The Weird and Unusual…

With over 40,000 items, the Rare Book Room collection houses a vast variety of subjects as well as formats.  Here are a few of our more unusual items…

ill-repute-map-blog copy

Map of the Retail Places of Business in the District Covered By…Listing houses of ill-fame, saloons, free theatre saloons, second-hand clothing stores, barber shops, restaurants, etc.

This fascinating map graphically depicts the waterfront about 70 years after the opening of the Erie Canal.  Within a 6-block area, the Canal District had 75 brothels, more than 120 saloons and 19 “free theatre saloons” [note the proximity of the “Free Kindergarten” at the corner of Erie and Seneca Streets].  The heyday of the Erie Canal was 1825-1865.  The Canal connected Albany, on the Hudson River, with Buffalo on Lake Erie and had an immediate effect on travel, immigration, and commerce in New York State.  Travel time between Buffalo and New York was reduced from six weeks to ten days, and transportation cost fell from $100 a ton to $10.  Cities and towns flourished along the canal routes.  Buffalo, being the point where the traffic of Lake Erie transferred to the Canal, grew faster than any other town on the route.  Thanks to its strategic location, the frontier village grew tremendously, and by the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was the eighth largest city in the United States.

This area later became known as “Dante Place,” a tenement neighborhood for Italican and Sicilian immigrants.  This map roughly corresponds to what is now the Marine Drive Apartment area.  In 1938, Dante Place was demolished for Convention Hall [The Aud!].  Our map is the only copy in WorldCat, and as far as we know, the only copy held by a library.

Het Onze Vader

Text of the Lord’s Prayer in English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Swedish. RBR Miniature 1958 .L67.

At 6 millimeters, this is the smallest book in the Rare Book Room, and is part of our Miniature Book collection.  In the mid-1950s when this book was published, it was thought to be the smallest book in the world.  At first, miniatures were made for convenience.  Many of these early miniature books were religious; they could be carried in a pocket or tied to the waist.  Later, they developed as reading material for travelers, children’s books, etc.

Additionally, books of this size were and are created as a challenge for bookbinders and printers, allowing for experimentation in bindings, coverings, illustration, and typography.  Het Onze Vader is a polyglot, containing the Lord’s Prayer in 6 languages.  The cover is paper, is very fragile, and as one can imagine, it’s extremely difficult to turn the pages.

The Edinburgh Stereoscopic Atlas of Anatomy

Booklet, and Abdominal Cavity no. 8. Section 4 of 5. RBR QM 25 W2 1906.

Upper Limb-Front of Forearm and palm no. 2 and Lumbar Region no. 3. Section 4 of 5. RBR QM 25 W2 1906.

This consists of a stereoscope and 250 stereoscopic views ofthe various parts of the human body. The accuracy of the representationsis guaranteed by the fact that they are photographs of representativespecimens carefully dissected and labeled to show the variouspoints of anatomy. Each view is on a card containing description.This, series will be found of great value to any one who wishesto study anatomy and will be a valuable accessory to the manualsnow in use in conjunction with work on the cadaver. The well-knownclearness with which views of scenery are brought out by thestereoscope and the popularity of this instrument throughoutthe country makes it a little surprising that no adaptationof this principle to the study of the body has previously beenmade.*

*Quoted from the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Retrieved 11/29/2010.

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