Christmas in SCA

If you have visited Special Collections and Archives since the start of December, and have seen our Christmas tree adorned with 2B pencils, latex glove baubles, and tinsel made from paper clips and unbleached cotton tape, then you will know that SCA is fully into the swing of Christmas.

Our latest Christmas-themed treasures event will take place Thursday 5th December 5pm – 6pm, and will look back at how Christmas has developed into the holiday that we know it as today.

As we approach the Christmas break here at the University of Liverpool, we wanted to share some of our festive favourites that will be shown at the event.


Newton, A. Edwards, The Christmas spirit, privately printed (1930) – SPEC K11.9(30)

This facsimile of the first ever Christmas card produced in 1843, shows a family celebrating together in the center, surrounded by images of charitable giving. This is a theme that became ever more popular in the Victorian-era, and other Christmas souvenirs were quick to follow in promoting concepts of charity and togetherness.

The idea for the card came from Henry Cole (1808 – 1882), in response to the growing number of unanswered letters he had received containing Christmas well-wishes. Looking for a way to reply to these letters quickly, Cole commissioned the artist John Callcott Horsley (1817 – 1903) to design a Christmas card.

Cole had more of these cards printed, and sold them at a shilling a piece. This was considered a lot of money for the period, and initially the idea didn’t cotton on. It wasn’t until a few years later that the idea of the Christmas card grew in popularity.

Dickens, C., A Christmas Carol: In Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, (London: Chapman & Hall, 1843) – SPEC Y84.3.65  

This second edition of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, from 1843, includes beautiful illustrations by John Leech.

In the century before its publication, as a result of industrialisation and social changes, Christmas traditions had fallen into decline. However the Victorian era marked the revival of old traditions such as Christmas carols, as well as the introduction of new ones, such as the Christmas card and the decorating of Christmas trees, which was popularised by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

‘A Christmas Carol’ was fundamental in re-popularising Christmas. Dickens (1812 – 1870) wrote the text in response to the growing problem of child poverty he had witnessed during his lifetime. He had hoped that the text would remind readers of the need to address wealth inequalities between the poor and rich, and that by encouraging Christmas traditions he would be able to promote ‘carol philosophy’, a term coined by Dickens to mean charity, generosity, and merriment.

The first print of six thousand copies had sold out by Christmas Eve, and since then the book has never fallen out of print.


Christmas Book (1930-1938) – RP XVB.4.7

This notebook from the papers of Sybil and Reynolds Rathbone shows just how much the concept of gift-giving and sending Christmas cards has grown since the Victorian era. The notebook includes pages of names of intended recipients for cards, calendars and presents.

The book records giving gifts such as chocolates and bath salts- not too different to today it would seem.

Also at the event there will be a selection of books from the Sci-Fi collection, which show the extent to which these modern concepts of Christmas have fed into popular culture since Dickens.

Tolkien, J. R. R., Letters from Father Christmas, (London: Harper Collins, 1999) – PR6039.O32.L47 1999 O/S  

This book contains letters written by J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) to his children, pretending to be Father Christmas, sharing stories of life in the North Pole and discussing the gifts they have asked for from Santa.

If you would like to see all these treasures and more then come along to tonight’s event, held in Special Collections and Archives from 5pm to 6pm.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out on our social media for details of the next Treasures event in the new year!

Written by Eleanor Mckenzie, Graduate Trainee.

Event: Afrofuturism at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

How do you imagine yourself, and your community, 10 years in the future? Conversely, looking to the past, how has society changed in ten, twenty, thirty years?

To inspire engagement with these questions, and to commemorate the last day of Black History Month, SCA’s Science Fiction Collections Librarian, Phoenix Alexander, installed a pop-up Afrofuturism library in the International Slavery Museum on October 31st 2019. Collaborating with Adam Duckworth and Mitty Ramachandran, Alexander curated the library to feature Black-authored texts from the SF collections: texts ranging from the Caribbean folklore-based speculative fiction of Nalo Hopkinson to the neo-slave narratives and far-future worlds of Octavia E. Butler. Alongside the books, specially-printed postcards were designed and printed to feature two striking Afrofuturist artworks from items in the SF collections. During the course of the afternoon visitors could write their hopes and aspirations for the future on the back of the postcards, which were displayed on a wall of the museum to create a community archive of sorts.

