Recent Acquisition: Letter Collection from the Italian Renaissance

by Julie Tanaka, Curator of Rare Books

Bound in modern calf decorated with blind stamped ornaments is a collection of letters written by the sixteenth-century Italian writer, Paolo Giovio. Known as a historian, Giovio became one of the foremost and innovative letter writers of his time. He drew upon his historical knowledge of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to recount in vivid detail contemporary events including the sack of Rome, the election of Pope Hadrian VI, and the Marquis of Pescara’s troops plundering his native home, Como. He made his biting political commentary about these events all too clear in the letters contained in this volume. Giovio practically turned the art of letter writing into a new genre; his letters in many ways were a precursor to journalism.

Giovio, Paolo. Lettere volgari di mons. Paolo Giovio da Como, vescovo di Nocera. Raccolte per messer Lodovico Domenichi. Et nuouamente stampate con la tauola. Venice: Giovanni Battista et Melchior Sessa, 1560.

 

This collection of letters, titled Lettere volgari di mons, is the first edition published by Lodovico Domenichi. It bears the publisher’s dedication to Matteo Montenegro, a Genoese nobleman, dated April 1, 1560. There are annotations in two hands throughout and also a printed bookplate bearing the name of William Wickham.

Paolo Giovio (1483-1552), a native of Como, began studying Greek language and literature in Milan but moved to Pavia within a year to pursue medical science and philosophy, earning his degree from the University of Padua in 1511. Fleeing an outbreak of plague, Giovio settled in Rome around 1516, where he wrote the work for which he is best known, Historiarum sui temporis (History of His Time). Among his other notable works are De Romanis piscibvs (On Roman Fish) and Descriptio Britanniae, Scotiae, Hyberniae, et Orchadum (Description of Britain, Scotland, Ireland, and the Orkneys).

Upcoming Events: February and early March

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, March 1 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar:  MA Presentations — “Alessandro Blasetti’s Cinema and the Fantastic: A Closer Look at the Unmarried Woman” by Genevieve Lyons, and “Representations of Self: Dante’s Use of First Person in the Vita Nova” by Katie Sparrow. Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

 

The spring exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru, officially opens on February 9. The exhibit is curated by Erika Hosselkus and draws on strengths of Rare Books and Special Collections’ José E. Durand Peruvian History collection. Together these items offer diverse perspectives on Peruvian political events and cultural and religious practices and preferences from the colonial era, through the country’s birth in 1825, and beyond the turn of the twentieth century.

The spotlight exhibit during February are Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, curated by Rachel Bohlmann, and Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg.

Happy National Puzzle Day!

January 29 is National Puzzle Day, a day to appreciate puzzles of all sizes, shapes, and forms. This holiday was started in 2002 by Jodi Jill, a syndicated newspaper puzzle maker and professional quiz maker. In honor of the holiday, the curator of our next exhibit, “In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru,” shares a couple of puzzles from two of the serials that will be featured in the exhibit. The exhibit will open in early February.


by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

The periodicals of nineteenth-century Peru often featured puzzles, from riddles (charadas) to rebuses (geroglíficos).

The March 13, 1875 issue of La Alborada, a weekly magazine on literature, art, education, theater, and fashion, featuring the writing of Peruvian women, contains a word puzzle in the middle of the third column. Readers decoded riddles such as this one to discover a one-word or multi-word solution. In this case, the puzzle creator provides clues about the three syllables comprising the word camisa (shirt), her one-word solution.

A loose translation:

Although foreign, it is known
That when I join my first syllable to my third,
It results in a familiar mansion.

Creating a similar union
Between my third and my first syllables;
I obtain a verb and a “sack,”
“larger than” any other.

My second (syllable) is a pronoun
And it runs into my third,
Each week, every person
Should go (to this) at least once.

I will say, in conclusion
That something that you find on me
And that you find also on yourself
Will turn out to be the solution.

A.A.A.

The author of this puzzle offered up a prize to be given to one of the first four subscribers to submit a solution.

Solutions to the puzzle (Soluciones á la charada del núm. 22) appear in a later issue, shown below. Some answers, like the one sent in by Ubalda Plasencia, are written in verse, like the puzzle itself. As Ubalda points out, the syllables indicated by the puzzle are “ca” “mi” and “sa,” resulting in the word camisa, or “shirt.”

