Tag Archives: Rare Books

Medieval Manuscript: Pore Caitif

Pore Caitif binding
16th century binding. Pore Caitiff, [14–]. (SPC) MSS LT 085. Special Collections Research Center.
The Special Collections Research Center holds a number of medieval manuscripts of various types, including financial ledgers, notated music, a Book of Hours, and philosophical texts.

One interesting volume in the collection is a manuscript of the “Pore Caitif,” a late 14th and 15th century devotional text consisting of tracts intended for home use by the laity. The compilation of this handbook for religious instruction is most frequently attributed to English reformer John Wycliffe (1330 – 1384), and it contains approximately fourteen tracts intended to teach the reader about the Ten Commandments, the Paternoster, the Creed, and other basic aspects of Christianity. The number of Pore Caitif manuscripts in existence–more than fifty–demonstrates that this text was extremely popular during this time period.

Pore Caitif first page
First page of text. Pore Caitiff, [14–]. (SPC) MSS LT 085. Special Collections Research Center.
It is unlikely that the compiler of this instructional volume was the one to assign the title “Pore Caitif,” even though that title seems to have been used as early as the 14th century. Most likely the common title was taken from the manner in which the compiler refers to himself: “pore” being an alternate spelling of “poor,” and “caitiff” or “caitif” meaning “wretched” or “despicable.”

Temple’s Pore Caitif dates from the 14th century. It has a later binding from the 16th century, made of black Moroccan leather, and contains the bookplate of Robert R. Dearden, a 20th century Philadelphia book collector. An inscription on the last pages of the manuscript indicates that Dame Margaret Hasley, a sister in the Order of Minoresses, presented this work to another sister.

Pore Caitif last page
Last page of text. Inscription in red states that Margaret Hasley presented the volume to another sister in the Order of Minoresses. Pore Caitiff, [14–]. (SPC) MSS LT 085. Special Collections Research Center.
The volume was recently digitized for the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis project, funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL). The project aims to digitize and make available online medieval manuscripts from fifteen institutions in the Philadelphia area. Images and descriptive metadata will be released into the public domain and easily downloadable at high resolution via University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ OPenn manuscript portal. Temple is contributing over twenty manuscripts to the project.

–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC

Books of Hours

First page of the calendar
First page of the calendar. Book of Hours: Use of Toul, between 1450 and 1499.

The Special Collections Research Center is fortunate to hold two Books of Hours from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in its collection. Looking at these two volumes side by side, visitors to the SCRC can see for themselves the transition from the manuscript tradition to the printing tradition during the early years of the printing press.

Books of Hours were generally created during the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, and contain prayers dedicated to the Virgin Mary to be read throughout the day. These prayer books were intended to aid personal prayer rather than public worship in a church or cathedral. Books of Hours were enormously popular with the middle class of the day, and even today are the most common type of book or manuscript remaining from the medieval period. For more information on books of hours, see the tutorial on the Les Enluminures web site.

From the Gospel of Matthew
From the Gospel of Matthew. Ces presentes heures sont a lusaige de Ro[m]me toutes au long sans require. Ont este imprimees nouuellement a Paris.: Par Germaine Hardouyn demourant audict lieu: Entre les deux portes du Palais: A lenseigne Saincte Marguerite, [1534].
Specific content of Books of Hours varies widely. While all contain the Hours of the Virgin, some might also contain the Hours of the Cross, or certain psalms. The liturgical content of a Book of Hours is referred to as its “use,” and is typically named for the region or area where that use was common, such as “Use of Rome.”

Flight into Egypt miniature
Flight into Egypt miniature. Book of Hours: Use of Toul, between 1450 and 1499

SCRC’s manuscript book of hours is thought to be from Toul, France (Book of Hours: Use of Toul), and dates from between 1450 and 1499. It is written on parchment, which is made from animal skin, and it contains hand painted miniatures. As a manuscript, it is a unique item. The printed Book of Hours (Ces presentes heures sont a lusaige de Ro[m]me, or Book of Hours: Use of Rome), printed in Paris around 1534 by Germain Hardouyn, contains metalcuts hand painted by artist Jean Pichore. It is printed on vellum, which is a finer quality parchment made from the skin of a calf or other young animal. This volume is believed to be one of only three remaining copies of this edition.

