The American Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1840, being bissextile or leap-year, and the 64th of American Independence, calculated for Boston…

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“He is a traitor to his race, who does not feel that all within the circle of humanity are his brothers and sisters — that their wrongs are his wrongs, and that his cup is dashed with the bitterness which overflows from theirs. While a single human being, round the wide world, drags the chain or drops the tear of a slave, every other human being, whose heart has not turned to stone, will cry out against the wretch who riveted the one or wrings out the other.”

“This language of Congress is memorable, as it shows that the dignified and enlightened body, under whose auspices the liberties of America were achieved, still retained an undiminished respect for the great and eternal principles of FREEDOM….’For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis on which these republics, their laws, and the constitutions are erected, to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments…'”

The American Anti-Slavery Almanac for 1840…
New York, NY & Boston, MA, 1839

This almanac presents the expected charts and tables, including lists of eclipses, high tides, population statistics of the United States, and postage rates. This practical matter is interspersed with texts detailing accounts of branding, hunting escaped slaves with dogs and and guns, selling a mother from her child, women being whipped in fields, lynching, burning alive and other atrocities perpetuated against the enslaved. The stories are illustrated with strikingly graphic images, one for each month plus one for the cover. Almanacs were read and used by a majority of literate American adults. The American Anti-Slavery Society began publishing these almanacs, in 1835, as a way of publicizing the horrors of slavery.

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Sassy Faith

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“To erect a great library in the year 1968 is an act of stubborn and sassy faith.” — Wallace Stegner, from his dedication address for the opening of the J. Willard Marriott Library

Rare Books joins in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the J. Willard Marriott Library, recognizing the work of the Friends of the Library, past, present, and future, in its charge to keep our collections safe and growing at a time when digital matter consumes students and administrators alike.

Long live the Book! Long live libraries!

J. Willard Marriott Library
Level 1 lobby
Friday, January 5 through Sunday, March 18

Curated by Lyuba Basin and Luise Poulton with help from Scott Beadles, Jonathan Sandburg, and Jon Bingham.

For more information, contact Luise Poulton 

 

Book of the Week — McElligot’s Pool

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“Oh, the sea is so full of a number of fish,
If a fellow is patient, he might get his wish!”

McElligot’s Pool
Dr. Seuss
New York: Random House, 1947
First edition

This is the first of Dr. Seuss’s books to be illustrated in full color. Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, dedicated this, his first book after leaving the Army and his fifth overall, to his father, the Superintendent of Parks in the Giesel’s hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. The book garnered Seuss a nomination for the Caldecott Medal in 1948. Binding is variant b, with opened-mouth fish on front cover, lettering on spine and seven-line copyright statement. Rare Books copy inscribed by Dr. Seuss “For the Angel Ferris Children’s Reading Room with very Best Wishes.”

Merry Christmas!

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From the Rare Books Department

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Luise Poulton
Jonathan Bingham
Lyuba Basin
Scott Beadles
Jonathan Sandberg

Anno 1664 Den. 18. Decembris…

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Who vagrant transitory comets sees,
Wonders because they’re rare; but a new star
Whose motion with the firmament agrees,
Is miracle; for there no new things are. — John Donne

Anno 1664 den. 18. Decembris…
Martin Zimmermann
Augsburg?: M. Zimmerman, 1664
QB724 Z55 1664

Broadside giving an account of a comet seen in Augsburg, December 18, 1664 with a drawing of its path through the sky. This comet was seen every night across Europe between 14th and 24th December 1664, reaching its perigree on December 18th (December 28th by the Gregorian calendar). The comet was one of the brightest of the time and reported by many including Samuel Pepys, Samuel Danforth, Giovanni Borelli, Robert Hooke, and John Dryden. It was seen again in January 1665, and was last seen in March 1665. The bird represents the constellation of Corvus (the raven). Modern astronomers have designated the 1664-5 comet as C/1664 W1.

Book of the Week — Libri de piscibus marinis in quibus ver piscium effigies

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“…in which true images of fish are displayed.”

Libri de piscibus marinis in quibus ver piscium effigies
Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566)
Lugduni: M. Bonhomme, 1554-1555
First edition
QL41 R6

Guillaume Rondelet was one of the first of sixteenth century scientists to break with the eighteen-hundred-year-old tradition among natural historians of quoting or commenting on Aristotle’s knowledge of animals and begin the practice of gathering and reporting information gained firsthand. This book contains accurate illustrations of the egg cases and immature eggs of several fish, based upon Rondelet’s own meticulous studies. The work is an example of the change in attitude about science in the sixteenth century.

Books of the Week — Fortune Teller Fish & I Hide a Wild Fish Cry

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“I’ve been looking for you, said the fishman, unable to advance or retreat. They say you can soothe my dreams.”

Fortune Telling Fish
Alisa J. Golden
Berkeley: never mind the press, 1993

One net bag with three folded parts.


“start with a sturdy boat. start with a heavy book. start with a hearty sandwich. don’t bring bait.

