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Tag: rare books

If Books Could Kill: A Deadly Secret in the Cullman Library

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History’s 1602 edition of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De animalibus insectis has always been a favorite of mine, and the rest of our special collections staff. Aside from being the first European work dedicated solely to the natural history of insects and featuring numerous incredible woodcut illustrations, it also retains its beautiful contemporary binding. But this binding is just as dangerous as it is lovely: the green paint adorning the vellum of the front and back boards is laced with arsenic.

The Fix: Repairing Kaigara Danmen Zuan

Kaigara Danmen Zuan, before treatment.
Kaigara Danmen Zuan, before treatment.

In the Book Conservation Lab we sometimes treat books requiring intricate repairs. In November,  Kaigara Danmen Zuan printed in Kyoto in 1913 and authored by Yoichiro Hirase came to us for repair work. It was recently adopted through an Adopt-a-Book event hosted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  The book itself is from that museum’s library.

Hirase was a prominent malacologist (mollusk scientist) in Japan who collected over 3,500 seashells, 1,000 of which were new discoveries at the time. The idea for this book came from his experimentation with cutting shells at different angles producing cross sections that, when inked, produced interesting stamps.

“The Curious Mr. Catesby” Receives 2016 Annual Literature Award

curioustpCongratulations to Leslie Overstreet! The Catesby Commemorative Trust’s The Curious Mr. Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds book has been awarded the 2016 Annual Literature Award by the Council of Botanical and Horticultural Libraries. Leslie, Curator of Natural-History Rare Books in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, authored the chapter titled “The Publication of Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.”

Shells and art in Recreatio mentis et oculi

The post was written by Daniel Euphrat, Digital Imaging Technician.

The 1684 book Recreatio mentis et oculi by Filippo Buonanni is mainly a scientific text about mollusks. However, in addition to many informative illustrations of shells, there are a few more fanciful (and slightly terrifying) illustrations of Giuseppe Arcimboldo-style faces made out shells: