A Peek Behind the Fences: Inside Alderman Library’s Renovations

Major renovation of the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library will continue throughout 2021 and 2022. Preparation got underway last January, and not long after the coronavirus pandemic closed the Grounds in March, the project began in earnest. The new and old stacks were demolished over the Summer…

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The Rare Book School and the Bibliographical Society of UVA will also be on this floor, creating an area that is devoted to the care and preservation of the book.

Read the original article and view all of the progress photos here:


Experts Search for Rare Newton book, Three Copies in Canadian University Libraries

Tucked away in three university libraries across Canada are first edition copies of a book that experts say contains the building blocks of science. Prof. Mordechai Feingold of the California Institute of Technology and Andrej Svorencik of the University of Mannheim in Germany are looking for more copies of Sir Isaac Newton’s “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy” in private collections. The two experts in September published a paper in their “attempt to locate all surviving copies” of the first edition of Newton’s book.

Many people believe that the book, published in 1687, was “so complicated” that no one read it, Feingold said. By tracing the ownership of first editions, the scientists want to show that not only was the book read but it was also understood.

“I mean, not necessarily as Newton did, but sufficiently to build on,” he said in an interview.

A census of the book published in 1953 showed there were 189 copies scattered around the world but a new estimate puts the number at 386.

Dalhousie, McGill and the University of Toronto each have a copy of the 510-page leather-bound book.

Karen Smith, special collections librarian at Dalhousie in Halifax, said the school’s copy was donated in 1934 by William Inglis Morse, who spent most of his adult life travelling, collecting and visiting libraries.

She said Morse believed books should be “handed on as a heritage of the ages.”

The copy at McGill University in Montreal was donated in 1911 by Sir William Osler, a renowned physician, as part of his 8,000-title collection.

The University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library purchased a copy from a bookseller in 1971 for less than $5,000, said science and medicine librarian Alexandra Carter.

Lauren Williams, the liaison librarian for the Blacker Wood Natural History Collection at McGill, said books during Newton’s time became smaller, so they were no longer large stationary objects.

“They’re lighter, they’re easier to carry around.”

Newton’s book is described as octave size or about 20 to 25 centimetres.

The binding can also tell a lot about the person who owned the book, Williams said. A wealthy person would use gold leaf on their bindings, while someone of modest means would get a simple binding.

Newton opted for a simple binding, which also says something about his approach to books being functional and practical, she said.

“These were not meant to be sort of luxurious items to be put on display,” Williams said.

Feingold said over the past 300 years since the book was published, it’s travelled to different parts of the world either because it was bought or bequeathed.

“It’s very interesting detective work to really try to trace the various owners of the book over the past,” he said. “There are many, many stories to be told about the book and the locations over the years.”

It’s also a book “that people treasure because it is by Newton,” he said, noting a copy in 2016 sold for US$3.7 million.

While digitized copies of the books are widely available, he said they don’t hold the “magical” quality of paper.

“You know, when you go through the pages you feel as if you are tracing the mind of a special individual and trying to figure out what and how he did it, right.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 1, 2020. Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

Boston Book Fair Goes Virtual Nov 12-14, 2020

r/BookCollecting - Boston Book Fair Goes Virtual, Nov. 12-14, 2020

An alluring treasure trove awaits seasoned collectors as well as new visitors at the 44th annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which will be held virtually November 12-14, 2020.  The event will showcase the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, ephemera, political and historic documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and much more.

Shop the virtual booths of hundreds of international sellers and discover their latest acquisitions and rare finds from November 12-14, 2020 at http://www.abaa.org/vbf

Learn more:

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair is going virtual this year! 

Rare Book Collector Reveals Tibetan Book Printed Before the Gutenberg Bible

Pages from A Tibetan Buddhist Text Circa 1410

The Gutenberg Printing Press truly revolutionized western society with its introduction of mass produced printed materials for a relatively cheap price, which helped encourage literacy among the lower classes. However, the practice of printing books had actually been occurring long before 1450 in the Far East. A rare book collector on Twitter recently debuted a Sino-Tibetan “concertina-folded book” that is estimated to have been printed in Beijing around 1410. This beautifully preserved book of Buddhist recitations was created about 40 years before the Gutenberg Bible entered circulation.

Twitter user Incunabula explains that the book contains “Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities” and its inner pages of bright red ink are protected by black outer coverings which feature 20 icons of gold painted Tathāgatas—a Sanskrit name for Buddha. The text was designed for both European and Asian readers in mind. According to Incunabula: “The book may be read in the Indo-Tibetan manner by turning the pages from right to left or in Chinese style by turning from left to right.”

See more images and read the rest of the article here>>

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Rare Charlotte Brontë ‘little book’ to go on show at Haworth

A rare book the size of a matchbox written by the teenage Charlotte Brontë will go on public display for the first time after a museum paid €600,000 (£505,000) to bring it back to Britain.

Curators said they wept when they finally received the book, which arrived from an auction house in Paris. It was penned by the oldest of the Brontë sisters at the family’s home in Haworth, West Yorkshire, 200 years ago.

Handwritten by Brontë at the age of 14, the book has just 20 pages and contains three entire short stories.

It is one of six surviving “little books” penned by the author of Jane Eyre and had been in a private collection since her death in 1855.

In November last year, the Brontë Society was able to bring the “hugely important” academic work back to Britain when it went up for auction.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum, at the home of the sisters, launched a fundraising appeal after being outbid at a previous auction. Donations of £85,000 from more than 1,000 supporters added to money from trusts and public funding bodies.

The historic piece of literature was eventually bought for €600,000 and will go on display for the first time on Saturday.

Ann Dinsdale, the principal curator at the museum, said she had been there for 30 years and had never seen such a display of emotion.

“We had a welcome committee of staff who’d made a point of being in the museum to see it arrive. It was like a historic occasion,” she said. “Some of us felt a little tearful. So much effort and passion had gone into bringing it to Haworth and we’d worked so long and so hard to make it happen.

“It seemed extraordinary that there had been this huge interest in such a tiny item.”

The manuscript, called The Young Men’s Magazine, contains more than 4,000 handwritten words in a meticulously folded and stitched magazine.

It is made up of three stories: A letter From Lord Charles Wellesley, The Midnight Song and Journal of a Frenchman.

Part of it describes a murderer driven to madness after being haunted by his victims, and how “an immense fire” burning in his head causes his bed curtains to set alight.

Experts at the museum say this section of the story is a clear precursor of a famous scene between Bertha and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, which Charlotte would publish 17 years later.Another is a fantasy about fine dining and aristocratic living, which Dinsdale says reads as “almost an antidote to domestic life at Haworth”.

“It’s hugely important in academic terms because it adds so much to our knowledge of Charlotte’s development as a writer,” Dinsdale said. She added: “The three pieces of prose make it absolutely clear that she had an incredible imagination.”

The booklet was one of a series of six, of which five are known to survive. The other four are already owned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

Kitty Wright, the executive director of the Brontë Society, said: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people from all over the world backing our campaign.”

Originally posted here >>