Book of the Week — A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism

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“The fact that certain bodies, after being rubbed, appear to attract other bodies, was known to the ancients. In modern times, a great variety of other phenomena have been observed, and have been found to be related to these phenomena of attraction.” — James Clerk Maxwell

A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1873
First edition, first issue
QC518 M46

James Clerk Maxwell was born in Edinburgh. At age 25 he became Professor of Physics at Aberdeen University’s Marischal College, where he began to study the composition of Saturn’s rings. In 1859, he published “On the Stability of Saturn’s Rings.” A century later, the Voyager space probes confirmed many of Clerk Maxwell’s conclusions.

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In 1860, Clerk Maxwell moved to King’s College London. In 1871 he returned to Cambridge where he helped establish and design Cavendish Laboratory and became the first Cavendish Professor of Physics. In 1873 he developed his four equations which played a key role in Albert Einstein’s work on his theory of relativity. “The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell Equations of the electromagnetic field,” wrote Einstein, who later equated Faraday with Galileo and Maxwell with Isaac Newton.

Clerk Maxwell’s work forms the basis of much of modern technology, including radio, television, satellite communications and cell phones. Twentieth century physicist Richard Feynman wrote, “From a long view of the history of mankind — seen from, say, ten thousand years from now — there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.”

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The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), built in 1987, is in Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

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Treatise is Clerk Maxwell’s most detailed and comprehensive work, advancing ideas that would become essential for modern physics.

Treatise “extended Maxwell’s ideas beyond the scope of his earlier work in many directions, [demonstrating] the special importance of electricity to physics as a whole. He began the investigation of moving frames of reference, which in Einstein’s hands were to revolutionize physics; gave proofs of the existence of electromagnetic waves that paved the way for Hertz’s discovery of radio waves; worked out connections between the electrical and optical qualities of bodies that would lead to modern solid-state physics; and applied Tait’s quaternion formulae to the field equations, out of which Heaviside and Gibbs would develop vector analysis” (Norman).“Maxwell most clearly prefigures 20th-century physics” (Simmons).

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Copies of the first issue have been found both with and without a publisher’s catalog bound in Volume II (the text of which contains an issue point). Rare Books copy bound with catalog in volume 2 and errata in volume 1.

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My thanks to Dean Henry S. White for bringing this classic to my attention. ~ LP

Book of the Week — Land Forms and Air Currents

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N7433.4-B37-L35-2014-CurlySpread
“The coastline dances along the main highway, sometimes following the road’s straight-line lead, then moving in and away in a jitterbug step, twice dipping under a stretch of bridge —
a tango flourish”

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“On a map the shore’s edge is a fixed line. But in reality she’s a ballerina, gliding, then rising on her toes with the tide.”

May all your summer road trips be just as lively.

Land Forms and Air Currents
Carol June Barton
Glen Echo, MD: Popular Kinetics Press, 2014
N7433.4 B37 L35 2014

Colorful layered pop-up landscapes accompanied by poems. When opened completely, the book stretches to a length of 150 inches. Edition of twenty copies. Rare Books copy is no. five, signed by the author.

On Jon’s Desk: Erasmus and Holbein, a 17th Century Printer’s Ill-executed Gift to Us

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Morias Enomion 1676 Frontis Piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Page containing quoted text.

 

Encomium igitur audietis non Herculis, neque Solonis, sed meum ipsius, hoc est, Stultitiae. Iam vero non huius facio sapientes istos, qui stultissimum & insolentissimum esse praedicant, si quis ipse laudibus se ferat. Sit sane quàm volent stultum, modo decorum esse fateantur. Quid enim magis quadrat, quàm ut ipsa Moria suarum laudum sit buccinatrix, & aute heauten aule? Quis enim me melius exprimat quam ipsa me? Nisi si cui forte notior sim, quam egomet sum mihi.