Display of Afrofuturism books

The term ‘Afrofuturism’ was coined in 1993 by cultural critic Mark Dery and fleshed out in a now-famous 2003 issue of the academic journal, Social Text. In the introduction to this issue, Afrofuturism was defined as any “text and images… [that] reflect African diasporic experience and at the same time attend to the transformations that are the by-product of new media and information technology.” In the preceding decade the term has become short-hand for any speculative ‘text’ – music video, film, novel, or comic – that foregrounds Black characters and communities, from Black Panther to the ‘ArchAndroid’ stylings of musician Janelle Monáe.

The small selection of texts on display at the International Slavery Museum showcased not only the literary works of Black authors but the often-striking artwork that helped to visualize worlds in which historically excluded communities could be seen and considered in narratives of futurity. The library proved particularly popular with younger visitors, who were inspired by the objects to produce their own artwork on an adjacent activity table. On display, too, was an interactive timeline detailing the history of Afrofuturism and Black speculative writing more broadly.

The library was a successful first step in bringing these inspiring texts to a community wider than the University’s walls – but also energized a commitment to giving voice to those communities who have not historically been afforded the kinds of institutional recognition that an academic library provides. Looking ahead, Dr. Alexander hopes to facilitate more events like this in the future and to build on the amazing SF Collections by collecting works by BAME, queer, and disabled authors.

Science Fiction is perhaps the most nakedly political of all fictional genres in that it explicitly renders who has a place in societies in the future – and who is excluded. Afrofuturist texts help make a space both physical – in institutions, in homes, in public spaces – and in the cultural imagination. By reading and enjoying these works, by encountering the physical objects that serve as interventions in new and exciting forms, we shape our own imaginations and, little by little, help to build a better world.

The Papers of Frank W. Walbank

The following is guest blog post written by Emilio Zucchetti (PhD candidate at Newcastle University). Emilio visited SC&A throughout the summer of 2019 as part of an internship offered by his funding body, Northern Bridge Consortium.

“I agreed on an internship within Special Collections and Archives, promising that I would catalogue the papers left by Frank William Walbank (archive reference D1037), Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool (1951 – 1977). At first, I thought that it would be a great job for an internship. I was not too excited because I barely knew Walbank’s work, and he is not one of the authors with whom I have to be constantly in dialogue for my own research, since I focus on the late Republic. On the contrary, Wallbank worked mainly on the Hellenistic Age. He is remembered as the “Polybius Man” (how Mary Beard called him in an article for The Times Literary Supplement, 29th May 2013) because his most important work is a three volumes commentary of Polybius’ text that occupied him between 1944 and 1979. Dedicating thirty-five years to Polybius, producing the commentary and a plethora of academic articles expanding on some details, made him probably the greatest expert on the subject of the 20th century.

Even though I knew about some interesting adventures in his personal biography, I was still expecting to find correspondence and notes about Polybius and the Hellenistic age, depicting a rigorous scholar, to the point that I pictured him to be quite boring. Well, I was terribly wrong. Letters of colleagues asking him about passages or details in Polybius constitute indeed an important part of the archive, together with many detailed notes on bibliography in several languages (including Russian and Hebrew). On top of this, however, a very complex figure emerged. A good man, certainly, but also a very political man, involved in anti-fascist activities and part of the Communist Party in 1938-9; a Marxist in analytical terms, until very late in his life (though his research has never been held back by doctrinal positions). Some of the important documents in the archive were indeed mentioned in his Hypomnemata, a memoir composed in 1992 and covering the years between his birth (10th December 1909) and the end of WWII. The archive gives us all the possibility to brush his memoir against the grain, to complete his reluctances, to extend the narrative to the years he did not manage to cover (and for which he had prepared a long set of memorialistic notes, conserved in the archive).

Spending an entire summer in Merseyside could be quite tough, notwithstanding how lovely is Liverpool, with his great music and foodie culture – especially if you are used to the Italian countryside, where I grew up. However, even with a very wet and sometimes cold summer the archive helped me keeping my energy level high. I enjoyed going through the documents, creating this catalogue, looking up which articles or books was he commenting on, finding scholars’ names I knew before and learning some new ones. To make everything work better, and immerse myself in Walbank’s world a little more, I visited his houses, where he lived in Liverpool and Birkenhead: a very curious form of tourism, I reckon. I met many wonderful academics, whom I only knew by name (and I was somewhat frightened of), such as John K. Davies, Bruce Gibson, Robin Seager, Christopher Tuplin, and, most important of all, Dorothy Joan Thompson, distinguished Cambridge scholar who happens to be Frank Walbank’s daughter. All of them gave me a nuanced image of Wallbank, telling me memories and stories, jazzing up my picture of him, and listening to me, rambling excited about what I was finding in the collection.”

Emilio’s detailed catalogue of the Walbank papers is available, please do contact scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk with any queries.

William Blake and Liverpool

The recently opened exhibition at Tate Britain: William Blake: Artist includes Liverpool’s copy of the Meditaciones poéticas by José Joaquin de Mora (1783-1864), the only copy known in a UK library of this work, designed for the South American market.

This 1826 publication was inspired by one of the most famous poems of the 18th century, Robert Blair’s The Grave, and has plates based on illustrations by William Blake originally designed for a extensively promoted subscription edition (1808). Our loan features in the Independence and Despair section of the Tate exhibition, focused on Blake’s illustrations to ‘The Grave’ which came to define his reputation. The book, in the Tate curator’s words, is “a remarkable and unique demonstration of Blake’s penetration of the non-English world.”

Design by William Blake in José Joaquin de Mora, Meditaciones poéticas, 1826. SPEC H9.13

Liverpool’s copy (SPEC H9.13) has the University College Liverpool 1881 bookplate, with a presentation note: bequeathed by the Rev. John Hamilton Thom. The work is listed in the 1895 catalogue of Thom’s bequest: In memoriam John Hamilton Thom. List of books bequeathed by the late John Hamilton Thom to the Tate Library of University College, Liverpool with separate index of the books once belonging to the late Rev. Joseph Blanco White.

Thom (1808-1894), a prominent Unitarian minister in Liverpool, was also the executor of Joseph Blanco White (1775-1841). White and Mora were fellow Spanish emigrés, and both worked for the publisher Rudolph Ackermann: the connection probably explains the presence of Mora’s work in Special Collections.

Liverpool University Library was collecting works by William Blake (1757-1827) even before Thom’s bequest of the Meditaciones poéeticas: in 1892 the Liverpool solicitor and MP, A. F. Warr, gave his “delightful and almost complete series of reproductions of William Blake’s works” and the Library purchased the 1826 edition of Blake’s Job.

It is no coincidence that 1892 was also the year John Sampson (1862-1931) became the first full-time librarian at University College (later the University of Liverpool). Sampson was a renowned Blake scholar and in 1906 the Liverpool Courier, reviewing his then definitive critical edition of Blake’s Poetical Works, described the “broadening of public taste” in relation to Blake and of “the prominence of the part Liverpool has played in this essentially modern movement”.

Sampson’s scholarship was complemented by a more light-hearted approach to Blake’s poetry; in addition to a popular edition of a selection of Blake’s poems (1906) he also wrote Blake parodies (SP9/4/1/3), such as ‘Songs of Idiocy and Insanity’ and ‘The Girl’.

John Sampson’s parodies of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Sampson archive SP9/4/1/3
John Sampson William Blake parody ‘The Girl’. Sampson archive SP9/4/1/3

Liverpool University Press published a posthumous collection of Sampson’s work, In Lighter Moments: a book of occasional verse and prose (1934) and the Sampson archive holds drafts for the volume including unpublished work such as “After William Blake but before the new racing regulations.” (SP9/4/2/22).

The William Blake collections continue to be notable for facsimile editions of Blake’s work, including the important Trianon Press series, contemporary editions of works with engravings by Blake, and works on the critical reception of Blake as poet and artist, dating from Alexander Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake (1863), described in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as, “arguably the most important work ever published on Blake”.

Sampson’s scholarly contribution to William Blake studies is described by Angus Fraser in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography  as, “the restoration of the text of William Blake’s lyrics, long overlaid and ‘improved’ by editors. In the Poetical Works (1905) he established the definitive text, with much critical and bibliographical apparatus, and in the edition of 1913 included ‘The French Revolution’, never before published, and long selections from the ‘prophetic books’. Partly for his work on Blake, but more for his linguistic studies, he was awarded an honorary DLitt at Oxford in 1909”.

John Sampson’s editions of Blake from 1905 (centre), 1913 (right) and 1947 reprint (left)

New Exhibition: Liverpool University Press: ‘Forward-looking for 120 years’

This exhibition celebrates the 120 year anniversary of the conception of the Liverpool University Press (LUP) in 1899. Drawing on archival material held within the Liverpool University Press archive and LUP publications held within Special Collections and Archives and the University Libraries, this exhibition seeks to document and display the key points in the rich history of the Press.

As with the scholarly communities it serves, LUP’s fortunes have waxed and waned over many decades but the unfailing commitment of Press staff, authors and editors, and a wider community of scholars who understood the distinctive and important contribution of university press publishing, have helped to lay the strong foundation on which LUP stands today.

Publishing more than 150 books a year, 34 journals and a number of digital products, and still the only university press to have won both The Bookseller and IPG awards for Academic Publisher of the Year, Liverpool University Press has been widely acclaimed for its willingness to embrace change. To that end, the team at LUP have chosen to celebrate the future as well as the past in 2019 with the strapline ‘Forward-looking for 120 years.’

(reference D80/5/2)

The exhibition is available to view at Special Collections and Archives, Ground Floor Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library. It will run from September 2019-January 2020. We are open Monday to Friday, 9:30am-4:45pm.

Tweet us at @LivUniSCA & @LivUniPress; alternatively, contact us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk for more information.

New Accession: John Sampson archive

John Sampson (1862-1931) was the first full-time librarian at University College (later the University of Liverpool) as well as an ardent Romani scholar. Thanks to various donations over the years, including some from the Sampson family, we have a large and fascinating John Sampson archive. Recently, we were delighted to receive some new additions – they have now been catalogued and should be a fantastic resource for researchers.

SP9/5/2 (153): Sampson caught in one of his more casual moments.

Sampson was also a prolific correspondent, and the new material contains a large amount of correspondence between Sampson and a host of well-known names.

One such name is Theodore Watts-Dunton, the critic and poet who shared Sampson’s passion for gypsy lore and literature; they corresponded enthusiastically on such matters. Watts-Dunton is also known for being the last carer of the great poet, Algernon Swinburne. Due to Swinburne’s poor physical and mental health he lived with Watts-Dunton at ‘The Pines’ in Putney from 1879; he died there in 1909, three days after Watts-Dunton wrote this letter to Sampson. 

SP9/5/1/6 (3): Watts-Dunton warns Sampson against coming to his home, a ‘plague stricken house of doom of the influenza fiend’.

Other correspondents include Joseph Conrad (author of Heart of Darkness), who wrote this letter to Sampson in 1922, respectfully refusing an honorary degree from Liverpool.

SP95/1/11 (1): Determined to remain a non-academic, Joseph Conrad also turned down degrees from the likes of Yale, Oxford and Cambridge.

The new material doesn’t only contain insights into the literati of the time, but to Sampson himself. Thanks to a large amount of material gathered by his family, including his daughter Mary Arnold, we have photographs, personal letters and even more unusual items.

SP9/5/2 (159): One of a few limericks by Sampson, likely sent to his daughter, Mary.
SP9/5/2 (160): The first page of a three-page poem by Sampson, sent to Mary on her 16th birthday, 1922.

The catalogue is now available online (SP9/5). The new material also perfectly complements our huge Gypsy Lore Society archive; Sampson was an active member of this society, serving as president in 1915-1916.

Sport in the University Archive

It’s been a summer full of sport in the UK and around the world, from the Women’s World Cup in June, to Wimbledon and the Tour de France in July, and the Netball World Cup which took place here in Liverpool. Inspired by this, we have been taking a look at some of the sportier items from the University Archive.

Sports at University College Liverpool began with the University College Athletic Club in 1885, which was initially open to male students and consisted of Cricket, Lawn Tennis, Rugby Football, Gymnastics and Cycling. On the creation of the University of Liverpool in 1903, the Athletic Club became a part of the Guild of Undergraduates. The first Annual Athletic Sports took place on 5th May 1894, and featured below are a few of the items from the collections relating to these events over the years.

A104/10 – First Report of Annual Athletic Sports
A104/19 – Poster advertising Sports Day [1986]
A104/19 – Programme for Annual Athletic Sports 1940, with results filled in

For a number of students competing with a sports club is a highlight of university life, with many clubs being formed over the years at the University of Liverpool. Some of these are represented in the University Archive, such as the Liverpool University Women’s Boating Club (D552), which includes an album of compiled photographs and press cuttings relating to the team and the various events they competed at.

D552
D552

The Rugby Football team was one of the original clubs included in the University College Athletic Club, and it was decided in 1918 that an official University Rugby club should be run. The below press cuttings are from a 1931 volume compiled by Thomas L Ellis, a member of the Liverpool Rugby Union Football Club, who acted as Secretary in 1932-1933 and Captain in 1933-1934.

D696

D696

A Netball Club was first established at the University of Liverpool in 1924. The netball kit pictured below belonged to Isabel Harkness, who studied at the university and played for the Netball First VII team between 1932-6, and was the captain of the team for the 1935-6 season. She is identified as the captain in the below team photograph in Liverpool University Athletic Union; the first one hundred years, 1884-1984 by Beryl Furlong (GLD/2/2/1).

D326/25 – 1st VII Netball Team (1935-1936)
D502/2 – Netball kit owned by Isabel Harkness

Also held within Special Collections and Archives is the archive of the British Universities Sports Association (D741) and the various organisations that preceded it. One of these was the Universities’ Athletic Union, formed 100 years ago in 1919 by universities across England and Wales, including the University of Liverpool, to promote inter-university sport competitions across the UK. Initially known as the Inter-Varsity Athletic Board of Great Britain and Ireland, students from different universities came together to compete both at home and as a team at international competitions. The UAU continued until 1994, when it merged with the British Universities Sports Federation to become the British Universities Sports Association.

D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs
D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs

International student sports competitions have been and continue to be held across the world, with the International Confederation of Students being established in 1919 and the International University Sports Federation in 1949. Between these organisations, many international student competitions were held, including the summer and winter Universiade. The Universiade celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with the summer games in Napoli and the winter games in Krasnoyarsk, with the first games being held in Turin and Zell am See in 1959.

D741/J8/1 – Programme for the winter games held in Bardonecchia, Italy (1933)
D741/J8/3 – Report on the French team’s performance at the Monaco games (1939)
D741/J8/8 – Regulation booklet for the first Universiade in Turin (1959)

All of these items are available to view in the Special Collections and Archives reading room. Please email us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk to book an appointment.

Cunard Archive – New Deposit

This month Special Collections and Archives were pleased to receive a substantial donation to the Cunard Archive from the founder of the Cunard Steamship Society, John Langley.

As a life-long Cunard collector and historian this opportunity is an assurance that much of my life’s work will be preserved for future generations.

John Langley Q.C.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the birthplace of Samuel Cunard, Langley’s passion for maritime history began at a young age. As a boy he was influenced greatly by a family friend, Doug Gordon, who was a prominent Passenger Manager for the Cunard Line in Canada.

After a successful career in Law, Langley has donated much of his time to research and writing on the subject of Cunard history. He is the author of Steam Lion, the definitive biography of Sir Samuel Cunard, and lectures extensively aboard Cunard liners and other cruise ships.

Langley travelled with his collection from Halifax on the Queen Mary 2 and spent a number of days at the University of Liverpool going through the 21 boxes of material.

John Langley’s collection reflects his life-long interest in the the rich history and proud tradition of the Cunard Steamship Company. It largely comprises ephemera dating from the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, with items such as menu cards, cruise leaflets and newspaper cuttings.

The material will be catalogued within the ‘Related Collections’ series and be made available to the public.

More information about the Cunard Archive and how to access it can be found on the University of Liverpool Special Collections and Archives website:https://libguides.liverpool.ac.uk/library/sca/cunardarchive

Natural history in the LRI Library

Beyond the books donated to the Liverpool Royal Institution by Benjamin Gibson, the LRI’s library collection was dominated by material printed in the 19th century, with a particular strength in the natural sciences – the library having been developed primarily as a resource to support the Institution’s Museum of Natural History. The Museum was the jewel in the crown of the Institution’s activities. The first catalogue, drawn up in 1826, boasted 2467 specimens of rocks and minerals, 99 mammals and 826 birds – most of which were obtained through gift or deposit.

From “Index testaceologicus; or A catalogue of shells British and foreign, arranged according to the Linnean system”, by William Wood (SPEC Y82.3.18). The LRI Museum had one of the best collection of shells in the country.

Natural history books in the collection included works by some of the most important figures in the running of the Museum, including:

William Swainson (1789-1855), naturalist and artist, played an important role in organising the collections, as well as providing advice on their preservation. Swainson was best known for his illustrations, and the LRI library held a number of works illustrated by him:

Images from “Zoological illustrations, or, Original figures and descriptions of new, rare or interesting animals, chiefly selected from the classes of ornithology, entomology, and conchology, and arranged on the principles of Cuvier and other modern zoologists” by William Swainson (SPEC Y82.3.503-505).

