As I have been re-cataloging books in rare, I have come across many titles that even though they have call number slips in them, have no record for them in the catalog. It has gotten to the point when I am more surprised when a book is actually in the catalog than when it isn’t. One that I came across recently seems to be one of just a few copies still in existence. The Aitken Bible was published in Philadelphia in 1782. It was the first complete Bible printed in the United States, and considered the Bible of the Revolution. It even includes a 2 page resolution from Congress authorizing the sale of the Bible. It was published at a time when the British had a monopoly over the publication of such material which means that it was published illegally. Robert Aitken is said to have buried the type so that it wouldn’t be destroyed by the British soldiers. Earlier editions of the New Testament were published during the years 1777-1779. Our copy was bought in 1952. Included is a copy of the book seller’s catalog supplement advertising the Bible. It has the history of the Bible as well as information about how many copies were still available in 1952. When I downloaded the record, I noticed that OCLC said we held it, but it was never entered into any computer catalog system. There are only 33 other libraries that have copies. As I continue going through the shelves, I am sure that I will find others books that haven’t been cataloged. I am hoping for a something really big such as a first folio of Shakespeare or a Gutenberg Bible! A librarian can only dream.
In the 'Cabinet of Curiosities' Category...
I have gone through every folded poster in the Hoffman collection. There are numerous duplicates, but many really nice surprises. The majority of the posters were from engagements in France by “The Hoffman Girls.” Almost none of the posters have a year (with the exception of one 1911 and one 1934).
A newly unfolded poster found today is 42″ x 6′ and features Vaudeville performers that will seem racially insensitive today. This poster is of a production by Gertrude’s husband, Max Hoffman.
Take a look at this vibrant poster, circa 1975, from the Energy Strategy Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina –
The artwork and its source committee were likely created as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. Take a look at the gas-guzzling hot rod and the look on the face of the full-service pump attendant!
This and much more can be found in the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection at Z. Smith Reynolds Library.