Manuscript Digest:  September – October 2023 – 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 news in this digest

In the News

Sold: Two Tickets to Ford’s Theatre
NPR, September 26, 2023
Two tickets for the night of Lincoln’s assassination took center stage at a recent auction. They last sold as part of the Malcolm Forbes collection in 2002. The price has gone up since then.

Watts Sale Shines
Forbes, September 30, 2023
The rare-books sale of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts clicked with buyers. The auction’s star: an inscribed first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Hemingway’s Pain Exacts a Price
Robb Report, September 7, 2023
On safari in Africa, Ernest Hemingway and his wife survived two plane crashes in two days. His letter recounting their injuries just sold at auction. The price might have eased their pain.

Smithsonian Adds Wheatley Works
Smithsonian Magazine, September 29, 2023
The only copy of Phillis Wheatley’s poem “Ocean” in her own hand has a new home at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Why and how.
• A Wheatley celebration in Boston

Autograph Quilt Name-Checks History
kottke·org, September 1, 2023
In 1856 a teenager started making a quilt of the autographs she collected. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, eight US presidents … each square, a stitch in time.

Dorothy Tapper Goldman Remembered
Observer, August 1, 2023
The Manuscript Society’s own Dorothy Tapper Goldman made news in 2021 when she sold a rare copy of the US Constitution. She leaves a legacy as a collector and philanthropist.

History’s Guardian Shares His Story
Coin World, August 3, 2023
He debunked the Hitler and Jack the Ripper diaries, and helped crack the White Salamander Letter murders. Past Manuscript Society president Ken Rendell tells the tales in his new book.

Famous Forgery Revealed as …
Boston·com | Washington Post, August 6, 2023
Harvard’s copy of The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia is a famous forgery. Or is it? A book detective took a closer look. What she found is proof you can’t judge a rare book by its cover.

Booked! Nine Crimes Stained with Ink
Mental Floss, August 28, 2023
The Hitler Diaries scam. The Carnegie Library thefts. The Transylvania University book heist. Lee Israel’s literary forgeries. And murders. Investigate infamous crimes with literary links.
• More thefts for the books

Ege Leaves Show Their Colors
The Kenyon Collegian, September 14, 2023
Book-breaker Otto Ege ripped out leaves of medieval manuscripts and sold many to museums and libraries. Now 15 of Ege’s leaves are on display at Kenyon College. As for the rest …

From Our Blog

How to Make an Illuminated Manuscript

A medieval manuscript inspires awe. Did one person create it, or was it a group effort? How were they paid? A curator at the Morgan Library & Museum recently guided a reporter through the process of making an illuminated manuscript. As they talked, they leafed through an unfinished book of hours in the Morgan’s collection — a wonderful window on medieval artisans at work.

Also Of Interest

Medieval Manuscripts: Virtual library grows to 2,500 items on view > Be awed

America’s Authors: C-SPAN airs Books That Shaped America > Binge history