Manuscript Digest – September 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

Inside Job
Smithsonian Magazine, September 2020
One entry. No jackets or bags. Camera surveillance. So how did $8 million in rare books, maps, and art vanish? Go behind the scenes at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh theft.
• Interview with the author, part 1

Stalking the Planncks
60 Minutes, August 2, 2020
A Hollywood thriller? A Grisham novel? In one library after another, a thief replaced real Columbus Plannck letters with fakes. Would anyone notice? Spoiler alert: someone did.

Jesus Wed?
New York Post, August 15, 2020
Take one Harvard professor hoping for a game-changing find. Add a con man with a scrap of papyrus set to upend church doctrine. Stir together and dig in.

The Things He Carried
The Guardian, August 6, 2020
Did Thomas Becket carry not just his surplice but his Psalter to his assassination? And who is “N”? Manuscript mysteries abound in a new book from Christopher de Hamel.

In Her Own Voice, August 4, 2020
Her soaring voice at the Lincoln Memorial made Marian Anderson an icon. Her archive of letters, diaries, and — yes! — recordings shows her full range.
• Anderson’s archives secure, but not her house

400-Year Itch
Art Critique, August 28, 2020
In 1648 Duke Augustus tried to buy a prized friendship book. He failed. It took close to 400 years, but his library finally got the book — and it cost a lot more than time.

This Old (Manor) House
BBC, August 17, 2020
An “almost intact” Psalter from 1568. Bits of medieval manuscripts. Fabric scraps from the days of Good Queen Bess. Amazing what turns up during Tudor home repairs.

Page Turner
Newsweek, August 28, 2020
The Sherborne Missal is drop-dead gorgeous, a masterpiece of medieval illumination. But at 44 pounds, it’s not the kind of book anyone could ever have curled up with — until now.

First Drafts, Second Thoughts
BBC, August 18, 2020
“Pansy O’Hara was not beautiful …” Changed names. Different fates. Misread words (“soiled fish”?). What doodles and deletions in early drafts reveal about classic novels.
Connie Gustafson?!?

Sweet Deal
My Modern Met, August 20, 2020
Done with sourdough starter? Tuck into 200 years of recipes from Mexican cookbooks at UT San Antonio. First course: desserts. Download free and take a bite out of history.
• Off-the-wall recipes from Egyptian tombs

From Our Blog

Lincoln Letters — You Can Read Them

Last month, the Library of Congress completed a two-year, crowdsourced project to transcribe 10,000 documents in its vast collection of Abraham Lincoln’s papers and make them legible. Now anyone can read the scribbling of his correspondents.

Troves of rare books at historic UK libraries > Enter

Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair Virtual • September 11–13 > Browse

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