Manuscript Digest – May 2016 – This complimentary e-digest, launched in 2012, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, replevin activity, and more.


Baseball Rules! 1856 ‘Laws of Base Ball’ Scores $3.26 Million
ESPN, April 24, 2016
It might be, it could be, it is! Doc Adams’ handwritten rule book is the priciest document in baseball. But it still stops short of an all-sports record.

Wright Brothers’ Misfiled Flight Plans Make a Delayed Return
Washington Post, April 2, 2016
Lost? Stolen? In 1980 the patent paperwork for the Wrights’ “Flying Machine” vanished into thin air. So how did it land in a cave in Kansas?

He Sings the Body Perfected
NPR, April 30, 2016
Lean meat. Cold baths. Clean socks. Sounds prosaic, but New York Atlas’ 1858 guide to “Manly Health and Training” had a touch of the poet.
• Read the advice newly credited to Walt Whitman. >>

It’s a First! (Folio, That Is)
BBC, April 7, 2016
Talk about a Scottish fantasy play. A copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio has turned up at Scotland’s Mount Stuart. And there could be more.

Message in a Bottle Is One for the Guinness Books
The Guardian, April 19, 2016
The bottle bobbed along for a record 108 years. Who made sure the postcard inside was returned to sender? Let’s say it was a busman’s holiday.

The Librarians Who Saved Timbuktu’s Treasures
Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2016
It was a caper worthy of Ocean’s Eleven but with a country’s cultural heritage at stake. Joshua Hammer recaps the story behind his new book.

A Shopping List of Biblical Proportions
New York Times, April 11, 2016
Newly discovered 600 BC shopping lists have scholars rethinking assumptions about when literacy took hold — and when biblical texts were written.

Putting to Rest the Rumors About the ‘Second-Best Bed’
The Telegraph, April 5, 2016
Multispectral imaging of Shakespeare’s will puts the famous bequest in a new light. What sounded like a snub could have been a romantic gesture.

Tax Receipts Open a Window on the 18th Century
Slate / The Vault, April 18, 2016
For 150 years, English and Scottish homeowners found it paid to stay in the dark. Discover the unintended consequences of the window tax.

What Cemetery Archives Say About Life
CityLab, April 4, 2016
Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery has dug into its files and unearthed a wealth of information on the way people lived and died.


The Promise of the Vatican Library
May 8–22, closed Mondays
Snite Museum of Art, 100 Moose Krause Circle, Notre Dame, IN

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare
May 9–31, closed Mondays
Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans
• More Shakespeare at The Historic New Orleans Collection, ends June 4 

Shakespeare’s Star Turn in America
Ends May 27, closed Sundays
New York Public Library, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza
• Also in NY: Brush Up Your Shakespeare at the Grolier Club, ends May 28 

The Birmingham Qur’an Manuscript
Ends August 3
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, UK