Princeton University has just acquired the Richard Undeland Collection of Mamluk coins as part of its goal of building a comprehensive study collection of the coinage of the medieval Mediterranean. The Undeland Collection was purchased for the University’s Numismatic Collection, part of Firestone Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, by the Friends of Princeton University Library. Donald Farren, Chair of the FPUL, stated, “The Friends of the Library are happy to have been able to fund this important addition to our resources for teaching, learning, and scholarship—helping to make our great Princeton University Library even greater.”
The landmark collection was assembled by Richard E. Undeland, a U.S. foreign service officer who spent the majority of his 35-year career in the Middle East. Mr. Undeland spent countless hours scouring the souks of Cairo, Damascus, and other cities searching for Medieval Islamic These included Mamluk coins, which were struck for every one of the fifty sultans who ruled Egypt and the surrounding territories between 1250 (AH 648) and 1516 (AH922). By the time of his retirement in 1992, Mr. Undeland’s quest to capture every sultan was complete: the collection features at least one example struck for each Mamluk ruler. After Mr. Undeland passed away in 2012, his wife, Joan, sought out Princeton University’s Numismatic Collection as a fitting permanent home where the collection can be studied and enjoyed.
Alan Stahl, Curator of Numismatics, remarked that “the acquisition of the Undeland Collection is an important step in building our holdings of the coinage of the eastern Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, following our systematic strengthening in recent years of our Byzantine holdings and the purchase of the Latin Orient Collection of Crusader Coins and the Armenian Heritage Collection, all with the generous support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund. We have also been fortunate in acquiring the Scott Redford Collection of Turcoman coins. All of this is in addition to the approximately 10,000 post-classical coins in our collection from the Princeton excavations at Antioch-on-the-Orontes in the 1930s, and the combined gifts of a century and a half of generous donors. We are now setting our sights on finding similar resources to build up our representation of coins of the western Mediterranean in the medieval period.”
The collection acquisition was highlighted in The Times of Trenton: “Princeton University Library acquires antique Egyptian coins.”
For more information on the Princeton collection, see: The Princeton University Numismatic Collection.
An informational session introducing the Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 in Firestone Library. John Delaney, Curator of Historic Maps, will showcase select treasures from the Historic Maps Collection and discuss the meaning of collecting. The Historic Maps Collection features rare items from the 16th-century through World War I, including the first printed example of Saint Isidore of Seville’s T and O map of 1472; the first printed map to name the Pacific Ocean, by Sebastian Muenster 1540; the first known linguistic map, by Gottfried Hensel 1741; and Lewis Carroll’s Ocean Chart, from The Hunting of the Snark, 1876. It is also especially rich in New Jersey road and fire insurance maps. The info session will be held in Firestone Classroom 1-8-H (the new classroom next to the main elevators). Regine Heberlein, RBSC archivist, will be on hand to answer questions about the Adler Prize.
Campus visitors and faculty and students returning from Fall Break still have a chance to view a selection of Woody Allen film scripts on display in the Firestone Library. The exhibition, “Woody Allen: The Screenwriter at Work,” will continue through Sunday, November 17, in the Eighteenth-Century Window of Firestone Library. On display are versions of What’s New, Pussycat? (1965), Sleeper (1973), Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and Midnight in Paris (2010).
Exhibition hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00-5:00, and Saturday – Sunday, 12:00-5:00.
The exhibition was held in conjunction with the October 27 question-and-answer session with the celebrated American movie director, screenwriter, and author in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium. A review of the Q & A session was posted on the Wall Street Journal blog: “Woody Allen Talks About Talent, Luck and Comedy at Princeton.”
For more about the exhibition and the Woody Allen Papers at Princeton, see Woody Allen: The Screenwriter at Work.
Deadline for Entries: Monday, December 2, 2013
The Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize is endowed from the estate of Elmer Adler, who for many years encouraged the collecting of books by Princeton undergraduates.
It is awarded annually to the undergraduate student or students who, in the opinion of the judges, have shown the most thought and ingenuity in assembling a thematically coherent collection of books, manuscripts, or other material normally collected by libraries. The rarity or monetary value of the student’s collection are not as important as the creativity and persistence shown in collecting and the fidelity of the collection to the goals described in a personal essay.
The personal essay is about a collection owned by the student. It should describe the thematic or artifactual nature of the collection and discuss with some specificity the unifying characteristics that have prompted the student to think of certain items as a collection. It should also convey a strong sense of the student’s motivations for collecting and what their particular collection means to them personally. The history of the collection, including collecting goals, acquisition methods, and milestones are of particular interest, as is a critical look at how the goals may have evolved over time and an outlook on the future development of the collection. Essays are judged in equal measures on the strength of the collection and the strength of the writing.
Essays should be submitted via e-mail, in a Microsoft Word attachment, to Regine Heberlein: firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, December 2, 2013 and should be between 9-10 pages long, 12pt, double-spaced, with a 1-inch margin. In addition to the ten-page essay, each entry should include a selected bibliography of no more than 3 pages detailing the items in the collection. A separate cover sheet should include your name, class year, residential address, email address, and phone number. Please note that essays submitted in file formats other than Microsoft Word, submitted without cover sheet, or submitted without a bibliography will not be forwarded to the judges.
Winners will receive their prizes at the annual winter dinner of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, which they are expected to attend. The first-prize essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle. In addition, the first-prize essay has the honor of representing Princeton University in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest organized by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Please note that per the ABAA’s contest rules, the winning essay will be entered exactly as submitted to the Adler Prize contest, without possibility of revision.
DATE TO REMEMBER
Deadline for Entries: December 2, 2013
First prize: $2000
Second prize: $1500
Third prize: $1000
Suggested readings from Paul Needham, Scheide Librarian:
Michael Sadleir, preface to his XIX Century Fiction (1951). Firestone 3579.079
A.N.L. Munby, Essays and Papers (1977). Firestone Z992.M958
John Carter, Taste and Technique in Book Collecting (1970). Firestone 05126.96.36.1990
G. Thomas Tanselle “The Rationale of Collecting,” Studies in Bibliography. Online at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/bsuva/sb
Whenever a building gets turned inside out, unexpected mementos of its past inhabitants are sure to emerge. The renovation of Firestone Library, a project scheduled to continue to 2018, has involved the demolition of several areas and the discovery of diverse ephemera. “Found in Firestone,” a new exhibition in the main lobby of the University Library, shows some of the items left behind by the workers who built the Library and the students who have studied there.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, a fair amount of pornography lurked in study carrels. Newspapers from 1948, the year Firestone opened, were stuffed behind old walls.
Travel seemed to be another theme: an 1850s guide for visitors to Oxford was found behind a cabinet, and a brochure for tours to pre-revolutionary Havana turned up in a carrel.
Perhaps the strangest object was an origami bird discovered in the back of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s 1889 bronze sculpture of University President James McCosh’s head, with a note: “On March 20, 1969, 4:37 p.m. This particular paper was inserted in the orifice located posteriorally (to the subject’s face) so that you, the discoverer of this message, will be cognizant of its significance.”
These and other objects found by Ted Munz and his team from Massimino Building Company, the construction managers for the project, are displayed in a case beneath a rediscovered tapestry from the original faculty lounge. The exhibition, organized by Project Coordinator Margaret Kehrer and prepared by John Walako and Gretchen Oberfranc, is free and open to the public.