 

“Prepare therefore to be entertained with a panegyric, yet not upon Hercules, Solon, or any other grandee, but on myself, that is, upon Folly. And here I value not their censure that pretend it is foppish and affected for any person to praise himself. Yet let it be as silly as they please, if they will but allow it needful. And indeed what is more befitting than that Folly should be the trumpet of her own praise, and dance after her own pipe? For who can set me forth better than myself? Or who can pretend to be so well acquainted with my condition?”

– Erasmus, In Praise of Folly

Morias Enkomion 1676 Title Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Morias Enkomion. Stultitiae laus. Des. Erasmi Rot. Declamatio, Cum commentariis Ger. Listrii & figuris Jo. Holbenii.

Author: Desiderius Erasmus (ca. 1466-1536)

Printed: Basileae (Basel, Switzerland): Typis Genathianis, 1676

Call Number: PA8512 1676

Engraved portrait of Erasmus from 1676 Morias Enkomion.

Catholic priest and Renaissance humanist, Desiderius Erasmus was critical of the Roman Catholic Church but did not join the protestant movement, preferring to reform the church from within. He spent time at the publishing house of Aldus Manutius in Venice, acting as scholarly editor for the Aldine press’s famous publications of the classics. When he moved to Basel, Switzerland to avoid academic hostility in France, he developed a long-lasting friendship with Johann Froben, one of the great scholar-printers of the humanist movement.

 

Title page of 1532 Froben edition.Erasmus’ writings were best-sellers in their day. They accounted for an estimated 20 percent of all book sales in the 1530s. His best known work is Moriae encomium (In Praise of Folly), a critique of European society and the Roman Catholic Church. Erasmus’ Moriae encomium was first printed by Gilles de Gourmant in Paris, ca. 1511. Erasmus was unhappy with this badly edited version and soon another, dated, edition appeared, again in Paris. Erasmus continued to develop his “Moria,” adding to the text in subsequent printings. The second Froben edition (Basel, 1516) presented the “Moria” in its most complete state to date and formed the basis for all subsequent editions. The 1532 edition, printed by Jerome Froben (son of Johann) and Nicolaus Episcopius, contains the last revisions made by Erasmus, designed, he said, “to polish the style.” He added a number of notes to the commentary, “most of which are concerned with Folly as a dramatis persona or with defending the theological precision and orthodoxy of the work.” The J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections holds a copy of this edition in the Rare Books Department.

In 1515 two young journeymen painters, Hans and Ambrosias Holbein, moved from Augsburg to Basel, where they were apprenticed to the painter Hans Herbster. The brothers worked as wood- and metalcut designers for printers. Soon after the Holbein brothers began work in Basel, the preacher and theologian Oswald Myconius invited them to add pen drawings to the margins of his second edition copy of Erasmus’ Moriae encomium. These manuscript illustrations became known for their wit and humanism. Hans Holbein went on to become a famous portraitist.

Engraved portrait of Hans Hoblein from 1676 Morias Enkomion. Holbein painted portraits of Erasmus (starting in 1523) and it was these which first brought him international acclaim. In 1526 Holbein decided to travel to England. Erasmus recommended him to his friend Thomas More. This launched Holbein’s career in King Henry VIII’s court. Holbein painted a portrait of Thomas More and became involved in humanist circles in England. After the downfall of Thomas More and Anne Boleyn, both of whom had employed him (and later lost their heads), Holbein distanced himself from the humanist circles that had allowed him his initial success in England. He began working under the patronage of Oliver Cromwell and became “the King’s Painter,” producing several portraits of the King and others in Henry’s inner circle. Scholars today recognize his work for its masterful blending of symbolism, allusion, and paradox.

