Cambridge collectors: Origins of the Whipple

By , 28 February 2012 12:17 pm

Whipple collection spine labelDawn Moutrey continues our theme of Cambridge collectors with a post on the origin of the Whipple Library in the collection of Robert Stewart Whipple.

‘Donations to libraries come in all sizes, from a single book donated by the author, to large collections which make you get out a tape measure to make sure you have the space. They all have a place in the history and development of a collection, and even a subject field.  The donation in 1944 by Robert Stewart Whipple (1871–1953) of his scientific instruments and books to the University has been viewed as “… an essential element in the establishment of the history of science as an academic discipline in Cambridge”’.

Read the full post on the ‘Whipple Library Books Blog’ …

Our posts on Cambridge collectors accompany the University Library’s major exhibition ‘Shelf Lives: Four Centuries of Collectors and their Books’, which runs until 16 June 2012.

Sandars Lectures 2011-2012

By , 20 February 2012 12:19 pm

Samuel Sandars (1837-1895)

The Sandars Readership in Bibliography was instituted in 1895 with a bequest of £2000 left to the University by Mr Samuel Sandars of Trinity College (1837-1895), and continues today in the annual series of Sandars Lectures.

The 2011-2012 Sandars Reader in Bibliography is Michael Reeve, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Latin and Fellow at Pembroke College. His lectures will be presented in the week commencing 27 February under the title Printing the Latin Classics – some episodes.

Monday 27 February 2012: Rome, Urbino, Venice: indexes and commentaries 1469-1499.

Tuesday 28 February 2012: From Urbino to Vienna: a sixteenth-century pioneer.

Thursday 1 March 2012: Berlin and other capitals: nineteenth-century innovations.

The lectures are free to all and begin at 17.00 in the Morison Room, Cambridge University Library.

Further details at Sandars Lectures.

Hard luck

By , 13 February 2012 3:20 pm
Hughes 002 cropped

Humble and obedient, but truthful? The signature of W. B. M. Hughes from his letter to Sir John Acton. MS Add. 8119(3)/H142.

The ‘hard luck story’ has a long pedigree, and there has always been difficulty knowing how much — if anything — in each tale is true. Two letters in the correspondence of the first Lord Acton held in the University Library are a case in point.

In April 1865 Acton, at that time a baronet, who had succeeded his father and inherited the family seat of Aldenham at three years old, and whose immediate family were dead, received the following letter from a Mr W. B. M. Hughes:

Keep reading …

‘Shelf Lives’: Does size matter?

By , 10 February 2012 1:09 pm

Letter written in 1868 by Charles DickensDominique Ruhlmann of Trinity Hall Library continues the ‘Shelf Lives’ theme with her feature on a letter of advice from Charles Dickens to his son Henry Fielding Dickens (‘My Dear Harry’), at the start of his son’s time as an undergraduate at Trinity Hall in October 1868.

‘Does a donation have to be large and impressive to be important? The answer is most emphatically “No”! One of our star items is a single sheet of paper measuring no more than 18 x 22.7 cm. It is a modest piece of nineteenth-century writing paper with no “bling” about it – but it still has the wow factor because it is a letter from Charles Dickens!’

Read the full post on ‘The Old Library at Trinity Hall’ blog …

Radical print culture

By , 9 February 2012 12:34 pm

On Wednesday 15 February, John Gardner will give a talk in the Library on ‘Radical Print Culture from 1815 to 1822′.

‘“Radical” is a new word since my time—it was not in the political vocabulary in 1816’ (Byron in a letter to John Cam Hobhouse, April 1820)

Following the end of the war with France, street literature, in the form of pamphlets, broadsides, illustrations, pornography, pirate publications and advertising, became increasingly radical, and ephemeral. This paper will examine radicalism in this period and its literary and cultural legacy.

The talk starts in the Library’s Morison Room at 5.30 p.m., and forms part of the programme of the Friends of the Library (see http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/friends/programme.html). Friends of the Library: £2.50. Others: £3.50. (Junior members of the University of Cambridge: free.)

Cambridge collectors: The Steward Collection

By , 7 February 2012 1:29 pm

Embossed stamp of J. H. Steward Ltd.

Our theme of Cambridge collectors, accompanying the current exhibition ‘Shelf Lives: Four Centuries of Collectors and their Books’, continues with a post by Dawn Moutrey of the Whipple Library on the Steward Collection, which came to the library in the 1970s when the Whipple Museum purchased a number of scientific instruments from the Steward family.

‘The J.H. Steward company was established in London in 1852 and became J.H. Steward Ltd. in 1913. It produced instruments for optical measuring, observation, military use, drawing and surveying. The 100-odd books we have in this collection cover physics, optics, scientific instruments, astronomy, lubrication, meteorology and gemmology (James Henry Steward, who established the company, was also a jeweller).’

Read the full post on the ‘Whipple Library Books Blog’ …

Stormy weather

By , 2 February 2012 12:47 pm
MS Add. 1577 (detail)

MS Add. 1577 (detail)

The Sanskrit Manuscripts Project, Cambridge, has recently launched its own website with full details about the project, news and features on some of the manuscripts at the University Library. A recent post by Dr. Camillo Formigatti highlights MS Add. 1577, a polychrome charm (yantra) against lightning made of seven intertwined letters (kūṭākṣara, monogram script): yara, valama, kṣa and ha.

Read the full post …