Special Collections & Archives Blog

Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, by Robert Burns (1787)

Saturday, January 25, 2014 9:43 am

Title page of the Edinburgh edition of Burns's poems

Title page of the Edinburgh edition of Burns’s poems

In December of 1786 a young country poet from the west of Scotland traveled to Edinburgh. Robert Burns hoped to drum up support for a second edition of the collection of poems that he had recently published by subscription in Kilmarnock. On 6 December Burns wrote to a friend

I have now been a week in Edin[burgh] and have been introduced to a great many of the Noblesse.—I have met very warm friends in the Literati… [Letters of Robert Burns, 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985) 61A]

Shortly thereafter he joked to another friend that

I am in a fair way of becoming as eminent as Thomas a Kempis or John Bunyan; and you may expect henceforth to see my birthday inserted among the wonderful events, in the Poor Robin’s and Aberdeen Almanacks… [Letters 62]

Burns could hardly have imagined that his birthday—January 25—would indeed be celebrated far beyond Aberdeen. Robert Burns Night is commemorated all over the world with food, speeches, and song in honor of the man now widely known as the national poet of Scotland.

Frontispiece portrait of Robert Burns from the Edinburgh edition

Frontispiece portrait of Robert Burns from the Edinburgh edition

In 1786, however, young Robert Burns was an obscure country poet. The son of a tenant farmer from the southwest of Scotland, Burns always had a talent for poetry and song. He also had a fondness for women, which may have led indirectly to the first publication of his poems. A few months before his trip to Edinburgh, Burns was making plans to emigrate to the West Indies, in part to escape the demands the family of a woman who had recently borne his out-of-wedlock twins. Before quitting Scotland Burns decided to publish a collection of poems based on the traditional dialect and songs of his native land. The very modest volume, titled Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, was printed by John Wilson in Kilmarnock in July 1786, its production paid for by Burns’s friends and supporters.

In October 1786 Burns approached Wilson about the possibility of a second edition, which would include some new poems. But, as Burns recounted in another letter, the printer insisted on an advance of £27 for the paper

[B]ut this, you know, is out of my power; so farewell hopes for a second edition ‘till I grow richer! An epocha, which, I think, will arrive at the payment of the British national debt. [Letters, 53]

Before leaving the country, Burns decided to make an attempt at finding patronage in the much larger city of Edinburgh, where, he had heard, copies of the Kilmarnock edition had been well received. He was indeed eagerly received by the Edinburgh aristocracy, and he quickly secured the patronage of the Caledonian Hunt –an exclusive social club for Scotland’s wealthiest men—for the second edition of his Poems.

Dedication page addressed to members of the Caledonian Hunt Club

Dedication page addressed to members of the Caledonian Hunt Club

Much of Burns’s stay in Edinburgh was taken up with preparations for this second edition, which included some new poems not found in the Kilmarnock edition. Writing to one of his partrons in March 1787, Burns records that

I have today corrected the last proof sheet of my poems and have now only the Glossary and subscribers names to print. . . . Printing this last is much against my will, but some of my friends whom I do not chuse to thwart will have it so. – I have both a second and a third Edition going on as the second was begun with too small a number of copies.—The whole I have printed is three thousand. [Letters, 90]

The average edition size at the time for a work of poetry was under 1000 copies, so an edition of 3000 copies was clear evidence of Burns’s ascendant fame. And the 46-page list, printed at the beginning of the volume, of names and tiles of subscribers provided incontrovertible evidence that the literary elite of Scotland had given their approval.