In 1676 the printer Johann Rudolf Genath (Typis Genathianis) published the edition featured here of Erasmus’ Moriae encomium, which for the first time included Holbein’s illustrations. The illustrations in this edition are of particular interest. It is noteworthy that Holbein’s manuscript illustrations in the 1532 edition were kept and then brought forward for use in this edition. An artist named Caspar Merian produced the engravings. In addition to the eighty-one illustrations this edition contains engraved full page portraits of Erasmus, Holbein, and Holbein’s father, who was also a renowned painter. This edition also contains Lister’s Commentaries, a biography of Holbein, and a catalog listing of the artist’s works.

Engraved portrait of Holbein's father from 1676 Morias Enkomion.The printing of the engraved illustrations presents an intriguing periphery to the story of Holbein’s illustrations joining with Erasmus’ Moriae encomium. By 1676 the printing process had progressed considerably (two centuries had passed since the advent of printing in Europe) and mistakes made in combining text and illustrations at this point can only be chalked up as poor printing. In this edition of Moriae encomium we see a wonderfully terrible job of incorporating the two that we cannot help but find fascinating. It appears that the typesetter and the engraver suffered from a lack of communication. In some instances not enough space was left in the printing of the text to fit the illustration. The printer, using his creative problem solving skills, rectified the situation by turning the ill-fitting illustrations on their sides. Some are poorly inked. Then there is the mix up of the illustrations on pages 133 and 137. In the Rare Books copy the correct image has been laid in over the incorrect illustration. This tactic is fairly common in books from the early printing period.

Morias Enkomion - Illustration Turned SidewaysMorias Enkomion - Illustration Turned Sideways - 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morias Enkomion - page 133Morias Enkomion - page 137

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1676 edition of Erasmus’ famous work is a mash-up of intriguing elements that culminate into something special. The combination of famous authorship with illustrations from a highly regarded artist, who in many ways gained fame as a result of his interactions with the text at an early stage in his career, produces a historically noteworthy piece. There is an irony in the presentation of Holbein’s illustrations in this edition because they are from a master, but administered with a complete lack of printing mastery. Nevertheless, we should be very glad that Genath gave them to us despite his execution.

Morias Enkomion - page 149 - woman at loomFold Out Illustration from Morias Enkomion 1676.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Contributed by Jon Bingham, Rare Books Curator

Book of the Week — Remember the Light

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Yellow
“Thus shall ye think of this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer’s cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
— Buddha Shakyamuni

REMEMBER THE LIGHT
Mary Risala Laird
Quelquefois Press, 2007

Artist’s statement in an email to the curator: “My best friend was diagnosed with non smokers lung cancer in 2005 and given 3 months to live. I asked myself what I would want to do if given the same. I had always wanted to make an artist book. So I spent two years letting an edition of 7 Remember the Lights come to fruition. I chopped up some etchings I made called Earthquake, the one of 1989 when I moved to California from Wisconsin.

Earthquake

And put another relief roll etching (when Murshid sings) in the back of the book, writing over it with acrylic matte or glossy, mantras of the world religions. The Mantras are written throughout the book. I incorporated 7 quotes on Light, and 6 poems I wrote when I went to Tibet with a Sufi group in 1986. The title page has a plate from the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose. Another one from them appears as the image of the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, which is printed twice in grey, right side up and upside down, doesn’t matter where we are in space. Little holes of light, like Leonard Cohen suggested, let in the light, in this case by using Japanese hole punches. I had always wanted to add color to my traditional book making. So I brushed gouache on the pages with cotton balls. I also loved using colored pencils and straight lines to connect the pages, as well as printing blocks of wood used in printing, making them type high so the wood grain would shine through. Lobsong’s Mother’s page has a sumi painting I did of Japanese ink, of bamboo; I had a polymer plate made and printed it pink, because it is a color I don’t often use and I wanted to experiment.

LobsongsMother

I had fun drawing ladders into my etchings, connecting things, like thoughts, of planes of consciousness.
And stringing along the trajectory of human experience, you know, birth, life, death birth, life, death.

