Rare Books

Rare Books

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Before There Was Betty Crocker...

...there were a number of notable cookbooks; those extant are pictured on the pages of the today's blog entry at Booktryst.

In 1474 the Italian humanist Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481) compiled and published in Rome the first printed and dated cookbook, De honesta voluptate et valetudine, Libri de arte coquinaria, haute cuisine, Libro novo (Of Honorable Pleasure and Health), a monument to medieval and Renaissance cuisine. In Latin, it was reprinted in many subsequent editions, and translated into Italian, German, and French (it was a best-seller in Paris). In 1475 Platina was named Vatican librarian by Pope Sixtus IV.

Eleven years later, in 1486, Küchenmeisterei (Cooking Mastery), a book sometimes and erroneously attributed to Gutenberg (out of business since the late 1450s, his print shop taken over by his financial partner, Johann Fust, after a lawsuit in 1455), was published by Peter Wagner (f. 1483-1500) in Nuremberg.

See more at Booktryst.

Another Kind of Ephemera...Bookplates

The latest posting on <a href="Http://bookplatejunkie.blogspot.com">Confessions Of A Bookplate Junkie</a> (Lewis Jaffe, who has been a collector for thirty years).

What Is To Become of Kafka's Manuscripts? Kafka's Last Trial

A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. Lengthy (ten page) history and explanation of all the players in the disposition of the works of Franz Kafka; article by Elif Batuman in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

A Look Back at the History of Print and Publishing (or It's Always Been a Tough Business)

Change of pace from the more frequent 'death of print' stories here on LISNews.

This one's about the birth of print; a discussion of the newly published book by Andrew Pettegree, "The Book in the Renaissance" with Tom Scocca of Slate and the Boston Globe.

In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook. It was probably an edition of a fourth-century grammar text by Aelius Donatus, some 28 pages long. Only a few fragments of the printed sheets survive, because no one thought the book was worth keeping.

“Now had he kept to that, doing grammars...it probably would all have been well,” said Andrew Pettegree, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews and author of “The Book in the Renaissance,” the story of the birth of print. Instead, Gutenberg was bent on making a grand statement, an edition of Scripture that would cost half as much as a house and would live through the ages. In the end, struggling for capital to support the Bible project, Gutenberg was forced out of his own print shop by his business partner, Johann Fust.

The article continues in a question and answer format here.

Original Nuremberg Laws To Be Transfered to National Archives

From The Washington Post: The National Archives said Tuesday that a California library is transferring to the Archives the two original sets of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazis' spare, anti-Semitic manifesto endorsed by Adolf Hitler that helped lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

The laws are being transferred by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, where they have been held since they were placed there by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in 1945.

Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945.

Each set of the 1935 laws is typed on four pieces of paper, said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. One set is believed to have been signed by Hitler.

One section, the so-called "laws for the protection of German blood and German honor," forbade such things as marriages between Jews and Germans, and extramarital relations between Jews and "subjects of the state of Germany."

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I

60 Minutes had a piece last night on The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. If you skip to 8:45 in the video they show the library and librarian of the church. Interesting to see a library with so much history.

Kafka Experts Will Have to Keep Waiting...

If it were any other writer, today's unfolding of events in an anonymous bank vault in Zurich would be described as Kafkaesque. But the latest twist in a legal battle over the estate of Franz Kafka probably deserves some other adjective.

Four deposit boxes were pried open. Inside were manuscripts, drawings and letters from the Czech writer that had been locked away for more than 50 years, as Kafka experts around the world waited with baited breath. But the expectant Kafka enthusiasts, historians and critics will have to wait longer, after two Israeli sisters who insist they own the papers by inheritance from their mother banned all reporting of the boxes' contents.

They were opened on the orders of Talia Koppelman, a judge from the Tel Aviv family court. Last week she also ordered the opening of six safety deposit boxes in Israeli banks containing other Kafka works.

Today's unlocking at Zurich's UBS bank of safes sealed since 1956 was attended by lawyers representing, on one side, Eve and Ruth Hoffe and the German literature archive, and, on the other, the state of Israel and its national library.

Update from Guardian UK and some background on the case .

The Greatest Unknown Literary Treasure in Los Angeles

...might be The Clark Library. Many feel this way when they discover the rare-book library, which is run by UCLA but located in Jefferson Park. Brick walls hide it from passersby, and most undergraduates have never heard of it. But those who know the library say it is unmatched and unforgettable.

Many details of the library reflect the younger Clark's personal style and history. The bookcases in the reading rooms include copper mined by his family. Clark, who loved chamber music and founded the L.A. Philharmonic, had the drawing room designed to hold concerts.

Clark's taste gave the building and its five-acre grounds a unique charm that remains today. Original furniture manufactured in 1920s Pasadena stands in the reading rooms, and a grand piano occupies the drawing room.

Clark's influence also appears in the books themselves. Experts say his foresight is a major reason the library continues to stand out. Instead of hunting the most sought-after Elizabethan texts, he focused on later writers such as John Dryden and Oscar Wilde.

Clark librarians run a blog called 'The Clog', which in its latest installment, informs us that the dearly departed Mr. Clark can now be found on facebook.

LA Times reports.

But Did He Steal It?

Remember how librarian Richard Kuhta was handed a damaged copy of one of the Bard's First Folios for examination?

Yesterday, the man in possession of the priceless piece, Raymond Scott, 53, was found guilty of handling stolen goods and removing stolen property from the UK in relation to the book, which has been described as part of England's ''cultural legacy''. However he was cleared of stealing the work.

The charges relate to one of the surviving copies of the 1623 compendium of Shakespeare's plays which went missing from Durham University in 1998. It was handed in by Scott to the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC a decade later.

Scott was remanded in custody by Judge Richard Lowden, who told him: "There will, in due time, be an inevitable substantial custodial sentence."

The judge adjourned the case to a date to be fixed to allow a psychiatric report to be prepared.

The jury of seven women and five men heard that Scott was arrested after presenting the badly damaged folio to staff at the US library and asking for it to be verified as genuine.

More from Guardian UK.

Descendants Tussle Over Steinbeck Manuscripts and Artifacts

From The Californian: Caught off guard by news that John Steinbeck memorabilia will be auctioned off in New York on Wednesday, the author's son and daughter-in-law are raising money on the fly to bid for items and bring them to Salinas.

Santa Barbara-based Thom Steinbeck and Gail Steinbeck had raised $4,600 as of Monday from a list of contributors that included auto dealership owner Sam Linder and CIA Director Leon Panetta. Their goal is $15,000.

Bloomsbury Auctions announced last Wednesday that a collection of Steinbeck manuscripts, photographs and artifacts valued from $200,000 to $250,000 will be put to bid. The items trace back to a New York apartment the author shared with his third wife, Elaine Steinbeck, in the 1950s and 1960s. After she died in 2003, they came into the possession of Elaine's children from a prior marriage to Zachary Scott, Gail Steinbeck said.

Those heirs, with the aid of literary agents McIntosh & Otis, arranged for the auction, Steinbeck said.

It's a bone of contention between two sides of the family. Disputes over possession of particular items have been hashed out in court for eight years.

Librarian Retrieves Stolen First Folio

Richard Kuhta, a librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library has described the "heart dropping" moment he realised an ancient Shakespeare first edition he'd been asked to authenticate by a County Durham man was a priceless relic stolen a decade earlier.

Staff at the world renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC called in the British Embassy, Durham Police and the FBI after being given the badly damaged book by Raymond Scott in 2008.

Scott, 53, of Manor Grange, Wingate, posed as a wealthy international playboy who claimed to have discovered the Shakespeare's first folio when holidaying in Cuba.

But experts at the library soon discovered the artifact, which had pages missing and its bindings and cover removed, was a unique 1623 first printing of the bard's collected works stolen in a raid at Durham University in December 1998.

Scott, who has denied theft, handling and transporting stolen goods, intended to sell the book at auction then share the money with friends in Cuba, a trial at Newcastle Crown Court heard. Experts estimated the first folio to be worth £1 million, even in its damaged state. They said in terms of its cultural value it was priceless.

Washington National Cathedral to Sell Off Rare Books

The Washington Post: Over the past two years, economic hard times have loomed as large at Washington National Cathedral as the Gothic spires that grace the city's skyline.

The cathedral has slashed its budget from $27 to $13 million, outsourcing its gift shop operation and shuttering its popular greenhouse and its continuing education college for clergy. Three rounds of layoffs have reduced the staff from 170 to 70, including, at the end of this month, the cathedral's conservator and the liturgist who oversaw the April memorial service for civil rights pioneer Dorothy Height.

Then news came this week that the cathedral, visited by every U.S. president since Theodore Roosevelt laid its foundation stone in 1907, was considering selling off part of its rare books collection, probably worth millions. Cathedral officials said the potential sale of the books is a separate matter from its ongoing budget difficulties. But they acknowledge that they no longer have the staff and resources to care for such a vast collection, which includes volumes donated by Queen Elizabeth II and Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and a Dutch Bible that was the first written in modern language.

Topic: 

A Gentle Reminder to Special-Collections Curators

Let this, then, serve as a gentle reminder to rare-book curators that your job is not to keep readers from your books but just the opposite: to facilitate readers' use of the collections. If altruism or professional integrity aren't sufficient motivators to get you to play nice, you might consider the fact that you have a job only because people want to read what's in those collections, and you will keep your job for only as long as readers feel welcome to approach you to make use of the materials.

Full article

Topic: 

Historic Magna Carta Stuck in New York Due to European Travel Restrictions

The Magna Carta may have helped establish our right to protection against unlawful legal detention, but that doesn’t mean the venerated document can’t be held in New York a little longer than expected while Europe resolves its travel woes.

The Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan said a rare manuscript of the Magna Carta that it will show starting Wednesday would remain on display through May 30 while arrangements were made to transport it home to Britain. As all good schoolchildren know, the original Magna Carta was signed by King John of England in 1215 at Runnymede, putting limits on the king’s power and enumerating legal principles like the writ of habeas corpus. The version at the Morgan, which dates to 1217, is one of 17 surviving originals produced in the 13th century that bear the royal seal. It had been held by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and was transported to New York for a special Oxford event, but could not be returned to Britain as a result of travel restrictions imposed after the eruption of an Icelandic volcano. Through the end of May, Britain’s loss is America’s gain.

Our First President Was a Scofflaw...Overdue Books!

He may have never told a lie, but George Washington apparently had no problem stiffing a Manhattan library on two books.

Two centuries ago, the nation's first President borrowed two tomes from the New York Society Library on Manhattan's Upper East Side (New York City being the Nation's Capital at the time) and never returned them, racking up an inflation-adjusted $300,000 late fee.

But Washington can rest easy. "We're not actively pursuing the overdue fines," quipped head librarian Mark Bartlett. "But we would be very happy if we were able to get the books back." Washington's dastardly deed went unknown for almost 150 years.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/04/17/2010-04-17_read_it__weep_by_george_prez_racks...

A Rare ‘Jungle Book’ Resurfaces in Britain

Librarians for Britain’s National Trust have discovered a rare first edition of Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book,” BBC News reported. Officials of the trust said the book contained a handwritten note from the author to his daughter Josephine, who died in 1899, when she was 6.

Full piece here

Here is another article that shows a picture of the inscription.

Wikipedia entry for The Jungle Book

Charles Dickens Library Exhibit & Discovery Of 2 previously unknown letters from him

<a href="http://www.bookpatrol.net/2010/03/slumming-with-charles-dickens-new-york.html">Slumming With Charles Dickens: New York Library Relives His American Tours</a> snippet: "The staging of Dickens In America led to the discovery of two heretofore unknown personal letters written by Dickens to John Bigelow in the 1860's."

The Reanimation Library...Recycling Images and More

Very cool project here in Brooklyn, NY, the Reanimation Library. Below, a video explanation of the project via Rocketboom. Ella Morton interviews Andrew Beccone, master librarian and founder of the Reanimation Library: Additional information at the Reanimation Library website. Sounds like THE perfect place to send of some of those old weeded illustrated volumes....

Casanova Memoirs Donated to the French National Library

...the definitive sexy librarian...

PARIS — France's national library has acquired the memoirs of Casanova, a moving narrative written in French by the 18th century Venetian-born lothario. Times Online reports.

The memoirs, "The Story of My Life," had been in the hands of one of Germany's most prominent publishing families for nearly two centuries.
The manuscript was acquired by the Brockhaus family in 1820, hidden by Frederic-Arnold Brockhaus during World War II, then carried by an American military truck in 1945 out of Leipzig. It was finally published in 1960.
...it seems there's quite a bit he scratched out...

The manuscript was donated to the French National Library. Casanova, who was born in 1725, wrote his memoirs between 1789 and 1798, the year of his death. Here...a bit excerpted:

"(I have had) exploits with 120 women and girls, including a nun. As for women, I have always found that the one I was in love with smelled good, and the more copious her sweat the sweeter I found it."

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Rare Books