Book of the Week — On Painting


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“Colour and light have an important relationship in the act of seeing…colours multiply among themselves, but, like the elements, there are only four true colours from which other species of colour are born. There is red, the colour of fire; blue, of air; green, of water; and earth, ashen grey…from these four colours according to the addition of light or dark, black or white, are made innumerable other hues. Therefore the mixing in of white will not change the basic colour, but just make tints;’ and black has a similar power, with its addition making an almost infinite number of colours. You can see colours alter in the shade; when the shade deepens the colours fade, when the light brightens they become brighter and clearer.” — Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti (1401-1472) and Susan Allix
London: 1999
ND1130 A4813 1999

Leon Alberti was born in 1401 in Florence. His art was influenced by the work of Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio. He wrote On Painting in order to “set forth principles to be followed by the painter.” Alberti then turned his attention to architecture, for which he is better remembered today. He wrote De Re Aedificatoria and received several commissions for building projects. He had a deep understanding of the classical past, but an eye for contemporary change. He wrote on sculpture, poetry, prose, mathematics, engineering and other topics. His work was studied by generations of artists.


This translation of On Painting is by Susan Allix, based on the Italian text published in L. B. Alberti, Opere Volgari, Volume Terzo. Allix writes, “This translation…is a painter’s translation and includes those parts that seem to hold, for the present, the most important of Alberti’s ideas…it has been extensively abridged to prevent it from becoming several volumes.”

In a letter to Michael R. Thompson Rare Books, Allix wrote, “One day I started to read Alberti’s book and was astounded at his idea that everything begins with a dot. I spent a long time struggling away with fifteenth century Tuscan (helped with a more modern translation), but present Italian hasn’t altered so much and I did find it readable. I wanted my own translation. Slightly unprofessionally some of this was done in the afternoon quiet of an Italian camping site. One interesting page is where I followed Alberti’s instructions on how to achieve a squared pavement. So complicated, I never believed it would work, but lo and behold the perspective of the squared pavement appeared!”


This edition contains twenty-eight intaglio prints, the result of four years of sketchbook observation and drawing, plate-making and reworking the plates. The prints were made from copper, zinc, and Perspex plates, and contain a wide variety of techniques. There is etching, drypoint, and mezzotint, often in combination, and also open bite, aquatint, sand grain, and carborundum. The plates have been printed black and white and color in intaglio, relief and blind. All the inks are made from pure pigments ground in copperplate oil, so interleaving sheets is necessary to stop the plates from offsetting. As each plate is hand-inked and printed separately, complete uniformity is not possible. Twenty of the prints are in color, seven in black and white, one in blind, and many have extra hand-coloring on the prints or the type. The first ten copies, of which this is number three, have watercolor and pencil paintings on Japanese paper between each of the three of Alberti’s books.

Bound in full cream goatskin, upper cover tinted with a border of darker purple dye, extending to the spine, and an abstract design of other lighter tints and various colored goatskin onlays with textured endpapers.


Rare Books copy has holographic letter written in ink on both sides of the press’s stationary from Allix to book collector Denis Collins, prospectus, and biographical article about the author, entitled “God is in the datail,” laid in. Signed in ink on the verso of the front flyleaf: “For Denis/with warmest regards/Susan/11 April 2000.” Collins’ stamp on recto of terminal endpaper. One of twenty-two copies, numbered and signed by the artist.


Article on Utah Arabic Paper fragment added to


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“But in the end it was the eunuch Kāfūr, the slave of their father, who held the strongest political hand over the country.”

P. Utah Inv. 1383
Cairo, abt 954 CE

Arabic papyrologist Naïm Vanthieghem has added a paper to, publishing an Arabic paper fragment held in the Rare Books Department’s Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper Collection. The paper is titled “Une contribution pour la table d’un prince ikhchidide. Édition de P. Utah Inv. 1383” and may be downloaded here.

Naïm Vanthieghem has identified this piece as being written in Cairo about 954. The fragment concerns business with Abū al-Ḥasan Alī b. Muḥammad al-Iḫšīd, “the third and last sovereign Ikhchidid,” about whom little is known.

