Celebration of Christmas

Image from "The Coming of Father Christmas", 1894

Nativity image from “The Coming of Father Christmas”, 1894. British Library images.

For Christmas, we’re highlighting a selection of seasonal books, music and other material from some of our contributing libraries.

Carols and Music

In amongst the many works of Christmas Carols on Copac I’ve picked out a few that particularly appealed.

Chetham’s Library and the National Library of Scotland hold a song sheet entitled ‘The twelve good joys of Mary: a carol, for the twelve days of Christmas’ (also known by the first line ‘First good joy that Mary had’). This is believed to have been printed by George Angus (1783-1829), who was active in Newcastle between 1813 and 1825:

Records on Copac

The National Trust Libraries hold the book ‘Choice carols for Christmas holydays’. Changing tastes are reflected within this book that contains some carols still familiar today but others rather less so. Published in England in c.1800, songs include: ‘God rest you merry gentlemen’, ‘In friendly love and unity’, ‘Upon the 25th. of December’ and ‘When bloody Herod reigned king’:

Records on Copac

The Royal Academy of Music’s collection includes ‘Rumanian folk music. Vol.4 Carols and Christmas music (Colinde)’ by Bela Bartok, published in The Hague in 1975. This volume was formerly owned by the famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999):

Record on Copac

Children’s Books

First published in 1785 is the wonderfully named ‘Christmas tales: for the amusement and instruction of young ladies and gentlemen in winter evenings’ by Solomon Sobersides. Copies printed and sold by J. Marshall and Co. “… ordered all the booksellers, both in town and country, to make a present of it to good girls and boys, they paying six-pence only to defray the expences of binding”.

Libraries holding this book include Cambridge University (Special Collections), V & A National Art Library and York University:

Records on Copac

Image of reindeer pulling children in sledges

Image: Reindeer pulling children in sledges (1803). Wellcome Library, London. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

‘The home of Santa Claus : a story of Leslie Gordon’s visit to Father Christmas, and of the strange sights he beheld in the town of toys’ by George A. Best was published in 1900 and illustrated from photographs by Arthur Ullyett. Holding libraries include Oxford University and Liverpool University:

Records on Copac

Published around 1780-1800, ‘Mirth without mischief’, contains the English Folk song ‘The twelve days of Christmas’. It also includes the intriguing sounding ‘play of the gaping-wide-mouthed-wadling frog’. Libraries holding this illustrated children’s book include the British Library, Edinburgh University and Leeds University:

Records on Copac

Classic Christmas stories

Photo of a Christmas tree made of books

Image ‘Bibliojela’ (a Christmas tree made of books) by ToopaGia.

A Christmas Carol

Published in to critical acclaim in 1843 as ‘A Christmas carol: In prose. Being a ghost story of Christmas’, we follow the transformation of Scrooge’s character through his chilling encounters with the ghosts of Marley, Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Libraries holding the first edition of this well-loved story by Charles Dickens include City of London, Guildhall Library and University of London, Senate House Libraries:

Records on Copac

The Night Before Christmas

This magical poem was first published c.1870 as ‘Santa Claus: or, The night before Christmas’ by Clement C. Moore in New York. Also known as ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’, it inspired many Christmas traditions and popular culture An early edition is held by Trinity College Dublin Library:

Record on Copac

***Happy Christmas from the Copac team!***

Exhibition at Middle Temple Library: 250 years of Blackstone’s Commentaries

Renae Satterley, Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library, writes about their forthcoming exhibition.

Photo of Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Middle Temple Library will be hosting an exhibition from Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the publication of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This exhibition was curated by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, and Wilfrid Prest, Professor Emeritus of History and Law at the University of Adelaide.

Image: 4.A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

The exhibition was first shown at Yale from March to June 2015. It will be on display at Middle Temple Library from September to November, after which it will be on display at the Sir John Salmond Law Library at the University of Adelaide from December 2015 to January 2016.

The exhibition features over 40 items from Yale’s Law Library collection which depict the origins of the Commentaries, its publishing success and its impact on the common law system and more broadly on English and American society. The items include a volume annotated by one of Blackstone’s students, a legal treatise with Blackstone’s marginalia, the first English editions of the Commentaries, early Irish and American pirated editions, abridgments, teaching aids, student manuscripts, critiques, translations (into French, German, Italian, and Chinese), and a 1963 liquor advertisement.

Image: Portrait of Blackstone

Portrait of Blackstone

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was a member of Middle Temple, admitted 20 November 1741, called to the Bar 28 November 1746 and made a Bencher (i.e. senior member of the Inn) on 1 May 1761. Sir William was Vinerian Professor of the Law of England at Oxford in 1758. Although he was “particularly fond of architecture and poetry” upon entering Middle Temple he gave up his first love to concentrate on the study of law. While Vinerian Professor, he presented a course of lectures which later became the foundation of the Commentaries.

The Commentaries was first printed in four volumes in 1765-9, later going through thirteen English editions in the 18th century alone, while also being published in Dublin and Philadelphia. The book continues to be published up to this day. According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, the “tortuous” complexities of the common law “were outlined in a manner at once authoritative, clear, elegant, and even engaging” and the Commentaries “would become the most celebrated, widely circulated, and influential law book ever published in the English language.”

Image: Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

In 1759 Sir William donated his own copy of The Great charter and Charter of the forest to Middle Temple Library. The library also holds his personal copy (with bookplate) of Thomas Wentworth’s The office and duty of executors. Unfortunately the latter is damaged, with the title page missing, and was thus mis-catalogued in our collection until recently.

