Manuscript Digest – July 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


Stolen Darwin Letter Back at the Smithsonian…
The Guardian, June 2, 2016
After 30 years. How was it taken? Why wasn’t it missed? Where has it been? Who tipped off the FBI? There’s more to this story than a whodunnit.
• You say you want an evolution? Species page fetches $250,000 >>

Secret Treasure in Rare Books
Daily Beast, June 11, 2016
What’s inside the bindings of some rare books may be worth more than the volumes themselves. A new X-ray process reveals the hidden value.

Say What? A Mystery at the Massachusetts Historical Society
Boston Globe, June 3, 2016
Deep in the MHS collections, a researcher stumbled across a 14th-century parchment. Could crowdsourcing decipher the document? Indeed!

‘Londinio Mogontio’: London’s Oldest Record
BBC News, June 1, 2016
A London dig has turned up the UK’s oldest handwriting — and a reminder that, long before the EU, Britain was part of another European power base.

In the Name of Freedom
PhillyVoice, June 6, 2016
Researchers are mining an abolitionist’s diary to create a database of the Underground Railroad and its passengers. >>

Connecting the Dots (and Dashes) of the Civil War
Pasadena Now, June 21, 2016
A Huntington Library project is “Decoding the Civil War.” Volunteers are transcribing Union telegrams, some in code Confederates never cracked.
• How to join the crowd >>

Daughters Hold the Fort
Dallas Morning News, June 24, 2016
Remember the fight over the Alamo archives? It’s all history now, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas are flying the victory flag.

Will Work for Beer
Ars Technica, June 28, 2016
A 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian pay stub shows ancient laborers were paid in beer. But did the workers pay union brews?

All-Star Autograph Chaser Gets His Turn at Bat
Fox Sports, June 16, 2016
Turns out Yankees draft pick Tim Lynch is a card-carrying autograph collector. So’s his agent. Find out whose signature is next on deck.

Why Handwriting Matters
New York Times, June 20, 2016
Think kids can type their way to A’s? Think again. Studies are tracing links between printing, cursive, and brain development.


Hamilton Treasures at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Ends September 2, closed weekends
Columbia University, 535 W. 114th St., New York
Free >>
• What four exhibitions reveal about the Founding Father of the year >>

With a Wink and a Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age
Original drawings for Puck and more
Ends January 8, 2017; closed Mondays and holidays
Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago
Adults $20, seniors $12.50, students $10, under 6 free >>

Things Unseen: Vision, Belief, and Experience in Illuminated Manuscripts
July 12–September 25, closed Mondays
Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles

Shakespeare’s Dead
Ends September 18
Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford, UK
Free >>
• A scholar finds Shakespeare’s coat of arms >>