“His father Muḥammad b. Tuġǧ al-Iḫšīd, a Turkish mercenary, founded the Ikhchicid dynasty in 935. The dynasty ruled in Egypt on behalf of the Abbasid caliphs. Upon his death, his two sons Unūǧūr (946-961) and Alī (961-966) succeeded him….But in the end it was the eunuch Kāfūr, the slave of their father, who held the strongest political hand over the country. At the disappearance of Alī, in 966, Kāfūr evicted Aḥmad, son of Unūǧū…and exercised power directly until his death in 968. The unfortunate Aḥmad briefly inherited the throne, before the Fatimids toppled it in 969. The reign of Alī was marked by many shortages and economic crises that weakened the power of the Ikhchidids and thus favored the advent of the Fatimid caliphs.”

In the past, Naïm Vanthieghem has contributed descriptive terms to many pieces from the Utah Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper Collection and published several pieces in international academic journals. Read about some of his other articles here.

Thank you, Naïm! We look forward to seeing more of your work with our collection.

Rare Books goes to Ghent!


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“It is a contract of sale concluded between parties whose anthroponymy shows that they were exclusively Coptic; it was found in the east of Fayoum, a region which was still largely occupied by Copts in the Fatimid period.” — Naïm Vanthieghem

Naïm Vanthieghem took Rare Books to a colloquium at Ghent Univeristy. His paper was published in Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 244 “Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras VIII,” Peeters: Leuven, Paris, Bristol, CT, 2016. The title of the paper is “L’arabisation des Coptes: un Temoin inedit.”

Mr. Vanthieghem has dated this fragment to avril-mai 1030. The contract is for the sale of a portion of a home in the village of Barbanūda. Mr. Vanthieghem posits that the geographic origin of the document, the name of the parties involved and grammatical errors in the Arabic text suggest that it was created by Copts, who hoped to give more legal authority to the contract by recording it in Arabic.

His paper is available in Special Collections. Call number: DT 72 C7 V36 2016. The paper fragment, no. 933 from the Arabic Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper collection, is also available to look at.

Rare Books Goes to Warsaw!


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P. Utah inv. 6o
end of ninth century

“J’ai pu y decouvrir une trentaine de documents juridiques arabes inedits de toutes epoques, parmi lesquels quelques beaux specimens de contrat de vente d’esclaves.” (I have discovered thirty legal documents in Arabic…, including some fine specimens of contracts for the sale of slaves.) — Naïm Vanthieghem

Five pieces from the Arabic Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper Collection were published by Naïm Vanthieghem in The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, vol. XLIV (2014), pp. 163-187 (Warsaw). The article is titled “Quelques Contrats de vente d’Esclaves.” Unfortunately, the J. Willard Marriott Library does not hold this journal. Mr. Vanthieghem graciously sent us a pdf of his article, which we have had cataloged. It may be found under the call number HT1317 V36 2014 when requested at the Special Collections Reference Desk, Level 4. The papyrus and paper are also available for review.

Naïm Vanthieghem obtained his MA in Classical Studies (2009) and in Modern Languages and Literatures – Arabic Language and Literature (2010) at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). He then specialised in the field of Arabic papyrology at the University of Zurich (2010–11) and at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (2011–12). He received his PhD at the Free University of Brussels with a dissertation devoted to the archive of an estate manager called Heroninus, who was in charge of a large estate in mid-third-century Egypt (2015).

Naïm Vanthieghem has written several articles and reviews in the fields of Greek, Coptic and Arabic papyrology. He has a special interest in the study of multilingualism in medieval Egypt, and in several contributions he highlighted the existence of an Arabic-Coptic bilingualism that emerged in Egypt in the ninth century and disappeared in the late Fatimid period (twelfth century). He has also worked for several years on Arabic legal documents, for the project “Islamic Law Materialized” funded by the European Research Council. In the framework of the project “The Cairo Geniza as a Source for the History of Institutions and Documentary Practices in the Medieval Middle East” led by Prof. Marina Rustow, he is studying Fatimid Arabic documents of the Cairo Geniza. He is currently a post-doctoral research associate with the department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University.

Among his publications is “Les archives d’un maquignon d’Égypte médiévale ?” Analecta papyrologica 26 (2014), for which he also used pieces from the Rare Books Department Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper collection.

Below are the papyrus and paper fragments of legal contracts for the sale of slaves in Egypt dating from end of the third century to the 16th century, as identified by Mr. Vanthieghem.

