blog postsNon Solus Exhibition: "Introducing Non Solus: A Blog for Book Lovers"!Jun 30, 2010 4:30 pm269 views You are invited to an exhibition at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to mark the launch of this blog. The exhibition will take place from July 7th to August 24th and will showcase some of the items that have been featured here over the past months, in all their glorious physicality. A gala opening reception will take place at 3:00 p.m. on July 7 in room 346 of the Main Library Building. Commemorative bookmarks will be hand-printed for all attendees, the original print publication Non Solus will be available for browsing and refreshments will be served. Please join us to celebrate this occasion. (click "Read More" for a map of our location and contact information)A Collection of Letters to Barnard GregoryJun 28, 2010 1:45 pm942 views "Satire's my weapon. I was born a critic and a satirist; and my nurse remarked that I hissed as soon as I saw light." In the vault of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we recently rediscovered a correspondence collection of the London actor and journalist Barnard Gregory (1796-1852). Gregory edited and owned The Satirist; or, Censor of The Times, a London weekly paper and scandal sheet which was first published in 1831 and ran until 1849. Gregory committed libel and frequently blackmailed the subjects of his publications by sending them manuscript copies of the scandals he intended to print and threatening to publish them if not paid by their maligned subjects. As G.C. Boase so elegantly states, "The weak yielded and were plundered, the strong resisted and were libeled, when, owing to the uncertain state of the law and the expenses attending a trial, it was not easy to obtain any redress." Gregory was involved in several court cases related to his nefarious practices and was imprisoned on several occasions during his lifetime. Gregory was also fascinated by the theater and performed as an amateur actor. His reputation as a scandal monger, however, made public performances a bit of a spectacle. Twice in his career as an actor, Gregory's performances were disrupted by riotous mobs.Collection of Danish plays uncoveredJun 28, 2010 1:30 pm1242 views A collection of Danish plays from the 18th and 19th century has recently been cataloged. This collection of roughly 70 items includes translations of contemporary popular plays from France and Germany. The bulk of these items were found in the cataloging backlog section that our team is currently working through. The rest, which were in our off-site storage facility, were reunited through cataloging and applying subject headings. These plays were all purchased at the same time (29 May, 1948) from Herman H.J. Lynge & Son (Copenhagen) using funds from a donation by Professor Henning Larsen, professor of English (1939-57), Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences (1947-53), and provost (1953-57).Collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Spanish RomancesJun 21, 2010 2:15 pm1111 views While working through our miscellaneous backlog, we came across a stack of unbound short dramas printed in Barcelona. This small collection (about 70 items) turned out to be a group of Spanish Romanceros, or ballads, printed by two different printing families. The ballad was a popular form in Spain from the 15th century, and often featured heroic themes and would be accompanied by music. Many of the popular ballads drew from historical sources or dealt with the tension between Spain and the East. Often called vulgars or romances morisco, these ballads were written as pulp entertainment for the public, and feature interesting and sometimes grotesque illustrations. The ballad fell in and out of public favor, but found a new renaissance during the Romantic period of the 18th century.Unidentified coat of arms found in the Incunabula collectionJun 17, 2010 2:30 pm1299 views While cataloging a copy of Leonardus de Utinos Sermones aurei de Sanctis (Venice: Johann von Koln and Johann Manthen, 1475) we came across a coat of arms that is so far unidentified. This coat of arms has been added to the recto of leaf a2 and is located after the incipit to the prologue. The inscription at the head of the leaf reads: Emptu[?] Jhr...ne[??] die ii Juli 16[-]1, and a previous inscription has been struck-through above it. The library is one of seven universities in possession of this text in the United States.An anonymous manuscript tract found in the Incunabula collectionJun 15, 2010 3:30 pm1137 views While updating the catalog records for the Incunabula collection, a copy of the Pseudo-Augustinian work "Sermones ad heremitas" came up on the cart. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has three fifteenth-century imprints of this work, two from Venice and one from Strasbourg. The copy printed by Paganinus de Paganinis on 26 May 1487 is the smallest in size of the three copies and is bound in vellum.Three books from Alexander Pope's libraryJun 10, 2010 9:30 am1153 views While checking the special collections provenance file, three books owned by Alexander Pope were identified in our collections, in addition to the presentation copies of his collected letters that he inscribed to William Oliver. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library's provenance file provides a wealth of information about notable former owners of the books in our collection. Former owners' autographs and bookplates are noted, as well as donor information for gift acquisitions. Unfortunately this information is often not available through online catalog records, so researchers interested in a particular author or historical figure should ask to consult the provenance file when doing research in the RBML.Another Hans Christian Andersen Presentation Copy--839.83 An2EbJun 3, 2010 8:45 am1959 views While checking the recently-cataloged Hans Christian Andersen book inscribed to Mary Bruun against the special collections provenance file, a second book inscribed by Hans Christian Andersen was identified. This copy of The Sand-hills of Jutland has just as interesting a provenance as the last book.Letters from John Ruskin primarily to Joan Severn--Post 1650 MS 0009Jun 2, 2010 4:30 pm1573 views Sitting quietly in our vault, awaiting further study is a cache of thirty unpublished letters from John Ruskin to his Scottish cousin Joan (Agnew Ruskin) Severn. Ruskin wrote over 3000 letters to Severn, many of which have been published in the thirty-nine volume edition of The Works of John Ruskin by Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, or, more recently in Rachel Dickinson's 2009 book, John Ruskin's Correspondence with Joan Severn: Sense and Nonsense Letters.