The British Merlin and losing at cards

September 17, 2014 by

In 1951, the Clark purchased a 1701 edition of Rider’s British Merlin, an almanac compiled by Cardanus Rider that was published yearly from the mid-17th century until at least 1830. Cardanus Rider was likely a pseudonym for Richard Saunders, an English astronomer and doctor who was born in 1613 and whose actual date of death is unknown.  This 1701 Merlin had not been cataloged until this past week, probably because it presents some complexities the Clark’s past catalogers apparently did not feel like tackling.

photo 5

 

The almanac is printed in red and black and the only annotations are little circles or small notations next to some dates. Though the bookbinder attached an extra inch or so to the bottom of each page, to make room for the owner to write notes, there isn’t any writing on them.  The bookbinder also added a few other things that make this book particularly interesting.

photo

The front and back covers, which are both decorated with gold filigree and little acorns (there are a lot of cute acorns on the spine too), also have metal bosses imprinted with a floral design.  When you turn the book to open it, you realize that these are attached to ring clasps that are fastened with a metal rod with a flat top…

photo 1

… which isn’t actually just a metal rod, but a stylus for writing on the erasable pages within the book.  Made out of specially coated paper, erasable pages and tablets were very common at the time this British Merlin was bound.

photo 3The page on the right is an erasable one and you can still see some traces of notes even though they have been erased.  There are only 4 erasable pages in this volume, but you can see from traces like those above that they were used quite heavily.

photo 4

All of the above features are interesting and notable, but probably aren’t what caused the Clark’s catalogers to shy away from working on this book when it was purchased.  The thing that probably was the least appealing to those catalogers was the account book written on most of the blank pages at the front and back of the book.  Kept by what appears to be a young (or young-ish) man living somewhere outside of London, the account book often records destinations visited and the costs of renting horses or coaches to get there – you can see a number of place names on the page above.  This page also records 2 shillings and sixpence “for chocolate,” 17 shillings “for a sword” and 5 shillings “lost at cards.”  Unfortunately enough for the book’s owner, “lost at cards” or “lost at tables” are recorded many times and “won at cards” isn’t recorded anywhere that I could find.

The Clark owns many hybrid volumes like this one (like the winegrower’s journal/bookseller’s catalogs featured last week) and our current practice is to catalog both the printed Rider’s British Merlin and the account book separately, so researchers looking for either one will be sure to find this item.

Cardanus Rider, Riders (1701) British Merlin, London: Edw. Jones for the Company of Stationers, 1701 and [Account and memoranda book], 1700-1707, Call no. AY751 .R52 1701, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

From Rebecca Fenning Marschall, Manuscript & Archives Librarian

 

Books and wine at the Clark

September 12, 2014 by

With the summer winding down and the harvest season fast approaching it seems like a good time to highlight a treasure at The Clark which directly observes harvest seasons of the past.  This hybrid manuscript is both a record of a vineyard’s yield as well as a look into a bookseller’s catalog.

1

This hybrid manuscript is comprised of several printed catalogues from 18th century Geneva booksellers Fabri & Barrillot dating from 1725-1728.  Some of the catalogs here are fragmentary but do exhibit annotations which appear to have come from booksellers who had may have had this collection in 1728 in order to conduct inventory work.

2

This manuscript gets even more interesting when you look at the many unprinted pages found throughout the bound fragments of the booksellers’ catalogs.  Here, an anonymous land-owner and winemaker from the Burgundy region of France has hand-recorded details of his business and accounts including: tenants, harvest yields, wine sales, and livestock.  The vintner’s records specifically include details of his grape harvest year after year.  This book of record includes entries dating from 1765 into the revolutionary era with 1795 as the last date noted.

3

In a time when paper was harder to come by the wine merchant very cleverly re-used these catalogs and fortuitously created this fascinating manuscript blend. This manuscript is a small opening into the world of bookselling as well as farming in the early 18th century in France.  The Fabri & Barrillot catalogs of that time are rare and the annotations may present an original window into the booksellers’ world.  The vintner’s book of record as an artefact offers accounts of vineyards and the wine trade in the Burgundy region.  This curious assembly offers an interesting testimony on both the book and wine trade in the 18th century.

Clark Library Call Number MS.2008.007

 

By Reading Room Assistant Stella Castillo

Ce livre de compte: Dominique Richaud’s cipher book

September 4, 2014 by

The Clark recently added two 18th century French manuscripts to its small but interesting collection of schoolchildren’s arithmetic cipher books.  One in particular, that of Dominique Richaud from Aix-en-Provence, is particularly notable for its elaborate and colorful illustrations.

full page

 

The tradition of the calligraphic arithmetic notebook was well-established in Europe and in colonial North America during the early modern era and these artifacts of past educational practices are not uncommon in special collections libraries.  However, because until recently they have been little studied and because there is no standardized vocabulary for their description, they seem to fly under the radar.  Most of the arithmetic cipher books at the Clark were purchased in the 1950s and they do not appear to have gotten much attention as a collection until the current staff started recataloging the manuscript collections in 2008.

Dominique Richaud’s cipher book is a particularly beautiful and exciting example of this document genre, with its multicolored decorations and illustrations.

suite

Instead of working and  learning from math textbooks, students – and teachers – used cipher books like this as reference when it came to figuring out how to solve math problems both in the classroom and in the real world.  Students would copy correct answers into their cipher books and then illuminate the page with illustrations and embellishments.

division

 

Compared to the other arithmetic notebooks at the Clark, Richaud’s is much more colorful and much more elaborate.  It is also much larger – most are quarto and octavo size, while Richaud’s book is a tall folio.

a new mascot for the Clark?

a new mascot for the Clark?

We are excited about the addition of these two French cipher books to our collection, which until now consisted only of English examples of the genre.  You can find these new acquisitions and all of our other calligraphic cipher books in the UCLA Library Online catalog using the keywords arithmetic and calligraphy.

Dominique Richaud, Ce livre de compte a ete fait a Aix…, MS. 2014.008, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

“To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost”: Manuscript Recipes in a Portable Art Book

August 19, 2014 by

One of the Clark’s most fascinating annotated books is The excellency of the pen and pencil (1668), a portable drawing manual containing hundreds of manuscript recipes for inks, colors, medicines, and poisons, including the recipe for ink listed in the blog title.

Title page, The excellency of the pen and pencil (1668)

Title page, The excellency of the pen and pencil (1668)

The text was “collected,” as the title page states, “from the writings of the ablest masters both ancient and modern, as Albert Durer, P. Lomantius, and divers others” and is “furnished with divers Cuts in Copper, being Copied from the best Masters.”

Engravings of ears, eyes, mouths, and noses

Engravings of ears, eyes, mouths, and noses

Besides offering instruction in the nuances of human anatomy, rules of shadowing, and methods of intaglio illustration, this particular copy  of the book affords its audience custom content in the form of interleaved manuscript additions. In fact, there is so much manuscript content in the book that its print/manuscript status is best described as “hybrid” (the volume also has two catalog records—one describing it as a printed book, the other as a manuscript).

Printed books throughout the hand-press period could be purchased or bound with interleaved blank sheets of paper to aid in the practice of manuscript annotation. As Heidi Brayman-Hackel notes, “the interleaf radically expands the margin, shifting the proportion between printed text and annotatable space to accommodate the most prolific readers” (Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy, 142). In the case of the Clark’s copy of The excellency of the pen and pencil, the “radically expand[ed]” margins of the book play host to dozens of contemporary manuscript recipes, many of which relate to the printed text’s emphasis on methods for preparing inks and colors. Here, for example, is the recipe from the title: “To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost”:

"To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost" (page one)

“To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost” (page one)

"To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost" (page two)

“To make a Great deale of Ink Quickly and wth a Little Cost” (page two)

“Take of ye black that Curriers or Tanners doe black their skinns with, for you may haue much for mony: Then Take ye Gaule of a fish Cal’d a Cuttle, which Costeth almost nothing, & Cheifly in places neare ye sea side, & in eating ye said fish at Divers Times you may keep ye Gaules To Gather. Then mingle ye Gaules with ye Tanners Colour and without Any Other thing you shall haue a perfect Ink. To make it yet better Put to it ye Powder Made of ye Coales of Vitriel, of Gaules, & of Gum. & ye saide Ink, Shall be very Good To print in Copper, Puting to it, a Little Vernix & a Little oyle of Li[m]e, so that it may be Liquid & fitting of it of it self [sic], for to pearce ye better into all manner of Ingravings, & that it may well Abide well vpon ye Paper, without Running Abroade;”

While the quality of this ink may be suspect, the text nonetheless illuminates the resourcefulness of early modern recipes: buy a black dyeing substance cheaply from the leather-tanners, collect galls whenever squid’s on the dinner menu, and if planning on intaglio printing, add a few more specialized ingredients to the ink so it can “pearce ye better into all manner of Ingravings.” Anyone researching the early modern economics of ink manufacture would do well to consult this volume, as it contains several additional recipes for ink, including “Printer’s Ink” and “A very good Receipt To Make Red Ink by,” which is appropriately written in the very red ink it describes.

