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Tucked into one of our copies of Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx (London: Bodley Head, 1894) is a fragment of a Wilde poem in his hand and a royalty statement from his publisher, John Lane. As of February 1895, 132 copies were still in stock and only nine had...

Tucked into one of our copies of Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx (London: Bodley Head, 1894) is a fragment of a Wilde poem in his hand and a royalty statement from his publisher, John Lane. As of February 1895, 132 copies were still in stock and only nine had sold since the previous statement in September. Lane calculated the 10% royalty at two pounds, no shillings, and three pence.

This limited edition had a print run of 200, so only a third of the copies had found buyers at that point. The statement refers to two different states of the book: the more luxurious, large-paper copy sold for over four pounds while the small paper copy was priced at 35 shillings.

Our second copy of the same book lacks the glamor of manuscript inserts, but has a watercolor of an Egyptian scene painted beneath the half title. We haven't figured out who the painter is (the signature looks like "Bamdin") but it is clearly not in the style of Charles Ricketts' illustrations.

Come see for yourself by asking for Val 826 W64 W6 copies 1 and 2.

We love it when our books speak to each other. In 1722, Daniel DeFoe published his Journal of the Plague Year (London: E. Nutt, 1722). In it he refers to one physician who warded off infection with prodigious alcohol consumption:Nether did I do, what I...

We love it when our books speak to each other. In 1722, Daniel DeFoe published his Journal of the Plague Year (London: E. Nutt, 1722). In it he refers to one physician who warded off infection with prodigious alcohol consumption:

Nether did I do, what I know some did, keep the Spirits always high and hot with Cordials, and Wine, and such things, and which, as I observ'd, one learned Physician used himself so much to, as that he could not leave them off when the Infection was quite gone, and so became a Sot for all his Life after.

Defoe was only a child when the Plague hit London in 1665, so he drew on other accounts for his "eye-witness" Journal. One of his principle sources was Nathanial Hodges's Loimologia: or an Historical Account of the Plague in London in 1665.  We have the 1721 London edition of that work and it has a curious passage where Hodges described the methods he used to ward off infection.

Before dinner he had a glass of Sack "to warm the Stomach, refresh the Spirits, and dissipate any beginning Lodgment of the Infection." This was followed by a heavy dinner with plenty of wine. The early evening was spent visiting patients, then he ended the day "by drinking to Cheerfulness of my old favourite Liqour."

More alarming, he always carried wine with him and would have a glass "if in the Day-time I found the least Approaches of the Infection," such as "Guidiness, Loathing of the Stomach, and Faintness." Hum, I wonder what could have caused those symptoms--other than the Plague, of course?

Sobering statistics from Loimologia

To relive a Plague year and marvel that anyone survived at all, ask for Val 825D36 S21 (Defoe, see page 276) and Rare RC114.Q5 1721 (Hodges, see page 222).

In years past, Dartmouth seniors were required to hold forth from the stage at commencement as a means of proving beyond a shadow of doubt that they had become true gentlemen-scholars. In the early years of the College, these recitations often predicta...

In years past, Dartmouth seniors were required to hold forth from the stage at commencement as a means of proving beyond a shadow of doubt that they had become true gentlemen-scholars. In the early years of the College, these recitations often predictably followed neoclassical conventions, with the students engaging in debate while adopting the roles of characters named Sage, Epicurus, Zeno, and so forth. These mock debates typically were concerned with such weighty matters as the true nature of beauty, aesthetic principles, or the origins of democracy.

However, one graduation speech by two members of the class of 1797, William B. Banister and Edward Little, contains an interesting divergence from the usual abstract recitations. The two seniors argue whether women are the equal of men in all areas of life. Little presents the traditional stereotypical viewpoint of the patriarchy, claiming:

Men have strong intellectual powers, great penetration, and solid judgement, and consequently are most fit to provide and govern; women have not so strong intellectual powers; but having greater sensibility, and being more easily persuaded, they are very amiable and pleasing under good government.

Banister takes Little to task, however, and convinces him that women's abilities are equal to men's: the only difference is a lack of comparable education. Little finally capitulates, stating, "I confess I have been misguided by common opinion, blinded by prejudice, and tenacious in my errors."

One possible impetus for their interesting and novel debate may have been Mary Wollstonecraft's groundbreaking feminist text, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Published in 1792, Wollstonecraft's writing emphasized the necessity of a rational education for women, whom she argued were just as intellectually capable as men. The resonance between her and Banister's arguments is doubtless more than just coincidence: a first edition of Vindication, printed in Boston in 1792, was among the books available to Dartmouth students on the shelves of the United Fraternity's Library, one of their local lending institutions.