Life

In the signature where I have iconized my mother, and also did Xerox of her and me, I used end signatures I had left over from an edition of poems from a Rumi book I printed for Coleman Barks.
I like using Xerox and commercial papers in conjunction with the hand made papers (blue green) I made in Wisconsin many years ago.

Faces

I had learned a blanket stitch from Michael Burke and used that around the hole I cut with the hand showing through (One Handed Basket Weaving/Jelaluddin Rumi. Versions by Coleman Barks.)

Stitch

On the colophon page I started each line with a cap, spelling out my name, vertically as you read down.

Colophon

And hiding at the end of book is another poem about being on retreat in a hut, with an etching printed relief rolled and worked into, based on a courtyard in Florence, Italy, from a sepia print I inherited from my Grandfather who got it there in 1896.

The stories go on. My friend lived 5 years longer.”

Colophon: “Resurrected and transmogrified etchings form the basis for this Infinitesimal edition, primarily printed letterpress. Actual copies: Seven, using Dante and Goudy Engraved. Text papers include Arches BFK, and Somerset. Endpapers & concertina guards: Nefertiti, Long ago made by hand at Barcham Green Mill, and hoarded by me Awaiting the right project! Overprinted relief-roll etchings When Murshid Sings and Earthquake, may include laser-print, egg tempura, Assorted colored pencils, polymer plates, Xerox, cut-outs, sewing & Reticulated energy patterns. The laced-cords wooden board binding You are holding, is based on an 8th c. model. Hand-planed covers, Laboriously covered with deer or goatskin, are fitted with brass Ornaments. Thanks to both Laura Wait & Michael Burke, models of Undying inspiration. Copies are hand numbered.” Rare Books copy is no. 2.”

Artist’s addendum to colophon: “Maple and cherry covers are not covered. Bas-relief of right and left hand, carved into the front and back covers.

Hand

Books come enclosed in drop spine boxes. Trays are black calf or goatskin lined with white deer or golden elk skin. Outer covers: there are two purple ostrich and two of teal ostrich; two more of lime green bovine; and one in lime green goatskin.

Cover

Leather straps match the outer covers, and attach to brass hand-filed knobs on the fore-edge. A copper disc is inlaid on the front cover, a debossed crescent moon at its base. My Opus.”

Photographs by Scott Beadles

Best Graduation Present Ever

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ElementsofChemistryTitle

“It is not the history of the science, or of the human mind, that we are to attempt in an elementary treatise. Our only aim should be ease and perspicuity, and with the utmost care to keep every thing out of view which may draw aside the attention of the student. It is a road which we should be continually rendering more smooth, and from which we must endeavour to remove every obstacle which can occasion delay.”

“Like three impressions of the same seal, the word ought to produce the idea, and the idea to be a picture of the fact. And, as ideas are preserved and communicated by means of words, it necessarily follows, that we cannot improve the language of any science, without at the same time improving the science itself; neither can we, on the other hand, improve a science, without improving the language or nomenclature which it belongs to.”

– Antoine Laurent Lavoisier from Elements of Chemistry

Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order, Containing All the Modern…
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794)
Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech; and sold in London by G. G. & J. Robinson, and T. Kay, M, DCC, XCIX (1799)
Fourth edition
QD28 L42 1799

Gift of Dr. Henry S. White, Dean, College of Science Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

When he received his Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Texas, Henry Sheldon White’s mother gave him a copy of the fourth edition of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier’s Elements of Chemistry. The pages of this book were worn and brown with years of use, but it was intact, despite a deteriorated binding. Not a year later, while Dr. White held a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, he spent $105 to have the binding restored. The restoration was done by professional bookbinder and conservator Nancy Carlson Schrock.

The gift and its restoration were so important to Dr. White that he kept the book and the conservator’s invoice for the next thirty-four years. And then, he gave both to the Rare Books Department.

When Dr. White had occasion to hold our first edition of Lavoisier’s Traite, he fondly remembered the best graduation present ever. Dr. White remembered reading Lavoisier’s work like someone might remember holding the hand of one’s first love – a lasting impression, even as life moves on.

