The Buck’s Bottle Companion is a book filled with hundreds of drinking songs.  Some songs mourn love’s loss or proclaim love’s cruelty, but most demand refills on wine in order to tolerate the present company.  This book belonged to Archibald Montgomerie, eleventh Earl of Eglinton (1726-1796) who is described as “a Scot of the type who, according to James Boswell, despised Englishmen in the same way that Dr Johnson criticized the Scots. Hard-drinking, hot-tempered, without intellectual interests, Eglinton was a man of limited ability in all his roles” (Grainger, ODNB).  Eglinton had a long army career.  Joining in 1743, he eventually became a full general in 1793.  Perhaps it was his carousing with fellow officers that led to him acquiring this book!

Cheers!

-Jillian P.

PN6237 .B83 1775

pittspecialcollections

pittspecialcollections:

PART III: BOOKLOVERS’ GILT-Y PLEASURES                               

BY: LAUREN GALLOWAY

Gold decoration on books has been around for centuries. From its past history to current use, on books both old and new, big and small, inexpensive and luxurious, Pitt Special Collections brings you a three part series on GILT.

Gilt went from a high-end product to something that could be easily manufactured and replicated factory-style. That is why gilt books are not as rare as you might think. Gilt has the strange position of being at the same time an expensive luxury decoration, and a common feature on a book that anyone could own. But, books that were gilded, in addition to other features, could sometimes be the most deluxe, expensive, and rare books ever made.

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This book is a special copy of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poems. Shelley was friends with Lord Byron and was married to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. This Dove’s Press edition is bound in full navy morocco, with gilt-decorated spine and covers, and all edges gilt. It is one of only 200 copies. 

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Next is a book whose pages might be little known, but whose cover will astound you.

Gilt covers the entire front and back covers, and the spine of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (published in 1621), along with all edges gilt. This book also has doublures, the term for when the inside lining of a book is made of leather instead of paper. When a book has doublures it’s a sign that it is very expensive. Another sign is when a press or person have their names stamped or etched into the inside cover of the book, which this book also has.

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Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy is almost certainly the most deluxe gilded binding that Pitt Special Collections owns.

However, we are going to end with the most famous gilded book of all time.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the “greatest modern binding in the world” was created. The binding was to grace the pages of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Edward Fitzgerald translation), and included 5000 separate pieces of leather for the onlay work, 100 square feet of gold leaf for the gilt, and 1051 semi-precious stones studded all over the front and back covers. When finished the book was auctioned off and sent to its new owner in the United States. However, the Omar’s journey there took it aboard the Titanic, and the book was destroyed.

In 1932 though, there was a second try for the masterpiece. After seven years of painstaking work replicating the original binding, the book was completed at the outbreak of World War II. Terrified that the book would be lost again, the makers sent the book to a special depository where it would be safe. But, in 1941, the depository was hit and the binding again destroyed, though the pages survived intact. In fact, had the binding been kept in the workshop all along, it would have survived, as the workshop was never touched by the war. After twice the tragedy though, the creation has never been attempted again.

The only fortunate part of this story is that photographs of the binding were taken in 1912. Although they are only black and white, it doesn’t take much imagination to see what the Omar must have looked like in its glory.

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In the pictures, the peacock is the front cover, and the guitar is the back. The snake and skull are the front and back doublures, with the snake symbolizing Life, and the skull Death. Of the semi-precious stones mentioned before, there are topaz in the peacock tails, turquoises in the crowns, amethyst grapes in the vineleaves, and the eye of the snake (on the inside cover) is an emerald.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this quote: “If somehow miraculously resurrected intact, the Omar today would be priceless.”

Sources:

Carter, John, and Nicolas Barker. ABC for Book Collectors. 8th ed. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll, 2004. Print.

Lewis, Roy Harley. Fine Bookbinding in the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: Arco, 1985. Print.


Miniature Monday!  (I made it…).
This tiny mini blank book is chained to its larger relative, and fits in the little recess in the cover. 
Statement from the artist’s website: (Click here!)
"Until fairly recently all books were prized possessions — medieval libraries chained books to the shelves to prevent theft. In those days each volume was crafted with precision, elaborately decorated and embellished with precious stones and metals. I aim to make my books just as precious as those medieval manuscripts."
[Chained book on a book].  [Asheville, NC : Dan Essig, 1999]
Catalog: N7433.4.E55 C5 1999a 
See all of our Miniature Monday posts.

Miniature Monday!  (I made it…).

This tiny mini blank book is chained to its larger relative, and fits in the little recess in the cover. 

Statement from the artist’s website: (Click here!)

"Until fairly recently all books were prized possessions — medieval libraries chained books to the shelves to prevent theft. In those days each volume was crafted with precision, elaborately decorated and embellished with precious stones and metals. I aim to make my books just as precious as those medieval manuscripts."

[Chained book on a book].  [Asheville, NC : Dan Essig, 1999]

Catalog: N7433.4.E55 C5 1999a 

See all of our Miniature Monday posts.