Still, although clearly drawing from Wollstonecraft's general premise, Little and Banister aren't quite ready to relinquish all power to the female sex. They both agree towards the end of the debate that it would be disastrous if women were to become lawyers, doctors, and politicians, irrationally making reference to women's constitutional "embarrassments" as a deciding factor. It would be another 175 years before Dartmouth implemented such a revolutionary concept by embracing co-education.

To see both the original manuscript and typescript versions of the commencement speech, ask for DA-43, Box 3112, Folder "1797."

To see Dartmouth's copy of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ask to see Red Room HQ1596 .W6 1792a.

False imprints are always entertaining. So many reasons to lie on a title page! This French translation of each of the constitutions of the thirteen American colonies purports to have been printed in Philadelphia in 1783. There is no dispute about the ...

False imprints are always entertaining. So many reasons to lie on a title page! This French translation of each of the constitutions of the thirteen American colonies purports to have been printed in Philadelphia in 1783. There is no dispute about the date, and it is easy to imagine why the French might be particularly interested in the topic in 1783, but the place of publication is almost surely a lie. By why?

There are a couple of possibilities with this one.  First, it could be that claiming to be an American imprint lent the book an air of authenticity. It is about America, it came from America, therefore it must be accurate. More likely fear was a factor. French politics were so unstable at the time that what might be acceptable one year could get you beheaded the next. It could be that the Paris publisher was simply hiding behind an "import" brand to save his neck!

Come see for yourself by asking for Rare KF4530.U5513 1783.

Well, not exactly, "fan" fiction, but of the same ilk. After the success of Charles Dickens' Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in 1837, George Reynolds took the characters on a new picaresque journey in Pickwick Abroad: or, the Tour in France publ...

Well, not exactly, "fan" fiction, but of the same ilk. After the success of Charles Dickens' Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in 1837, George Reynolds took the characters on a new picaresque journey in Pickwick Abroad: or, the Tour in France published in monthly parts from 1837-38.  Our first single-volume edition from 1839 acknowledges its debt to Mr. Dickens (or "Boz"), but also cites a review from The Age boasting that "'Pickwick Abroad' is so well done by G. W. M. Reynolds, that we must warn Boz to look to his laurels." Reynolds was surely throwing down the gauntlet, but by using Dickens' own creations.

How could this happen? At that time, an author did not have any real rights over the characters he or she created. The original work could get copyright, but the story and the characters were up for grabs. This led to works like Pickwick Abroad as well as other adaptations of popular novels. The law was not changed until Frances Hodgson Burnett fought for full control of her characters later in the century. Pickwick Abroad was a tremendous success that earned Reynolds 800 pounds.

To see the original, ask for Val 826 D55 U6. Pickwick Abroad is Sine C76pic.

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for The Forsyte Saga, a grouping of three novels and two shorter works about an upper-class British family who are from "new money." The series ...

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for The Forsyte Saga, a grouping of three novels and two shorter works about an upper-class British family who are from "new money." The series was published as individual works between 1906 and 1921 and then released as a combined novel in 1922. It has been adapted for television multiple times, most recently in 2002 starring Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte.

In addition to his fiction, Galsworthy was an avid proponent of animal rights who used his fame as a novelist to attract attention to various campaigns against animal cruelty. Numerous animal rights pamphlets of the early 20th century contained a foreword by Galsworthy before delving into the horrors of animal abuse, as depicted in this photo from Docking and Nicking of Horses. Moreover, Galsworthy himself penned a variety of informational texts protecting all manner of animals, such as Horses in Mines or  Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs.

One of the more arresting concepts that such publications employed was that of reverse anthropomorphism, wherein humans were portrayed as if they were animals being abused. Such representations still retain their emotive power even today, perhaps even more so than at the time of their publication because of the success of such campaigns in changing society's perception of animals and instilling a moral imperative to treat beasts with compassion and respect.

To see a 1922 first edition of The Forsyte Saga, ask at Rauner for Rare PZ 3 .G139 Fo2. Docking and Nicking of Horses can be retrieved for examination by asking for Rare HV4753 .E5. Finally, for Horses in Mines, look at Rare HV4755 .G3, and for Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs, see Rare HV4746 .G3.

In 1934, Aleksandr Rodchenko turned his considerable talent to the production of a commemoration of ten years of Soviet rule of Uzbekistan. The resulting 10 Let Uzbekistan is a monument to Stalinist pride. In its original edition, Rodchenko's photograp...

In 1934, Aleksandr Rodchenko turned his considerable talent to the production of a commemoration of ten years of Soviet rule of Uzbekistan. The resulting 10 Let Uzbekistan is a monument to Stalinist pride. In its original edition, Rodchenko's photographs and designs (including cut outs and acetate overlays) show the prosperity brought on by communism. The original edition bulges with images of bureaucrats.