P. Utah inv. 427 recto
end of third century

P. Utah inv. 1356 recto
26 ramadan 325 (tenth century)

P. Utah inv. 949 recto
1 ramadan 326

P. Utah inv. 949 verso
1 ramadan 326

P. Utah inv. 839 recto
6 Dec 1497


Book of the Week — تاريخ راشد افندي


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تاريخ راشد افندي
تاريخ راشد
قسطنطنية : ابراهيم من متفرقه كان

The first Turkish printing house was established in Istanbul on December 14, 1727. The director of the press was Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745), a Hungarian convert to Islam. In 1726 Muteferrika sent a report on the efficiency of the printing press to Vizier Damat Ibrahim Pasha, the Grand Mufti. After he submitted another report to Sultan Ahmed, he recieved permission to publish non-religious books, over the objections of calligraphers and religious leaders.

Muteferrika Press published sixteen books between 1729 and 1742. Each edition consisted of between five hundred and one thousand copies. The presses themselves came from France, the typefaces were designed and cut by Muteferrika. The printers were from Austria. The press’s first title, a dictionary, contained maps and drawings from the Islamic world. A grammar (1730) was the first printed Ottoman work in Latin. In 1732, the press published a history of the discovery of America. This was the first book by a Muslim author about the Americas and included thirteen woodcut illustrations.

The work presented here is Rasit Efendi’s Tarih-i Rashid Afandi, published in 1741 by the Muteferrika Press. This was the sixteenth book to be published by the press. The work covers the period 1071-1134AH (1660-1772) of the official Ottoman history.  Rashid’s work is added to with Celebizade Isma’il Asim’s Tarih-i Celebizade Efendi, a history by Celebizade (d 1173 [1760]. Both Rashid and Celebizade held the post of official historiographer for the Ottoman Empire. This publication, printed in four volumes, here bound as one, is considered the prime source for the period.

The text, printed in Arabic script, is in Ottoman Turkish. Rare Books copy has evidence of at least one hand underlining and marking in faded brown ink. Bound in Ottoman style with blind-stamped European leather, lined with patterned paper.




Rare Books Goes to Geneva!


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“A seemingly idyllic, rarely seen American past comes to life like a fairy tale — some land before time, before film, before death.”

Patek Philippe: The International Magazine used images from the Karl Bodmer aquatints held in the rare book collections for an article in its July 2017 issue. The digital reproductions, especially crafted by Rare Books assistant Scott Beadles for this issue, illustrate “Home of the Braves,” by Elizabeth Daley.

“In the 1830s, when the American West was on the verge of momentous change, a German prince set off to explore the country and its people. He took with him a Swiss artist, whose intricate depictions are the last record [before photography] of a disappearing world.” Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer accompanied Prince Maximilian zu Wied on his two-year journey across the American frontier, reaching as far west as Fort McKenzie, Montana.


The Rare Books Department holds a set of the eighty-one aquatints produced after watercolors by Bodmer for zu Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America, first published in German in 1839 and later translated into English and French. Rare Books holds first editions of the German and of the English translation.

You can look at the digitized collection here:

Karl Bodmer Aquatints

In this digital format, you can also look at the first German and English editions of zu Wied’s Travels. Better than that, however, you can visit the Special Collections Reading Room and browse the lush, exquisitely detailed aquatints in their original state.

Hardly a romantic fairy tale, the history of indigenous peoples in the Americas is often tragic (they were not saved by a Prince) but always rich in its antiquity and its currency. Bodmer’s aquatints and zu Wied’s Travels are only part of a story worth exploring to your heart’s content in Special Collections.


We Recommend — One for the Books


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Jessica Peterson, book artist, letterpress printer, and graphic designer is the owner of The Southern Letterpress in New Orleans. She holds an MFA in Book Arts from the University of Alabama and a BFA from The School of Art Institute of Chicago.

While visiting the J. Willard Marriott Library to teach a workshop for the Book Arts Program, she will also give a lecture on non-traditional letterpress techniques.

July 13
Rare Books Classroom
Level 4
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah

Free and open to the public

The Rare Books Department is pleased to support the Book Arts Program with its collections and services.