He remembered the detailed copper engraved illustrations at the back of the book, made by Lavoisier’s beloved wife, Marie-Anne Paulze Lavoisier. He lamented the loss of Lavoisier, who nearly survived, but did not, the French Revolution.

Henry White joined the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he was the McKnight and Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 1993, he moved to the Department of Chemistry at The University of Utah where he is a Distinguished Professor. Prof. White is the Dean of the College of Science at The University of Utah, and previously served as Chair of the Department of Chemistry (2007 – 2013).

Dr. White’s current research interests include high-field transport in nanometer-wide electrochemical cells, DNA structural analyses using protein ion channel recordings, the formation and stability of nanobubbles, and transport phenomena in nanopores.

All of which is and ever shall remain a mystery to me. But I do understand how the newly confirmed Dr. White must have felt when he held this book in his hands, a preserved package of ideas communicated by means of words, at the beginning of a new journey.

Congratulations to The University of Utah’s 2017 graduating class. May you render the road smooth with ease and perspicuity.

~ Luise Poulton, Managing Curator, Rare Books


The Air We Breathe — He named this substance “oxygen”

Traite elementaire de chimie presente dans un…
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794)
Paris: Cuchet, 1789
First edition, second issue
QD28 L4 1789 vols. 1 & 2

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier laid the foundation for modern chemistry by establishing the concept of elements as substances that cannot be further decomposed. He carried out the earliest biochemical experiments and through these explained many of the cyclical processes in animal and vegetable life. One of the most important consequences of Lavoisier’s work was the establishment of the concept of the conservation of matter.

Traite elementaire is presented in the form of a manual. Lavoisier offered a new theory of chemistry treated in a systematic approach unlike anything that had preceded it. He used accurate measurements for chemical research, such as the balance for weight distribution at every chemical change. He reformed chemical nomenclature, assigning every substance a name based upon the elements of which it was composed. He proved that the increase in the weight of metals was due to something taken from the air, and that this effect was constant in all such processes. He named this substance “oxygen.” He concluded that water was a compound of oxygen and hydrogen. He understood that respiration and combustion were similar processes, and, since oxygen was that part of the air that combined with metals in the process of combustion, he named the resulting substances oxides.

Compound bodies were found to present the combined weight of the simple bodies of which they are composed, while, when these simple bodies are withdrawn, they have the same weight as was put in them; i.e. matter remains constant throughout all chemical changes.

The book contains thirteen copperplate illustrations, drawn and engraved by Lavoisier’s wife, a skilled painter who had studied under the artist Louis David.

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Elements of Chemistry…Translated from the French by Robert Kerr…
Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794)
Edinburgh: Printed for William Creech, 1796
QD28 L42 1796

This Kerr edition of Lavoisier’s work is important for its considerable additions and for an interesting postscript in which Kerr bitterly condemns the execution of Lavoisier. “The Philosophical World has now infinitely to deplore the tragical and untimely death of the great LAVOISIER…If the sanguinary tyranny of the monster Robespierre had committed only that outrage against eternal Justice, a succeeding age of the most perfect government would scarcely have sufficed, To France and to the world, to repair the prodigious injury that loss has produced to chemistry, and to all the sciences and economical arts with which is it connected.” Kerr also alludes in his prefatory remarks to the larger work that Lavoisier was going to write. “Had Lavoisier lived, as expressed in a letter received from him by the Translator, a short while before his massacre, it was his intention to have republished these Elements in an entirely new form, composing a Complete system of Philosophical Chemistry…”

With two folding tables and thirteen folding copper-plates engraved by Lizars after Mme. Lavoisier. Rare Books copy bound in contemporary tree calf, gilt ruled, red morocco label and gilt on spine.