Planetary Man
Planetary Man. Ces presentes heures sont a lusaige de Ro[m]me toutes au long sans require. Ont este imprimees nouuellement a Paris.: Par Germaine Hardouyn demourant audict lieu: Entre les deux portes du Palais: A lenseigne Saincte Marguerite, [1534].
The manuscript Book of Hours was recently digitized for Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis a Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) project, funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) . The project aims to digitize and make available online medieval manuscripts from fifteen institutions in the Philadelphia area. Images and descriptive metadata will be released into the public domain and easily downloadable at high resolution via University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ OPenn manuscript portal. Temple is contributing over twenty manuscripts to the project.

–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC
With thanks to Katharine Chandler, Bryn Mawr College, for her assistance

Cervantes: The Man Who Invented Fiction

Cervantes Portrait, London, 1738
Cervantes portrait from Cervantes, Miguel de. Vida y Hechos del Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de La Mancha. London: J. and R. Tonson, 1738.

This year, 2016, marks the 400th anniversary of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes’s death, and worldwide celebrations of  his life and work abound. On Monday, September 26, 2016, at noon in Paley Library Lecture Hall, Temple University Libraries’ is co-sponsoring a lecture by William Egginton, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, with Temple’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Dr. Egginton will be speaking about Miguel de Cervantes and how his Don Quixote radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world. Egginton recently published The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World.  (New York, NY:  Bloomsbury, 2016).

To quote from the publisher’s description of Egginton’s book:   “… Don Quixote went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the single most-read author in human history. Cervantes did more than just publish a bestseller…. He invented a way of writing. This book is about how Cervantes came to create what we now call fiction, and how fiction changed the world.   The Man Who Invented Fiction explores Cervantes’s life and the world he lived in, showing how his influences converged in his work, and how his work–especially Don Quixote–radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world. Finally, it explains how that worldview went on to infiltrate art, politics, and science, and how the world today would be unimaginable without it.”

from: Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote de La Mancha. Illustrated by Tony Johannot. London: J.J. Dubochet & Co., 1838.
Don Quixote from: Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote de La Mancha. Illustrated by Tony Johannot. London: J.J. Dubochet & Co., 1838.

This semester the Libraries’ is also featuring a mini-exhibit of illustrated editions of Cervantes’s works, published between the 17th and 20th centuries, held by the  Special Collections Research Center.  This exhibit, on Paley Library’s mezzanine, includes a true gem in the printing history of Don Quixote, the first edition of the work published in England in Spanish. This London edition, printed by J. and R. Tonson in 1738, features over sixty copperplate engravings and includes the first known portrait of Cervantes, based on the author’s own self-description. Other highlights include a 19th century edition with the dramatic depictions of the tale by French illustrator Gustave Doré and more abstract 20th century interpretations of the hero and his world.

Special thanks go to Dr. José M. Pereiro Otero, Associate Professor in Temple’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, for providing the narrative for the display.

The originals of all of the books featured in the exhibit will be on display in the SCRC’s Reading Room on the ground floor of Paley library after the Dr. Egginton’s noon lecture on Monday, September 26.  The lecture, and the reception and open house following, all are free and open to the public.

 

–Kimberly Tully, curator of rare books, Special Collections Research Center

 

Philip Nordell, Collector

Matthew Hopkins ,Witchfinder General
From An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft….
London: Printed for R. Knaplock and D. Midwinter, 1718
This illustration is “Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder general,” a 1793 reproduction of a well-known 1647 woodcut. The image was inserted as a frontispiece in the book after its publication.

Philip Gardiner Nordell (1894-1976), graduated from Dartmouth College in 1916, where he was an All-American in the running broad jump. He claimed to have invented the predecessor to boxed cake mixes in the 1920s—founding a business that combined the dry ingredients for muffins, allowing the baker to simply add water. Nordell’s primary research interest was early American lotteries, which he studied for over thirty years. His personal collection of early lottery tickets and related newspaper announcements, brochures, and broadsides, is now at Princeton University.