But the book was followed immediately by one of Stalin's purges that reshaped the leadership of the region. Our edition or 10 Let Uzbekistan appears to be a subsequent printing because all of the bureaucrats killed and wiped from history have been cleanly excised.

The book is complemented in our collection by Ken Campbell's Ten Years of Uzbekistan: A Commoration (London: Ken Campbell, 1994). Campbell photographed Rodchenko's personal copy of the original printing in which Rodchenko had blackened out the faces of those purged. Campbell then printed the images with thick layers of ink making them heavy with the weight of history. In his hands the commemoration is not a celebration, but a somber exploration of oppression.

You can see them both by asking for Rare DK941.5 .D47 1934 and Presses C155cat.

One of the most interesting items I’ve worked on is our copy of:

Essai d'anatomie, en tableaux imprimé , qui représentent au naturel tous les muscles de la face, du col, de la tête, de la langue et du larinx; d'après les parties disséquées et préparées, par Duverney, comprenent huit grandes planches, dessinées, peintes, gravées et imprimées en couleur et grandeur naturelles, par Gautier, avec des tables qui expliquent les planches
Paris, Gautier, 1745; call number: Rare Book QM 535 .G377

A title as long as the book is large!

Below is one of the more well-known images, sometimes referred to as the flayed angle.
(Rauner Blog Post  and info on Gautier.)
Anatomy volumes as this were used for teaching, thus their large size, so students could see them while dissecting cadavers. In fact while working on this volume there were stains that I would identify as blood stains. The problem with this volume was that it had been rebound perhaps in the late 50’s or early 60’s and had been over sewn, so that the pages didn’t open flat and the foldout illustrations were difficult to view. So the first task at hand was to “dissect” it.





Because of the large size, I jerry rigged a press out of boards and c-clamps in order to clean the spine. Once the old adhesive was removed I was able to get at the pages and separate them


 section by section.


Here you can see the evidence of the over sewing.


I then proceeded to mend the folds with a strong japanese tissue. 
Here, half of the pages are finished being mended.


Once the folds were mended it was time to sew. This was a bit tricky but with the aid of a support this went smoothly. I decided to sew the signatures onto frayed cords, which could be used later to reattach the cover.


Inside support to hold open the folio.

The endsheets from the earlier binding were machine made and very acidic, 
so I made some beautiful new endsheets from the Delphi paper made 
at Twin Rocker in Brookston, Indiana. The weight and 
color were perfect and I created


a split board style to help reattach the covers.


The covers were still in good condition and thick so all I did was remove the old paper paste downs. There was a natural split in the boards at the hinge edge, so I utilized this to my advantage to insert the tabs from the endsheets.



Once again I had to devise a plan for pressing the attachment of the 
boards as the book couldn’t go into a press due 
to the various sizes of plates and text.



Luckily I had a carpenter friend who provided me with some thick planks which I could put a lot of pressure on with the c-clamps. This was needed to insure that the tabs and split were well adhered. Once the boards were firmly in place I pasted down the interior hinge onto the covers and then a deblure.



Opening of the book with attached boards but before the spine is reattached.



Included in this volume is a life size figure that has a tri-fold. This plate was very damaged with one of the sections completely detached (split at the knees). I reconstituted the fold out with a laminate of linen and japanese tissue and did some minor in-filling with japanese tissue and
added slight bit of color touch up but not much.



Verso of repair.


Because this was such a large plate and quite dynamic I designed a tab and slotted hinge so
that it could be removed when needed for easier viewing. This was somewhat successful
but it is a bit tricky to attach and remove
Tab and slot.


The spine material is a heavy canvas colored with acrylic to match the original leather. Inserts of cord were placed that the head and tail of the turn-ins for extra support and an aesthetic touch.
Finished volume.


My new friend!

Written by Deborah Howe








One of the most interesting items I’ve worked on is our copy of:

Essai d'anatomie, en tableaux imprimé, qui représentent au naturel tous les muscles de la face, du col, de la tête, de la langue et du larinx; d'après les parties disséquées et préparées, par Duverney, comprenent huit grandes planches, dessinées, peintes, gravées et imprimées en couleur et grandeur naturelles, par Gautier, avec des tables qui expliquent les planches
Paris, Gautier, 1745; call number: Rare Book QM 535 .G377

A title as long as the book is large!

