Book of the Week — The Architextures 1-7: The Man of Music


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“Who are we that fled the thousand lives we did not lead in order to escape the very one life that we were destined for?”

The Architextures 1-7: The Man of Music
Nathaniel Tarn (b. 1928)
Sherman Oaks, CA: Ninja Press, 1999
PS3570 A635 A7 1999

Nathaniel Tarn was born in Paris and lived in Belgium until he was eleven. He studied history and English at King’s College, Cambridge. After returning to Paris he studied anthropology and received a Fulbright grant. He studied at Yale University and the University of Chicago and did his doctoral fieldwork in Guatemala. He then completed his graduate studies at the London School of Economics. Tarn published his first volume of poetry, Old Savage/Young City, in 1964. His next published work was a translation of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Pichhu, published by Jonathan Cape, in London. He joined Jonathan Cape as General Editor of its international series.

In 1970, he immigrated to the United States, became a citizen, and taught as Visiting Professor of Romance Languages at Princeton University, and later, at Rutgers and other universities.

Of his poetry, Ian Robinson wrote in 1982, “Landscape, geography, and the history and culture of that landscape, that geography, of the societies living there now and that lived there once, all of the present in its present, are the key factors for Tarn.”

The Architextures 1-7 are the first seven from a collection of seventy prose poems.

The book was handset and letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal I with Meridien type in six colors and 72pt Felix Titling for display and opening initials. Paper is dove-gray abaca, made by Katie MacGregor at the MacGregor/Vinzani papermaking studio in Whiting, Maine. Six-color wood blocks illustrate the text throughout.


Ninja Press was begun in 1984 by Carolee Campbell, whose main publishing focus is contemporary poetry. Carolee began her book work as a photographer working with nineteenth and twentieth-century photographic processes. Binding her photograph sequences introduced her to bookbinding and experimental book structures. She then expanded her book work with letterpress printing. Bookmaking opened “the way into contemporary poetry — confronting it for the first time with a directness and penetration she seldom experienced as a reader.” (Ninja Press) All book work from Ninja Press is by Carolee Campbell.

Bound in torched and patinated thin brass boards, with a spine of brass and stainless steel hinges. Issued in a clamshell box covered in black kyosei-shi, a handmade paper from the Fuji Paper Mills Cooperative in Tokushi-ma, Japan. Edition of sixty-five numbered copies, signed by the poet and the bookmaker.



Book of the Week — Herbert’s Remains, or, Sundry Pieces of that Sweet…


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“Take heed of the wrath of a mighty man, and the tumult of the people.”

George Herbert (1593-1633)
London: Printed for Timothy Garthwait, 1652
First edition
PR3507 A1 1652

George Herbert was a clergyman with the Church of England. He is known to this day as a poet of metaphysics, his poems notable for their controlled and inventive use of form. The famous central section (“The Church”) of his collection for The Temple (1633) contains more than 160 lyrics in stanza forms unique to their composition and subject. In tone and narrative mode, Herbert demonstrated his versatility with lyric conversations, allegories, fables, monologues, epigrams, meditations, and prayers.

The most significant of Herbert’s prose writings is A Priest to the Temple, a work on priestly conduct written during his final years. He wrote of the model church man and the fundamental principles of faith, human relations, and religious rhetoric.

Priest and Jacula, a collection of proverbial sayings, were published together as Herbert’s Remains, prefaced by Barnabas Oley’s “View of the life and vertues of the author,” which was a source for Isaak Walton’s Life of Mr. George Herbert (1670). A Priest to the Temple and Jacula Prudentum have separate title pages, the later dated 1651. Some copies of Herbert’s Remains exist without the previously stated titles. Jacula was first printed as Outlandish Proverbs in 1640 and contained 1,032 sayings; Jacula was augmented with an additional sixty-eight sayings in the present edition.

Woodcut borders and initials.

Rare Books copy bound in contemporary calf with gilt-lettered spine ruled in blind, marbled edges. Bookplate of Robert S. Pirie (1934-2015) on front pastedown. Robert Pirie was an American attorney. His extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts was auctioned by Sotheby’s in December of 2015.