Nordell also assembled an extraordinary collection of books documenting religion, politics, and science in Britain and New England in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Temple Special Collections acquired this collection from Nordell in 1965. It contains more than 250 books, including a significant number of rare British  and American imprints on religion from the 17th and 18th centuries. The collection documents the predominant and often conflicting ideas during this period, particularly related to religion, religious liberty, and rationalism in England and the New England colonies. Included in the collection are many books on “fringe” groups, such as Anabaptists, Levellers, Ranters, and atheists, as well as many works on witchcraft. Authors represented include Francis Bacon, John Cotton, Thomas Edwards, Joseph Glanvill, Thomas Hobbes, John Lilburne, Cotton Mather, and William Prynne.

Of particular interest are the books on witchcraft which represent a very comprehensive view of the topic.  Originating on both sides of the Atlantic, they document the conversation that old and new worlds were having about sources, causes, and cures for witchcraft–and the eventual repudiation of  the belief that witches exist.

In a 1965 letter, Nordell said: “My central aim in gathering the collection has been to furnish important source material helpful in appraising the comparative mental patterns in old and New England.… In different words, the collection furnishes much of the basic source material to form a sound judgment as to the truth of an observation made in the 1640′s, that while New England was becoming old, old England was becoming new.”

–Margery Sly, Director of Special Collections, and Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, Special Collections Research Center

“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” Hamilton in the Special Collections Research Center

In the Broadway musical Hamilton, George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control … who tells your story.” In archives and special collections, stories are preserved and told every day, whether they are the stories of presidents and politicians or those of everyday people. While the Special Collections Research Center is better known for its collections documenting modern day people and events, we do hold some materials related to our founding fathers, including those represented in Hamilton.

Hamilton bank order
Alexander Hamilton. Order on First Bank of United States, May 16, 1794. Cochran History of Business Collection

Alexander Hamilton’s own handwriting can be seen in the original 1794 document “Order on First Bank of United States,” which shows Hamilton in his capacity as Secretary of the Treasury authorizing the Secretary of State, Edmund Randolph, to be paid $900 for “certain expenses which have occurred in the West Indies in relation to public service.” His work is also represented by his publication The Soundness of the Policy of Protecting Domestic Manufactures (Philadelphia: printed by J. R. A. Skerrett, 1817).

Eighteenth century printed materials in SCRC demonstrate that the personal attacks shown in the musical were just as vindictive in real life: the pamphlet Letters to Alexander Hamilton, King of the Feds (New York: orinted by Richard Reynolds, 1802), attributed to expert scandalmonger James Thomson Callender (the man credited with revealing Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds), attacks Hamilton for 64 pages.

Burr novel
Cover of An American Colonel: A Story of Thrilling Times During the Revolution and the Great Rivalry of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, by Jeremiah Clemens (Akron, Ohio: Wolfe Pub. Co., 1900)

Multiple books in SCRC detail the life and death of Hamilton, including Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton’s The Conqueror: Being the True and Romantic Story of Alexander Hamilton (New York: Macmillan, 1902) and William Coleman’s 1804 publication A Collection of the Facts and Documents, Relative to the Death of Major-General Alexander Hamilton (Boston: Reprinted by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1904).

Aaron Burr’s troubles did not end after he killed Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. In 1807 he was arrested for treason at the behest of President Jefferson. The trial is extensively detailed in the two volumes of Reports of the Trials of Colonel Aaron Burr (Philadelphia: published by Hopkins and Earle. Fry and Kammerer, printers, 1808). For Burr apologists, the book An American Colonel: A Story of Thrilling Times During the Revolution and the Great Rivalry of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, by Jeremiah Clemens (Akron, Ohio: Wolfe Pub. Co., 1900) tells the story of Hamilton and Burr’s rivalry in pro-Burr fashion.

Lafayette letter
Marquis de Lafayette letter to “My dear sir,” December 19, 1784. Jay Edwin Sturgis Nagle Papers.