"A Very Good Receipt to Make Red Ink by"

“A Very Good Receipt to Make Red Ink by”

Yet the manuscript recipes do not simply instruct readers how to create ink; they also offer guidelines for its recovery.

"For Recover old Deeds or Manuscripts"

“For Recover old Deeds or Manuscripts”

“Take half a pint of Vinegar, add there to Thirty Gaules Well Bruised and pounded then mix therewith ye Juice of Two Lemmons & foure Onions, & before you make use of them Lett them so stand for Three days you must Use it in this manner. Dipp a feather in ye Bottle & therewith wet that part of ye Writing or Record that is most Illegible & you will soone finde ye Appearance of ye Letters.                  probat[um]: est: Ja: Godfrey.”

As with several of the volume’s manuscript recipes, the instructions to “Recover old Deeds or Manuscripts” ends with a piece of testimony: “probat[um]: est: Ja: Godfrey,” or “it is proven, [by] Ja: Godfrey.” In other words, “this recipe works, I tried it.” (Whether we are dealing with a “Ja[mes]” or “Ja[ne]” Godfrey is unknown.)

Some leaves, of course, simply provide space for doodling.

Illustration of a head

Illustration of a head

This later doodle seems to make a facetious reference to the formulaic “How to …” phrase found in many of the book’s manuscript recipes: “How to draw,” with the sketch of a face.

"How to draw"

“How to draw”

The binding of this volume, finally, offers several clues for understanding the book as a physical object.

Lower cover

Lower cover

Upper cover

Upper cover

Brass belt hook

Brass belt hook

The vellum binding, complete with fore-edge flap, has a brass strip at the lower edge of the upper cover, looped to form a belt hook. The volume, in other words, was not only portable in size but physically built to be carried around, its printed and manuscript recipes easily accessible on the go.

Inscription of Samuel Steele

Inscription of Samuel Steele

It seems likely that the person responsible for both the book’s portable structure and some of its manuscript content is the Samuel Steele who wrote this inscription on the inside of the vellum fore-edge flap: “Samuel Steele his hand and pen deus Omnipotent.” Whether the “Graf Crow” signature on the title page (see image above) refers to another owner who added manuscript content to the volume is unknown, though it is unlikely Steele was the only contributor. Rather, the multiple hands that inscribed the book’s recipes point to a social tradition of manuscript culture built around the volume, a tradition in which recipes were compiled, tested, and transcribed to create a hybrid book of portable knowledge.

—Philip S. Palmer, 2014–16 CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at the Clark

Mexican Manuscripts at the Clark

August 14, 2014 by

By Reading Room Assistant Stella Castillo

A lesser known holding here at The Clark is the Mexican Manuscripts Collection comprised of documents dating from 1579-1828 regarding the Spanish settlement and colonization of California, New Mexico, and one document from 1802 concerning Louisiana. The collection of 29 manuscripts written in Spanish cover issues relating to establishment of missions, Native American unrest, expeditions, travels, and political events in Alta and Baja California. Although the dates of the collection range from 1579 to 1828, the bulk of material is from 1750-1799. Included among the 29 manuscripts are estimates of voyage costs in and around the new colonies. Here a contract proposal from Don to sail a small ship from Acapulco to Alta California which notes conditions and estimates for the voyage.

1

The collection includes various first hand descriptions of California and the process of colonization, missions, and interactions of the Spanish missionaries and government with the native people. The descriptions of the discoveries include those made along the west coast from the lower section of California nearly to Alaska along the coast prior to 1776. Within some of the descriptions are Spanish perspectives on interactions both contentious and friendly with various groups of Native American people including Comanche, Apache, Yumas and Pecos. In particular there are reflections on the war against the Apache Indians throughout the provinces of New Spain.

2

Above is a portion of a document outlining the military and civil governments of Upper and Lower California in September 1829 which is said to be written in the hand of Augustin Juan Vicente Zamorano, who was then Secretary to the Governor of Alta California, Jose Maria de Echeandia, whose signature appears on the document. As a point of interest: Zamorano established California’s first printing press at Monterey in 1834 and it is from him that the Los Angeles club of book collectors took its name.

3

Of interest as well is a contract between Don Juan de Oñate, who would go on to become the first governor of New Mexico, and Don Luis de Velasco who was the Viceroy of New Spain in 1595. The contract details what provisions would need to be taken and what laws are to govern the expedition. The collection is an interesting window into the colonization process by the Spanish government and the religious establishment as there are documents written by both Jesuits and Franciscans included in the collection.

Reading Your Future at the Clark

July 22, 2014 by

By Reading Room Assistant Stella Castillo

The riddle of your future may be solved at The Clark! Recently, I was wondering what the future may hold, so I decided to look into fortune telling and came across several books detailing how to read your palm among other things (like your moles!) to determine your future. Palmistry, also known as chiromancy, is the art of reading lines on the hand to forecast the future.

palm

One book, in particular, the True Fortune Teller or Guide to Knowledge… (Call Number: BF1851 .T86 1698*) tells the reader in Chapter 2 that: “…first you must understand, that of all of the members of the body, none so plainly exposes our Fortunes or Fates as the Hand; for in that the God of Nature has ingraven legible Characters, to be read by the studious and industrious, to whom it is his pleasure to reveal such secrets And those are the lines and joynts, & c. apparent in the Palm, Thumb and Fingers, which have an immediate intercourse, though by devious ways, with the chief feats of life, having diverse Names.”

 

The method of evaluating a person’s character or future life by reading the palm of that person’s hand involves decoding the various lines and bumps. The lines have names like the life line, the head line, the heart line and the Saturne line. The palmist may begin by reading the person’s dominant hand which, according to some traditions, represents the conscious mind. According to various traditions of palmistry, the non-dominant hand may carry hereditary traits or information about past-life or karmic conditions.

palm2

The history of palmistry is hazy but it is thought to have originated in India with Hindu astrology and spread through the traditional fortune-telling practices of the Romani people to China, Tibet, Persia, Egypt and Ancient Greece. The earliest books on the topic appear in the 15th Century. During the Middle Ages the art of palmistry was actively suppressed by the Catholic Church as pagan superstition due to its associations with magic and witchcraft and it was used to detect witches. In Renaissance magic, palmistry was classified as one of the seven “forbidden arts,” along with necromancy, geomancy, aeromancy, pyromancy, hydromancy, and spatulamancy. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated one had made a pact with the Devil. Palmistry saw a resurgence during the 17th century, when scholars began to attempt to find rational and scientific foundations for the practice. However, palmistry was outlawed in Britain during the reign of King George IV.

palm3

I could tell you more about what your palm might say, but perhaps you should come down to The Clark and have a look at how to read your palm yourself.

Our new interim Head Librarian, Victoria Steele

July 18, 2014 by

Victoria Steele will be joining the Clark Library for a two-year appointment as Interim Head Librarian, beginning at the end of August.  Currently the Brooke Russell Astor Director of Collections Strategy for the New York Public Library, she was the Head of UCLA Special Collections from 2000-2009 and is no stranger to the Clark and its collections.  A more detailed press release is available here.

sasb_portrait_20140701_victoria_steele-3702r.

L’archive du tombeau de Louis Menard

July 3, 2014 by

Le tombeau de Louis Ménard and A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard were among the first things I cataloged when I began working at the Clark 6 years ago and they were a great introduction to the wide variety of formats in the Clark’s manuscript collections.  Though these two companion volumes look like innocent codex manuscripts, bound in red morocco with fancy marbled endpapers, they are anything but normal bound manuscripts –

photo 3

– they are actually a bound archive.

In 1901 and 1902, French publisher and writer Edouard Champion compiled the book Le tombeau de Louis Ménard in honor of the writer, scholar and chemist Louis-Nicholas Ménard (1822-1901).  The published book itself is made up of letters from prominent scholarly, literary and political figures regarding Ménard and his legacy, and appropriately enough, Champion bound his copy of Le tombeau with an assortment of letters and calling cards from the book’s contributors and other well-wishers.  There was enough material in this archive to make a second volume of calling cards and letters, A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard.  Individuals represented in the Tombeau archive include Georges Clemenceau, Remy de Gourmont, Robert Comte de Montesquiou, Léon Bloy, Jean Bertheroy, and Maurice Barrès, just to name a few.

photo 3

Sully Prudhomme’s calling card pictured in the front

As in any archive of correspondence, the letters and items gathered together by Champion range widely in size, making the job of binding a somewhat onerous task.  How do you bind together material that is so varied size-wise?  You could just paste everything in a scrapbook larger than the biggest piece of paper in the archive, but that would result in lost text when double-sided letters get pasted down (and most items in this archive are written on both sides).  The solution Champion’s bookbinder settled on was pretty perfect for this particular project.  Instead of trying to work with the pages of the archive itself, the bookbinder bound together a set of short stubby pages onto which the materials in the archive are glued.

photo 5

Of course, the easiest option would have been to keep all of these letters in a box, like a traditional archive.  But Champion clearly wanted to have these letters housed in a more bookish way (fitting, given his profession) and I am glad he did, as these two volumes are fascinating objects.  They are arguably easier to casually browse than a box of letters might be, and they easily fit on a shelf alongside other books.

