T is for Title-page

Like so many elements of book design (bindings, bookplates, typography), the appearance of the title-page has been subject to fashions, and the amount of information offered on a title-page has varied over time accordingly. For example, whilst the earliest title-pages were relatively simple, in the 17th century it became standard practice to cram as much information as possible onto the title-page – with extensive sub-titles and detailed author and publisher information, often in multiple types, and within decorative frames. This trend died off in the 18th century, as a tendency for more simply set-out title-pages (often accompanied by half titles) took its place. This pattern repeated; the 19th century saw a return to more elaborate title-pages, whereas the emergence of modernism accompanied a more stripped-back approach in the 20th century.

As engraving came to be used more widely in book illustration from the late 16th century, engraved title-pages emerged. Occasionally books contained additional engraved title-pages alongside a letterpress title-page, as in the example below.

The earliest of printed books do not contain title-pages at all however; nor do most medieval manuscripts. Instead, these texts are generally identified by the “incipit” and “explicit” – the opening and closing words of the text, from the Latin verb incipere (‘to begin’) and explicitus, meaning ‘unrolled’.

An example of an incipit from a work printed in 1481.

Early printed books often closed with a “colophon” – a closing statement, providing, for example, the name of those involved in the book’s production (scribe, printer, publisher), and place and date of publication.

Earlier in this series we met the half-title page: here it is worth noting that the history of the half-title page, as outlined in this earlier post, also helps to reveal how it was that the title-page came to be – “printers would produce the pages of a text – the text-block – which they sold unbound”; a “blank sheet originally intended for protection came to be marked with a short-title in order to help differentiate one text-block from another, and it was this that then developed into the full title-page, with publication details as well as author and title.”

References and further reading:

Smith, Margaret M. “Title-page” in Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H.R. Woudhuysen eds., The Oxford Companion to the Book, 2010.

Smith, Margaret M. The title-page: its early development 1460-1510, 2000.

British Library, Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts, 2018

P is for Paste-down

‘Endleaves’, or ‘endpapers’ are the first blank leaves of paper you come across when opening the book, and the final blank pages at the end. Found between the front or rear of the main textblock and the front and rear covers of the book, then, they are intended to protect the first leaves of text. The ‘paste-down’ is the half of the first sheet of endpapers which has been  adhered to the inside of the boards or cover of the book (literally, pasted down). Endleaves that are not pasted-down to the cover or boards are usually described as being ‘free’.

This image shows the rear paste-down, and rear free endpaper. An ownership inscription can be seen on the paste-down, which also contains a booksellers price label, and further markings in pencil.

Paste-down is a useful term to know because it appears regularly in catalogue records. This is primarily because the paste-downs of a book are often where we find a number of interesting features – such as ownership inscriptions, bookplates, bookseller’s labels, previous classmarks – which have been added after publication and help to tell the unique history of that particular book (to use another ‘p’ term, we call this the book’s provenance).

All of the hundreds of bound volumes of pamphlets from the Knowsley Hall Library collection contain precise details of their location within the library on the front paste-down.
Bookseller’s label on a colourful paste-down.

Another reason paste-downs may be of particular interest is that they can sometimes feature coloured or patterned paper:

In this image the endpaper is comprised of a colourful patterned endleaf, and contains the bookplate of the Bebington Free Library, reflecting the history of the book.

New Exhibition

Behind the scenes: Student encounters with Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections & Archives has a long tradition of making its collections visible, accessible and available for use by students at all levels within the University. We encourage students to engage with the collections through our social media and blog, through detailed specialist cataloguing showing the context of items and collections, through visits to the reading room with guidance from welcoming staff, and through a series of Treasures events.

This exhibition focuses on some of the closer encounters behind the scenes which allow students to engage in more depth, whether through work placement modules such as SotA300 or collections-based teaching.
The central section has been written and curated by Sophie Craven, an English student who looked at ownership inscriptions in the Literary Annuals collection; a previous work placement project listed the James Wishart archive; and the final section looks at student engagement with the Science Fiction collections in SCA-led teaching classes.

The exhibition will run from Friday 1st February until April 2019. For more information email scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk.

2018 retrospect

As the first month of 2019 draws to a close, we look back on the previous year and all of the events, accessions, and projects that took place here in Special Collections and Archives.

