Manuscript Digest – October 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 Digest News

‘Hair of A. Lincoln’
CNN, September 14, 2020
At Lincoln’s autopsy, his wife’s cousin received a lock of his hair and wrapped it in the only paper at hand: a War Department telegram. The grisly memento just sold at auction for …
• A log of life — and death — on a slave ship

The Guardian, September 18, 2020
Remember the crew that dropped into a London warehouse and snatched £2.5 million in rare books? Well, the stash just surfaced. Where it was — and where the gang tripped up.

Dropping Sale
Reuters, September 10, 2020
A manuscript linked to conquistador Hernan Cortes was set for a sale. Then someone noticed: didn’t it look a lot like a document from Mexico’s national archives?

Timbuktu Rescue
Maverick Life, September 21, 2020
In 2013 rebels were said to have destroyed thousands of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A scholar takes a second look at the first reports and the politics behind the global headlines.

The Next Wave, September 21, 2020
Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is best known for his iconic Wave. Now another wave of his drawings has surfaced. These were never published — that’s how they survived.
• Kabuki manuscript’s clues to 1855 quake

Gauguin in Arles
Art Newspaper, September 25, 2020
Gauguin’s manuscript Avant et Après hadn’t been seen in decades, until someone used it to settle an inheritance tax. It’s on view at last, and oh what it says about Van Gogh.

Where There’s a Will
BBC, September 19, 2020
A search for the work of Scots economist Adam Smith may have turned up the oldest Shakespearean play in … Spain. What it was doing in a Scottish college in Salamanca.

Kerouac Kerfuffle
Newsday, September 20, 2020
Before he hit the road to Florida, Jack Kerouac left the manuscript of his first novel at his local Long Island library. Then he died. Big question: was that a loan or a gift?

Fake Book
Fine Books & Collections, September 10, 2020
What would it take to forge Edgar Allan Poe’s ultrarare “Tamerlane”? Great calligraphy, paper and ink savvy, and lots of chutzpah. The Forger’s Daughter author tells all.
• Making Pride and Prejudice letter-perfect

Greenhouse Effect
Washington Post, September 30, 2020
Culling a book collection? Too hard. Paying for storage? Too pricey. Keeping rare books in a greenhouse? What could go wrong?

From Our Blog

Harold Holzer on The Presidents vs. the Press. In 1996 Harold Holzer received the Manuscript Society Book Award for Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President. Now his book The Presidents vs. The Press is winning kudos. In a Q&A with the society’s Al Ottens, Holzer shares candid comments on the dance between POTUS and reporters and how working with archives has changed.

Shapiro Center Lecture, Annette Gordon-Reed, October 17, 4 p.m. PDT > Free tix

British Museum, Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Picture Book > 100+ pix

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