De Revolutionibus

Copernicus first published his explanation of the heliocentric universe in 1543, the year of his death, but he had been circulating the idea for nearly 30 years. As early as 1514, he distributed a pamphlet-sized manuscript laying out his views. In a sense it is the birth of the scientific article–a new idea or argument written up and shared among like-minded colleagues–but before the existence of the scholarly journal. Part of his motivation was to get the ideas out for critique, but he also knew just how inflammatory his theories would be.

In 1543, Copernicus was persuaded to publish De Revolutionibus by fellow scientist Georg Joachim Rheticus. There seemed to be some promise that the ideas might be better received in Protestant Germany. Ironically, it was the Protestants who reacted first and most critically, and only later was the book censored by the Catholic Church.

But that did not stop the circulation of his ideas. This 1617 edition was published in Amsterdam and shows the comments of contemporary readers. Shortly after, in 1632, Galileo published his famous defense of the Copernican system.

To see the Copernicus, ask for Val 523.2 C79a.

New Books!

The new school year is off to a great start here at Feldberg! We’ve got more new books, wonderful data resources and a whole slew of “Knowledge Now” workshops (hosted by our librarians) planned for the term. Stop by sometime and see what we have that might interest you.

Here’s what’s on the new book shelf right now:
The Handbook of News Analytics In Finance

Oracles: How Prediction Markets Turn Employees into Visionaries

Winning the Story Wars

Rheology: concepts, methods and applications

Metallurgy for the non-metallurgist

Designing & Doing Survey Research


Student Financial Literacy

Digital Wars

Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

Culturematic : how reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, fantasy football, Burning man, the Ford Fiesta movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL films, Wordle, Two and a half men, a 10,000-year symphony, and ROFLcon memes will help you create and execute breakthrough ideas

Hedge Fund Market Wizards

Impedance Spectroscopy

Web Analytics Action Hero

Personal Finance: Turning Money Into Wealth

Impacts of offshoring on jobs and small U.S. manufacturers

Computer vision: models, learning, and inference

Thermal Science



Traveling Salesman and Other Math Stories

Lately while exercising on a treadmill I have taken up the habit of listening to podcasts. This week I listened to a podcast from Princeton University’s Lunch & Learn series on the traveling salesman problem (TSP). One of the things I find most interesting about this math problem, is that it was first formulated as a math problem only in the early 1900’s. The problem can be stated as taking a list of cities and the distances between them. The object is to find the shortest possible path that visits each city exactly once and ends with a return to the first city.

Naturally we have several books in the library on this problem. I am going to wait for the movie. Yep, staring four fictional mathematicians, the TSP has been made into a scifi movie. You can watch the official trailer on YouTube!

Filed under: For Fun, Math

So Fine

A lot of fine press books are a bit too precious. A beloved poem or short story by a favorite author hand set and lovingly printed on hand-made paper in a simple, yet elegant binding. They are nice–wonderful to hold and to look at, you can run your finger over the text and feel the bite of the type–but you wonder if anyone read them and how the author might have felt about having his or her text treated with so fine a touch. But sometimes you hit one that is a perfect match.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The House of Life (Boston: Copeland and Day, 1894) is far from our best exemplar of fine printing.  Printed by John Wilson at the Harvard University Press for Copeland and Day, it restores the 1870 edition of the Rossetti’s sonnets and does away with some unfortunate editorial changes in the 1881 edition. The poems were precious to Rossetti–when his wife died, he buried a manuscript copy with her.

Rossetti was part of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and friends with great printers like William Morris who printed an edition of his Hand and Soul at the Kelmscott Press. But what makes the Copeland and Day edition work so well is the attention it gives both to the poems and to the reader. It was made to sell and to be read. There is no edition statement declaring it one of x number of copies and the production standards were not so obsessively high that it was priced out of the range of the interested reader. Still, the original borders and initial letters were designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (architect of the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel and the Nebraska State Capital). They accentuate the text in a fitting style. The paper is light and easy to handle, but with enough weight to show off hand-set type. We have two copies, one in its trade binding, the other hand-bound by the Doves Press (pictured here). It is a beautiful book, wonderful to hold in its Doves binding, but equally inviting to read.

To see it ask for Presses C79ro.

Dartmouth Book Arts Listserv

Want to hear the latest news from the Book Arts Workshop? Be the first to know when the workshop schedule is posted? If that is you then sign up for the Book Arts Workshop listserv! The listserv will alert you to the latest news and special announcements. Subscription is open to anyone so sign up today!

To subscribe click here or copy this address to your web browser: and click on the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” button. It’s quick and easy so sign up today!

Written by Barb Sagraves.

USGS Videos

“Forecast Mekong: Visualizing Shared Waters” is just one of the videos offered by the US Geological Survey

A nice way to pass a quiet half-hour on a Sunday afternoon!

The US Geological Survey has a terrific multimedia gallery that includes short videos of interest to students and researchers, and longer ones suitable for the classroom.