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Book of the Week — Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

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“Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Campden, Glo: Essex House Press, 1903

In 1886, C.R. Ashbee established the Guild of Handicraft at Essex House London. Around the same time, Ashbee created the Essex House Press. The Essex House Press published its first book in 1898. The work of the press was very much a part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Ashbee continually linked the aims of the press with those of John Ruskin and William Morris and described the object of the movement as “making useful things…making them well and…making them beautiful.”

The critics, however, were not so sure about the work of Essex House Press, calling it “articraftiness.” Later booklovers came to admire much of its work. Some of the presses and some of the workmen for Essex House Press came from the Kelmscott Press after its demise in 1897 following the death of William Morris.

Ashbee designed his own typeface called “Endeavor” for the press. In 1902, the press moved to Glouscestershire. The Essex House Press closed in 1910, having produced more than seventy titles.

Frontispiece by Walter Crane (1845-1915), painter and designer, known especially for his illustrations for children’s books. As an apprentice wood-engraver, he studied the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He associated himself with the Pre-Raphaelites and the English Arts and Crafts Movement, working with William Morris and the Kelmscott Press.

Printed on vellum. Initials hand calligraphed, some with gilt. Edition of 150 copies. University of Utah copy is no. 138.

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Book of the Week — Offering Time: Songs

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“Let all the strains of joy mingle in my last song — the joy that makes the earth flow over in the riotous excess of the grass, the joy that sets the twin brothers, life and death, dancing over the wide world, the joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking and waking all life with laughter, the joy that sits still with its tears on the open red lotus of pain, and the joy that throws everything it has upon the dust, and knows not a word.” — Rabindranath Tagore

Offering Time: Songs
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Lincoln, NE: Blue Heron Press, 2001
N7433.4 K84 O35 2001

A reader of the New York Times Sunday Book Review wrote (April 16, 2017): In 1913, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Rabindranath Tagore. He was the first non-Western Nobelist. Tagore was a playwright and novelist, but also a musician and songwriter. He composed, music and lyrics, nearly two thousand songs. One hundred of these were collected into Gitanjali and published in 1913. The lyrics were published without music. Western critics called the songs “poems.” It was for this collection of songs that Tagore was recognized with the Nobel prize.

In Bangladesh, Tagore’s opus of songs became known as rabindrasangeet, a musical genre unto itself. Two of his songs were chosen as national anthems. His songs are still sung throughout the Indian subcontinent.

This reminded us of Karen Kunc’s Offering Time, a brilliant book designed to be hung, printed on one side of a single sheet made of several sheets glued together, folded to form pages.

From the colophon: “These prose translations were made by Rabindranath Tagore from his original Bengali songs, published in 1913, and in current publication by Macmillan India Limited, Madras. The text is 11 point Romulus, printed on a Vandercook SP15. The paper is Japanese Nishinouchi, and the woodblocks are birch. The production was greatly assisted by intern Amy Hutchinson throughout the fall, winter, and spring amid classes and entwining projects. All of the printing and production was done at the UNL studio of Karen Kunc…marking the millennium…edition of 50 impressions…”

Rare Books copy is no. 31, signed by the artist, Karen Kunc.

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Photographs by Scott Beadles

Book of the Week — An Essay Towards a Real Character…

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P101-W4-1668-pg311
“…Letters, the Invention of which was a thing of so great Art and exquisiteness, that…doth from hence inferr the divinity and spirituality of the humane soul, and that it must needs be of a farr more excellent and abstracted Essence that mere Matter or Body…” — John Wilkins

An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language
John Wilkins (1616-1672)
London: Printed for S. Gellibrand, 1668
First edition

John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, was the chief founder of the Royal Society and its first secretary. He was Master of Trinity College. Wilkins was acquainted with many of the great minds of his day: William Harvey, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. He married the younger sister of Oliver Cromwell. In 1662, he lost all of his library and scientific instruments to the Great Fire of London. He was interested in just about everything — from theology to cryptography, music to space travel. He worked on creating an artificial universal language to replace Latin as a means of clearer communication between scholars and philosophers.