Ma’Cille’s Museum of Miscellanea
Jessica Peterson (b. 1976), compilar
Gordo, AL: J. Peterson, 2011
N7433.4 P475 M33 2011

This book is an attempt to catalog Ma’Cille’s Museum of Miscellanea ten years after it closed, based on memories of people who visited the museum and newspaper archives. Ma’Cille House (d. 1999), whose formal education ended in 7th grade, began collecting miscellanea in the 1950s, including such things as dug-up bottles, dolls, farm implements, taxidermy, and fossils. After she had raised seven children, she established her museum, in the early 1960s, on a rural back road near Gordo, Alabama. By the time the museum closed forty years later, it was world famous – a multi-building institution visited by thousands of people. In 1998, the Ma’Cille’s family, facing the costs of assisted living care for her, and other financial burdens, auctioned off the museum’s contents. The story of the museum was preserved through stories that circulated about Gordo. Drawings by Glenn House, Sr. Letterpress printed on textblock cotton rag handmade paper from Alabama clay-colored t-shirts. Book contains pull-outs, including one printed memento from Ma’Cille’s. Paper covered boards with exposed stab binding. Laid in a printed four-flap paper folder. Issued in paper slipcase. Edition of thirty copies. Rare Books copy is number 6, signed by the compilar, who also researched, wrote and designed it.




Jessica Peterson (b. 1976)
Northport, AL: Paper Souvenir, 2014
N7433.4 P475 U53 2014

From the introduction: “In the fall of 1959, the public schools of Prince Edward County, Virginia were closed in response to a court order to desegregate. The schools remained closed for five years. Many white children began attending a system of private schools established by the Prince Edward School Foundation. As permitted by state law, tuition for these schools was almost completely subsidized by the government. No one elected to attend the private academy for black students organized by the same group of white leaders…lawsuits about the intersection of public education and race circulated through the state and federal courts. Edition of one hundred copies. Rare Books copy is no. 81.


The Risk of Being Less Free


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“The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.”
― Alexander Hamilton

The Federalist: A Collection of Essays…
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), James Madison (1751-1836), and John Jay (1745-1829)
New-York: Printed and sold by J. and A. M’Lean, no.41, Hanover-square, M,DCC,LXXXVIII (1788)
First edition
JK154 1788

Although written for the purpose of supporting New York state’s ratification of the Constitution of the United States, these essays were eventually published together as The Federalist and were soon recognized for their brilliant commentary on the new republican charter. The use of The Federalist as a tool for interpreting the Constitution began before it was officially ratified and has continued to the present day. The Federalist is the fundamental document left by the framers of the Constitution as a guide to their philosophy and intentions.

Alexander Hamilton was the principal force behind the pro-ratification pamphlets, enlisting fellow New Yorker John Jay and Virginian James Madison as coauthors of the essays. The individual responsible for each essay is not clear. The first essay by “Publius” (the pen name for all three authors) appeared in the 27 October 1787 issue of The Independent Journal, and all or some of the subsequent numbers were also printed in the New-York Packet, The Daily Advertiser, and The New-York Journal. The first thirty-six Federalist essays were collected and published by the M’Lean brothers in March 1788 and the final forty-nine, along with the text of the Constitution, followed in a second volume in May. The last eight essays were printed in book form before they appeared in newspapers. In all, the essays represent one of the most important American contributions to political theory.

The first edition of the collection was of five hundred copies, fifty of which were purchased by Hamilton and sent to Virginia. The sale of the others was poor. The publisher complained in October 1788, long after New York had ratified the Constitution, that they still had several hundred copies unsold.

The Federalist, On the New Constitution, Written in 1778, by Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Madison
Philadelphia: Published by Benjamin Warner, No. 147, Market street, and sold at his stores, Richmond, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, 1818
Fifth Edition
KF4515 F4 1818

Despite the poor sales of the first edition, The Federalist was published again and nearly continuously to the present day. The fifth edition of The Federalist contains an appendix of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States with Amendments, not found in the fourth edition. The Philadelphia imprint contains revisions by Madison, along with his claims of authorship of some of the essays previously attributed to Hamilton. This is the second single-volume edition printed, complete with full-page engraved portraits of Hamilton, Madison and Jay. It was published the same year as a Washington, D.C. imprint.


James Madison became the fourth President of the United States.


Alexander Hamilton, who had represented New York at the Constitutional Convention, became the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, holding the post until he resigned in 1795.


John Jay became the first Chief Justice of the United States in 1789, stepping down in 1795 to become governor of New York, a post he held for two terms, until retiring in 1801.

Rare Books copy of fifth edition is gift of Dr. Ronald Rubin.

Book of the Week — Prelude to Eden


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“But I know, I know that they’ve got me in the wrong place! I know it! I know it! I know it!”

