Manuscript Digest –July 2018– This complimentary e-digest, launched in 2012, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, and more.

In the News

The Carnegie Case
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 29, 2018
An Allegheny County court has unsealed documents detailing 20 years of theft from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. What investigators have found and where they’ve found it.
• A warning sounded in 1991

Fake and Switch, June 19, 2018
A Christopher Columbus letter was swapped for a forgery in three European libraries. Last month two of them got the real deal back. But who made the fakes, and when?
• A medieval method of inventory control

Aristophil Action
Antiques Trade Gazette, June 25, 2018
As more of the Aristophil collection went up for auction, French institutions lowered the hammer and laid claim to prize pieces. Two Rodin notebooks. Letters from van Gogh…

Culture Cache
Hyperallergic, June 15, 2018
In the UK, a show of Ethiopian manuscripts raises questions about provenance and propriety. How did treasures like these leave their native country? And what’s the return policy?
• The twisting road of an ancient silk manuscript from China to DC

Bird on a Quire
The Guardian, June 25, 2018
When did the cockatoo cross the ocean? The clue is nestled in a 13th-century manuscript, and it’s upended what we thought we knew about Europe’s early contact with Australasia.

Rewriting History
BBC, June 13, 2018
Greek text overwritten by Latin. OK. Arabic added later. Sure. Two Anglo-Saxon hands? Whoa! How a Sinai palimpsest is shedding new light on cultural exchange in the Dark Ages.

Hey, Einstein
CBC, June 12, 2018
It isn’t E=mc2, but it is a new Einstein discovery: letters from the Nobel prize winner to an amateur scientist in Calgary, Canada. They’ve been hiding in plain sight since 1972.

Ladies and Gentlemen …
Chicago Tonight, June 11, 2018
The Beatles! Only two libraries hold manuscripts of the Fab Four’s lyrics, and only one of them is on the US side of the pond. Want a date to see “Eleanor Rigby”? Good luck!
• Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ lyrics bring a cool quarter mil

The Trump Tapes
POLITICO, June 10, 2018
Seems POTUS has a habit. He rips up his papers. That’s a no-no for the National Archives. Can he restrain and retain? Maybe. Meanwhile, staffers are dispensing a solution.

Passing into History
New York Times, June 15, 2018
Remembering William Reese, whose eponymous New Haven bookstore was a fixture among collectors. The sale that gave him his start, and the one that closed his books.
• A salute to historian Ira Berlin and the archivist who gave him the keys to his career

Vatican Vault
DigiVatLib just put 15,000
manuscripts online — free.
> Browse

Bats & Books
Bats in libraries? Why they’re
good and where to see them.
> Tour