Thomas Stewart Traill (1781-1862), was a physician and expert in medical jurisprudence. He nurtured a wide range of interests however, as evidenced in his being editor of the eighth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Traill became Keeper of the Museum in 1822, and was responsible for the creation of the first catalogue of its holdings (SPEC R.5.24/B). 

A second Liverpool physician, Joseph Dickinson (d. 1865) made a number of important gifts of botanical specimens to the Museum. Dickinson was also a lecturer in medicine and botany at the Liverpool Medical School, and wrote a work entitled The Flora of Liverpool (SPEC R.5.52/B).

And finally, one of William Roscoe’s many interests was botany. As well as being a key figure in the founding of the LRI, he was also instrumental in the creation of Liverpool Botanic Garden (later Wavertree Botanic Garden). In 1828 he wrote Monandrian Plants of the Order Scitamineae: Chiefly Drawn from Living Specimens in the Botanical Gardens at Liverpool:

References: H.A. Ormerod. The Liverpool Royal Institution: a Record and Retrospect. Liverpool University Press, 1953.

Italian provenance and the LRI Library: Benjamin Gibson’s books

At the heart of the Liverpool Royal Institution’s library was a collection of books bequeathed by the sculptor and antiquary Benjamin Gibson (1811?-1851). Indeed, at around 170 volumes in total, Gibson’s donation represented almost half of the total collection.

A selection of Gibson’s books, many of which are bound in vellum.

Benjamin Gibson was born in Conwy, Wales, and grew up in Liverpool. His early sculptures were displayed at various locations around the city, including at the Academy of the Liverpool Royal Institution. In 1836, after the death of his mother, Gibson moved from Liverpool to join his older brother – John Gibson (1790-1866) – in Rome. John had been forging a successful career there for nearly 20 years already. Having studied under the master Italian Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Cannova (1757-1822), he went on to run a bustling studio in the Via della Fontanella.

In Rome, Benjamin assisted his brother, as well as continuing to create his own works (many of which were commissioned by members of the LRI, and sent back to Liverpool). He also devoted a considerable part of his energies to buying books. Indeed, such was his bibliomania, on his death in 1851 John Gibson is said to have described Benjamin as more of a book collector than a sculptor.

Gibson signed each of his books.

An expert on Greek and Latin literature, Benjamin Gibson amassed a formidable collection Classical texts. Whilst particularly strong in Latin and Greek language and literature and in antiquities, Gibson’s books covered a great wide range of subject areas – from history to maths, through mythology and military science:

Flavius Vegetius Renatus,, “De re militari” (SPEC Y60.3.6), a treatise on Roman warfare and military principles.

The vast majority of Gibson’s books date from before 1800, with nearly half of them printed during the 17th century. Gibson also owned 30 books printed in the 16th century – the earliest work in his collection being a 1532 printing of Giovanni Boccaccio’s (1313-1375) Peri genealogias deorvm (SPEC EP.D11).

A number of Gibson’s books have evidence of prior Roman owners. For example, three of his books bear the stamp “Biblioth: Corsinia vetus”. Founded by Pope Clement XII (1652-1740) – born Lorenzo Corsini – the Corsiniana family library was donated to Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, a science academy in Rome, by his descendant Tommaso Corsini (1835-1919) in 1883. The result of this merger, the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana, is still housed in the rather magnificent Palazzo Corsini.

Ownership marks of the Biblioteca Corsiniana

Another three books are stamped “Libraria Colonna”, having belonged to the Colonna family, another papal noble family of Rome:

Indeed, Gibson’s books are rich in provenance, with previous owners from all over Europe. Other names associated with the collection include Spanish clergyman and intellectual, Jose Sáenz de Aguirre (1630-1699), Italian bishop and biologist Anton Felice Marsili (1651-1710) and French lawyer and journalist Jean-Jacques Lenoir-Laroche (1749-1825).

References:

Roscoe, Ingrid, Emma Hardy and M.G. Sullivan. A biographical dictionary of sculptors in Britain: 1660-1851. Available at: http://liberty.henry-moore.org/henrymoore/index.php (accessed 31/07/2019).