While the library is not open to members of the public, the exhibition can be viewed by making an appointment with the Deputy Librarian (r.satterley@middletemple.org.uk). The library is also participating in the event ‘Open House London: Revealing Magna Carta’ on 19 and 20 September where Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Temple Church and the Royal Courts of Justice will be open to the public. Full details on this event are available at: http://www.middletemple.org.uk/about-us/magna-carta-lecture-series.

The exhibition catalogue, which was published with the support of William S. Hein & Co., is available to download for free at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=amlaw. Mark S Weiner has created a video interview with Professor Wilfrid Prest which can be viewed here: https://worldsoflaw.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/blackstone-goes-hollywood/.

Further information about Yale Law Library’s rare books can be found here: http://library.law.yale.edu/rarebooks. Information about the Law Library at the University of Adelaide can be found here: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/about/libraries/law/.

Last but not least, information about Middle Temple Library can be found at: http://www.middletemple.org.uk/library-and-archive/library.

Renae Satterley is Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library and has been working at the library since January 2006, when she was hired as Rare Books Librarian. She completed her MLIS at McGill University in 2004 and worked at Emmanuel College Cambridge from 2004-2005. She is currently Chair of CILIP’s Library & Information History Group and has written on the history of Robert Ashley’s (1565-1641) library.

Middle East collections at the University of Exeter

Afzal Hasan, Subject Specialist Librarian for Arabic and Islamic Studies
at the University of Exeter, explains his role and describes their Middle East collections.

I look after the Middle East, Politics and Security Studies Collections at the University of Exeter. My official role is Academic Support Consultant – or Subject Librarian. This is a fairly specialist role given the languages used: Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Turkish as well as the familiar western languages. I’ve been doing this since 2010, employed initially as the Mid-East Librarian – previously having volunteered at the Bodleian, and having worked at British Councils in the Middle East as a teacher.

Exeter is a major centre in the UK for Arabic & Islamic Studies with Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies [IAIS] and related Area Studies eg Kurdish Studies.

Photo of Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) Building

Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) Building

Besides a growing and comprehensive modern collection on the Middle East especially given the world of today, I will mention a collection which retains uniqueness. At first IAIS contained the nationally recognised Arab World Documentation Unit [AWDU] but now this has relocated to the Old Library. On the collections in AWDU I wrote the following description on our webpages:

The Arab World Documentation Unit – AWDU – located [now] in the Research Commons Old Library provides unique collections, totalling over 100,000 items on Arab Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, United Arab Emirates as well as the wider Arab world including Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan. AWDU collects mainly documentary reference material such as statistical data, country reports, official publications, political opposition newsletters and Pan-Arab literature. The Unit holds substantial archival, historical and sociological material from the mid-18th century onwards, such as the Bombay Diaries (held in Special Collections – 16,000 selected photocopied pages from 1778 to 1820) which were originally the ledgers of the Secret & Political Department in Bombay, contents guide is here, as well as microfilms from British, American, Indian, French and Portuguese government archives and around 500 volumes of reproduced documents from the British Public Records Office published by Archive Editions. There are also important collections of private papers and diaries such as the valuable Uri Davis collection – containing 2600 volumes of books, 600 pamphlets and 400 volumes/boxes of periodicals mainly dealing with the Arab-Israeli Conflict, as well as microfiche holdings of documents on Palestine during the Mandate period and after 1948.

Photo of Sir William Luce

Sir William Luce

The emphasis on the Mid East gulf you’ll note is a particular strength. The collection of private and personal papers include those of Sir Charles Belgrave (1894-1969), Advisor to the Rulers of Bahrain, 1926-57. Sir William Luce (1907-77), British Governor of Aden, 1956-60; Political Resident in the Gulf, 1961-6; British Special Representative for Gulf Affairs (in charge of Britain’s withdrawal from the Gulf), 1966-72.

The main Library – the Forum Library contains the modern bulk of Middle East material as well as Politics, and Security Studies.

Image of Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon - Cover

Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, Vol I – Cover

Being the Arabist that I am, I should say my favourite item in all of the collections must be Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon – a work of 30 years’ superlative scholarship. It’s been my constant companion since my undergraduate days. The Islamic Texts Society brought out a superb two volume edition in 1984.

For me, what’s really exciting is the University of Exeter’s Digital First Strategy, the Open Access Movement, the events and dynamics taking place in the world, internationalisation strategy, and how the Library continues to play its part.

Afzal Hasan MCLIP
Librarian: Arabic | Politics | Security Studies
University of Exeter

Explore Copac records for Arabic language materials at the University of Exeter Library.

All images copyright the University of Exeter Library and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

The Aldine Collection at University of Manchester

2015 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of the world’s most famous commercial printer, the Italian Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) who brought the Greek and Roman classics to the masses through the new technology of printing, introduced the world to italic type, and pioneered the pocket format book we now take for granted. Merchants of Print: from Venice to Manchester celebrates the legacy of Aldus as an innovative scholar-businessman who founded the Aldine Press in Venice at the end of the fifteenth century and sought to produce critical editions of the classical authors. It also examines how such a rich collection was amassed in a city more famous for its textiles than its texts, more associated with mills than libraries.

Old Aldine Room, The John Rylands Library

Old Aldine Room, The John Rylands Library

New storage, library extension 2007


New storage, library extension 2007

The John Rylands Library has held, since its inception, a discrete collection of Aldines once housed in an octagonal room in one of the towers at the front of the building. This collection arrived at the Rylands as part of the outstanding library of George John 2nd Earl Spencer (1758-1834), which was purchased from his grandson, the 5th Earl, by Mrs Rylands in 1892. After the construction of a new extension which opened in 2007, the Aldine collection – along with the incunabula and other significant collections, were moved into the modern store. Following a bequest in 2010, the library began a project to reorganise, rehouse and recatalogue the collection. This has included incorporating non Spencer copies, previously dispersed elsewhere in the collections, bringing the total to 2,000 volumes which represents about 1200 separate editions.

The collection has always been inclusive, going beyond editions printed by Aldus, his son Paolo and grandson Aldus to include other editions associated with the press (such as some by his in-laws, the Torresani) and also editions identified as counterfeits. It has been reorganised following the arrangement used by the published catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy Aldine Collection at UCLA.   At the end of the project each item has a detailed description on the library catalogue, following internationally recognised standards for rare books cataloguing, including information on editors, translators, inscriptions, annotations, previous owners, bindings and reference to the standard bibliographies (Renouard and Ahmanson-Murphy).

Thus, the exhibition is able to commemorate not only the 500th anniversary of Aldus’s death, but also celebrate the end of almost five years work on the collection. Attention in the past has mostly been focussed on the high spots, of which there are many. One example is the first Italian work published in the Aldine octavo series – ‘Le cose volgari’ by Petrarch in 1501. The collection includes two copies, one displays the arms of the editor, Pietro Bembo and also has a long trail of provenance – almost complete from publication to the present day. It moved from Venice to Vienna, Leiden, Rome, Naples, London, Northamptonshire and finally to Manchester. The second copy has the arms of the Barbarigo family, who had provided financial support for the press. Lord Spencer briefly owned another copy decorated by his wife Lavinia with a gem engraved by Nathaniel Marchant. He presented this to his fellow bibliophile Thomas Grenville in 1796. It is now in the British Library. All three are parchment copies.

Image of the arms of Pietro Bembo

Petrarca, Le cose volgari (1501). Arms of Pietro Bembo

Image of the arms of Barbarigo family

Petrarca, Le cose volgari (1501). Arms of Barbarigo family

The systematic recataloguing to include binding and provenance information for all copies has uncovered the great depths of the collection and especially in relation to the existence of multiple copies of editions. This particular strength provides a major resource for the study of the distribution and impact of a single press, and offers a microcosm for the history of collecting and book collectors over five centuries. The project has opened up possibilities for new research, for example on collectors, bindings, extremely rare editions such as a group published by Paolo Manuzio for the Accademia Veneziana. It provided impetus for our collaboration with the University of York on the identification of animal species of parchment, based on the outstanding examples printed in parchment in the collection. We see this as an ongoing process, with many questions and puzzles still unanswered.

The expansion of the collection beyond the core gathered together by Spencer has provided the opportunity to highlight other collectors and drawn attention to the literary and educational cultures of nineteenth century Manchester and individual figures such as Richard Copley Christie, Bishop James Prince Lee, Joseph Thompson, David Lloyd Roberts and Walter Bullock.

Image of Baldassare Castiglione, Il Libro Cortegiano (1541).

Baldassare Castiglione, Il Libro Cortegiano (1541). Annotations of Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton. Annotations of Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton

We will continue to add to the collection when we can, attempting to fill the gaps of missing editions and variant issues – a very difficult task, but mostly focussing on adding other interesting copies. This copy of the 1541 edition of Castiglione’s Courtier was purchased at the Kenneth Rapoport sale in October 2012. There are extensive annotations in this copy by Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton (1540-1614). From 1667 to 1873 it was in the library of the Royal Society and more recently the book was owned by the Oxford physician and bibliophile Bent Juel-Jensen.

Julianne Simpson
Rare Books and Maps Collections Manager,
Special Collections,
John Rylands Library

Explore Copac records for the Aldine collection at the University of Manchester

All images copyright the John Rylands Library and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Chapter Library

Dr Clare Rider, Archivist and Chapter Librarian, writes about the collections at the Chapter Library, St George’s Chapel.

The College of St George, comprising St George’s Chapel and surrounding buildings, occupies the lower ward of Windsor Castle.  Founded in 1348 by King Edward III as a collegiate religious institution, its purpose was to act as the spiritual counterpart of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in Britain. The library has been an integral part of the life of the College from its foundation, serving the Dean and Canons who make up the Windsor Chapter.

Grail roof boss, St George's Chapel Library

Roof boss in medieval library room

An introduction to the medieval library and a survey of the documentary sources for its study are the subject of a new St George’s Chapel monograph by Dr James Willoughby, published at the end of 2014.   Dr Willoughby describes how the first books were kept chained to desks in the Chapel. On the orders of Edward IV, who donated a number of books to the College, a separate library was built in the 1480s above the Dean’s Cloister to house the growing number of volumes. Despite the loss of seventy of its manuscript books in 1612, donated to Sir Thomas Bodley for his new library in Oxford where they continue to reside, the library’s holdings continued to expand.

