Manuscript Digest – August-September 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

Diary of Betsy Ross’s Husband Found in Garage
Washington Post, July 12, 2021
Need motivation to clean the garage? How about turning up the Revolutionary War diary of John Claypoole, who later married Betsy Ross.
• Englishwoman’s letters capture life on the homefront during the Revolutionary War.

Massive Mormon Collection Goes to UVA
Daily Progress, July 17, 2021
The University of Virginia just received a massive Mormon collection. How large? It makes UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Library the leading center for Mormon material outside Utah.

Freedmen’s Bureau Records Posted on Ancestry
Smithsonianmag·com, August 26, 2021
Before 1870, the US census didn’t record the names of enslaved people. But the Freedmen’s Bureau created 3.5 million records of Black Americans, and they just went online. Free.
• Find them here.
• Early African American photography collection donated.

Looted Cuneiform Tablets Returned to Iraq
New York Times, August 3, 2021
War. Looting. Repatriation. It’s an age-old story. The latest chapter: 17,000 cuneiform tablets and antiquities have gone back to Iraq. Some came from Cornell; the rest, from …

Jewish Funeral Rolls Recovered
NBC News, July 22, 2021
They came from Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia … long-lost records of Jewish life before World War II. How they were recovered and what they reveal.

Far-flung Pieces of Mummy Wrap Reunited
Live Science, July 14, 2021
Turns out a fragment of a mummy wrap at the Getty fits perfectly with a piece held in New Zealand. Where’s the rest of the wrap? Scholars are still piecing that together.

Ancient Tablet Reveals Babylonian Math Secret
The Guardian, August 4, 2021
Scholars knew Babylonians used Pythagorean triples long before Pythagoras. But why? A new look at an old tablet gave the answer. It was all about real estate.

When an Archivist Damages a Document
The Atlantic, July 13, 2021
Conserving archival documents is fraught with peril. Archivists and scholars — among them past Maass Grant recipient Elizabeth Yale — share their worst nightmares.
• Preservation trumps access for NYPL collection.

Transylvania University Library Theft Revisited
Yahoo! Entertainment, August 13, 2021
Four guys plan to steal millions in rare books from a college library. What could go wrong? Everything. CNBC’s Super Heists looks at the Transylvania University Library theft.
• See “Secrets of the Transy Book Heist.”

T206 Honus Wagner Fetches $6.6 Million
ESPN, August 16, 2021
The world’s most famous trading card is again the priciest. It smashed the record set in January for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. And the year isn’t over.
• The ups and downs of the trading card game
• The spike in rare comic book prices

From Our Blog

A Virtual Visit to the American Antiquarian Society

During the Manuscript Society’s 2019 annual meeting, we toured the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Join us for a look around its online collections, digital resources, and armchair exhibitions.

And More

Encoded: Secrets of cipher books beyond Voynich > Explore

Enriching: World’s best libraries for rare book lovers > Enjoy