William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956)
Hingham, MA: Püterschein-Hingham Press, 1956

William Addison Dwiggins is one of the best known American book designers and typographers of the twentieth century. He studied under Frederic Goudy. He is credited with coining the term “graphic designer,” a term he used in reference to himself in 1922. His best known typefaces, still in use today, are Electra and Caledonia, created for the Mergentahler Linotype Company, for whom Addison worked from 1929 until after World War II. He was also a calligrapher and was legendary for his work in advertising. Dwiggins loved woodcarving, a passion that led to the creation of his marionette theater. He began a puppet group he called the Püterschein Academy, through which he produced several shows, including Prelude to Eden.

This “drama” is set in “A Wilderness Northwest of Eden” and features four marionette characters: Drace, the District Warden (who became The Serpent); Dijul, a kindly Antediluvian; Lillith, a young woman; and Azrael, an Archangel and Bailiff of Eden.


Illustrated throughout using what is referred to in the colophon as a “tone-line” process, which involved photographing and then silk-screening images of Dwiggins’ marionettes. Typography, composition, printing, silkscreens by Dorothy Vernard Abbe. Dorothy Venard Abbe is the author of The Dwiggins Marionettes, 1970. She worked as a book designer at several university presses. Bound in aluminum sheet boards, attached with green Fabriano paper at the spine, also by Abbe. This is the first time that metal covers were used as a binding design in the United States.


Rare Books copy in original acetate dust jacket. It is a presentation copy, inscribed by Abbe to Herman Cohen, owner of the Chiswick Bookshop, and his wife, Viv. The original mailing box survives, split at the seams, and addressed to Cohen. Laid in are two letters from Dorothy Abbe written in black ink, one with the original mailing envelope. Edition of one hundred and seventy-five copies.

Book of the Week — The Song of Roland


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“Mult ad apris ki bien conuist ahan.” (He has learned much who knows the pain of struggle.) — stanza CLXXXIV, line 2425, Song of Roland

The Song of Roland
Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, 1906
PQ1521 E5 B8 1906

The Song of Roland is a French epic dating from about 1040 to 1115CE. It recounts the chivalric and heroic deeds of Charlemagne, based on the historical but minor eighth century battle of Roncevaux. Roland was a nephew of Charlemagne. The author of the legend is unknown, although his name may have been Turoldus. The epic is considered the first masterpiece of literature in the French vernacular, written as a medieval chanson de geste (song of deeds) in four thousand lines. In spite of, or perhaps because of, its status in French literature, it was not translated into English until the late 19th century.

This edition was translated from Old French by Isabel Butler.

This edition was designed by Bruce Rogers, one of the great book designers of the twentieth century.  Seven illustrations derived from the compartments of the window of Charlemagne in the Cathedral de Chartres depict events in the legend of Roland. These have been drawn and printed and then colored by hand in  blues, reds, greens and yellows after the stained glass of the window. Five roundels are placed throughout the text. A large arched head-piece vignette tops the opening text as if a dome. The text is printed in double columns with marginal notes in brown and rubricated in gilt as page headings. The title-page is printed in red and black with a printer’s device in color.



Typefaces are French bâtarde and civilité. Bâtarde was a blackletter script used in France, the Burgundian Netherlands and Germany in the 14th and 15th centuries. The script was a decorative chancery or legal hand dating from the 13th century. Civilité is a type designed by Robert Granjon as a response to the Italian italic. Granjon based the font on a cursive Gothic script. The typeface was first used in 1559 for a book on manners written for children by Desiderius Erasmus.


Printed on American handmade paper. Bound in quarter vellum over printed boards in a fleurs-de-lys pattern taken from paintings in the crypt at Chartres. To achieve an antiqued effect, Rogers rubbed a red paste wash over the printed paper.


Bruce Rogers (1870-1957) was born in Indiana. As a young man, he moved to Boston, where, in 1895, he began working at the Riverside Press, a printing department of the Houghton, Mifflin publishing company. Rogers began designing trade books. In 1900, a Department of Special Bookmaking was created for the production of fine press editions, with Rogers in charge. He designed more than four hundred books during his career. Of those, he chose thirty (Roger’s Thirty), at the request of an interviewer,  that he considered successful book works. The Song of Roland was one of his choices.

George Mifflin, the head of Houghton, Mifflin was so proud of Roland that he sent a copy to then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was so impressed he visited the press to look at other of Rogers’ works. He wrote, “…it seemed to me far ahead, and almost like some of the very beautiful printing[s]…at the end of the Fifteenth Century.”

Edition of two hundred and twenty copies.