In this book Wilkins discussed the origin of language and letterforms, as well as a theory of grammar and phonetics. He classified words by their meanings and assigned each class a set of typographical characters, in an attempt to create a rationally ordered language and system of symbols.

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He divided the universe into forty classes, or categories, and subdivided these, and then subdivided these. To each class he assigned a monosyllable of two letters; to each subdivision he added a consonant; to each further subdivision, or species, he added a vowel. Each letter, or symbol, had meaning.

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John Ray drew up systematic tables of plants and animals for the book. An index was created by Dr. William Lloyd. Joseph Moxon (1627-1691) cut the typographical characters Wilkins proposed for his language. Moxon was the author of Mechanick Exercises, the first comprehensive manual of printing and letter-founding in any language.

The first issue of the first edition appeared without any of the engraved plates. This copy, apparently a second issue, contains all of the plates, although two folded leaves of tables and diagrams that are in other copies are missing. Bound with Wilkins’ An alphabetical dictionary, wherin all English Words According to their various significations, are either referred to their Places in the Philosophical Tables, Or explained by such words as are in those tables. The second work functions as an index to the first.

University of Utah copy bound in contemporary paneled calf with covers ruled in blind.

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“From what hath been said it may appear, that the measure and capacity of the Ark, which some Atheistical irreligious men make use of, as an argument against the Scripture, ought rather to be esteemed a most rational confirmation of the truth and divine authority of it. Especially if it be well considered, that in those first and ruder ages of the World… men were less versed in Arts and Philosophy, and therefore probably more obnoxious to vulgar prejudices than now they are… — John Wilkins

On Jon’s Desk: Annals of the American Revolution, celebrating Patriots’ Day

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Title page of the Annals of the American Revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Immediately upon the arrival of the tea-ships in the harbor of Boston, the first step taken was to request the consignees to refuse the commission. The inhabitants warmly remonstrated against the teas being landed in any of their ports, and urged the return of the ships without permitting them to break bulk. Resolved not to yield to the smallest vestige of parliamentary taxation, however disguised, a numerous assembly of the most respectable people of Boston and its neighborhood, repaired to the public hall, and drew up a remonstrance to the governor, urging the necessity of his order, to send back the ships without suffering any part of their cargoes to be landed. His answer confirmed the opinion, that he was the instigator of the measure.

Within an hour after this was known abroad, there appeared a great number of persons, clad like the aborigines of the wilderness, with tomahawks in their hands and clubs on their shoulders, who, without the least molestation, marched through the streets with silent solemnity, and amidst innumerable spectators, proceeded to the wharves, boarded the ships, demanded the keys, and without much deliberation knocked open the chests, and emptied several thousand weight of the finest teas into the ocean. No opposition was made, though surrounded by the king’s ships; all was silence and dismay.”

– Jedidiah Morse, Annals of the American Revolution, pages 176 & 177

Illustration (frontis piece engraving) of the Annals of the American Revolution, showing a depiction of the Boston Tea Party.

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Annals of the American Revolution; or a Record of the Causes and Events which Produced, and Terminated in the Establishment and Independence of the American Republic

Author: Jedidiah Morse, D.D.

Printed: Hartford, CT: 1824

First Edition

Call Number: E208 M88

Fold out plate (engraving) of the Battle of Saratoga from the Annals of the American Revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Patriots’ Day! Unless you are from the New England area, you may not know what Patriots’ Day is. It is the commemoration of the first battles of the American Revolution (Lexington and Concord) and is observed on the third Monday of April in some states (Maine and Massachusetts, for example). Each year the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots’ Day, linking the Athenian and American struggles for liberty (the twenty-six mile race being so named after the Greek Battle of Marathon). For those of us who want a link to the past that does not involve the pain of running twenty-six miles, a book about the American Revolution provides just such an opportunity. So while some people may show their Patriot-ism in Boston via running shoes, let’s take a look at Jedidiah Morse’s Annals of the American Revolution.