There’s a whole collection on floods, including

Other video sets cover volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and landslides, tsunamis and sea-level rise (in the “Natural Disasters” collection – see the full list of collections here).

Some of the most interesting longer videos are part of a public lecture series (looks like this is a growing collection) …  I looked at a few minutes of “The View from Space: Landsat’s Role in Tracking Forty Years of Global Changes“  (helpfully closed-captioned, – this IS a library, after all!) and there’s another one that I might have to make time for called “Under Siege: Battling Flying Carp and Giant Pythons and How Science Can Help.”

Audio and podcasts, webcams, slidesets, and visualizations … lots to view and teach from, and all in the public domain … – your tax dollars at work.

Filed under: Earth Sciences

Longevity Collection

In the face of our ever-growing obsession with youth, it is good to know that the quest we are on is not new. The study of longevity is an old one, and here at Rauner we have a wonderful collection of books devoted to its exploration. Our “Longevity Collection” came to us as a gift from Mrs. Raymond Pearl in memory of her husband who graduated from Dartmouth College in 1899. Raymond Pearl, a renowned biologist and statistician, who is considered to be the father of biogerontology, collected over 330 books and 440 pamphlets on the subject. Titles include The Art of Prolonging Human Life, by Christopher WM. Hufeland, MD, first physician to the King of Prussia (1829), The Dying Speeches and Behavior of the Several State Prisoners That have been Executed the last 300 Years (1720) and a three volume collection by G. Smeeten entitled Remarkable Aged Persons. Smeeten, a publisher, painstakingly hand-recorded most of the entries in these scrapbook-like bound volumes. The information he provides consists of birth and death dates, character sketches and causes of death. Newspaper clippings of obituaries, sketches and articles, as well as drawings related to longevity, supplement the entries.

Several of the texts in the “Longevity Collection” date back to the 1600s while the oldest, De Triplici Vita, by Marsilio Ficino, was probably published in 1490. Many of the early texts are in Latin, but volumes in Italian, German and French are also represented. Philosophical treatise on the subject of longevity, aging and death predominate this collection. However, a variety of clinical texts are also included.

Despite his vast knowledge and research on the subject, Raymond Pearl was not able to prolong his own life. He died at the age of 61 of heart failure.

Search the catalog to see all of the volumes in the Longevity Collection.  The volumes shown here can be requested by asking for Rauner Longevity QP 85 .R453 (Remarkable Aged Persons), Rauner Longevity RA 775 .H9 1829 (The Art of Prolonging Human Life), Rauner Longevity RA 775 .T87 (Monthly Observations) and Rauner Longevity HV 6295 .G7 D8 (The Dying Speeches and Behaviour).

Selling It – American Style

The Wrong Box by Robert Louis Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne is a black comedy first published in 1889.  The novel relates the tale of the last two members of a tontine and the efforts of one of these survivors to kill off the other and thus claim the prize pool. Various mishaps ensue.  A corpse believed to be one of the tontine members killed in a railway accident is mistakenly shipped off to another character who is expecting a statue of Hercules. Most everything works out in the end. However, it wasn’t the off-kilter humor that tickled our fancy. 

Rauner holds both the first British edition and the first American edition.  Both were published in 1889, but the presentation of the novel is markedly different for the two intended audiences.  The British edition features a rather bland red cover with just the title and the authors’ names.  Charles Scribner, the American publisher, obviously thought that something more was needed to attract a potential buyer.  The American cover (above) features an eye-catching newspaper fragment impressed into the cover.  The tantalizingly torn advertisement is for one William Bent Pitman – the character who is shipped the wrong, corpse-filled box.

Ask for Val 826 St5 Y9 (1st American) and Val 826 St5 Y91 (1st British) to compare the two editions.

New Position: Book Arts Work Shop Special Instructor

I am thrilled to announce the creation of the Book Arts Workshop Special Instructor position (DRM-D) responsible for the day-to-day operation of the letterpress and bindery studios. This new three-year, 3/4-time term position will collaborate with Dartmouth College faculty on book arts seminars and exercises, work with and mentor undergraduate and graduate students in developing skills related to the book arts, and be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the studios. Hiring a Special Instructor will enable the Library to significantly increase the number of hours the studios are available to students, faculty, and others.

The position is funded by the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library, the Dartmouth College Library’s Cornell Fund, the English Department, and the Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities Office.

For a complete job description and to apply on line, go to Dartmouth College Current Job Listings. Please refer to position #1011369.

All applications require a resume and cover letter. Candidates invited for an on campus interview will be requested to present a portfolio of their work with examples of: letterpress printing including broadside, chapbook or edition printing; bookbinding including single signature and multiple sewn signature structure, adhesive bound and non-adhesive bound structure, portfolio, and box construction; and innovative work in the book arts.

Application review will begin on October 15, 2012.

Written by Barb Sagraves.