Book of the Week — Konkrete Poesie International


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Konkrete Poesie International
Stuttgart: Edition H. Mayer, 1965
PT1241 C6 K66 1965

Thirteen letterpress prints in black and white by Carlo Belloli (1922-2003), Claus Bremer (1924-1996), Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006), Pierre Garnier (b. 1928), Mathias Goeritz (1915-1990), Eugen Gommringer (b. 1925), José Lino Grünewald (1931–2000), Josef Hirsal (1920-2003), Diter Roth (1930-1998), Vagn Steen (1928-2016), Paul de Vree (1909-1982), Oswald Wiener (b. 1935), Emmett Williams 1925-2007).

Issued in portfolio with additional sheet with introduction by Max Bense (1910-1990).

Edition of forty copies, twenty-six copies lettered A-Z. Each print is signed by the artist.





Book of the Week — Researches: Concerning the Institutions & Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants of America, with Descriptions and…


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“The Mexican paintings, a very small number of which has reached our times, excite a double interest, both from the light they throw on the mythology and history of the first inhabitants of America, and the apparent connexion with the hieroglyphical writing of certain nations of the Old Continent. We shall bring together in this work whatever can afford information with respect to the communication which at the most distant periods seem to have taken place between groups of nations separated by deserts, by mountains, or by seas…”

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, J. Murray & H. Colburn, 1814
First Edition in English

Translation by Helen Maria Williams of Vues des Cordillères.…, first published in 1810.

Alexander Humboldt’s description of the geography and ruins he observed in Mexico and Peru is one of the earliest archaeological works on the Aztec and Inca civilizations. The work contains plates in black and white, some of which are hand-colored.

Humboldt was no artist, but, like most educated men of his day, he did have drawing skills. He recorded, during his travels, his views of particular places and their natural environment. His drawings became the basis for illustrations for his many publications. Humboldt’s work influenced scientists, but also artists, who traveled the country Humboldt wrote about and illustrated.

Published in two volumes, Rare Books lacks volume 2.






Recommended reading:
Measuring the World: A Novel, Daniel Kehlmann, New York: Pantheon Books, 2006
PT2671 E32 V4713 2006
General Collection, Level 2

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, Andrea Wulf, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Q143 H9 W85 2015
Browsing Collection, Level 1

On Jon’s Desk: Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words, without which we wouldn’t be celebrating Thesaurus Day


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Title page of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words








“Though it is the first work of its kind that has appeared in the history of our language, the completeness of its plan, and its fullness of detail, are such as to leave little to be supplied by others.”

– Barnas Sears (editor), Preface of the American Editor

Title: Thesaurus of English Words, so Classified and Arranged as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition

Author: Peter Mark Roget

Printed: Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1854

First American Edition

Call Number: PE1591 R7 1854

First page of index in Roget's Thesaurus.









Did you know January 18th is Thesaurus Day? You may be wondering how one celebrates Thesaurus Day. It’s simple. You just open a thesaurus.

A thesaurus is a reference work that lists the synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. The first thesaurus was created when British doctor and mathematician Peter Mark Roget developed an index of synonyms to aid him in his writing projects. He began collecting synonyms in about 1805 and by 1840 had decided that his index may be of interest to others. He retired from medicine and devoted the remainder of that decade to preparing his indexed collection of synonyms for publication.

Roget’s Thesaurus was released on 29 April, 1852, containing 15,000 words. The second edition was published in 1853. The first American edition followed in 1854. Over the past century and a half, numerous editions have been released and Roget’s Thesaurus has never been out of print. Over 32 million copies have been sold worldwide. Its impact on writing is immeasurable.

In the introduction to the first American edition, Roget explained:

“The present work is intended to supply, with respect to the English language, a desideratum hitherto unsupplied in any language; namely, a collection of the words it contains and of the idiomatic combinations peculiar to it, arranged, not in alphabetical order as they are in a dictionary, but according to the ideas which they express.”

Roget’s Thesaurus is composed of six primary classes. Each class is composed of multiple divisions and then sections. This may be conceptualized as a tree containing over a thousand branches for individual “meaning clusters” or semantically linked words. Although these words are not strictly synonyms, they can be viewed as colors or connotations of a meaning or as a spectrum of a concept. One of the most general words is chosen to typify the spectrum as its headword, which labels the whole group.

