Manuscript Digest –February 2019– 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 Grolier Club at 100
New York Times, January 17, 2019
Take a peek behind the scenes at America’s oldest bibliophilic sanctuary. A staircase hidden behind a bookcase? Spooky! But the Thomas Phillipps closet is a real scream.
• Thomas Phillipps: collection or obsession?
Fine Books & Collections, January 28, 2019
By 1820 the Declaration of Independence was already fragile. So printer William J. Stone was asked to make copies. One of them just sold for $975,000, to … guess who.
A Slave’s Story
Fayetteville Observer / Washington Post, January 20, 2019
In West Africa he was a scholar. In America he was a slave. But he kept a memoir, written in a language his owners did not know. His name was Omar ibn Said. He kept that, too.
The Atlantic, January 9, 2019
To medieval scribes, lapis lazuli was worth its weight in gold. Then what were traces of the pigment doing in the skeletal tooth of a medieval nun?
• Yes, nuns were scribes, too. We knew that.
Found in the Files
Indy Star, January 11, 2019
The New Yorker heralded a new title as a “lost” story by Sylvia Plath. Then Indiana University archivists tweeted out a fact check. And a link to their finding aid.
• More tales of “lost” and “found”
Nazi Plunder on the Shelves
New York Times, January 14, 2019
Stolen art gets more attention, but the search for books looted by the Nazis is amping up. And the trail is leading to the shelves of European libraries.
Burying the Truth
Time, January 25, 2019
In World War II, a secret group gathered eyewitness accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto. Only three members of the group survived. Only one knew where its archive was buried.
All the President’s Papers
The New Yorker, January 28, 2019
Robert A. Caro has spent decades delving into LBJ’s papers. With time running out, the biographer muses on the secrets archives hold — and the secret of discovering them.
Nixon’s Form Letter?
CNN, January 3, 2019
Commentator Michael Smerconish clearly recalls the letter Nixon sent after an ally lost an election. But when the letter surfaced, it brought questions with it.
Under His Thumb
Art Newspaper, January 28, 2019
A sketchy cadaver. A reddish-brown thumbprint. It’s a manuscript mystery, straight out of Britain’s Royal Collection. And the clues point to … Leonardo da Vinci.
Iowa Masonic Library and Museums
In February we head for the heartland: the Iowa Masonic Library and Museums in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The institution, dating back to 1845, is home to one of the largest libraries of Freemasonry in the United States, if not the world.
At the BL
Inside the British Library Treasures Gallery > Tour
The world’s largest autograph collection revealed > Presto!