Marquis de Lafayette is represented in SCRC collections by a handwritten 1784 letter from the Jay Edwin Sturgis Nagle Collection, as well as multiple printed eulogies given upon his death in 1834. An unusual take on the Marquis is given in Walt Whitman’s short publication, Lafayette in Brooklyn (New York: George D. Smith, 1905), in which he describes being picked up and kissed by Lafayette as a small child.

Thomas Jefferson, of course, is well documented in many resources, including two letters from the Alexander James and George Mifflin Dallas Papers. SCRC also holds an early edition of Jefferson’s only full-length book, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: R.T. Rawle, publisher, John Thompson, printer, June, 1801). The Dallas Papers also contain one letter by James Madison.

Madison letter
Letter, James Madison to George Mifflin Dallas, June 23, 1821. Alexander James and George Mifflin Dallas Papers

George Washington, like Jefferson, is extensively documented. One particularly beautiful Washington-related book is an 1858 publication of his farewell address upon his retirement from the presidency–the basis for the song “One Last Time” (Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States: Embellished with Arabesque Designs & Illuminations. Philadelphia: Devereux & Company, 1858).

–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC

Undergraduate Instruction in the SCRC: Engaging Historically and Artistically with the Book as Object

 

seminar visit
Mosaic seminar

One of the ongoing missions of the Special Collections Research Center is to use our collections to enhance the teaching, learning, and research activities in the undergraduate curriculum at Temple. Over the course of spring semester 2016, the SCRC has hosted over twenty five classes representing a variety of departments and programs on campus.

A recent visit by Professor John Dern’s Intellectual Heritage Honors Mosaic Humanities Seminar, a required general education course in the College of Liberal Arts, gave us the opportunity to highlight some treasures from our rare book collections and gave the students an opportunity to see and turn the pages of first editions of Galileo and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mosaic seminar
Mosaic seminar

The goal of the Seminar is to “introduce students to philosophical, political and scientific texts that are challenging in at least one of several ways: rhetorically, historically or culturally.” In Professor Dern’s section, students read Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, and Thucydides’ On Justice, Power and Human Nature, among other assigned texts. When the students visited in early April, we pulled Temple’s first editions of Galileo’s final work, Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche, intorno à due nuoue scienze, printed in 1638 in Leiden, and the first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s seminal proto-feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, printed in London in 1792. Connecting their class reading of Galileo’s most famous work to how his later works appeared in the European marketplace in the early 17th century provides an invaluable lesson in early modern scientific discovery, censorship, and the dissemination of information across the European continent.

In addition to the first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s landmark text advocating equal education opportunities and related 18th century texts, the students also engaged with a 15th century manuscript on the lives of the ancient philosophers, a 16th century edition in Greek of the Roman historian Appian, and an 1804 illustrated volume depicting the punishment of criminals in China according to the Qing penal code. Students were encouraged to turn the pages of these texts, ask questions, and even snap pictures with their always-handy smartphones. Exposure to the physical artifacts of the texts they’re studying in class brings the students closer to an understanding of how the texts entered the cultural marketplace, the historical record, and our collective, intellectual heritage.

M. Dages class
Another of our late semester class visits provided a different kind of connection to the physical book format for the  students. In mid-April, Professor Marianne Dages brought her Tyler School of Art Foundation program class in 2D Foundation Principles to the SCRC to view a selection from our large artists’ books collection. For their own final book-making projects in the class, students were asked to incorporate both a strong use of color and interesting book structures. The selections pulled from the collection provided both examples of strong color technique and unique structures, as well as inspiration for the students’ own work. Just as in the Humanities Seminar, the smartphones were put to good use documenting what they saw for future reference!

Dages class
Tyler students with artists’ books

Whether a class visit to see the SCRC’s print collection enhances the contextual understanding of class readings or directly influences student work, it does prove that the physical book form is still an integral part of undergraduate teaching and learning at Temple.

— Kimberly Tully, Curator of Rare Books, SCRC

Temple Classes Visiting the Special Collections Research Center

One of our primary missions at the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is to support research, teaching, and learning through the use of the materials in our collection. This semester we’ve had over two dozen classes and hundreds of students pass through the doors of our reading room, and many more have come on their own to conduct further research on a diverse array of topics and disciplines such as architecture, history, urban studies, visual studies, education, dance, film and media arts, criminal justice, and journalism.