photo 4

Edouard Champion, collector, Le tombeau de Louis Ménard and A propos du tombeau de Louis Ménard, MS.2008.004 and MS.2008.005, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

 

The Tears of the Press

June 20, 2014 by

Introducing the Clark’s latest exhibition:

THE TEARS OF THE PRESS:

PRINT AND AUTHORITY IN 17TH-CENTURY ENGLAND

Curated by Dr. Stephanie Koscak and students in her UCLA History Department capstone seminar, Media and Politics in Early Modern England: Nicholas Barlow | Hillary Rose Cleary | Ricardo Aaron Garcia | Brian Jordi Thomas Knight | Amber Ward | Maksim Wynn | Sean Patrick Yancey

Whig Medley

INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITION

“What age ever brought forth more, or bought more printed waste paper?”, asked the anonymous author of the 1681 tract The Tears of the Press, with Reflections on the Present State of England. The temporary and then permanent lapse of prepublication print licensing, the emergence of violent party politics, and political revolution redefined the relationship between print and political authority for the English in the later seventeenth century. Packed with supposed lies, controversies, and fallacious news, readers consumed print like never before: “The ink hath poyson in it,” lamented our above author, yet “pamphlets these late times hath swarmed.”

This obsession with paper and the press in seventeenth-century England reflects new anxieties, tensions, and possibilities surrounding representation in an age of increasingly mass textual and graphic print. By the turn of the eighteenth century, the press had expanded beyond all previous bounds with the explosion of ephemeral print, particularly newspapers, pamphlets, engravings, satires, and broadsides. This exhibition, curated by students in Dr. Stephanie Koscak’s undergraduate capstone seminar in the Department of History at UCLA, “Media and Politics in Early Modern England,” aims to capture the vitality and novelty of print in this period. Collectively, these rare texts and images demonstrate the ways in which authority was constructed through print while addressing contemporary anxieties about veracity and misrepresentation. Topics include: the development of newspapers, the construction of royal authority in graphic images and printed pamphlets, the invention of mass partisan propaganda, the channels of printed communication undergirding the mid-century witch crisis, and emerging genres of engraved visual satire, such as political playing cards. Like the printer George Bickham’s large, hand-colored trompe l’oeil engraving The Whig’s Medley (1711), included in the exhibit, print playfully reflected back on its own complexities. Authors and artists asked contemporaries to read dialogically, to compare multiple representations, and to cultivate sharp interpretive skills necessary for England’s new media landscape.

SCENES FROM THE EXHIBITION OPENING

Tears of the Press opening 1

Dr. Koscak

Tears of the Press 2

Tears of the Press opening 3

The exhibition will be open through September 2014. If you’d like to see it, make an appointment for a tour via http://clarklibrary.ucla.edu/tour or visit during one of our summer events!

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray

May 23, 2014 by

In the 1945 film The Picture of Dorian Gray, there are actually two pictures of Mr. Gray — a “before” and an “after”– painted by two different artists.  The “after” painting by American artist Ivan Albright now lives in the Art Institute in Chicago, where you can find it on display.

Ivan Albright’s Picture of Dorian Gray

The other picture of Dorian was painted by Portuguese artist Henrique Medina, whose work should look somewhat familiar to Clark aficionados:

Henrique Medina's Picture of Dorian Gray

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray

Medina is responsible for the portraits of William Andrews Clark, Jr., Cora Sanders, and Robert E. Cowan that are prominently displayed in the library’s drawing room.

Henrique Medina's Picture of Mr. Clark

Henrique Medina’s Picture of Mr. Clark

Medina (1901-1988) spent several years in Los Angeles, where he was a favorite of society and Hollywood figures, including (it seems) Mr. Clark and his staff.  Works by Medina are housed in museums and collections around the world and there is a museum of his work in his native Portugal.  What Medina thought about the coincidence of painting Dorian Gray’s portrait after painting portraits of the founder and staff of one of the largest Oscar Wilde collections in the world is unknown — but hopefully he found it as interesting as we do.

Medina's Picture of Robert Cowan

Medina’s Picture of Robert Cowan

Apparently his portrait of Dorian Gray was at some point given as a gift to Hurd Hatfield, the actor who played Dorian in the film.  According to Hatfield’s Wikipedia entry, his art collections and other estate contents were sold at auction at his home in County Cork in 2007.  We’d love to know if Medina’s Picture of Dorian Gray was among those contents. If you can help us figure out more details about the auction and about who owns the portrait now, we would be very thankful!

Henrique Medina, from the University of Porto


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 585 other followers