 1718, whose similar inscriptions of provenance appear on a number of books he purchased between the 1690s and 1707.
Baron, Robert, b. 1630.
Erotopaignion, or, The Cyprian academy.
London, Printed by W. W. and are to be sold by J. Hardesty, T. Huntington, and T. Jackson, 1647.
Call number: (Ex) 3620.64.332

Author prohibitus • Bale

Fore-edge of:
Bale, John, 1495-1563.
Illustrium Maioris Britanniae scriptorum, hoc est, Angliae, Cambriae, ac Scotiæ summariu[m], in quasdam centurias diuisum, cum diuersitate doctrinaru[m] atq[ue] annoru[m] recta supputatione per omnes ætates a Iapheto sanctissimi Noah filio, ad annum domini. M.D.XLVIII. Autore Ioanne Balaeo SudouolcaGippeswici [Ipswich]: per Joannem Overton, 31 July 1548.
With this is bound Contarini, G.P. Historia de bello nuper Venetis à Selimo II. Turcarum Imperatore illato : liber unus Basileae: Perna, 1573.
Call number: (Ex) 3616.7.349