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

In 1692 the books were removed to the Vicars’ Hall, where they remained for three centuries as a working library, augmented by later acquisitions until, in 1947, the newly formed Library Committee decided to convert the Chapter Library into a ‘museum–library’,  arranging for the sale of its post-1692 publications. A few eighteenth and nineteenth century volumes escaped the cull and a small number of additions have been made to the rare-book collection since then.  However, the vast majority of the library’s collection of approximately 6,000 rare-books, dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, forming a splendid sequence from the main English and

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

and European printing presses of the time. The volumes cover a wide range of subjects:  theology, ecclesiastical and political history, classics, geography, topography, navigation, bibliography, mathematics and medicine. The nine incunables in the collection include a fine edition of Caxton’s The mirrour of the world (1481), and a beautifully illustrated copy of The crafte to lyve well and to dye well printed by Wynkyn de Worde (1505).

Image of Typus Cosmographicus Universali

Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (left-side)

Amongst the most interesting of the non-theological holdings is the rich collection of sixteenth and seventeenth century topographical and navigational works and atlases including all four parts of Sir Robert Dudley’s Dell’arcano del mare (1606), a fine edition of John Speed’s The theatre of the empire of Great-Britain (1676), Mercator’s Atlas siue Cosmographicae (1606), Jan Blaeu’s Atlas maior (1662) and Moses Pitt’s The English atlas (1680-1683).  One of the earliest published world maps, Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (1488-1552), is included (in two parts) in the 1555 edition of Simon Grynaeus’ Nouus orbis regionum which also forms part of this collection. With its lively depictions of cannibals, winged serpents, elephants, and monsters, and its curious topographical interpretation of North America (labelled as the land of Cuba), it makes a fascinating study.

Image of page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

Page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

An intriguing eighteenth century addition to the Chapter Library was the donation by Canon Walter Harte of a bound volume entitled ‘The Scrutiny at the Conclave held at Rome in the year 1676, when Cardinal Odescalchi was chosen Pope (Innocent XI)’. The volume, which Canon Harte purchased in Italy, contains daily scrutiny papers (printed lists of cardinals with manuscript annotations recording number of votes for each on a daily basis) from the Papal Conclave held in the Vatican from 4 September to 21 September 1676, ending with an engraving of Odescalchi in his new role as Pope. The Apostolic Constitution governing papal elections requires all notes as well as ballot papers to be burnt in order to maintain secrecy. These papers, presumably smuggled out of the Vatican for the antiquarian market in Rome, offer a unique insight into an important moment in the Roman Catholic Church.

Photo of Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

In 1999, the rare-books moved down into the Vicars’ Hall Undercroft, which had been converted into an archives and library repository with the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The library collections are open to the public for research without charge (by prior appointment) and the Archives and Chapter Library welcomes group visits, donations from which contribute to the library conservation fund. The introduction of a successful Adopt-a-Book scheme in 1998, together with charitable grants and donations, has enabled the professional restoration of over six hundred rare-books since 1998.  We are delighted that the library’s catalogue is now included in Copac which has assisted in opening up the collection to a wider audience.

You can see the full St George’s Chapel collection here on Copac. Search within the collection to view details of individual items.

For more information about the Archives and Chapter Library, please visit our website: http://www.stgeorges-windsor.org/archives.html

Published catalogues and guides to the Chapter Library

J. Callard, A Catalogue of Printed Books (Pre-1751) in the Library of St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.15 (Windsor, 1976)

J. Willoughby, The Medieval Library of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle: Documentary Sources, Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.19 (Windsor, 2014)

All images copyrigr.ht St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

 

Special Collections at York Minster Library and the University of York Library

Sarah Griffin, Special collections and York Minster Librarian, talks about
the Special collections at the Cathedral and the University.

I was appointed to the post of Special collections and York Minster Librarian in 2010 following a partnership agreement between the University of York and the Chapter of York Minster.  The university provides all library staff, and technological support through the cataloguing and circulation modules of the library management system. In return university users get free access to the Minster library collections, we run induction tours for students and we host seminars for groups using the books.

The Minster library is the largest cathedral library in England holding around 120,000 items. As well as a substantial collection of early printed books, including 130 incunabula, the library has a modern reference and lending collection. The bulk of the historic library is housed in a 13th-century building to the north of the Minster.Image of Upper Hall of the Old Palace

The Upper Hall of the Old Palace. Image courtesy of the Chapter of York.

Cathedrals libraries are known for their broad and diverse collections and York is no exception. Subjects include travel, botany, science, medicine and, of course, theology.  We attract students of medieval studies, church architecture especially stained glass, and church history. My favourite part has to be the Yorkshire collection which was donated in 1890.

It came from Edward Hailstone, a solicitor from Bradford, who thought public libraries were ‘spoilators of books’ and would not countenance leaving his collection to them. Luckily that meant they came to the Minster where they now occupy a large proportion of our special collections room. They include everything from playbills, to civil war tracts, to children’s books, to local printing; the list is endless. Choosing a favourite item is hard as I have a new favourite every week.  However here is a constant much loved item, a commemorative handbill produced by Thomas Gent who set up his printing press on the frozen river Ouse in 1740.

Image of Verses on the frozen River Ouse, 1740

Verses on the frozen River Ouse, 1740. Image courtesy of the Chapter of York

Thomas Gent was a York printer from 1724 until his death in 1778 with a great line in blarney. He wrote an autobiography which is still fantastic reading although best taken with a big pinch of salt. What he was very good at was writing histories of Yorkshire towns. His books on York, Ripon and Hull contain information not found elsewhere and appear to have been based on first hand research and observation. The Minster library has almost all of Gent’s publications and would like to complete the collection in the future.

At the Minster I battle against the same things as many rare book librarians, namely looking after a collection in a historic building with all the environmental issues that entails, and achieving objectives with limited resources. In fairness big stone buildings do actually control temperature and humidity fairly well but dust and pest control are on-going problems. We suffer every year from a plague of ladybirds that come into the building through poorly fitting windows and promptly drop dead. It can be very disconcerting for readers to find themselves in the middle of a sea of ladybird corpses!

So that’s my first hat dealt with, I am also responsible for the special collections at the university. In the main these are printed books as archives are housed in and curated by the Borthwick Institute for Archives situated on campus. It is a collection of collections, comprising of around 20,000 items. Highlights are the books of Hugo Dyson, one of the Inklings, a group that included JRR Tolkien and C S Lewis; the Raymond Burton Yorkshire Collection; two Yorkshire parish libraries; two provincial medical society collections and much much more. I have got a definite favourite here though. It’s a scrapbook from 1819 produced by Laura Hannam.

Image of Scrapbook 1819

Scrapbook by Laura Catherine Hannam 1819. Image courtesy of the University of York

It was donated to the university on its opening in 1963 but there is no more information than that. However looking at the pictures Laura has drawn it is possible to work out that she must have lived in East Kent, and probably on a farm. The pictures are quite crude but so charming. It sits with a small collection of printed children’s books illustrated by Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, and Randolph Caldecott among others.

The area I probably spend most time on is promotion of the collections within both institutions and also to the wider community in York and further afield. This is done through a combination of exhibitions, talks, tours and the use of social media.  At present I am working on producing a treasures booklet which will showcase the unique and distinctive collections at the Minster, the special collections and the Borthwick.  I am also working with a group of academics from English and History to create an exhibition and events celebrating the 600th anniversary of the Minster library.

I am lucky to work in an institution that places great value on its special collections and with the initiatives of bodies such as RLUK in this area I am looking forward to expanding the reach and scope of the collections I curate.

More information on the Minster collections can be found at http://www.yorkminster.org/treasures-and-collections/historic-collections/library.html

For more information on special collections see http://www.york.ac.uk/library/collections/special-collections/

Senate House Library, University of London treasures volume

Dr Karen Attar, Rare Books Librarian at Senate House Library and author of numerous articles about the Library and its holdings, talks about the Library’s recently published volume of treasures.

(see Senate House Library, University of London, ed. by Christopher Pressler and Karen Attar (London: Scala, 2012) View on Copac)

In November 2012 Senate House Library, University of London, produced a treasures volume featuring a brief history of the Library and sixty highlights from its special collections. The publication is a landmark. The treasures volume is by no means the first publication to appear about Senate House Library. Its first catalogue was published in 1876, the year before the Library opened. Numerous catalogues have followed, culminating in the five-volume short-title Catalogue of the Goldsmiths’ Library of Economic Literature (1970-1995), which has provided a standard for economic completeness (viz. “Not in Goldsmiths’” in booksellers’ catalogues). Articles about specific collections or groups of collections have appeared in various academic journals. But the treasures volume published by Scala is the first large-scale publication with lavish illustrations intended for a general audience.

Senate House Library opened as the University of London Library in 1877. Donations had dribbled in from 1838 onwards. The impetus for a University Library came with the acquisition of the University’s first purpose-built accommodation in Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, in 1870, with a large ground-floor room to double as an examination hall and library. No sooner had the Chancellor appealed for books to fill its empty shelves than Samuel Loyd, Baron Overstone, purchased and gave the library of the recently deceased mathematician and mathematical historian Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871). This comprised over 3,500 titles, mainly to do with the various branches of mathematics (including astronomy) and its history: a collection which was praised at the time and which, over 120 years later in 1996, Adrian Rice called ‘one of the finest accumulations of books on the history of mathematics in the country’.

Obvious treasures included the first five printed editions of Euclid, first editions of Newton’s Principia and Opticks, and the first edition of Copernicus’s  De Revolutionibus, this last individualised by De Mogan’s annotations; also noteworthy were runs of popular textbooks, such as Cocker’s Arithmetic and Francis Walkingame’s The Tutor’s Assistant. De Morgan’s notes, often humorous and sometimes shedding light on the history of mathematics, enhanced a significant minority of the books: a feature noted as adding to their value even at the time of De Morgan’s death, and one which has gained significance in recent years with the general boom in the history of reading and provenance research. The collection was catalogued online, with help from the Vice-Chancellor’s Development Fund of the University of London, in 2004-6. The iconic 1482 editio princeps of Euclid’s Elements is by no means a rare book, with 41 copies recorded on the ISTC for the British Isles alone and many more across the world; and De Morgan’s copy of the first edition of Copernicus has received prominence elsewhere, as in David Pearson’s Books as History (2008). For the treasures volume, we therefore regarded these as out of bounds. De Morgan’s own extensive writings included an article ‘On the Earliest Printed Almanacs’ in The Companion to the Almanac for 1845 and a separate monograph The Book of Almanacs (1851), and we represented this area of his interest with the first of several early almanacs from his library, the Lunarium ab Anno 1491 ad Annum 1550 by Bernardus de Granollachs (ISTC ig00340700). An added attraction to featuring this work is that De Morgan’s is the only complete copy known.  We featured De Morgan’s copy of his Formal Logic(1847): interleaved and bound in two volumes, it is full of scribbled notes, newspaper articles and personal letters, with some unpublished diagrams which show his mind at work.

One of Augustus De Morgan’s insertions in his Formal Logic (1847)

One of Augustus De Morgan’s insertions in his Formal Logic (1847)

Arithmetic was a major focus of his collecting and there would have been numerous early printed books from which to choose. Ultimately we selected a late edition of John Bonnycastle’s The Scholar’s Guide to Arithmetic, edited by retired schoolmaster Edwin Colman Tyson (1828). This is a prime example of how small, common textbooks are prone to disappear: the Senate House Library copy is one of only two on Copac. De Morgan’s copy includes his note from 1857: “This book was sent to me by the publisher, meaning to call my attention to it as a class book. It convinced me that a work on demonstrative arithmetic was wanting – and was the book which suggested the existence of the deficiency to supply which I wrote my own arithmetic in 1830” – what a devastating verdict by an experienced and dismissive reviewer!

Classical historian and University of London Vice-Chancellor George Grote died on 18 June 1871, just four months after De Morgan. Grote bequeathed his books to the University. Unlike De Morgan, Grote had not been a conscious collector. But he had been a voracious reader, with money from 1830 onwards to satisfy his wide-ranging literary interests, and his library contained about five thousand titles. Director’s Choice, by Christopher Pressler – our Director’s selection of thirty favourite items from the collections –had come out a few months earlier and snaffled Grote’s collection of French Revolutionary pamphlets, comprising some items which were not only very rare (again, because they were ephemeral) but which epitomised an area of Grote’s interest: according to his 1962 biographer, Martin Lowther Clarke, he was thought to have read everything there was to read about the French Revolution. We made do with the French translation (rare in Britian; the only other copy on Copac is at the British Library) of Grote’s History of Greece and with the second-oldest item in his collection, Gregor Reisch’s Margarita Philosophica (1504), in a copy including some hand-colouring and in a contemporary blind-tooled calf binding.

G. Reisch, Margarita Philosophica (1504)

G. Reisch, Margarita Philosophica (1504)

It was the gift of the Goldsmiths’ Library of Economic Literature in 1903 – some 30,000 items – which doubled library holdings and transformed the University Library into a major academic institution. Director’s Choice had already claimed the Collection’s most outstanding item in terms of provenance, a copy of Das Kapital (1872) inscribed by Marx to Peter Imandt (1823-1897), a fellow political émigré and German teacher in Dundee who worked with Marx and Engels for many years after having arrived in London, via Switzerland, in 1852. In the treasures volume we highlighted the founding item of the Goldsmiths’ Library, Dionyius Lardner’s Railway Economy (1850), annotated by the founder of the library, Herbert Somerton Foxwell: “I bought this volume from a bookstall in Great Portland Street at Jevons’ suggestion, one afternoon as I was going to Hampstead with him, for 6d.!  He urged me to buy it, partly on account of the low price, partly because it was a book of great intrinsic value, from which had suggested to him the mathematical treatment of economic theory. [cf. ch xiii] This purchase was the first step in the formation of my economic collection.” In addition to buying Foxwell’s collection and presenting it to the University of London, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths financed the extension of the collection, such that it is now more than twice the size of the original gift. Our choice of other items from the Goldsmiths’ Library of Economic Literature honoured collection building, with the first printed work on economics (Franciscus de Platea, Opus Restitutionum Usurarum, Excommunicationum, 1472; ISTC ip00751000), and a professional diary of the energetic railway engineer John Urpeth Rastrick (1780-1856).

On the whole the treasures volume follows and acknowledges the receipt of other major special collections to the University, from the Durning-Lawrence Library based around Sir Francis Bacon and the Quick Memorial Library of works on education, both given in 1929, to the M.S. Anderson Collection of Writings on Russia Printed between 1525 and 1917 and editions of Walter de la Mare’s work (given in 2008 and 2009 respectively). But it is important to acknowledge that not all the noteworthy works in a library are held in named special collections, and the treasures volume does this, for example with single purchases or gifts. The most valuable item featured falls into both these categories. It is an illuminated manuscript produced around 1385 chronicling the exploits of Edward, the Black Prince, during the Hundred Years War. Purchased by the University to present to the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) in 1921, it was subsequently placed by him on permanent loan to the University Library. Occasionally the means of acquisition is unknown, as for the short-running journal of the Healthy & Artistic Dress Union Aglaia (recorded on Copac only for Senate House Library and the National Art Library).

Editing a treasures volume is not conducive to cherishing favourite items, as one’s energies are focused on searching for errors and inconsistencies in drafts. Yet certain items do stand out for particular features. For sheer beauty, my preferred item is a small (110 x 72 mm), apparently unique book of hours printed on vellum in Paris for Germain Hardouyn in about 1516: the book is rubricated and illuminated, with a half-page coloured illustration for each of the hours.

Heures a l’usaige de Rome tout au Long sans riens requerir (ca 1516)

Heures a l’usaige de Rome tout au Long sans riens requerir (ca 1516)

The book I am most curious to read is The Greatest Plague in Life or The Adventures of a Lady in Search of a Good Servant, by the brothers Henry and Augustus Mayhew (1847) – a book reprinted at least three times in the Victorian era, as copies on Copac testify, but which has since sunk into obscurity.The first edition of the book is by no means rare, with copies from twelve libraries on Copac, but Senate House Library is the only library to have recorded ownership of the six original parts, complete with advertisements for pens and ink, iron fenders, lingerie, wigs, and hair dye.

Henry and Augustus Mayhew, The Greatest Plague in Life, ot 3 (1847).

Henry and Augustus Mayhew, The Greatest Plague in Life, ot 3 (1847).

For us there is also a local interest, as the narrator is based in Guildford Street, Russell Square, whence she complains that she has been driven “through a pack of ungrateful, good-for-nothing things called servants, who really do not know when they are well off”. This book promises to rate highly for amusement value, although for the top position in that category it vies with Thomas Carlyle’s acerbic marginalia on the first edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (for example, “don’t!” when the protagonist says it is “too easy to go mad”).

 

“What and where is the University of London?” is a query which vexed University officials before the central University moved from South Kensington to its current home in Bloomsbury in the 1930s.  “What and where is Senate House Library, University of London” albeit not asked so explicitly, has often been implicit. A document from 1946 claimed that the University of London Library was not as well known as it deserved to be, even within the University of London; and half a century later we still encounter researchers who are surprised by the richness of the Library’s holdings. We hope that the treasures volume will stop such a question from being asked at all.

All images copyright Senate House Library, University of London, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

A feast of provenance at Middle Temple Library

Second-hand books can have fascinating histories. Renae Satterley, Senior Librarian at The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple tells us about their rare and early printed books collections, and how they came to have such interesting and varied provenance.

On the 20th of September 2012, Middle Temple Library hosted the Historic Libraries Forum Workshop on Provenance in Special Collections. This workshop attracted a large and diverse group of people interested in conducting provenance research in their special collections. The first part of the workshop consisted of a ‘hands-on’ session with David Pearson, Director of Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery. David led the session with a talk outlining the various types of provenance marks that are found in books, such as bookplates, mottos, armorial bindings, signatures and inscriptions among many others. This was followed by a handling session featuring books from the Middle Temple collection which highlighted twenty different types of provenance. These included books which showed ownership marks of Sir William Waad, John Donne, and The College of Advocates in Doctors’ Commons among others.

Delegates at the Historic Libraries Forum Workshop on Provenance in Special Collections

David Pearson discussing provenance research at HLF's workshop on provenance research in special collections

The second part of the workshop consisted of three talks: Jack Baldwin and Julie Gardham of Glasgow University Library on “Building a provenance database for your collection: Glasgow University Library’s incunabula project”; Philip Oldfield of Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto on “Armorial bindings & developments in online bindings databases”; and Dr David Shaw of the Consortium of European Research Libraries on “Online resources for provenance research”. These talks highlighted the growing interest in the field of provenance research, and the large amount of free resources now available online.

The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, the institutions which provide career development and education for their barrister members. There has been a library at Middle Temple since at least Tudor times, but because the doors were never locked, the books eventually all went missing. Thus in 1641 a member of the Inn, Robert Ashley (1565-1641), bequeathed his own personal library to the Inn in order to re-establish a library there. His library numbered over 4000 volumes at the time of his death, and included a wide range of books. Although Ashley was a lawyer, he was a better bibliophile, and collected books in all European languages, covering medicine, science, philosophy, geography, early exploration, theology as well as law. He was interested in the esoteric, and collected books in numerology and chiromancy, witchcraft and astrology. He also collected forty-five incunubules. As he bought many books second-hand, his collection is rich in provenance, and holds books once owned by Ben Jonson, Sir William Waad, John Donne and John Dee to name a few.  His collection is also notable for containing a large number of European imprints which are unique copies.

Jacques Olivier, Alphabet de l'imperfection et malice des femmes, Paris, 1619. Title page, showing the infamous depiction (engraved title vignette) of a woman with chicken feet

Jacques Olivier, Alphabet de l'imperfection et malice des femmes, Paris, 1619. Title page, showing the infamous depiction (engraved title vignette) of a woman with chicken feet. Reproduced with permission of the Benchers of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

It is possible that it is Ashley who donated the greatest treasure of the Inn, the Molyneux Globes. Unfortunately no records of provenance have been found to prove this. The earliest note referring to the Globes in the Archives date from 1717, and refer to the cleaning and varnishing of the globes. The Middle Temple’s globes are the only known pair in existence of these, the earliest globes made in England. Other possible donors have been suggested in the past, including William Crashaw (preacher at Temple Church), Walter Raleigh (an honorary member of the Inn), William Shakespeare and even Elizabeth I.

The Inn continued to develop the library’s collections after Ashley’s death. As was in keeping with an institution serving members of the gentry, and whose aim was to educate in the manner of the ‘third university’ (i.e. after Cambridge and Oxford), the library developed along the lines of a ‘gentleman’s library’. Although law books were frequently bought, a large number of books on philosophy, history and topography were also acquired through the years. As the library has been fortunate to have retained the majority of these books through the centuries, despite fires and bomb attacks, we now have a collection that is very strong in eighteenth and nineteenth century topography and history. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, the library started to concentrate its acquisitions policies, and built up a significant collection of law books through purchase and donations. Moreover, due to the close relationship that the Inn has always had with the United States, we have collected American law since the late nineteenth century and as such have one of the largest collections of American law outside of the United States.

Nonnio Marcello Saia, Di Nonio Marcello Saia da la Roccha gloriosa in Lucania, Ragionamenti sopra la celeste sfera, Paris, 1552. This is the vellum binding cover, which has come loose and detached from the textblock. It’s a good example of “binder’s waste” used to bind early printed books.

Nonnio Marcello Saia, Di Nonio Marcello Saia da la Roccha gloriosa in Lucania, Ragionamenti sopra la celeste sfera, Paris, 1552. This is the vellum binding cover, which has come loose and detached from the textblock. It’s a good example of “binder’s waste” used to bind early printed books. Reproduced with permission of the Benchers of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

The Library itself is only open to members of the Inns of Court. Exceptions are made, of course, for those wishing to consult our rare book and manuscript collection, which currently numbers over 9000 items. As such, we had our early printed book cataloguing records added to Copac in 2012 in order to broaden access to these rich historical collections.