Word searches (laberintos) are also featured in Peruvian periodicals, as are rebuses, like the one found at the bottom of the page below from El Perú Ilustrado of June 16, 1888. The prize for decoding this puzzle was 200 packs of cigarettes. Fittingly, the sponsor of the puzzle was a tobacco vendor. In English, the solution to the puzzle (shown at the bottom of the last image) is: “If you know what is good, in terms of tobacco, I advise you to buy the brand «El Sol de Oro» from Oliva brothers.”

Current Exhibits in Special Collections

The January-February spotlight, Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, highlights a print acquired by Rare Books and Special Collections in 2017.

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. This 1864 steel engraving by James W. Watts was adapted from a drawing, Reading the Proclamation of Emancipation in the Slaves’ Cabin, by New York City artist Henry Walker Herrick. Very few pictorial depictions of the proclamation were made before Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and this is the only contemporary image that offers an interpretation of how it might have been received by the people it was intended to free.

This exhibit is curated by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian.

 

The winter spotlight, Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, continues through February.

In 2015 RBSC acquired a collection of more than 450 examples of baseball-related sheet music, dating from before the Civil War to the late 20th century. On display in this spotlight exhibit is a small sampling of the collection, with items ranging from the early days of baseball to the end of the Tin Pan Alley era. The examples on display in this spotlight exhibit are selected from Special Collections’ Baseball Sheet Music Collection.

This exhibit is curated by George Rugg, Curator, Special Collections.

 

The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, was extended into January and closes on Tuesday the 23rd.

The spring exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru, will open in early February — watch for more information on the blog!

Recent Acquisition: Northern Ireland — A Collection on Peace and Reconciliation

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Ronald Wells, emeritus professor at Calvin College, Michigan, is author of a number of books and articles on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. In the course of over two decades of research, he gathered together a collection of material on the work of groups, particularly religious groups, working towards peace and reconciliation. Many of the materials are ephemeral—newsletters and communications on the activities of those groups—and the collection is a valuable source for understanding the work of those groups, the environment in which they worked, and the obstacles they faced.

In 2017, Dr. Wells donated his research materials to the Hesburgh Libraries. The collection is arranged mainly according to organization and accompanied by Dr. Wells’ notes on each group, and it extends to five boxes of papers, mainly print ephemera, and a number of pamphlets and books.

The materials on the Clonard-Fitzroy Fellowship, one of the groups represented, provide insight into the relationship between a Catholic monastery and a Presbyterian congregation, which came about because of the friendship between the Rev. Dr. Ken Newell of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church and Fr. Gerry Reynolds of Clonard Monastery. Included are sermon texts, press releases, programs, newsletters, letters, and newspaper clippings.

Copies of four typed transcripts of sermons, displayed overlapping against a black background.

The Wells Collection includes also materials from The Gospel in Conflict Program of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, The Hard Gospel Project of the Church of Ireland, the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation, Healing Through Remembering, the Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland (ECONI), and The Consultative Group on the Past.

The print materials of these groups provide a documentary glimpse into their work and the issues they faced. The well-produced publications of the Healing Through Remembering project trace the ideas and work of this organization from the initial event that led to its founding, the 1999 visit to Northern Ireland of Dr. Alex Boraine, Deputy Chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

Included in the collection are pamphlets and reports.  Many are on peace and reconciliation, and some are publications of a more propagandistic nature, such as Ian Paisley’s address, ‘The Ulster Problem’,  delivered at Bob Jones University in South Carolina in 1972.

Ian R. K. Paisley. The Ulster Problem. Spring 1972. A Discussion of the True Situation in Northern Ireland. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1972. 10 p.

Books in the collection include books on Northern Ireland and also on peacebuilding in general, as in the example shown here.

Tristan Anne Borer, John Darby and Siobhán McEvoy-Levy. Peacebuilding After Peace Accords: The Challenges of Violence, Truth, and Youth.  University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. 105 p.

In this book’s preface Dr. Scott Appleby describes the project directed by John Darby, professor at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies until his death in 2012, to study peace accords and their implementation. The project mentioned in the book, the Peace Accords Matrix database, is now available online at https://peaceaccords.nd.edu.

To learn more about the collection, please consult the online finding aid. Books and pamphlets which are cataloged separately may be identified by searching in the library catalog for ‘Ronald Wells Collection on Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland’.

Upcoming Events: January and early February

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, January 25 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Afterlife: the Two Picos and Later Transformations of Renaissance Humanism” by Denis Robichaud (University of Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

 

The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, has been extended into January. If you are planning to bring a group to Special Collections or would like to schedule a special tour, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.