Below is one of the more well-known images, sometimes referred to as the flayed angel.
(Rauner Blog Post  and info on Gautier.)
Anatomy volumes as this were used for teaching, thus their large size, so students could see them while dissecting cadavers. In fact while working on this volume there were stains that I would identify as blood stains. The problem with this volume was that it had been rebound perhaps in the late 50’s or early 60’s and had been over sewn, so that the pages didn’t open flat and the foldout illustrations were difficult to view. So the first task at hand was to “dissect” it.


Because of the large size, I jerry rigged a press out of boards and c-clamps in order to clean the spine. Once the old adhesive was removed I was able to get at the pages and separate them
 section by section.
Here you can see the evidence of the over sewing.

I then proceeded to mend the folds with a strong japanese tissue. 
Here, half of the pages are finished being mended.
Once the folds were mended it was time to sew. This was a bit tricky but with the aid of a support this went smoothly. I decided to sew the signatures onto frayed cords, which could be used later to reattach the cover.
Inside support to hold open the folio.
The endsheets from the earlier binding were machine made and very acidic, 
so I made some beautiful new endsheets from the Delphi paper made 
at Twin Rocker in Brookston, Indiana. The weight and 
color were perfect and I created
a split board style to help reattach the covers.
The covers were still in good condition and thick so all I did was remove the old paper paste downs. There was a natural split in the boards at the hinge edge, so I utilized this to my advantage to insert the tabs from the endsheets.
Once again I had to devise a plan for pressing the attachment of the 
boards as the book couldn’t go into a press due 
to the various sizes of plates and text.

Luckily I had a carpenter friend who provided me with some thick planks which I could put a lot of pressure on with the c-clamps. This was needed to insure that the tabs and split were well adhered. Once the boards were firmly in place I pasted down the interior hinge onto the covers and then a deblure.
Opening of the book with attached boards but before the spine is reattached.

Included in this volume is a life size figure that has a tri-fold. This plate was very damaged with one of the sections completely detached (split at the knees). I reconstituted the fold out with a laminate of linen and japanese tissue and did some minor in-filling with japanese tissue and
added slight bit of color touch up but not much.

Verso of repair.
Because this was such a large plate and quite dynamic I designed a tab and slotted hinge so
that it could be removed when needed for easier viewing. This was somewhat successful
but it is a bit tricky to attach and remove
Tab and slot.

The spine material is a heavy canvas colored with acrylic to match the original leather. Inserts of cord were placed that the head and tail of the turn-ins for extra support and an aesthetic touch.
Finished volume.
My new friend!

Written by Deborah Howe

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby has become a classic in American literature. It is taught in classes from high school to graduate school, has been adapted multiple times for film, and is lauded by many as the best singular expression of the Jazz...

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby has become a classic in American literature. It is taught in classes from high school to graduate school, has been adapted multiple times for film, and is lauded by many as the best singular expression of the Jazz age. But, it was not always so well received. In fact, it completely fell out of print for a period.

We recently acquired a minor rarity to accompany our first edition: the 1934 Modern Library reprint. At the time, the Modern Library was the premier publisher of inexpensive reprints of popular literary novels. Their famous Promethean trademark usually assured solid sales. But it couldn't work its magic for The Great Gatsby, a novel of 1920's excess that lost its glamor during the Great Depression. The Modern Library printed only 5,000 copies. After five years, the initial printing still has not sold out, and they reluctantly discontinued the title.

Our copy is unusual because it appears to have actually been sold--it lacks the "Discontinued" stamp usually found on Modern Library editions of Gatsby.

Come see it alongside the first edition by asking for Rare PS3511.I9G7 1934 and Rare PS3511.I9G8 copy 2.

1

This past year we were able to acquire a spectacular edition of La Fontaine's Fables Choisies. Published in Paris between 1755 and 1759, the four volume set is one of the most lavishly illustrated literary texts of the 18th century. It is a testament t...

This past year we were able to acquire a spectacular edition of La Fontaine's Fables Choisies. Published in Paris between 1755 and 1759, the four volume set is one of the most lavishly illustrated literary texts of the 18th century. It is a testament to La Fontaine's standing in French culture at the time.

The illustrator, Jean Baptiste Oudry, gets almost equal billing in the first volume. While the title page only mentions La Fontaine, Oudry gets his own frontispiece alongside one of a bust of La Fontaine being unveiled by Aesop. Oudry was a natural choice. A Rococo painter fashionable at the time, he specialized in paintings of animals and nature scenes. He must have found particular inspiration in La Fontaine's fables with their talking animals and pastoral settings.

The books is wonder to behold. The 280 full-page plates carry you into the extravagance of 18th century France while providing a suitably fabulous accompaniment for La Fontaine's texts.

Ask for Rare PG1808.A1 1755