 

Special collections in the heart of the City: Bishopsgate Library

Edward Weech, Deputy Library Manager, Bishopsgate Library tells us about his favourite items, and some new and exciting developments and acquisitions.

Where do you work? Tell us a bit about what you do.

Bishopsgate Library is an independent library that holds specialist and reference collections, and is situated between the City of London and Spitalfields. The library is part of Bishopsgate Institute which opened in 1895 as an organisation dedicated to the service of culture and adult learning. From the beginning, the library served as the beating heart of the organisation.

 

Bishopsgate Library’s famous dome skylight, a distinctive feature of the main library reading room. Credit: Bishopsgate Institute.

Bishopsgate Library’s famous dome skylight, a distinctive feature of the main library reading room. Credit: Bishopsgate Institute.

For most of its existence, the library included a free lending library, but this service was gradually supplanted by local publicly-funded libraries. Today, we’re a non-lending library and we focus on our special collections. The library is freely open to anyone who wishes to use our collections, space or services. As Deputy Library Manager I am responsible for managing our public services, and also for the management and cataloguing of our printed collections.

What collections do you have? What does your library specialise in?

Charles Goss, who was librarian from 1897 to 1941, established our collecting strands of London history, labour history, and freethought and humanism. In more recent times, our special collections have expanded to include the co-operative movement and the history of protest and campaigning. We have material originating from the sixteenth century to the present day, and our Victorian-era collections are particularly strong.

Our specialist collections incorporate over 100,000 printed items and over 100 separate archive collections. Our printed collections include books, pamphlets, maps, serials, and ephemera, and we also have extensive collections of manuscripts, press cuttings, photographs and illustrations. At the moment we’re in the midst of a retrospective cataloguing project: our goal is to get all of our printed collections catalogued so that they are searchable alongside our archive holdings in our integrated online catalogue. Our collections have a great deal of potential value for the research community, so shining a light on what we have, for existing as well as potential users, is a major priority for us.

 

Book sale at market, ca. 1910. Image credit: Bishopsgate Institute/LAMAS.

Book sale at market, ca. 1910. Image credit: Bishopsgate Institute/LAMAS.

We are creating all our catalogue records from scratch and cataloguing ‘book-in-hand’, so it has been a monumental task! Fortunately we have had help from a number of excellent volunteer cataloguers along the way. We have made good progress and over half of our material is now electronically catalogued. We expect to have catalogued everything by 2015-2016.

What’s your favourite item from the collections? Why? 

As a librarian, it may be cheeky to pick an item from our archive rather than a printed book, but the minute book of Karl Marx’s International Working Men’s Association (otherwise known as the First International), from our George Howell archive, is a hugely inspirational and historic document. It was very controversial at times, particularly after the Russian Revolution: one of Bishopsgate’s governors was so concerned about what he regarded as a blueprint for revolution that he eventually had it banned from use and locked in a bank vault, where it remained until the Soviet Union insisted on it being released during World War Two.

With regards to printed matter: some of my favourite items are a variety of striking pamphlets we have that were published in the 1640s, during the English Civil Wars. Obviously London was in the thick of things during this period, as the capital of the parliamentary camp. But there were various forces contending within the parliamentary faction and the City of London itself, which for me is fascinating; especially because our location gives us the opportunity to observe the City of London up-close today.

What’s new and exciting at Bishopsgate Library? What have you got coming up?

The last few years here have been very exciting! We completed a £7 million development project in 2011, which was partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This development made possible a number of improvements in the ways our services are delivered, and how our collections are stored. In particular, we now have a dedicated space for researchers to consult our special collections, with a member of staff ever-ready to assist users and to supervise the use of material. We also have an expanded and much-improved archive strong-room, featuring environmental controls to ensure that the treasures in our collections are preserved. The number of people using our special collections has never been higher, so we’re happy with the way things are going!

We have made great progress with our cataloguing recently, and we were delighted to join Copac in early 2011. Adding our records to the Copac catalogue has been a huge boost to our research profile and has directed many new users towards our collections. Also, notwithstanding our small size, the Copac team has been extremely helpful and attentive to our needs throughout our involvement with Copac.

We have made a number of exciting acquisitions recently. As well as expanding our printed collections via a number of donations, we have taken in several important archives. These include the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia archive, featuring over 200,000 press cuttings; the archive of politician Bernie Grant; and the archive of political journalist and biographer Andrew Roth. We’re also working to digitise some of our historical collections, especially photographic collections. As with our retrospective cataloguing, we have a team of wonderful archive volunteers who help make this possible. We have thousands of stunning photographs which show the changing face of London over the last century, aspects of social struggle and conflict, the co-operative movement, etc.

Photograph of a protest against the death of Joy Gardner, ca. 1993. Image credit: Bernie Grant Archive/Bishopsgate Institute.

Photograph of a protest against the death of Joy Gardner, ca. 1993. Image credit: Bernie Grant Archive/Bishopsgate Institute.

We’re looking forward to continuing to make progress with all these strands of our work, and are excited about what the future holds. In particular, we’re delighted to be part of Copac, which we expect to continue to play a vital role in research and the development of knowledge in the British Isles for the foreseeable future.