Students working with zines
Students working with zines

This semester J. Pascoe, a Philadelphia-based artists and instructor at Tyler School of Art, brought her Visual Studies and Graphic Art and Design classes into the SCRC, so that her students could interact with and explore some of our artists’ books and zine holdings.

When asked what value she placed in class visits to the SCRC, Pascoe says that “I bring my students to the SCRC because as an artist, an educator, and–frankly–as a human moving through this world, it behooves me to know what other people around me are making and doing. It’s not enough to pay attention to only what your friends or colleagues are doing. As artists, it’s important to know what’s being made out there and why.”

Zines on display
Zines at the SCRC

“More specifically, students come to my class wanting to make books and zines. They want to make things with their hands and they, ideally, want other people to hold finished work in their hands. We talk a lot about hand skills and hand work in my classes, so it’s no surprise I champion taking opportunities with my students to put our hands on other people’s work, too. To be able to hold books and zines and spend time with them–that’s where some real learning happens. I see more ‘light bulbs’ moments happen in collections and archives than in studio spaces.”

Student work inspired by their visits to the SCRC can be found on a class blog for Visual Studies 4554.  This is just one example of how the SCRC continues to support teaching and learning on the Temple campus and beyond.
-Josué Hurtado, Coordinator of Public Services & Outreach

The Art of the Commonplace Book: An Exhibition of Student Work

The Art of the Commonplace Book exhibit

 “In conjunction with their reading of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, I asked my students in the Spring 2015 Mosaic I: Humanities Seminar to keep a commonplace book of quotations primarily from the assigned texts and ancillary readings in our Mosaic class, but also from their other classes and any outside reading they may have done during the semester.  This could include novels, newspapers, magazines, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media postings, and even popular mediums, such as music, movies, and television.–Richard Orodenker, Assistant Professor, Intellectual Heritage Program

Students from Richard Orodenker’s Mosaic I: Humanities Seminar course in the Intellectual Heritage program visited Temple University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center in March 2015 to learn more about the tradition of keeping a commonplace book.  A commonplace book is any book in which extracts from other works, quotations, and comments are written.  Designed to be both a compilation of knowledge based on its creator’s interests and a memory aid, a commonplace book often includes a wide range of information on a variety of topics, such as politics, religion, and literature.

Student's commonplace book

 

“I felt that the assignment was an interesting historical correlation to the current trend of tweeting or ‘facebooking’ famous quotes. In my commonplace book I tried to incorporate text and visuals because the quotes that I chose were those that drew pictures with the beauty of their language. I find that a writer’s ability to translate words into mental images creates a wide range of interpretations and emotions for different readers and I wanted to express those images and emotions.”–Keeland Bowers, student.

McGlinn commonplace book title page
Frank McGlinn’s college commonplace book, circa 1935

 

Several of the commonplace books kept by students in the class, along with a selection of SCRC commonplace books and related materials, are on display during the Fall 2015 semester in three cases in the lobby of Paley Library. Please stop in and see how a visit to the Special Collections Research Center helped to shape this class project, by making the traditional commonplace book the jumping off point for rewarding student projects that incorporate both the old and the new.

-Kim Tully, Curator of Rare Books, SCRC

 

Additions to the Artists’ Book Collection

The over seven hundred artists’ books housed in the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center are a rich resource for Temple faculty and students in a variety of art and humanities disciplines. Artists’ books often defy standard descriptions but are broadly described as any work of original art created in book format or which takes the book as its primary mode of expression. Students, many from the Tyler School of Art, studying topics such as book structures, narrative, 2D foundation principles, and book arts in general, have visited the SCRC reading room to explore and be inspired by examples from the SCRC’s collection.

Clock Work Fish artists's book
Clock Work Fish

In the first weeks of this fall semester, there are already three different courses, two from the Graphic and Interactive Design program in Tyler and one from the English department, whose instructors have integrated the use of SCRC’s artists’ books into their syllabuses. Collecting artists’ books and making them available to users serves our mission to collect, preserve, and make accessible unique materials to enrich teaching and learning at Temple.

