Archive for December, 2008

Paradise annotated


“Many men, many minds, and many opinions,” quotes Edwards Bowens (his book), in his copy of Paradise Regained (London: by J.M. for John Starkey, 1671), bought on June 28, 1709. Beinecke call number: 1977 2532. Bowens also signed his copy of the fifth edition of Richard Capel’s Tentations: their nature, danger and cure (London: by E.B. for J. Bartlet, 1655); Beinecke call number Mhc5 C170 T2 1655.


Readers of Paradise Regained seem not to have suffered from a lack of opinions, judging by the Beinecke’s second annotated copy, with text corrections and a manuscript essay with several dozen poems bound in at the back (Beinecke call number Osborn pb117). Modern day Milton enthusiasts will be interested in the BBC’s John Milton festivities to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Milton’s birth.

The Paleographical Commons


This image is taken from Beinecke’s Osborn b349, a commonplace book of the 1620s, signed by one Francis Grosvenor and containing notes in secretary and italic hands on a broad range of topics, including witchcraft, geography, aphorisms, cosmology, and fee tables, as in the example above.

This commonplace book, and a range of other examples, have been uploaded as high-resolution scans on the Beinecke’s Paleographical Commons, a resource for examples of early modern British paleography. The site can be found on flickr, as part of the Beinecke’s Flickr Laboratory, a project to provide open access to public domain images from the Beinecke Library collections.

Mrs Christian Kerr Her Arithmetic Book


The arithmetic book kept between 1716 – 1730 by Mrs. Christian Kerr, of Chatto and Sunlaws, in the Scottish border county of Roxburghshire. The notebook contains Lady Kerr’s sums, household accounts, notes on arithmetic and tables of weights and measures.


Along the way, Lady Kerr veers off into a list of the books she bought in Edinburgh in 1724, including titles such as History of the Buccaneers, Farquhar’s plays, and Cooke on forest trees. On the facing page, Kerr lists the books she possessed in March of 1725.


The notebook also contains poems addressed to Kerr on her birthday, and to her husband on his 71st birthday. Below are her arithmetic exercises on “double fellowship,” facing the calligraphy exercises often found joined with the study of mathematics in early modern women’s notebooks. Beinecke call number: Osborn c102

Memoranda as to payments to informers


Documents authorizing payments to informants, signed by the Recorder of London, Thomas Jenner (1606/7 – 1676) and relating to prosecutions under the Conventicle Act of 1664. The Conventicle Acts of 1664 and 1670 prohibited meetings of more than five people, and were used as legal means to prosecute Quakers and other non-conformist religious sects.  Beinecke call number: Osborn MSS File 4443.

Projections of the new world


From the 1559 Venetian manuscript portolan atlas of Battista Agnese (c. 1500 – 1564), Genoan cartographer. The atlas also includes a traditional portolan chart of the Mediterranean, along with some twenty other maps and views and two pages of distance computations.


Agnese includes a cartographic projection of the globe in this atlas, indicating his engagement with the early modern discussion on how best to represent the three-dimensional globe on a two-dimensional surface. Beinecke call number: MS 560. For further images from the atlas, see the Beinecke’s Digital Images and Collections. A full description of the manuscript’s contents can be found in the finding aid.



Agnese wrote in 1559, some ten years before the publication of the Flemish geographer Gerard Mercator’s world atlas of 1569. Mercator’s cylindrical projection of the globe remained the standard until the Peters projection of the early 1970s. The Mercator projection can be seen in the late 16th-century silver disk seen below, showing the Francis Drake voyage.


Silver map of the world showing the track of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation engraved or struck on a flat silver disc by Michael Mercator. Beinecke call number: Taylor 15.

Elegant, Well-Educated, Needs Title


The preliminary state of the titlepage to an unknown book, probably a late-18th century French scientific work. A recent acquisition.

Voyage of the Lightfoot


This ship’s log documents six voyages between England and America, between 1774-1782.  The log consists of printed forms filled in by hand, and contained categories for the courses, winds, distance, latitude, etc.  This particular image is taken from the voyage of the Lightfoot from Charleston to London, September 1 – 27, 1781.  A recent acquisition.

Order of the Planets


These images are taken from the Rudimenta cosmographia of Johannes Honter (c. 1498 – 1549), a mid-sixteenth-century Lutheran reformer and cartographer in Translyvania, or modern Romania.


The world map takes the distinctive “cosmographic heart” shape of cordiform maps, a term coined by the Nuremberg mathematician and cartographer Johannes Schoner in his 1551 Opera mathematica.  The first map of this type was published in 1511; the last in 1566.  See George Kish, “The cosmographic heart: cordiform maps of the 16th century,” Imago Mundi 19 (1965): 13.


From Johannes Hunter, Rudimenta cosmographica (Impressvm in inclyta Transylvaniae Corona 1542). Beinecke call number: Taylor 86.  For more images, see the Beinecke’s Digital Images and Collections.

A Giacomo of Gondolas


Costume books like those by the Venetian engraver Giacomo Franco touted the splendors of the city’s citizens, their elegance, their architecture, the extravagance of their festivities. Franco’s costume book also indicates the centrality of the gondola to Venetian civic identity, even in the early modern period. Above, the Bridge of Sighs, with gondolas, in this early seventeenth-century bird’s eye view by Franco.


Doge, with gondolas


Gondolas at play


Giacomo Franco, Habiti d’hvomeni et donne venetiane: con la processione della serma. Signoria et altri particolari cioè trionfi feste et cerimonie pvbliche della nobilissima città di Venetia ( [Venice] : Giacomo Franco forma in Frezzaria al’insegna del Sole con priuilegio, [1609]). Beinecke call number: J18 F8475 +609

A competent knowledge of the stops and pauses

In the advertisement for this English translation of de la Mothe-Fenelon’s Telemachus:


An Essay on Punctuation, 12mo.  Fourth edition, price 3s.

“No person can read, or even speak, with propriety or elegance, who has not a competent knowledge of the stops and pauses.” Essay on Elocut.

Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon, The Adventures of Telemachus, the Son of Ulysses.  Translated from the French … with notes, by the author of The Dissertation on the Parian Chronicle.  London, 1795.  A recent acquisition.