January

We welcomed in the New Year in with a new exhibition, which was titled The University of Liverpool: A History through Archives. This exhibition celebrated 50 years since  establishment in 1968 of the official repository for the University Archives. The repository’s holdings currently comprise over 2000 linear meters of material and continue to grow.

The University of Liverpool: A History through Archives.

February

The Gypsy Lore Society collections were enhanced with the accession of a collection of papers formerly belonging to Helen Murray, secretary to philologist and GLS member Bernard Gilliat-Smith (1883-1974).The collection largely comprises correspondence and photographs, including letters from notable GLS members such as Dora YatesR. A. Scott Macfie and Henry James Francis.

Macfie (left) is pictured alongside a fellow employee from Messrs Macfie & Sons, the sugar refinery business which had been run by his family in Liverpool since 1838.

March

March was a busy month! Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian, attended the opening of the exhibition Mondes Tsiganes (Gypsy Worlds) at the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris, in order to see material from the Scott Macfie collections displayed; we celebrated World Poetry Day with two posts, the first also celebrating women poets in connection to International Women’s Day, and the second celebrating Small Press Poetry and the 20th C Liverpool poetry scene. We also celebrated World Book Day on the University of Liverpool Instagram. 

Photographs and a digital version of R. A. Scott Macfie’s photo album on display in Paris.

April

We began a new series of events displaying Special Collections and Archives ‘Treasures’. The series started with a display of medieval books, including the beautiful Nuremberg Chronicle (1493). To find out more, see our new blog post! Another first in April was the launch of the LivUniSCA twitter account, which has grown to have 299 followers to date.

May

The new SC&A exhibition Puzzles, Poetry and Playground Games debuted, which displayed games and pastimes, for children and adults, from the 18th-20th centuries. The exhibition “…don’t forget the photos, it’s very important…” The National Socialist Persecution of Central German Sinti and Roma featuring material from the Gypsy Lore Society Collections made its well received return to Liverpool in the Central Library.

D958: Queen Mary jigsaw puzzle, featured in the Puzzles, Poetry and Playground Games exhibition
…don’t forget the photos, it’s very important…” The National Socialist Persecution of Central German Sinti and Roma at Liverpool Central Library

June

The Harold Cohen Library holds the Mathematics texts for the University, so it was fitting that the ‘Seeing Euclid’ exhibition was on display there during June and July. We also welcomed many prospective students and their family and friends for the first Undergraduate open day of the year.

July

SC&A was awarded Archives Accreditation, the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery, and is awarded by a Committee representing the entire archive sector. We also welcomed the Society for the Social History of Medicine 2018 Conference delegates to view some of the medical texts held here in the collections.

August

We celebrated World Photo Day by picking our favourites from the collections, including the fantastic below photograph from the Cunard Archive. Niamh Delaney, Assistant Special Collections Librarian, was awarded a bursary to attend the Montefiascone Conservation Project in Italy, where she spent a week cataloguing books held in the collections there.

Dance aboard the RMS Queen Mary, from the Cunard Archive.
D42/PR2/1/97/F67.

The 31st of July also marks the end of the academic year, so in August we are busy totting up the total number of visitors, retrievals, and enquiries we answered throughout the previous year. Between 1st August 2017 and 31st July 2018, we retrieved 5332 items from the stores, welcomed 1107 visitors and readers, and received 1558 email and 210 phone call enquiries!

September

While the hustle and bustle of the first 2018-19 academic teaching semester began, staff changes were happening in SC&A. We said goodbye to Graduate Library Assistant Michaela Garland, who was heading for the Master of Archives and Records Management course, and we welcomed Caitlin Fleming into the same post; Cunard Archivist Sian Wilks gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Dylan Derek Matthews, and Beth Williams began her Maternity cover of the Cunard Archivist post; and finally we said goodbye to the amazing Andy Sawyer, who retired from the post of Science Fiction Librarian which he held for 25 years.

Author Neil Gaiman and Andy Sawyer

Third year English student Sophie Craven began her SOTA300 work experience placement cataloguing the Literary Annuals. The annuals are currently featuring in our new Special Collections and Archives exhibition, Behind the Scenes: Student encounters with Special Collections and Archives. We also began the A-Z of books blog series with Almost an Alphabet; we post each teaching week during semester to demystify some of the specialist words we use in cataloguing our printed books.

October

October was all about the Rathbone Papers and Library; firstly, the Special Collections and Archives Exhibition titled A gift from Greenbank’: reconstructing the Rathbone library was launched, whilst some of the Eleanor Rathbone papers travelled to the other side of campus at the Victoria Gallery for the exhibition Eleanor Rathbone – An Independant Woman. We also hosted a free Science Fiction books event to pass on duplicates from the collections to loving homes, and the next ‘Treasures’ event, ‘Tales from the University Archives’, took place.

A panel from the Eleanor Rathbone: An Independant Woman Exhibition at the VG&M

November

November was events month! Special Collections and Archives hosted a celebration event for the award of Archives Accreditation, at which President of the Archives and Records Association (ARA) Dr Alex Buchanan presented Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool Dame Professor Janet Beer with the official certificate (and, there was cake!). Sticking with the theme of archives, University Archivist Jo Klett and Archives Cataloguer Josette Reeve’s hard work on EMu (Collection Management System) became accessible to users via the new and updated archives catalogue.

Head of Special Collections and Archives Jenny Higham introduced Dame Professor Janet Beer to the collections at the Archives Accreditation event.

Other events included: Jenny Higham was welcomed by the Liverpool Nautical Research Society at the Athenaeum for a talk on the Cunard Archive; the ‘Treasures’ series continued with a fascinating display of medical texts, and Niamh Delaney (Special Collections Assistant Librarian) and Robyn Orr (Library Assistant) hosted a KnowHow session on using Special Collections and Archives material in research. Lastly, to mark the centenary of Armistice Day, the ‘This Week’s War’ blog posts were completed with a final overview post  by Caitlin Fleming.

December

We received a new accession to be added to the Science Fiction collections in the form of the library of Brian Aldiss. We wrapped up the year by getting festive in collaboration with the Sydney Jones Library team: images provided by SCA were displayed alongside the Christmas themed books, including this idyllic snow scene.

A268/19 Abercromby Square in the snow (image by
University’s Central Photographic Service)

N is for Nuremberg Chronicle

The Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum in Latin or Das Buch der Croniken und Geschichten in German) is one of the most important books in the history of printing.

Produced on commission from Nuremberg merchants Sebald Schreyer (1446-1520) and Sebastian Kammermeister (1446-1503) in 1493, the 600 page text is attributed to Nuremberg doctor and humanist Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514). Drawing heavily from earlier, medieval and Renaissance sources, Schedel purports to tell the history of the Christian world from its creation to the time of writing. The text incorporates its fair share of myth and fable – with geographical and historical information on European counties and towns written alongside tales of epidemics, monsters and comets.

What makes this work remarkable however, is not so much the text itself, but rather the beauty and skill of the images that accompany it – bringing to life the biblical and historical events, major cities and important figures from myth and history within the text. Indeed, the Nuremberg Chronicle is the most lavishly illustrated book of the 15th century. In total, the work boasts 1809 images, produced using 645 woodblocks, many of which were used more than once. A mere 72 blocks were used for the 596 portraits of emperors, popes and other celebrities, for example – so each was used to represent 8 or 9 different people, changing only the caption.

As you can see from the above image, the woodcut images were incorporated closely within the letterpress text. A feat of considerable technical skill on the part of those involved in its production, this resulted in a particularly elegant and satisfying mise-en-page. To enable this, the work was first carefully planned in manuscript drafts (called ‘exemplars’) before printing. Remarkably, complete exemplars of both the Latin and the German edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle survive, and indicate that the images were sketched first, with the text inscribed to fit within the remaining space.

The “Dance of Death”
Double-page map.

The woodcuts and exemplars for the Nuremberg Chronicle were produced by Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519) and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (c.1460-1494), and the work was printed and published by Anton Koberger (1445-1513) – the largest printer and publisher in Germany at the time. Koberger printed the Latin version on the 12th July 1493, with a German translation following shortly after, on 23rd December 1493. The University of Liverpool Special Collections and Archives (SC&A) is fortunate enough to hold three copies of the 1493 Latin edition, and one of the German translation. A final copy of the Chronicle in SC&A is a pirated edition, printed by Johann Schönsperger (d. 1520) in Augsberg in 1500.

That SC&A holds so many copies of such an early printed book is perhaps rendered a little less surprising when we learn that no other 15th century book survives in as many copies as the Nuremberg Chronicle, undoubtedly an indication of its popularity at the time, as well as its enduring interest to collectors and researchers alike. Indeed, the SC&A copies were given to us by some of the most important donors in the history of the library – Charles Sydney Jones, Henry Tate, Thomas Glazebrook Rylands and Robert George Morton, and we were recently very excited to have all five SC&A copies of this important work on display in the reading room at one time, having beeen ordered up by Dr. Nina Adamova, as part of her research into marginalia in copies of the Chronicle. 

Large flourished initial in gold and colours on folio 1 of the copy of the Chronicle donated to SC&A by Robert George Morton in 1969.

References and further reading:

Wilson, Adrian. The making of the Nuremberg Chronicle. (1976)

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, ed. Worlds of learning: the library and world chronicle of the Nuremberg physician Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514). (2015)

M is for Marginalia

“Marginalia”, or marginal notes, are marks made in the margins of books. In particular, researchers have become increasingly interested in the marks made by previous owners of a book. Whether these appear as comments, abbreviations, glosses, scribbles, symbols, or doodles, these marks offer an opportunity to better understand the different ways in which individuals have interacted with the book through the course of its life. The passages a reader has chosen to mark can reveal much about the concerns of that individual, and the ways in which they read, as well as about the social, political and religious circumstances in which they lived.

As a leading scholar on Renaissance marginalia, Bill Sherman, has written:
“Readers’ marks are better at providing examples (and still better at providing counterexamples) than general rules; but if we cast our net widely they can reveal both large-scale patterns of use and extraordinary encounters of individuals and their books. The former can correct some of our most deep-seated assumptions about reading and readers…” (Used books, p. xvi).

Pictoral marginalia in one of our incunables – Higden’s “Polychronicon”, printed by Caxton in 1482. This book boasts the ownership marks of five different former owners (SPEC Inc CSJ D3).

Sherman’s own study of over 1000 books from the first two centuries of printing has helped to shed light on the ways in which many Renaissance readers used writing – or even drawing – in the margins as a means to aid the memory. For these readers, reading was very much intended to be purposeful, equipping a reader for success in  work and in society. Today we might feel we can rely upon near constant access to the internet to provide us with information at the point of need, but for previous generations it was important that readers were able to memorise, or quickly access the information learnt through reading. Engaging the hand in note-taking, or drawing, is thought to have helped to help concentrate the mind and strengthen the learning process, enabling readers to commit passages to memory, as well as ensuring the most important passages could be quickly returned to when needed.

Renaissance readers often employed a range of symbols to help categorise and arrange the texts they read. One of the most frequently recurring of these is the pointing hand, or “manicule”.

Marginal notes can also be used to comment upon, criticise or explain the main text, and as such offer a means by which to trace the reception of specific works and ideas. In a recent Bonnier Lecture given at the University of Liverpool, Professor John O’Brien of Durham University showed how attending to the marginalia left by ‘ordinary’ early modern readers of Montaigne’s Essais, led to unexpected deductions about the ways in which they interpreted Montaigne, and the passages they found to be of most interest. As he noted, these findings can, in turn, help to us to see more current perspective (and its attendant biases) in a new light.

This 1687 copy of the works of Lucian of Samosata contains commentary and cross-references in the margins in more than one language, in a rather neat contemporary hand (SPEC Y68.2.44).

Marginalia offer a rich resource for researchers then, as well as providing an often touching insight into the life and mind of individuals living hundreds of years ago. Indeed, as an important source of paper – a relatively luxurious commodity for much of the history of printing – margins have been put to a wide range of more quaint uses; for handwriting practice by readers learning to write, for example, or to record familial births, deaths and marriages.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is inscript-703x1024.jpg

A previous reader has gone to town on the paper offered by front cover of this 17th century pamphlet. Handwriting practice, perhaps?

 

References and further reading:

Sherman, William H. Used books: marking readers in Renaissance England. (2008)

Grafton, Anthony and Lisa Jardine. ““Studied for action”: how Gabriel Harvey read his Livy”. Past & Present, 129 (1990).

O’Brien, John. “What Montaigne meant to them: the Essais and their early modern readers”. Annual Bonnier Lecture in French Studies, University of Liverpool (2018).

