Manuscript Digest –January 2021 – This complimentary e-digest, now published bi-monthly, covers significant acquisitions and sales, manuscripts lost and found, rare books and ephemera, document conservation, and more.

In the News

The Art of Politics
Irish Times, December 11, 2020
Thomas Nast. John T. McCutcheon. Art Young. The Manuscript Society’s Anthony Mourek sketches the history of political cartoons and how generations of artists made their point.

For the Save
Washington Post, December 5, 2020
Remember the stories about staffers taping Trump’s papers back together? Now historians are suing to keep the administration from torching its records on the way out the door.
• LC posts all its presidential papers online

Battle in Seattle
Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2020
Will NARA shut down its Seattle archives? That’s the plan. Regional historians, Native Americans, a US congressional contingent, and the state AG aren’t on board.
• Update, including a public Zoom meeting

Small Archives, Big Find
Cape Cod Times, December 13, 2020
The Eastham Historical Society has come across a 1785 document signed by Samuel Adams as Massachusetts governor. How it turned up and how it got there.

If U Cn Rd Ths …
Virginian-Pilot, December 24, 2020
Is your “colonial chicken scratch” up to scratch? North Carolina wants help with a transcription project. See what’s in store and check out old-script tips.
• Rough writers: transcribe letters to TR

A Spot of Trouble
Atlas Obscura, December 18, 2020
What a black spot on a diary page tells us about the death of Arctic explorer Jørgen Brønlun — and what it says about the role of original manuscripts.

Pyramid Theme
Global News, December 10, 2020
In the 1680s Isaac Newton wrote a manuscript on Egyptian pyramids. And the occult. And the apocalypse. It just fetched half a million dollars. And that’s after the dog burned it.

Book Theft 2.0
The Guardian, December 13, 2020
Police solved the Mission Impossible theft of £2.5 million in rare books. But a mystery still remains: are antiquarian booksellers a target for a new kind of thief?

The Big Bucks
MSN Money, December 17, 2020
The Gutenberg Bible was the first book or manuscript to break $1 million. Now it doesn’t break into the top 20 sales. And those are? Hint: three of them happened just last year.
• World’s priciest science manuscripts

Closing the Book
Fine Books & Collections, December 8, 2020
Last spring an ILAB webinar looked at how antiquarian booksellers are coping during COVID. Last month the international panel regrouped. So … how’s it going? And what’s next?
• A view from India

From Our Blog

Arctic Adventures

Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen was a cross-country skiing champion. He was also a scientist, an author, and an advocate for refugees after World War I. For the last, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. But his early renown came from his Arctic adventures. Manuscript Society trustee Jim West takes up the tale in this article from the Summer 2020 issue of Manuscripts.

Out and About

Don’t Blink – Insanely intriguing images from The Madman’s Library > Click

Don’t Miss –  Fine Books & Collections’ most-read stories of 2020 > Read