Manuscript Digest –November 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

Christopher Columbus!
CBS | 60 Minutes, October 18, 2019
In libraries across Europe, priceless letters by Christopher Columbus were swapped for fakes — and no one knew. How a rare book dealer in New Jersey discovered the forgeries.

Bible Story
Daily Mail, October 15, 2019
Somehow, 11 papyrus fragments from Oxford’s archives turned up at DC’s Museum of the Bible. How? An Oxford prof is accused of selling them to the museum’s billionaire founder.

Catalog of Tears
Washington Post, October 12, 2019
In 1859 came “the weeping time” — the nation’s largest recorded sale of enslaved people. Now scholars are looking for the descendants. The trail starts with an auction catalog.

Returns Department
TribLIVE, October 2, 2019
The City of Pittsburgh and its archivist have a gentle request. If you have stuff from the archives, they’d like to have it back.

Medieval Erotica Unbound
Live Science, October 9, 2019
Long before 50 Shades, Le Roman de la Rose steamed up the parchment. Raunchy? Oh, my. So imagine the surprise of finding fragments used as book binding in the archives of …

Found and Lost
CNBC, October 4, 2019
Gandhi’s Guide to London. John Locke on religious tolerance. A 15th-century Irish translation of a Persian medical text. All found this year. But what’s still out there?
• Found in a Tokyo storeroom
• Found in a Beijing bookshop

The Cutup
Prospect, October 17, 2019
Three folios went up for auction this fall. Until then, they were one manuscript, an Islamic masterpiece from 1436. What’s at stake when historic treasures go under the knife?

Austen Auction Action
Fine Books Magazine, October 25, 2019
Here’s news to sink your teeth into: a Jane Austen letter sold for a record $200,075. The recipient? Her sister Cassandra. The topic? Just the thought sets your teeth on edge.

Little Book, Big Name
BBC, October 24, 2019
Young Charlotte Brontë wrote six tiny books. The Brontë Parsonage Museum owns four. A fifth is up for sale, and the museum is out to get it — with a hand from a big-name dame.

Radical Idea
New York Times, October 27, 2019
After 30 years in a one-room New York apartment, 75 boxes of Abbie Hoffman’s papers are bound for UT Austin. Will visitors be warned not to Steal This Book?

Million Letters Campaign — Saving Wartime History

History is written by the winners. But the history of war is written by everyone who sent letters home. For 30 years, one man has been on a mission to save them. Letters from World War I and World War II. Letters from the Korean War, Vietnam, and Iraq. From attics across America, they’re joining up at the Center for American War Letters.

Time Travel
See the world’s  first travel guide. > Take the tour

Heart of Houghton
Love rare books and manuscripts? > Meet John Overholt