 

H is for Half-title

A half-title is a leaf that directly precedes the title-page proper and contains a title or short title, and perhaps the name of the author, or a volume number.

Half-title page for a pamphlet of 1691.

Given that the details recorded on a half-title are generally repeated, and elaborated upon, on the title-page which follows it, one might well wonder what purpose this extra leaf serves.

The title-page of the same pamphlet, which directly follows the half-title page shown above.

A favoured explanation* takes as its starting point the fact that, in the early printed book trade, the printing of the book and the binding of the book were two quite separate activities. Initially, printers would produce the pages of a text – the text-block – which they sold unbound. The text-block’s new owner would then have these pages bound into a volume according to their tastes and budget (or, in the case of a bookseller, the taste and budget of the customer they hoped to attract). To help protect the first page of the text-block from dirt and dust, it was customary for early printers to put a blank sheet on top of the unbound text-block.

Here it should also be noted that the very earliest printed books did not contain a title-page. The blank sheet, originally intended for protection, came to be marked with a ‘title’, then, in order to help printers to quickly differentiate one text-block from another. From here, this added sheet developed into the full title-page as we have come to know it; with publication details, and perhaps even some illustration, as well as author and title added to it.

But as this page became increasingly important in its own right, it became necessary to protect it from dirt and dust too, and so the process was repeated. A blank page, laid on top of the title-page to protect it from dirt and dust, had a short version of the title added to it to help with identification in increasingly busy printing houses and binderies, during the second half of the 17th century.

It is worth noting that there was arguably little clear impetus for this half-title leaf to be retained in the finished, bound version. Indeed, according to John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors, binders removed these sheets more often than not – not just because they were inessential, but because waste paper of this sort could be sold back to the paper mills, creating an extra mode of income for bookbinders. This helps to explain why half-titles aren’t more common in early printed books.

In the example above, however, the printer has found a use for the extra paper, putting the verso of the half-title to good use as a space for advertising his wares:

*This is the explanation provided by Philip Gaskell, in his renowned A new introduction to bibliography, for instance.

B is for Bookplate

For almost as long as there have been printed books, there has existed a practice of marking ownership of those books through the use of an engraved or printed paper label. Bookplates typically contain an engraved or etched armorial or pictorial design, with the owner’s name or initials and perhaps a motto, address, occupation or degree. The term ‘book label’ has tended to be used for smaller and simpler labels, with a characteristic design comprised of an owner’s name within a relatively plain decorative border.

Liverpool Library bookplate

Liverpool Library bookplate.

 

Book label of Hannah Mary Reynolds.

It is not uncommon to find more than one bookplate or book label within a book, helping to build a picture of the life of an object by revealing the various individuals that have come into contact with it, and the various locations to which it has travelled. Often a later owner may have pasted a bookplate over the top of a previous owner’s bookplate, or made some attempt to erase a previous bookplate, presumably to ensure the avoidance of doubt as to who is the righful owner of the book now!

The name of the owner of this bookplate has been removed by a later owner of the book.

 

Here, Thomas Glazebrook Rylands has inserted his bookplate beneath the armorial bookplate of the book’s previous owner, John Lee. Both bookplates are from the 19th cnetury.

The design of bookplates has been subject to different fashions over time, and it is often possible to date a bookplate according to a recognisable trend in style. Some great artists – including Hans Holbein, Albrecht Durer, Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane – have designed bookplates. They offer interest not just to those concerned with the history of books and book ownership, then, but also from an art-historical viewpoint.

Bookplate of John. T. Beer.

On the front paste-down, the bookplate of antiquary Richard Duncan Radcliffe (1844-1925). On the first free endpaper, the bookplate of the physician Sir Robert Alexander Chermside (1792-1860).

Bookplate of the 10th Earl of Derby.

Bookplate of the 10th Earl of Derby.

If you are interested in learning more about the history and study of bookplates and book labels, a good place to start is with David Pearson’s Provenance research in book history: a handbook which is available to consult in the Special Collections and Archives reading room.

World Photo Day 2018

This coming weekend sees the return of World Photo Day for 2018. To celebrate, Special Collections and Archives staff have selected one of their favourite photographs from within the collections and explained why it is special.

Jenny Higham, Special Collections and Archives Manager

A147 Harold Cohen Reading Room

“As I’ve found it impossible to pick a favourite across all the collections, I thought I would choose this photograph of the main reading room in the Harold Cohen Library, taken for the firm of its architect, Harold Dod.  A recent deposit from the University’s Facilities, Commercial and Residential Services, the photograph shows the scale and style of the new building, funded by Liverpool businessman Cohen and opened by the former prime minister, Earl Baldwin of Bewdley on May 21st 1938.”

Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian

RPXXIIA.1.3

“This beautiful photograph album from the Rathbone papers shows May Rathbone at various young ages; the photographs, which are decorated with Victorian pen-and-ink drawings and/or studio props (from which historic photos can be dated), shows a determined little girl/young woman (the only child in her family to survive childhood), who later went on to become a doctor, mountaineer, and botanist.”

Jo Klett, University Archivist

D361/1/34. © Frank Neubert

“Sister Benn with a pair of forceps in an operating theatre, at Liverpool Royal Infirmary in the early-mid 20th C. What can I say?!”

Andy Sawyer, Science Fiction Librarian

PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“These are two of the most iconic photos in Science Fiction history: the first science fiction convention at Leeds Theosophical Hall in 1937.

The “group photo” is most of those attending, including Liverpool’s Eric Frank Russell, then at the very beginning of his writing career. And Les Johnson, Secretary of the Liverpool Science Fiction Group.”

L-R: Walter Gillings, Arthur C. Clarke, J. “Ted” Carnell. PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“The three unlikely suspects above are the three most important men in 20th century British Science Fiction.

Left to right: Walter Gillings, founder of the first British fan group who spent many years trying to establish a British science fiction magazine, which he finally did just before the Second World War.
Arthur C. Clarke, almost certainly the most famous British sf writer after H. G. Wells, then writing in fanzines and promoting the British Interplanetary Society. He had just moved to London (1936).
J. “Ted” Carnell, who after the war became editor of the influential NEW WORLDS magazine and later edited a series of “New Writings in Science Fiction” anthologies.

Without these three, it’s doubtful if the British would have had much of a presence in Science Fiction.”

Siân Wilks, Archivist (Cunard)

D42/PR2/1/97/F67

“Choosing just one photograph from the many thousands that can be found within the Cunard archive is an almost impossible task. With this in mind I have selected one of the few colour transparencies that can be found within the collection that show passengers dancing on board RMS Queen Mary. It looks like getting there really was half the fun!”

Niamh Delaney, Assistant Librarian (Special Collections)

P.170

“This image shows a family of Belgian Gypsies – Carlo Basili [or Vasili] and his children, at Barnet, Herts. It was taken by Fred Shaw, a member of the Gypsy Lore Societywho had met and photographed the family two years previously; he therefore had a friendly relationship with the family, and as a fluent speaker of various Romani dialects, was well known by Romany communities. Other examples of Shaw’s work are currently on display in Paris at the exhibition Mondes tsiganes: La fabrique des images (#MondesTsiganes @MNHI; more information can be found online here.)”

Josette Reeves, Archives Cataloguer

D587-1-4 [1912-1915]

“There are lots of photos of various sports teams in the University Archive, and many of them are posed shots of the teams holding their rackets/sticks/etc and looking terribly serious. So I love this one of the men and women’s tennis teams relaxing and drinking tea in Calderstones Park in around 1912 – they all look so happy. And just look at those clothes!”

Robyn Orr, Library Assistant

A241/F

“It was hard to pick just the one, but any photograph including a cat is a winner for me. This particular cat is having an examination of his back leg by the Vets at Leahurst Veterinary School, at some point between the 1960s and 1980s. His little shocked face says it all… You can see more Special Collections and Archives material relating to cats here!”

Michaela Garland, Graduate Library Assistant

D42-PR2-1-95-Q27 © Reuters

“This photo is really striking as it captures a moment in time when the Queen Elizabeth was undertaking her duties as a troopship. Perhaps these men were being transported into the chaos of WWII? It makes me wonder what they were thinking. This is probably also one of the few scenarios where being on the bottom bunk wouldn’t have been the most sought after option. I can’t imagine it being too much fun from the way the men are peeping out from the tiny lower bunks… who knows what would have been scurrying around under them? I also really like how the image is contextually ambiguous in that at first glance it could be just a candid shot of the men relaxing in their quarters, but as the troops are swigging their Pepsi Cola’s and the branding is front and centre, the image also comes across as being a very clever promotional tool.”

All of the above are available to view by appointment at Special Collections and Archives. Happy snapping!

‘Seeing Euclid’ at the Harold Cohen Library

Euclid’s Elements of Geography is the subject of a new display in the Harold Cohen Library. Throughout the summer, a network of exhibitions – ‘Seeing Euclid’ – will highlight the legacy of Euclid’s work in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, with displays of books and other artefacts from the first two hundred years of Euclid in print. Organised as part of the University of Oxford’s AHRC funded research project ‘Reading Euclid’, the exhibition is a collaboration between nearly thirty institutions across Britain and Ireland.

Written around 300BCE, Euclidean geometry has held sway in Europe for nearly two and a half thousand years. It has been used by surveyors to map fields and architects to design buildings, as well as being critically important to the teaching of mathematics at many different times and in many different places. Early thinkers turned to it as a source of philosophy, whilst later readers saw in it a monument to the genius of the Greeks, or an exercise for improving the mind. Nearly three hundred editions of the text appeared between 1482 and 1700 – with a particular resurgence in the seventeenth century – and more than 1900 copies of these editions survive in libraries and repositories across Britain and Ireland. As a consequence, this text represents an important meeting point in the history of mathematics, the history of ideas, the history of practice, and the history of the book.

The ‘Seeing Euclid’ website includes details of the displays at each of the participating institutions. The display at the Harold Cohen Library runs until the 15th July and is open to external visitors as well as members of the University, Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.

 

Items on display:

Contenta. Euclidis Megarensis Geometricorum eleme[n]torum libri… XV.

Paris: Henri Estienne, 1516

This is the earliest edition of Euclid’s Elements held by the University of Liverpool, and the first to be printed in France. Our copy was part of a British Museum duplicates sale of 1787.

Euclidis Megarensis, philosophi & mathematici excellentissimi, Sex libri priores, de geometricis principiis, Graeci & Latini

Basel: Johannes Herwagen, 1550

This item has been owned by a number of interesting characters, including royalty.

 

The elements of geometrie of the most auncient philosopher Euclide of Megara. Faithfully (now first) translated into the Englishe toung, by H. Billingsley, citizen of London.

London: John Day, 1570

This was the first English translation of Euclid. The edition boasts striking engravings, and a number of pop-up diagrams – which give the book a 3D, interactive aspect.

 

Euclides metaphysicus, sive, De principiis sapientiae, stoecheidea E.

White, Thomas

London: John Martyn, James Allestry and Thomas Dicas, 1658

This copy of a work by Thomas White (1593-1676) – English priest and scholar – contains an inscription by Dr. Sir Charles Scarburgh (1615-1694), physician to Charles II, James II, William III and Prince George of Denmark. Scarburgh was working on an edition of Euclid at his death, which was completed by his son in 1705.

More information about each of these items is available on the ‘Seeing Euclid’ website, and in the physical display.

 

Other works of Euclid at the University of Liverpool include:

Euclidis Elementorum libri XV. breviter demonstrati, opera Is. Barrow, Cantabrigiensis, Coll. Trin. Soc. Et prioribus mendis typographicis nunc demum purgati.

London: Abel Swall, 1687

This pocket-sized Latin edition, issued by English mathematician Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), contains the inscription of William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882), a Liverpool-born economist and logician. On the title-page are two further inscriptions: G. Stinton, E. Coll. Reg. Oxon, and Matt Walls.

 

Evclidis elementorvm libri XV. Græce et latine, quibus, cum ad omnem mathematicæ scientiæ partem, tum ad quamlibet geometriæ tractionem, facilis comparatur aditus.

Cologne: Maternus Cholinus, 1564

This early, compact edition has a number of ownership marks, many of which have been obscured – or in the case of a bookplate, torn out. There is also a pencil drawing of a building on one of the endleaves.

 

Euclid’s Elements of geometry. In XV. books: with a supplement of divers propositions and corollaries….Published by the care and industry of John Leeke and George Serle, students in the mathematicks.

London: George Sawbridge, 1661

This was the third complete edition of Euclid in English, and includes a reprint of the John Dee preface that first appeared in the 1570 translation. The edition also contains the first English printing of Euclid’s Data. With an engraved frontispiece portrait of Euclid and verse by G. Wharton: