The Renaissance Emblem, an explanatory chart by William S. Heckscher (1904-1999)

An illustrative chart by William S Heckscher, probably drawn in the 1950s.
[Click on thumbnail above to see much larger image.]
This is a chart meant to be read two ways.

First, reading from left to right gives a sense of chronological change, from ancient times on the left to the seventeenth century on the right. Secondly, the chart can be read in zones, as follows:

• Focal point of the chart is the first emblem book, the Emblematum liber by Andrea Alciati, first published in Augsburg in 1531.

•To the left of the focal point are arrayed 19 sources and seven antecedents.

•To the right are a series of branching diagrams covering seven diverse types of emblem books developing after Alciati. These are heroic, moral, and didactic, together with their subdivisions.

Note the foot of the chart: here are glosses for the labels above. For example, at lower left, the label ‘Egyptian: Hieroglyphs’ is explained as ‘Obelisk in Rome’.

Much of the text of this chart was reworked in 1954, when it was incorporated into the Library’s exhibition The Graver and the Pen: Renaissance Emblems and Their Ramifications. (ExB) 0639.739 no. 12 [link to full text]

Prof. Heckscher was a keen collaborator in the Library’s efforts to collect and interpret emblem books. He collaborated in publication of the 1984 short- title catalogue of emblem books in the Library. He complied The Princeton Alciati Companion: A Glossary of Neo-Latin Words and Phrases used by Andrea Alciati and the Emblem Book Writers of his time, including a Bibliography of Secondary Sources relevant to the Study of Alciati’s Emblems (New York, 1989). At present, Princeton’s holdings of emblem books and their cognates number more than 700. The collection continues to grow yearly.

News briefs about related collections on campus

• Art librarian Sandy Brooke and art bibliographer Nicky Shilliam actively acquire rare books for the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology. Each year they report news of their successes in the annual newsletter of the Department of Art and Archaeology. Their acquisitions build on more than 100 years of collecting, thanks to the generosity of many, but in particular Alan Marquand who provided the core collection and to a substantial endowment established under the family name. See their reports in

2010 Newsletter (pdf, 14mb)

2009 Newsletter (pdf, 15mb)

2008 Newsletter (pdf, 27mb)

2007 Newsletter (pdf, 12mb)

• Staff associated with the Manuscript Division have recently published Greek Manuscripts at Princeton, Sixth to Nineteenth Century: A Descriptive Catalogue, after years of preparation. It is a most substantial work with 250 illustrations, the majority in color. Copies are available from the Princeton University Press.

• Helene van Rossum has posted the first entry in a new blog on campus The Reel Mudd
Films and other audiovisual materials from the Mudd Manuscript Library

Exhibition catalogue Liberty & The American Revolution wins Leab Award

Liberty & The American Revolution: Selections from the Collection of Sid Lapidus ‘59
won the Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The catalogue took the honors for division one of the award competition’s five divisional groupings. Exhibition organizer and catalogue editor, Stephen Ferguson, received the award certificate on Sunday June 27, during the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Washington, D.C. The awards recognize outstanding exhibition catalogues issued by American or Canadian institutions in conjunction with library exhibitions, as well as electronic exhibition catalogues of outstanding merit.

Richard Noble, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards committee and rare books cataloger at Brown University, said of the catalogue: “The purpose of this catalog is succinctly put in [curator] Stephen Ferguson’s preface: ‘How does one gain … a sense of the past? Not only by experiencing books as physical objects, seeing them as readers of that day saw, felt, and handled them, but—through the extensive quotations from the books themselves found in this catalogue—by making them speak as well.’ This is, in essence, a catalogue of books and a book of quotations that trace the evolution, in a multiplicity of spheres, of the concept of ‘liberty’—a concept which it is all too easy to interpret ad lib. Whatever else the many books presented in this catalog may be about, the organization of the entries and passages quoted all address the question posed in the introduction by Sean Wilentz: ‘What are the boundaries of American liberty?’ The texture of these texts is itself a pedagogical device, a taste of the books. Pick it up and read it aloud to yourself and you realize that this is also a catalog of voices.”

For more on the awards, plus details of the division two Leab Award going to another Princeton University Library catalogue, Beauty & Bravado, see:

Cartographies of Time, A History of the Timeline • Forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press

To be published. Scheduled to be available after Wednesday January 20, 2010.

Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline.

Authors: Anthony Grafton, Daniel Rosenberg
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
8-1/2 x 10-1/2 in; 272 pp ; 268 color and 40 b/w images
ISBN-13: 9781568987637
ISBN: 1568987633


Professor Daniel Rosenberg writes

Cartographies of Time is a history of graphic representations of time in Europe and the United States from 1450 to the present. The book argues that this history may be divided into two main phases, the period from 1450 to 1750, during which scholars relied heavily on the tabular system of representation developed by the fourth-century Christian scholar Eusebius, and the period from 1750 to the present during which the simple, measured line displaced the tabular matrix as the standard mechanism for representing historical chronology.

The story that we tell in the book has many twists and turns—it takes detours through sixteenth-century astronomy and follows Canadian missionaries to Oregon, turns up little known works by famous figures including a historical chronology by the mapmaker Gerardus Mercator and a chronological board game patented by Mark Twain—and, as I will shown in a few slides, the table and the line are only two of many possible ways of graphing history. In the book, the circle, the tree, and many other figures get due consideration. Nonetheless, the book argues that in Western history and chronology, the table and the line hold a peculiarly central place. The book is a study of these two favored forms in relation in relation to a changing ecology of images and ideas.”

Preliminary draft of the introduction

In preparing this book, Professors Grafton and Rosenberg spent many, many hours in Princeton’s rare book reading room closely researching the Library’s extensive holdings of chronological charts, tables, and timelines.

Newly published: A Catalogue of the Junius Spencer Morgan Collection of Virgil in the Princeton University Library

Oak Knoll Press reports copies of the Virgil catalogue, ever so carefully prepared by Prof. Craig Kallendorf, are now in stock.

It is an exuberant production!

• Color-printed dust jacket [ in full ]

• 49 color-printed illustrations, some full page (page size: 8.5 x 11 inches)

• 488 pages of descriptions covering more than 900 volumes, divided into 8 sections (Latin editions, translations into Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other languages) [sample pages]

• 4 indices: i) printers, publishers, booksellers; ii) authors, commentators, translators, editors; iii) illustrators; iv) owners (“The index … includes the names of auction houses and booksellers, as well as of former owners, so that the movement of the books can be tracked as fully as possible.”) [The estimate of the total number of names tracked by all four indexes is more than 2,200.]

• 17 page introduction, set double column, with 48 notes, and covering such topics as the illustration of Virgil’s works, evidence of reader experience, and the material production of Virgil editions as an index of taste.

Copies may be obtained via the publisher’s website

In the Main Exhibition Gallery at Firestone: Egypt Unveiled: The Mission of Napoleon’s Savants

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Description de l’Égypte, Princeton University Library is currently presenting the exhibition Egypt Unveiled: The Mission of Napoleon’s Savants.

Despite the failure of Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1798 military campaign in Egypt, the work of the scholars who accompanied him on the expedition was an incredible success. A group of 151 scientists, engineers, and artists was recruited to explore, describe, and document every aspect of the country. From the great temples and tombs of ancient Egypt to contemporary customs and trades, from Egyptian animals, plants, and minerals to local topography, the savants—or scholars—captured it all.

The single greatest archaeological discovery made by the French in Egypt was a dark gray granite slab found in July 1799 near the town of Rosetta, east of Alexandria. Measuring forty-seven inches tall and thirty-two inches wide, the scholars immediately recognized the importance of the artifact. The same decree from 196 B.C. is inscribed on the stone in three scripts: Greek (bottom), Egyptian demotic (middle), and Egyptian hieroglyphics (top). The Rosetta Stone proved to be the key to decoding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, allowing the language to be read for the first time in fifteen hundred years.

Description de l’Égypte, the comprehensive result of all of the scholars’ work and research, was published beginning in 1809. Comprising twenty-three volumes and 837 engraved plates, it is considered an extraordinary scholarly achievement as well as a foundational work of modern Egyptology.

Egypt Unveiled: The Mission of Napoleon’s Savants is on view through Sunday, May 10, 2009, in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library. The exhibition was organized by Jen Meyer, Assistant to the Curator of Rare Books. Former Assistant, Paula Entin, also contributed. For more information, visit:

Note regarding the exhibition poster:
The scholars enjoyed drawing each other at work in Egypt. In this sketch, an expedition artist contemplates a mighty granite statue of Rameses II in Thebes. Citation: “Thèbes. Karnak. Vue d’un colosse placé à l’entrée de la salle hypostyle du palais.” Antiquities. Vol. III, pl. 20. Description de l’Égypte: ou, Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française. Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1809-1822. Gift from the library of Ralph E. Prime (1840-1920), presented in 1921 by his sons, Ralph E. Prime Jr., Class of 1888, and William Cowper Prime Jr., Class of 1890. Rare Book Division. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Library publishes digital facsimile of 1930s Princeton newspaper

During stack reorganization this past summer, staff at the Princeton University Library discovered the only surviving copy of a 1930s Princeton newspaper. When The Local Express began publication on Thursday, October 24, 1935, it described itself as “a newspaper devoted to the interests of the people of Princeton and vicinity.” As part of the local celebration of “Princeton in the 1930s,” all four volumes have been scanned and made publicly available on the Library’s “Digital Collections” website.

The Local Express is a valuable addition to the body of information available about Princeton in the late 1930s, and its digitization should make it available to a broad audience,” said Howard Green, co-curator of the exhibition “Princeton in the 1930s” currently at the Historical Society of Princeton. “In particular, the paper seems more sympathetic to Roosevelt and the New Deal than the other Princeton weeklies, the Herald, and the Packet.”

The first several Local Express issues were distributed as complimentary copies. William L. Stout and Lloyd Dilks published the newspaper and gave Dilk’s home, 87 Jefferson Road, as its office address. Stout and Dilks were young men, as indicated by listings for their families in Polk’s Princeton Directory for the late 1930s. In an era when jobs were scarce, it made sense to try to capitalize on one’s local knowledge and youthful energy. An early partner, Joseph R. Bourne, dropped out after the first issue and was replaced quickly by Henry A. Rosso. Stout and Dilks quit the paper just six months later, leaving Rosso on his own in late March 1936. Rosso dubbed the Express “Princeton’s Progressive Newspaper,” clearly trying to distinguish it from the two well-established local newspapers, The Princeton Herald and The Princeton Packet.

With the issue of May 12, 1938 (vol. 3, no. 30), The Local Express became The Princeton News. Rosso was sole editor, with Edward E. Felker serving as business manager. Clearly costs were affecting production: the new title was smaller in trim size and printed on cheaper paper stock. The final issue appeared March 9, 1939.

Content of the day was much like today’s local news: politics, schools, business, social, entertainment, and sports. A novelty is the one-time appearance of a color-printed comics section on September 24, 1936 (vol. 1, no. 49), including the following strips: “Happy,” “Peggy Wow,” “Silly Willie,” “The Jamms,” “Pop’s Night Out,” and “Adventures of the Red Mask.”

The University Library received issues of the newspaper as they were published, then bound them for addition to the Library’s PB (Princeton Borough and Township History) collection. An important source for local history, the PB collection was formed by the Library sometime between 1900 and 1920, and new materials were added regularly for several decades thereafter. The PB collection is now in the care of the Rare Book Division at Firestone Library.

Scanning of The Local Express was done by Roel Muñoz and the Library Digital Projects staff during this fall. Cataloguing and interpretative notes were prepared by Joyce Bell and Steve Ferguson. Final arrangements for Web display were done by Jon Stroop and his colleagues in the Digital Library Group.

“The timing of the newspaper’s re-discovery and digitization couldn’t be better, as Princeton in the 1930s continues to be on view through July 13, 2008,” said Eileen K. Morales, Curator, Historical Society of Princeton. “Once the exhibition is closed, the digitized version of The Local Express and the original photographs and manuscripts at the Historical Society of Princeton will continue to enable members of the public to learn about this important decade in Princeton’s history.”

Other local Princeton history materials are available on the Library’s Digital Collections website, such as the Historic Postcard Collection. See:

The Scheide Library on New Jersey Public Television

NJN’s “State of the Arts” series has produced a television feature on the Scheide Library in a program entitled “Public / Private.” First broadcast on Friday, November 16, 2007 @ 8:30 pm with second broadcast, on Wednesday, November 21 @ 11:30 pm, the program is also available as a webcast at:

Note: As of 17 February 2015, this video is archived at

The program features interviews with William Scheide, his wife Judy M. Scheide, Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian, and Princeton graduate students. Also featured are many Scheide family photographs and footage about the Bach Aria Group, founded by William Scheide in 1946.

Further details are available at the NJN “State of the Arts” website:

Just Published, on the Occasion of the Visit of the Association Internationale de Bibliophile

On September 28, about 55 delegates to Congress XXV of the Association Internationale de Bibliophile (International Association of Bibliophiles, or AIB) visited the Library for the entire day. In honor of the occasion, the Library published The Invention and Early Spread of European Printing as Represented in the Scheide Library by Paul Needham, the Scheide librarian. Three components make up the large format book: 16 four color illustrations, at exact size; a masterful essay on the Scheide family’s three generations of collecting framed inside the larger narrative of how questions about early printing have been and will be explored; and a final section of 36 bibliographic entries titled “Checklist of Printing in the Scheide Library Pre-dating 1468.” ISBN 978-0-87811-050-6. 32 pages. $15 plus shipping ($2.50 domestic; $9 international)

Send order to Linda Oliveira,