Always a bit affirming when news/media gives attention to significant rare book authors. This morning it gave us the following:
Today’s marks the day that in 1796 that Edward Jenner successfully administered his small pox vaccine to 8-year-old James Phipps using captured discharge from an active cow pox lesion(see Stefan Riedel’s “Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination” article in the 2005 Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/ and Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac for May 14, 2015 at http://writersalmanac.org). This act of variolation stemmed the tide of the highly-contagious, sometimes-deadly and often-disfiguring disease that ravaged so many up to and through the 18th century. This library is a proud owner of a first edition Edward Jenner An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ in the Milestones of Science Collection (see http://milestones.buffalolib.org/booksBrowser/BookDetail.asp?item_id=112).
Also in the news this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition was a great story and book review entitled “A Fortune In Folios: One Man’s Hunt For Shakespeare’s First Editions “ (http://www.npr.org/2015/05/14/406470976/a-fortune-in-folios-one-man-s-hunt-for-shakespeare-s-first-editions). The new book The Millionaire and the Bard by Andrea Mays chronicles Henry Folger’s obsessive collecting of Shakespeare First Folios. The piece speaks to the lengths that Folger would go to obtain copies owned by others. The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s First Folio (#6 on the photo scroll at http://www.buffalolib.org/content/grosvenor/rare-book-room) was once owned by Folger and was the result of an exchange for the copy that Col. Charles Clifton, President of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, secured sometime before 1919. Folger coveted the copy Clifton had purchased because “Principall Actor” Samuel Gilburne’s name was written next to his printed name in the list of players but it was not verifiable that it was his signature. The Maggs catalogue price that Clifton presumably paid for the Gilburne copy was $3,000.After negotiating, Folger finally agreed to pay Clifton $8,800 and provide a more-perfect First Folio that this library now owns.
The final rare book and manuscript newsworthy item for today comes from Fine Books & Collections at http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/fine_books_blog/2015/05/scholars-discover-lost-twain-writings.phtml. Of course this library is always on the lookout for any news that concerns Mark Twain because it is no secret (at least we hope it is not a secret! See http://www.buffalolib.org/content/grosvenor/mark-twain-room if it is please) that it owns Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn manuscript. “Scholars Discover Lost Twain Writings” details recently discovered Twain’s pre-Innocents abroad newspaper writings.
…all the news that’s fit to [r]eprint!
For this blog entry we will take one final dip into the Holiday and Post Card collections. While the history of Valentine’s Day may have begun with the Roman Empire, the picturesque expressions of romantic sentiment most likely started during the Middle Ages with the literary concept of courtly love.
Be my Valentine and I’ll break the news to Mother, n.d.
Many of the post cards from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries presented quaint sentiment to a loved one with flowers, cherubic figures and beautiful maidens.
All For You My Valentine, postmarked 1911
True Love’s Offering, postmarked 1903
To My Love, postmarked 1905
More elaborate cards were considered Art Valentines and were often intricate and colorful. Here is just a small selection from our collections.
As a Christmas present from the staff of the Rare Book Room, this blog entry is dedicated to some of the past images of Christmas and Santa Claus. Presented here are children’s books with charming illustrations to warm the hearts of the coldest Grinches. Thomas Nast illustrated the first book, and A Letter to Santa Claus was published in Buffalo in 1902.
George Webster’s Santa Claus and His Works, McLoughlin Bros., 1870
A Letter to Santa Claus, 1902
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, L. Frank Baum, 1902
Also presented, undated Christmas cards from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Happy Holidays!
As Thanksgiving greetings from the Rare Book Room staff, presented here are two items from our many special collections. The post card, A Peaceful Thanksgiving, is from 1910 and includes a quote from the John Greenleaf Whittier poem, “My Triumph.”
The manuscript is from President Grover Cleveland’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1885, designating and setting apart the day for public Thanksgiving, reunion of families, the suspension of all secular business, and deeds of charity for the poor.
Enjoy the Holiday!
The Pan American Exposition Booklet pictured above was recently acquired by the Rare Book Room. Dr. R[ay] V[aughn] Pierce sponsored the publication of this “Free Guide to the Exposition, Buffalo and Vicinity, with Map.” Not only did this booklet impart valuable information about the 1901 Expo and the Buffalo environs, but it also dispensed medical advice while it promoted “Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery” and “Dr. Pierce’s Favorite Prescription” too! Pierce’s patented elixirs claimed to cure everything from pimples and problems nursing to hemorrhoids and heart failure.
This particular booklet is remarkable for its excellent condition and unique for the owner/visitor’s pencil annotations. The reader is transported back in time to October 7, 1901 when this person notes arriving at the Pan Am “at 15 to 2 p.m.” S/he makes full lists all of the buildings, the Midway and other sights s/he toured and was apparently a neighbor from the North based upon the last note in the booklet stating s/he “went on train & home … arrived in Toronto,” . There is even a note “saw spot where McKinley was killed.” There is a also a page on which s/he has tallied up his/her trips expenditures which add up to “880”. In 1901 this must have meant $8.80 although today such a trip to a world’s fair would probably cost upwards of $880.00!
The latest exhibit in the Grosvenor Rare Book display room is You Are Here: Buffalo on the Map. Featured in our display cases are several rare and one-of-a-kind maps of Buffalo recently conserved thanks to a New York State Discretionary Grant. Among them, our infamous red-light district map from 1893, Mann’s Map of the Buffalo Harbor, and Map of Buffalo Village, 1805, made under the direction of the Young Men’s Association. Our wall panels include facsimiles of maps of the Olmsted parks system, the church district maps, pictorial maps and the harbor. Come see Buffalo’s landscape as it develops from an early 19th century pioneer settlement into a flourishing center of commerce and industry.
The Rare Book Room’s latest artist’s book acquisition is Timothy Freich’s creation Shale. Inspired by Agricola’s great geological work De Re Metallica (1556), Shale captures the look and feel of the Marcellus Shale that can be found in Western New York along the shores of Lake Erie.
The front and back covers of Shale are made of a flexible rock material. The pages are hand-made papers produced from black denim. A hand-sewn Coptic binding makes the structure of this codex. Between the leaves, which look like layers of shale, digital reproductions of De Re Metallica‘s woodcut illustrations are printed onto the pages. The graduated shape cuts into the text block engender a geologic structure like that of the Marcellus Shale strata formation providing interior texture and depth to the work.
Shale joins Mr. Frerich’s Linnaeus Gardens sketchbooks and folios in the Rare Book Room’s Book Arts Collection.