The monthly spotlight exhibit for November and December, Building A Colonial Mexican Tavern: Archive of the Pulquería El Tepozán, has also been extended through mid-January. Watch for a new exhibit to be installed later in January and continue through February.

The winter spotlight exhibit is Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg. This exhibit features highlights from the department’s collection of approximately 400 pieces of baseball related sheet music.

Recent Acquisition: A Christian Archaeologist’s work on Medieval Mosaics in Churches of Rome

Rossi, Giovanni Battista de. Musaici cristiani e saggi dei pavimenti delle chiese di Roma anteriori al secolo XV: Tavole cromo-litografiche con cenni storici. Roma: Libreria Spithöver de Guglielmo Haass, 1899.

by Marsha Stevenson, Visual Arts Librarian

Giovanni Battista de Rossi (1822-1894) was a distinguished scholar of early Christian archaeology. Born in Rome, he attended the Collegio Romano and La Sapienza, earning a doctorate. After finishing his studies he was appointed scriptor at the Vatican Library, where he cataloged manuscripts. In addition to his expertise in archaeology, de Rossi was skilled in epigraphy and was an authority on the topography of ancient and medieval Rome. His studies of the apse mosaics in Roman churches continue those of the seventeenth-century scholars Jean l’Heureux and Giovanni Giustino Ciampi. He travelled widely, and was acquainted with the foremost European scholars of his day.

De Rossi was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Antiquarian Society. A devout Catholic, he heard Mass every day. As his health failed, Leo XIII gave him use of an apartment at Castel Gandolfo, where de Rossi died in 1894.

Detail from Plate 10 showing the winged lion of St Mark.

De Rossi published a number of works in the second half of the nineteenth century, among which is this recent acquisition by the Hesburgh Libraries. The Musaici cristiani e saggi dei pavimenti delle chiese di Roma anteriori al secolo XV [“Christian Mosaics and Specimens of the Floors of the Churches of Rome Prior to the 16th Century”] originally was published in 27 fascicles between 1872 and 1896. The Libraries’ set is bound into two folio volumes, the first being the text and the second featuring 53 plates of illustrations. William Jackson of Aberdeen, Scotland was responsible for its binding. This set was presented to a monastery library by Lady Cecil Kerr (1883-1941), a Catholic author who wrote historical and devotional works.

Plate 10: Abside di Sta Pudenziana

The illustrations in the second volume are fine examples of chromolithography, which was a technique developed in the nineteenth century for the mass production of color images. The process of chromolithography used multiple blocks or stones, each of a different color, which were printed successively to develop each image. The Libraries’ copy includes some highlights in gold.

Plate 13: Arco di Placidia nella Basilica di S. Paolo e Frammenti della Medesima Basilica
Plate 18: Abside di Sta. Agnese fuori le mura

 


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Upcoming Events: December and early January

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 22, 2017, through January 1, 2018). In addition, RBSC will be closed December 5, 11:00am to 2:00pm due to the Hesburgh Libraries Christmas lunch.

We otherwise remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, continues to be on display through December 15, 2017. Public tours of the exhibit are offered Tuesdays at noon and Wednesdays at 3pm, and are also available by request for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences. If you are planning to bring a group to Special Collections or would like to schedule a special tour, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.

The monthly spotlight exhibit for November and December is Building A Colonial Mexican Tavern: Archive of the Pulquería El Tepozán, curated by Erika Hosselkus. This exhibit features a manuscript archive which includes real estate, licensing, and planning documents for the pulquería El Tepozán. It was one of four such establishments built by nobleman don Pedro Romero de Terreros, the Count of Regla, in Mexico City, beginning in the final years of the 1770s.

The winter spotlight exhibit is Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg. This exhibit features highlights from the department’s collection of approximately 400 pieces of baseball related sheet music.

Recent Acquisition: Executing Justice in England

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an interesting work from the Reformation period, De iustitia Britannica, siue Anglica, quae contra Christi martyres continenter exercetur (Ingolstadii, 1584).

This title has been variously attributed to Cardinal William Allen, Robert Parsons and Nicholas Sander, but seems to actually be the work of an unidentified author who explicitly states that it is intended as a supplement to Allen’s A briefe historie of the martyrdom of xii priests (Rheims, 1582). The title clearly references—and is a response to—Iustitia Britannica (Londini,1584), the Latin translation of William Cecil Burghley’s The execution of justice in England, which defended the execution of Edmund Campion and other Catholics in 1581.

This acquisition is the first and only edition of the work; we have identified only six other North American holdings.