I hide a wild fish cry
Alisa J. Golden
Berkeley: never mind the press, 1999

From the colophon: Printed letterpress with Caslon, Bank Gothic, and wood type bobbing on Stonehenge splashed with acrylic inks. Edition of ten copies. Rare Books copy is no. 10.

Book of the Week — Los Espanoles pintados por si mismos por varios autores

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El Ama del Cura

“Dear reader, it will not have escaped your insightful sensitivity that you are the friend to whom I have written from the beginning.” — Jose Maria Tenorio, loosely translated by Luise Poulton

Los Espanoles pintados por si mismos por varios autores
Madrid: Gaspar y Roig, 1851
DP48 E76 1851

This compilation of pieces, written by the most notable Spanish writers of the time, was published by bookseller Ignacio Boix, a central figure in the Madrid publishing world. The collection was first printed in two volumes between 1843 and 1844, and reprinted in 1851 in a single volume for the Illustrated Library of publishers Gaspar and Roig. Writers included journalists, essayists, critics, and a few anonymous characters, such as “The Solitary,” and “Curious Speaker.” The increasing diversity in the Spanish literary voice during this period of nationalist romanticism is highlighted in this collection, which focuses on Spanish personality and cultural identity. The collection is illustrated with woodcuts, a technique at which Spanish engravers became particularly adept during this period. The whole project was based on the French publication, Les français peint par eux-mêmes (The French painted by themselves), printed in 1849-42.


El Escribano


La Gitana


La Cigarrera

A Donation Highlights Jewish Contributions to Commerce in Early America

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Dr. Ronald Rubin has donated four issues of early American newspapers highlighting Jewish contributions to commerce.


The Pennsylvania Packet, Philadelphia, October 9, 1781, features an advertisement by Haym Salomon, broker, considered the Financier of the American Revolution.

In the news that day, a report on the war from September 28:

“Gen. Washington sent in a flag to lord Cornwallis directing him not to destroy his shipping or warlike stores, as he would answer it at his peril. The early capture of the out-posts will greatly accelerate the future operations of our army.”


The Independent Gazetteer, or the Chronicle of Freedom, Philadelphia, February 4, 1783, contains an advertisement by Philadelphia stock brokers Isaac Franks, and Nones and Cohen.

In the news that day, a letter from the editor regarding vesting “power to Congress to levy, for the use of the United States, a duty of 5 per cent…on all goods, wares, and merchandise, of foreign growth and manufacture, etc….” to which the author against Rhode Island’s demurs: “If the Congress of America was a body of individual permanency, there might just cause of jealousy; but, when it is considered, that every member is annually nominated by assemblies, who are themselves also annually chosen by the people, I cannot perceive the least ground of danger; nay, I believe in most of the states, the delegates to Congress are revocable at pleasure: so that evil of misapplied power may be check as soon as it appears.”


Dunlap’s American Daily Advertiser, Philadelphia, May 9, 1791, features an advertisement by Solomon Lyons, a prominent Colonial-era broker and financier. Lyons was born in 1760 in Frankfurt, Germany and died in 1812 in Philadelphia, having raised a family of six children and being an active participant with Congregation Mikveh Israel.

In the news that day, an observation from a correspondent:

“The Bank of the United States may justly be considered as a proposition made to the monied interest, foreign and domestic — & in fact, appears to both in a very favourable point of light – the latter, from every information, are making great preparations to subscribe, and the terms are so advantages that no equal object of speculation is perhaps presented in any quarter of the globe to the former.


The Charleston Mercury, Charleston, South Carolina, February 13, 1856, contains a front page illustration of Levy Department Store.

In the news that day, a piece on abolitionism:

“…the Southern States shall become strong. Then, like the barons of England in similar circumstances, that they be able to demand their rights under the magna charta of the land, or, failing to secure these, to dissolve their connection with a hostile and lawless section. Glorious, indeed, according to our view, would be the result of Southern Union…”

Thank you, Dr. Rubin, for years of your wonderful gifts!

Book of the Week — November: A Map

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“this is how it is
longing sets in as days shorten
and nights, well,
nights shoulder their way
right into day.
it helps to have a sense of humor,
a big stack of cordwood,
skis waiting for snow,
a book and a chair,
some paper to draw on,
cloth to stitch
with thread:
threads to tie it all
together,
november.”

November: A Map
Velma Bolyard
Canton, New York: Caliban Press, 2015
N7433.4 B662 N6 2015

Artist’s statement from the colophon: “…I gathered flora from the bared down countryside. Using the fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, leaves, twigs, fungi and metals: copper, aluminum, steel, iron, and the hard water from my well, I contact- or eco- printed them in my kitchen. The colors, patterns, resists and pigments are transferred to the paper by means of heat, water, and pressure after being bundled into a big pot and cooked. After, they are unbundled, rinsed, and pressed dry: alchemy. They are a hortus siccus, a dry garden, an herbal map of my home.”

One folded sheet presented in a windowed, sewn sleeve. Letterpress printed by Mark McMurray and Velma Bolyard on Arches using a 180-year-old Washington Hoe press. Edition of forty-one copies, signed and numbered by the artist and printer. Rare Books copy is no. 37.