Manuscript Digest – July 2020 – 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

Period of Sentence
TribLIVE, June 19, 2020
Time span of rare book thefts from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: 25 years. Value: more than $8.1 million. Sentence: 3–4 years of home confinement and 12 years’ probation.
• Roundup of news reports
• Calls for stiffer sentences

Gut(enberg) Check
Reuters, June 17, 2020
A well-heeled Ukrainian pol says he has a Gutenberg Bible fragment in his collection. Scholars say it will have to be authenticated. Experts are raising eyebrows.

Artists and … Models?
CNN, June 17, 2020
In November 1888 van Gogh and Gauguin teamed up to write a letter to French painter Émile Bernard. It just sold for $237,000. So what did the guys talk about?
• Lost art of letters

Toad Away
Atlas Obscura, June 15, 2020
As the plague swept England, Isaac Newton took note. Actually holed up with a book on the plague and took notes. A lot of the ideas hold true today. Except about the toads.

Poking Holes, June 2, 2020
Ever run across late 19th-century envelopes and letters poked full of holes? A curator at the National Postal Museum fills you in on the reason.

The First of ‘Juneteenth’
Washington Post, June 18, 2020
This year “Juneteenth” was in the news. So someone dug into the National Archives and found an original “Juneteenth” decree. What it said and what it meant — and means today.
• Map of Antietam’s fallen

Saving the Siku Quanshu
Time, June 15, 2020
In 1782 the last of the ink dried on the Siku Quanshu — all 800 million characters of it. How this encyclopedic book survived war, water, looting, more war …

Mysterious Manuscripts
HistoryExtra, June 2, 2020
If you can’t get enough of the Voynich manuscript, we’ve got you covered. For an added treat, scroll down to read about three more manuscript mysteries.
•• Member exclusive: “The World’s Most Mysterious Manuscript”
  (Manuscripts, vol. 72 no. 2)

Autograph App
TechXplore, June 5, 2020
Who says cursive is dead? Researchers from Korea and Japan have come up with an app to create a unique cursive signature for people whose names are not based in an alphabet.

Change in the Air
Bedford + Bowery, June 4, 2020
With “normalcy” shimmering like a mirage in the desert, collectors and dealers are heading to virtual events. But can you sniff out a treasure without that “old book” smell?

From Our Blog

Society Response to Carnegie Library Thefts

The [Carnegie Library] case reminds us of how fortunate we are to be working, collecting, and maintaining the extraordinary and fragile, and often unique, works created through the centuries… Unfortunately, the Carnegie thefts also highlight what can happen when individuals pursue self-serving greed. The facts of this case demonstrate how easy it is for all of us, both as individuals and as institutions, to trust others. This trust while usually borne out, can be betrayed.

Other Items of Interest

Close to Home: Hyperlocal sources for family history > Connect

Summer Reads: New books about books, worth checking out > Cocoon

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