Roget’s schema of classes and their subdivisions is based on the philosophical work of Leibniz (symbolic thought), itself following a long tradition of epistemological work starting with Aristotle. Some of Aristotle’s Categories are included in Roget’s first class “abstract relations.”

The classification system of Roget's Thesaurus.








PE-1591-R7-1854-pg 16 17 spread







Although the classification system Roget chose to use in his Thesaurus may seem abstract, without the decision to share his index with the world, writers (and speakers!) across the globe would not have benefited over the past century and a half from this wonderful literary tool. So on this Thesaurus Day let’s open the nearest thesaurus and take a look. Who knows, you may even have a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus on your shelf, long forgotten, but ready to assist you should you need to find just the “right”* word.

*correct, accurate, exact, precise, legitimate

-Contributed by Jon Bingham, Rare Books Curator

Book of the week — Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral…


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“Still, wond’rous youth! each noble path pursue,
On deathless glories fix thine ardent view:
Still may the painter’s and the poet’s fire
To aid thy pencil, and thy verse conspire!”
— from “To S. M. A Young African Painter, On Seeing His Works”

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
London: Printed for A. Bell…and sold by Messrs. Cox and Berry, Boston, 1773
First edition
PS866 W5 1773

Phillis Wheatley, aged about seven, was bought by John Wheatley of Boston for his wife, Susannah, as a domestic slave, at the Boston Slave Market in 1761. She was probably born in Senegal/Gambia, near Cape Verde, of a Muslim people known as the Fula. She was transported from Africa to Boston on the slave ship, Phillis. The Wheatley family taught her to read and write. She read John Milton and was especially taken with the poetry of Alexander Pope.

Poems on Various Subjects was the first book of poems published by an African American. It gained international fame, and was particularly lauded in England. On a trip to London with Nathaniel Wheatley, she met Benjamin Franklin. Many at the time did not believe that Wheatley, a Negro, could have written this verse. However, Boston intellectuals, including Thomas Hutchinson, governor of Massachusetts; John Hancock; and Benjamin Rush came to her defense and attested to her authorship. Abolitionists used Wheatley as an example of the artistic and intellectual capabilities of black people.

Susannah Wheatley died a year after this book was published, and John Wheatley freed Phillis, possibly under pressure from others. Although Wheatley became one of the most published American poets of her day,  she died with her sick baby by her side, at the age of thirty, in poverty, and deserted by her husband.

The copperplate engraving frontispiece portrait of Phillis Wheatley is the only known work by enslaved artist, Scipio Moorhead (b. ca. 1750).

Only about one hundred copies of this book are known to exist today.

Book of the week — Unnoticed Like a Bird


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“The Three Hermits”

Three old hermits took the air
By a cold and desolate sea,
First was muttering a prayer,
Second rummaged for a flea;
On a windy stone, the third,
Giddy with his hundredth year,
Sang unnoticed like a bird:
‘Though the Door of Death is near
And what waits behind the door,
Three times in a single day
I, though upright on the shore,
Fall asleep when I should pray.’
So the first, but now the second:
‘We’re but given what we have earned
When all thoughts and deeds are reckoned,
So it’s plain to be discerned
That the shades of holy men
Who have failed, being week of will,
Pass the Door of Death again,
And are plagued by crowds, until
They’ve the passion to escape.’
Moaned the other, ‘They are thrown
Into some most fearful shape.’
But the second mocked his moan:
‘They are not changed to anything,
Having loved God once, but maybe
To a poet or a king
Or a witty lovely lady.’
While he’d rummaged rags and hair,
Caught and cracked his flea, the third,
Giddy with his hundredth year,
Sang unnoticed like a bird.

Unnoticed Like a Bird: Poetry by William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Madison, WI: Singletree Press, 1987
PR5902 A3 1987

Illustrated with woodcuts by Mary Sprague.

From the colophon:
Unnoticed Like a Bird is the result of a year-long collaborative effort by Mary Sprague and Betty C. Bowen. The cover stock was made of flax by Jana Pullman.