It’s been a while since we have gotten a video out to you due to how much our schedules change over the summer in an academic institution.  But Staxpeditions are still in the works!  
Here’s a hint for a video we’re editing behind the scenes right now:
While in Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference some of the UISpecColl team met with Rebecca Romney at Bauman Rare Books (Rebecca is called up when they need help with rare book appraisals on the TV show “Pawn Stars.”)
From left to right:
Margaret Gamm ( from uimapcoll)
Patrick Olson ( From Staxpeditions) 
Colleen Theisen ( uispeccoll )
Rebecca Romney ( Bauman Rare Books, Rebecca’s Facebook)
Laura Hampton ( uispeccoll Miniature Mondays)
Jillian Phillips ( uispeccoll Thursday posts)

It’s been a while since we have gotten a video out to you due to how much our schedules change over the summer in an academic institution.  But Staxpeditions are still in the works!  

Here’s a hint for a video we’re editing behind the scenes right now:

While in Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference some of the UISpecColl team met with Rebecca Romney at Bauman Rare Books (Rebecca is called up when they need help with rare book appraisals on the TV show “Pawn Stars.”)

From left to right:

Margaret Gamm ( from uimapcoll)

Patrick Olson ( From Staxpeditions

Colleen Theisen ( uispeccoll )

Rebecca Romney ( Bauman Rare Books, Rebecca’s Facebook)

Laura Hampton ( uispeccoll Miniature Mondays)

Jillian Phillips ( uispeccoll Thursday posts)

Happy Birthday Beatrix Potter!

Today we celebrate the 148th birthday of the famous children’s author, Beatrix Potter, who is mainly known for writing The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Here at the University of Iowa, we are fortunate enough to have a copy of one of the first printings of this charming tale, which according to our acquisition papers, was previously owned by Potter’s niece!

This particular book was printed in a grouping of 250, and is widely believed to have been done so in 1901. However, the acquisition papers accompanying this copy state that the author’s records say it was privately printed in 1900, and later issued in 1901. This copy is also interesting as it contains the later omitted pages showing how Peter Rabbit’s father met his demise by way of pie. 

Want to see the fully digitized version of this book? Click here!

Want to learn more about this and other Beatrix Potter books at Iowa? Click here

-Beatrix Potter aficionado, Lindsay M.

PZ5.P86 T3

hevelincollection

hevelincollection:

Here’s Weird Tales from September, 1929. It features stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and E. Hoffman Price. Also of note: Stories by Sophie Wenzel Ellis and Otis Kline. Kline later became an agent and placed some stories for Robert E. Howard. E. Hoffman Price was a prolific writer with a long career (he knew Howard and Lovecraft) and could fence and swordfight. Very useful, I’d imagine, if you were writing adventure stories. The back of this pulp is priceless (no pun intended)! The Lovecraft story, The Hound, finishes above one of Howard’s poems, The Moor Ghost. The cover is by C. C. Senf.

Today would have been Amelia Earhart’s 117th birthday.  The famous aviatrix was born on July 24,1897 and died July 2, 1937 while attempting to fly around the world. Her plane crashed while flying from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island.  Earhart wrote two books during her life time: 20 Hrs. 40min.(1928) and The Fun of It (1932).  While photographing 20hrs. 40min., I discovered that the book originally belonged to Bertha Shambaugh. Bertha’s husband, Benjamin Shambaugh, chairman of the University Lecture series, is in the photograph with Earhart.

On March 31, 1936, Earhart visited the University of Iowa as part of the University Lecture series.  Bertha recorded the event in both her copy of Earhart’s book and in one of the Shambaugh house books—diaries Bertha kept that detail their lives and University campus life.  In the house book she included several newspaper clippings and the University Lectures advertisement. Bertha described that “Amelia Earhart’s lecture is a not a great one - but is entertaining.”  She did not attend the lecture herself, but instead recorded Benjamin’s report.  The majority of the entry is dedicated to complaining about the ticket situation for the event which apparently was a mess—only 1,800 seats were available and the campus population was close to 7,000!  Benjamin gave up his seat and listened to the lecture from a doorway! It seems that Benjamin made an impression as a host, Bertha particularly noted that “Miss Earhart seemed to appreciate Benjamin’s protection of her from exploitation.  She thought there should be a special medal struck off for such chairmen. She has the dislike of the average ‘distinguished guest’ of banquets and receptions in her honor.”

Here’s to Lady Lindy!

-Jillian P.

Check out uimapcoll's earlier post of Richard Byrd’s flight map which was partially funded by Earhart!

TL721.E3 A3 1928

RG99.0152

iowawomensarchives

iowawomensarchives:

Sept. 17, 1918 - Tonight the big hospital train came in and every one was on duty until late bathing and dressing the poor boys. Such horrible wounds. How can any one of us complain after seeing the brave acceptance which the boys display…

Here’s a sneak preview from our upcoming World War I digital collection and transcription project, featuing the photo album and journal of Louise Liers, a Clayton, Iowa, native and Army nurse who spent 16 months in France treating wounded soldiers. Check back for links to the full items soon!

Iowa Women’s Archives: Guide to the Louise Liers papers, 1911-1983

View all Women’s History Wednesday posts