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.

Book of the Week – Primitive Origination of Mankind Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature…


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Primitive Origination of Mankind Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature…
Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676)
London: Printed for William Godbid, for William Shrowsbery at the Sign of the Bible in Duke-Lane, 1677
First edition

Published after Sir Hale’s death, this curious treatise attempts to prove that the world must have had a beginning else mankind could never have existed from eternity.

Donation keeps Alice collection growing


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“You’ve got no right to grow here,” said the Dormouse.
“Don’t talk nonsense,” said Alice more boldly: “you know you’re growing too.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Dr. Ronald Rubin has donated a set of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.

Dr. Rubin, with his frequent and diverse gifts to the Rare Books Division, helps add to the breadth and depth of our collections. Thank you, Dr. Rubin, for helping the rare book collections grow.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
New York: Random House, 1946
“Special Edition”
PR4611 A7 1946

This edition was designed by George Salter using John Tenniel’s illustrations from the first edition, colored by Fritz Kredel. Dalziel Brothers were the wood-engravers. Type face is Monotype Scotch. Two matched volumes issued in one slipcase.

Book of the Week – The Complaint of James Alexander and William…


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Alexander, Complaint, 1735

Alexander, Complaint, 1735

The Complaint of James Alexander and William…
James Alexander (1691-1756)
New York: Printed for John Peter Zenger, 1735
First edition

“It is with utmost Regret, that we attend this Committee in the Quality of Complaints; but the Matter of it too neatly affects us and the Liberties of this Country, to be buried in Silence. Had our personal Interest been solely concerned, we might have rested in a patient Expectation of a personal Remedy in some other Way: But when the Liberties of a Country are at Stake, and the Civil Enjoyments of a People sap’d at the very Foundation of them, it behoves every Man that loves his Country to cry out and give publick Warning of the Danger.”

James Alexander, born in Scotland, was an attorney. In 1715, Alexander immigrated to the American British colonies and acted as surveyor general for the Province of New Jersey. Alexander participated in the Council of New York, although he continued his public service to New Jersey. He was admitted to the New Jersey Provincial bar in 1723 and joined the Council of New Jersey that same year, serving until 1735. From 1723 to 1727 Alexander performed the duties of New Jersey attorney general. In 1735, journalist John Peter Zenger was on trial, accused of libelous attacks on the administration of New York Governor William Cosby. Alexander served as co-defense lawyer at this trial. Alexander Hamilton pleaded the case. Zenger was acquitted, and the success of this defense was a triumph for the principles of a free press. Alexander’s Complaint helped lay the foundation for the struggle for freedom of the press in the colonies. The case was instrumental in the Bill of Rights determination that juries rather than judges should decide guilt or innocence.