Mary handprinted the illustrations on Sekishu Natural. The text is Centaur printed on Nideggen. With thanks to Ray Gloeckler…”

Jana Pullman, bookbinder, book artist, and papermaker, supervised the Repair Unit for the General Collection at the Marriott Library, The University of Utah, where she also taught conservation and bookbinding workshops. Her Minnesota-based bindery, Western Slope Bindery, is named after her geographic origins in Utah.

Further, from the colophon:
“These poems are reprinted with the permission of Macmillan Publishing Company from The Poems of W. B. Yeats: A New Edition edited by Richard J. Finneran. Copyright 1916, 1919, 1933, by Macmillan Publishing Company. Copyrights renewed 1944, 1947, 1961 by Bertha Georgie Yeats.”

Edition of thirty-five copies. Rare Books copy is no. 17.



Book of the Week — Opticks or, a Treatise of the Reflections…


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“God in the beginning formed matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, movable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties, and in such proportions to space, as most conduced to the end for which he formed them.”

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
London: Printed for S. Smith, and B. Walford, 1704
First edition, first issue
QC353 N55

Isaac Newton’s theories and experimentations on color and light grew out of his undergraduate studies. He introduced some of his ideas detailed in Opticks in an article he wrote for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1671. When Newton presented his concepts about the behavior and characteristics of light, particularly that white light is composed of a spectrum of colors, he posed a number of questions intended to stimulate further research. Opticks explains such phenomena as rainbows and contains two treatises supporting his side of the dispute with Leibniz that it was, indeed, he who discovered calculus.

“In a Letter written to Mr. Leibnitz in the Year 1676, and published by Dr. Wallis, I mentioned a Method by which I had found some general Theorems about squaring Curvilinear Figures, or comparing them with the Conic Sections, or other simplest Figures with which they may be compared. And some Years ago I lent out a Manuscript containing such Theorems, and having since met with some Things copied out of it, I have on this Occasion made it publick, prefixing to it an Introduction and subjoyning a Scholium concerning that Method.”

Nineteen copper-engraved folding plates. This first issue was published anonymously, with only the initials “I.N.” at the end of the Advertisement.





A New Year’s Resolution


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“Wage Peace”


A New Year’s Resolution
Seattle: Windowpane Press, 2006
N7433.3 N48 2006

Statement for the new year printed on gold and copper board in a Jacob’s Ladder structure. Housed inside printed folder, as issued. Rare Books copy is from the library of Gabriel Rummonds.


Book of the Week — Colours of Persia


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Although I have no beauty, colour & perfume
Am I not after all the grass of His garden?”
— Saadi

Susan Allix (b. 1943)
London, 2007
N7433.4 A57 C65 2007

From the artist: “The text is arranged around the headings of five cities – Tehran, Mashad, Yazd, Shiraz and Isfahan. These names are printed in English in 48pt. Garamond Italic and Farsi, which was cast in Tehran. Different typefaces have been used for the different voices of the authors: Ker Porter speaks in Bembo, Curzon in Baskerville, Hafez in varying sizes of Garamond.
Handset and letterpress printed on handmade Barcham Green. The paper for the prints is handmade Richard de Bas. Twenty-six prints, of which seventeen are etchings with drypoint, carborundum and other methods, seven are linocuts, and two are a combination of two or more of these processes. Four prints in black and white, the rest in color, including hand coloring by watercolor, crayon and airbrush, and gold and silver foil.
Additionally illustrated with some foldouts of varying sizes, including some with cut-out shapes. A variety of colored sheets act as interleaving or free colored collages.
Bound in goatskin, some of which has been dyed cobalt blue and yellow. The inlaid leather is also inlaid with waxed paper printed in a style similar to tilework, its semi-transparent quality allowing the title to show through in shadow. The design, based on architectural shapes, has onlays of black, freely-cut leather reminiscent of calligraphy. Within the edition, each binding differs slightly.”
This is the forty-fifth publication of Susan Allix, who has received the Prix de Rome for her book work. Edition of twenty-five copies, signed by the producer. University of Utah copy is no. 9.