The artists’ books collection, which includes titles from the former library at Tyler School of Art, has grown exponentially over the last few years with several new titles added annually. The following artists’ books have recently been added to the SCRC’s collections, and we invite users to visit them.

The artists’ book shown above demonstrates the often whimsical quality of the book arts. Created by Guy Himber, Clock Work Fish is made entirely from LEGOs and consists of illustrations printed on vinyl pages. It is fully functional and consists of over 200 LEGO parts. More information and images can be found in the Libraries’ catalog record.

Echoes artists' book
Echoes

Another recent acquisition, this artists’ book by an Egyptian artist, Islam Mahmoud Mohamed Aly, is entitled Echoes. It is a finely wrought piece of craftsmanship, combining a traditional Coptic binding with the modern technology of laser engraved image and laser etched wooden boards. Inspired by the chants of protestors during the Egyptian Spring of 2011, the Arabic words for Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice are repeated throughout the design. More information and images can be found in the Libraries’ catalog record.

Cosmeceutical Collection artists' book
Cosmeceutical Collection

Unlike the first two examples which fuse unusual materials and illustrative techniques with the familiar codex structure, this artists’ book by Alicia Bailey entitled Cosmeceutical Collection, uses non-traditional “book” structures in the form of cosmetic containers, including an eyeshadow case, a mascara wand, and a compact case, to house her three miniature books. Bailey writes of the work: “…given my mistrust of both consumerism and culturally dictated notions of female beauty, I am also repulsed by these shrines to artificial beauty.” This title is so new to the collection that it’s not yet cataloged, but will be available soon.

 

Kimberly Tully
Curator of Rare Books
Special Collections Research Center

Collecting the Puritans…and Their Contemporaries

Fans of the Special Collections Research Center likely know that letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other archival materials usually come to us in collections – large and small groups of materials either created or collected by a person or organization. Often, the histories behind the gathering together of these primary source materials, and the long road from creation to their final home in SCRC, is as interesting as the content of the materials themselves.

Less well known is that we also frequently receive our rare books in the form of a collection, as well. While books tend to be rather individual in nature, as collections they have personalities and histories as unique as any archival collection.

Books from Nordell Collection

One of SCRC’s book collections is the Philip Gardiner Nordell Collection, which consists of over 250 books, primarily rare British imprints on religion from the 17th and 18th centuries. The collection documents the different predominant and often conflicting ideas during this period, particularly related to religion, religious liberty, and rationalism in England and the New England colonies. Included in the collection are many books on “fringe” groups such as Anabaptists, Ranters, and atheists, as well as many works on witchcraft. Authors represented include Francis Bacon, John Cotton, Thomas Hobbes, and Cotton Mather.

Frontispiece from Hobbes' Leviathan
Frontispiece from a first edition of Leviathan; Or, The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civill, by Thomas Hobbes (London: Printed for Andrew Crooke, 1651).

Philip Gardiner Nordell (1894-1976) was a man of many talents and interests. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1916, and was an All American in the running broad jump. He claimed to have invented the predecessor to boxed cake mixes in the 1920s, founding a business that combined the dry ingredients for muffins, allowing the baker to simply add water. Nordell’s primary research interest was early American lotteries, which he studied for over 30 years. His personal collection of early lottery tickets and related newspaper announcements, brochures, and broadsides, is now at Princeton University.

Swinden map
Map from Tobias Swinden’s An Enquiry into the Nature and Place of Hell (London: Printed by W. Bowyer, for W. Taylor [etc.], 1714).

Nordell also assembled his extraordinary collection of books documenting religion in Britain and New England in the 17th and 18th centuries. In a 1965 letter, he said: “My central aim in gathering the collection has been to furnish important source material helpful in appraising the comparative mental patterns in old and New England.… In different words, the collection furnishes much of the basic source material to form a sound judgment as to the truth of an observation made in the 1640’s, that while New England was becoming old, old England was becoming new.”

Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC