Book of the Week – An Alphabetical Compendium of Various Sects…


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An Alphabetical Compendium of Various Sects…
Hannah Adams (1755-1831)
Boston: Printed by B. Edes & Sons, 1784
First edition
BL31 A3 1784

Hannah Adams was the first woman in the United States to make a living as writer. Born in Massachusetts, Adams was a distant cousin of President John Adams and the daughter of a lifelong bibliophile called “Book” Adams, who failed an attempt at bookselling. Too frail to go to school, she was taught Latin, Greek, geography and logic to theological students who boarded with her family. One of the students introduced her to Broughton’s Dictionary of Religions, which led to her interest in writing on religion. At the age of seventeen, her father faced bankruptcy. Adams helped sustain the family by selling her lace and by teaching. The sale of her books added to her income. Alphabetical Compendium was an important contribution to American religious literature. In her book, Adams (a Unitarian) represented denominations from the perspective of their adherents, without injecting her own opinions. It includes one of the earliest accounts of the Shakers and a description of contemporary Jewry. This work went through four editions in the United States, each under a different title, and was also published in England.

Book of the Week – Notes on the State of Virginia


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Notes on the State of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Philadelphia: Printed for Mathew Carey, 1794
Second American edition

The second American edition of Notes included a large folding map of Virginia made by Samuel Lewis not in the first edition and a folding chart listing Indian tribes. Written in the form of answers to questions about Virginia, Notes included information about the geography and social and political life of Virginia. Jefferson also used it as a forum for patriotism, expressing great optimism in regard to the future of the fledgling United States of America. He supported this argument with a dissertation about the nature of the good society as reflected in his home state of Virginia. He discussed constitutional principles such as the separation of church and state, the importance of the system of checks and balances in a constitutional government and the need and right for individual liberty. He passionately refuted a theory posited by the contemporary French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), who stated that nature – plant life, animal life and human life – degenerated in the New World. In two different chapters, Jefferson discussed slavery, with tortuous attempts to explain and justify American slavery. Jefferson, in fact, held sway with contemporary Enlightenment belief that blacks were inferior to whites (whites were more beautiful and more intelligent). He argued for the mass deportation of slaves toward the common good of whites and blacks, slavery being demoralizing to both races. He suggested education and emancipation for slaves, and then colonization of emancipated slave children outside of the United States. Very outside, in fact. He did not suggest that they colonize any part of the North American continent.

Book of the Week – The Ladies Calling, in two parts by the author of…


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The Ladies Calling, in two parts by the author of…
Richard Allestree (1619-1681)
Oxford: Printed at the Theater, 1673
First edition
BJ1609 A45 1673

Authorship of this work is variously attributed to Lady Dorothy Pakington, Richard Stern, and others, but most frequently to Richard Allestree. Allestree was a student of Christ Church and considered a protégé. His later works were among the most popular of those in English published by the Oxford University press at the time. The Ladies Calling went through five editions within four years, republished into the 1720s. In this work, Allestree wrote, “[L]adies need not be much at a loss how to entertain themselves, nor run abroad in a romantic quest after foreign divertissements, when they have such variety of engagements at home.” Allestree appeared to question the opinion that women were “naturally inferior to men.” He suggested that inequality between the sexes come down to a matter of educational opportunity, “and truly had women same advantage, I dare not say but they would make as good returns of it.” Still, Allestree believed that the female predicament was caused by “the first woman’s disobedience to God” and “that she (and all derived from her) should be subject to the husband.”

Book of the Week – Putting Tomatoes By


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Putting Tomatoes By
Paul Gruchow
Minneapolis, MN: Accordion Productions, 2005
N7433.4 G84 P8 2005

From the colophon: The readers’ edition consists of 60 numbered copies bound in Fabriano Ingres covers. The standard edition consists of 30 numbered copies bound in Moriki paper over boards with a slipcase. An additional 10 copies (lettered A through J) are housed in a box with a companion broadside.” University of Utah copy is lettered “C.”

Book of the Week – Orley Farm


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Orley Farm
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)
London: Champman and Hall, 1862
First edition

Bound from the monthly issues, with the original wrappers and ads bound in. Many of the wrappers have a contemporary ownership signature. The issues were illustrated with forty engraved plates by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, John Everett Millais (1829-1896). University of Utah copy is bound in late nineteenth-century straight-grain morocco over marbled boards, gilt spines, top edges gilt.

Book of the Week – Das Kloster: Weltlich und Geistlich…


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Das Kloster: Weltlich und Geistlich…
Johann Scheible
Stuttgart: Verlag des Herausgebers, 1845-49
First edition

Das Kloster (“The Cloister”) is a collection of magical and occult texts, chapbooks, folklore, superstition and fairy tales from the German Renaissance compiled by Stuttgart antiquarian Johann Scheible. It was published in twelve volumes between 1845 and 1849. Volumes three, five and eleven are devoted to the Faustian legend. Volumes seven, nine and twelve are devoted to topics related to folklore and ethnography written by F. Nork, a pseudonym of Freidrich Korn (1803-1850). Illustrated.

Book of the Week – Ibrahim, the Thirteenth Emperour of the Turks…


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Ibrahim, the Thirteenth Emperour of the Turks…
Mary Pix (1666-1709)
London: Printed for John Harding, at the Bible and Anchor in Newport-street, and Richard Wilkin, at the King’s-Head in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1696
First edition
PR3619 P58 I37 1696

Ibrahim, the first play written by novelist and playwright Mary Pix, was first performed by Christopher Rich’s patent company at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, to good reviews. It was revived several times well into the eighteenth century. Pix drew on Jean Chardin’s (1643-1713) Travels to Persia, 1686, for her depiction of the Islamic world. She captivated English audiences with the sexual mysteries of the Harem. In the first production, Susanna Verbruggen (ca. 1667-1703) played the chief of the Eunuchs. Pix wrote at least six other plays and five more anonymous plays are attributed to her.  Her work often put stronger emphasis on female perspective than was usual for the time. The exotic setting for Ibrahim allowed Pix to explore questions of rape, female power, and the dynamics of resistance to authority. It has two especially strong female characters; one ambitious and manipulative, the other doomed by her virtuousness. Mary Griffith married George Pix, a merchant tailor, in 1689.  She had two sons, George (1689-1690) and William (b. 1691). About six years later, Pix became involved in a plagiarism scandal with George Powell, a rival playwright and theatrical company manager. Pix accused Powell of keeping a manuscript she had sent, reworking and renaming the play as his own. An anonymous writer published a letter attacking Pix for her bad spelling and the audacity to publish her work. In spite of the letter, Pix’s reputation remained stable and she continued to write, but mostly anonymously. It should be noted, however, that authorship was not generally advertised on playbills, nor always given when plays were printed at this time.

Vesalius, Part 3 – Save the Date


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Mark Nielsen 8x11 copy 2

September 18, 2014

Lecture: Gould Auditorium, J. Willard Marriott Library, Level 1, 6:30 PM

Reception: Special Collections Gallery, Level 4, 7:30 PM

A 45 minute tour of the exhibitions will begin at 5:30 at the west entrance, Level 1, of the J. Willard Marriott Library.

Learn more about Mark Nielsen.


Vesalius, Part 2 – Down to the Bones


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Down to the Bone PosterJuly 7 – October 5

Exhibition: Down to the Bones 

Curator: Luise Poulton

Location: Special Collections Gallery, J. Willard Marriott Library, level 4

Gallery hours: Monday–Friday, 8:00–6:00; Saturday, 9:00–6:00; Hours differ during University breaks and holidays.

The exhibition is FREE and open to the public.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) was an exquisite piece of creativity that blended observation; organization of information, format, typography; and illustration into an integrated whole to accurately describe the human body. The intense collaboration between scientist, artist, and printer was unprecedented. Prior to the publication of this book, medical texts were mostly derived from the medieval Arabic medical tradition or from translations of the works of Classical authors, whose texts had been corrupted by translation and re-translation: from Greek into Syriac, Syriac into Arabic, Arabic into Latin. Renaissance Europe embraced the classical works of Hippocrates and the Greco-Roman Galen. Vesalius, however, chose to further his knowledge of human anatomy by studying human cadavers. From these studies, Vesalius formed his position that the validity of any hypothesis rested solely upon facts established by observational methodology. His work marked the beginnings of modern science.

Vesalius, Part 1 – Celebrating 500 Years of Innovation


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See the J. Willard Marriott Library’s digitized 1555 edition of De humani corporis fabrica.
Learn more about our guest speaker Mark Nielsen.