Preface to the Annals of the American Revolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morse’s Annals of the American Revolution is a compilation of accounts relating events leading up to and through the Revolutionary War. The book also includes an index with descriptions of the notable military leaders of the time. The accounts begin with the establishment of the British colonies in North America in the 16th century and end with General George Washington’s resignation of his commission as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in front of Congress on December 23rd, 1783.

Jedidiah Morse was a geographer and pastor. Born August 23, 1761 in Woodstock, Connecticut, Morse attended the Academy of Woodstock and then Yale University (M.A., 1786), and later graduated with a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Edinburgh (D.D., 1795). His writing career began after starting and teaching at a school for young women. He saw the need for a geography text book and wrote Geography Made Easy (1784), followed by American Geography (1789). Morse was a pastor in the Calvinist Congregational Church, but remained active in education and geography throughout his life (died June 9, 1826, age 64, New Haven, Connecticut). He published sixty-three works during his career, most of them religious.

~Contributed by Jon Bingham, Rare Books Curator

Book of the Week — Cilantro, sage, rosemary and thyme

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AC7-B34-1781-Map
“What we saw of the country leaves us no doubt of its fertility, and that it is capable of producing all the plants of Europe. In most of the gullies of the hills there are rills of clear and cool water, the sides of which are covered with herbs (as in the meadows of Europe) of both agreeable verdure and smell. Amongst these were Castilian roses, smallage, lilies, plantain, thistles, camomile, and many others. We likewise found strawberries, rasberries, blackberries, sweet onions, and potatoes, all which grew in considerable abundance, and particularly near the rills. Amongst other plants we observed one which much resembled percely (though not in its smell), which the Indians bruised and eat, after mixing it with onions.”
— Daines Barrington translating Don Francisco Antonio Mourelle’s Journal of a Voyage, in 1775, to Explore the Coast of America, northward of California

Miscellanies
Daines Barrington (1727-1800)
London: Printed by J. Nichols, sold by B. White, 1781
First edition
AC7 B34 1781

Daines Barrington was an English barrister and naturalist. After filling various posts, he was appointed a judge in 1757, in Wales. He was noted for his observations on the Statutes, chiefly the more ancient, from Magna Carta to 21st James I (1766). Many of Barrington’s writings were published by the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, of which he was a member. Some of these papers were collected by Barrington in this volume.

Miscellanies contains the first publication of Don Francisco Antonio Mourelle’s Journal of a Voyage, in 1775, to Explore the Coast of America, Northward of California… translated from a Spanish manuscript. This is the only contemporary source in English of the voyage exploring the northwest coast of America.

Also in this volume is “The Probability of Reaching the North Pole” (1775), a tract reporting on the results of the northern voyage of discovery undertaken by Captain C. J. Phipps, who later became Lord Mulgrave. The report discussed the floating ice found in high northern and southern latitudes. For this and other reasons, it was especially helpful to whaling captains who frequented the coasts of Greenland and Labrador.

Included in Miscellanies is a biography of Mozart, various essays on natural history, and a discussion on whether the turkey was known in Europe before the Columbian Encounter. Barrington concluded that it was, as were tobacco and potatoes, contradicting the great French naturalist and encyclopedist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788).

“If M. de Buffon had not thus excluded Asia and Africa, the controversy would have turned out, as if the point to be discussed was, whether tobacco and potatoes were not peculiar to the New World. Now it is certan that both these plants are of American growth, but not exclusively so, for in 1584, Cavendish received potatoes from the inhabitants of Capul, which is an island not far from Manilla; and in 1616, Schouten was supplied with tobacco from the coast of New Guiney.”

Science was and is as political as war — England was at war with France during this time. And it never occurred to either de Buffon or Barrington that indigenous peoples might have crossed oceans long before the Europeans did.

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