First page of the subscriber list for the Edinburgh edition of Burns's poems

First page of the subscriber list for the Edinburgh edition of Burns’s Poems

Robert Burns was a gifted poet, but he also had the advantage of appearing at the right time. The antiquarian movement of the 18th century had brought about great interest in the literature and material culture of the distant past. And in Scotland, antiquarianism had a decidedly nationalistic bent. English language and culture had been encroaching in Scotland since the union of the two kingdoms in 1603, and Burns’s poetry provided a direct link to traditional Scottish folkways and dialects. Burns himself embraced his identity as a national poet, writing in 1787:

The appellation of, a Scotch Bard, is by far my highest pride; to continue to deserve it is my most exalted ambition.—Scottish scenes, and Scottish story are the themes I could wish to sing… [Letters, 90]

burns twa dogs

Among the new poems included Edinburgh edition was “The Brigs of Ayr”—a dialogue between old and new bridges over the river Ayr– dedicated to his friend and longtime patron John Ballantine. The desire to see this poem in print was a motivating factor in Burns’s publishing a second edition. In 1786, despairing of being able to raise money for a second Kilmarnock edition, Burns wrote

There is scarcely any thing hurts me so much in being disappointed of my second edition, as not having it in my power to shew my gratitude to Mr. Ballantine, by publishing my poem of The Brigs of Ayr . [Letters, 53]

burns brigs

Burns’s ode to haggis was likely responsible for this rather off-putting concoction (offal, onions, and oatmeal boiled in a sheep’s stomach) being enshrined as the national dish of Scotland.

Burns's ode to haggis, a traditional Scottish dish made of offal, onions, and oatmeal boiled in a sheep's stomach

Burns’s ode to haggis

The glossary included in the Edinburgh edition of Burns’s Poems preserves distinctively Scottish words and pronunciations. But the fact that even his fellow Scots needed a guide to the language attests that the dialect was rapidly disappearing from everyday use.

Burns's glossary recorded the pronunciations and vocabulary of the traditional Scottish dialect

Burns’s Poems included a glossary of distinctively Scottish words

The Edinburgh edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect made Burns’s reputation. It also gave him financial security, at least temporarily. On the eve of its publication Burns wrote that

I guess I shall clear between two and three hundred pounds by my Authorship; with that sum I intend, so far as I may be said to have any intention, to return to my old acquaintance, the plough, and, if I can meet with a lease by which I can live, to commence Farmer. [Letters, 90]

Burns did indeed go back to farming, at least for a while. He married the mother of his twin children and fathered several more children. Eventually he took on a job as an excise officer in Dumfries. But he continued to write poetry and continued to take an active interest in the study and preservation of Scottish culture. One of his best known poems, “Tam o’Shanter,” was published in a volume dedicated to the preservation of Scottish buildings and monuments.

First publication of Burns's poem "Tam o' Shanter" in The Antiquties of Scotland (1791)

First publication of Burns’s poem “Tam o’ Shanter” in The Antiquties of Scotland (1791)

Burns died suddenly in 1796 at the age of only 37. But enthusiasm for his poetry never flagged. Memoirs, tributes, and collections of his works were published, and the 1859 centennial of his birth was the occasion for many celebrations.

Souvenir publication from the Burns Club of New York City's centennial celebration

Souvenir publication from the Burns Club of New York City’s centennial celebration

Since then the tradition of commemorating Burns Night on January 25 has spread throughout the world. Robert Burns would no doubt be delighted that his writings have brought the songs and poetry of his beloved Scotland to a global audience.

ZSR’s copy of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect is from the Charles Babcock collection. It is particularly interesting as an artifact because it has never been altered or rebound. With its original printer’s cardboard binding and untrimmed pages, the book is exactly what an 18th century reader would have purchased from an Edinburgh bookseller.

Original publisher's binding on ZSR's copy of Burns's Poems

Original publisher’s binding on ZSR’s copy of Burns’s Poems

Introducing Graduate Intern Corrine Luthy

Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:30 am

The following is a guest post by Corrine Luthy, a graduate intern with Wake Forest University’s Special Collections & Archives.

Corrine Luthy

Hi! I’m Corrine Luthy, an intern in the Special Collections and Archives department here at ZSR for the Spring 2014 semester. I am a graduate student in my second semester at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the Library and Information Studies program. Although there are no concentrations within the program, I have a strong interest in archives.

I have been working in ZSR’s Special Collections and Archives department since October, becoming acquainted with the equipment and the staff and gearing up for some projects I will be working on this spring. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to gain this hands-on experience while earning academic credit for my work. With the guidance of Tanya Zanish-Belcher (Director of Special Collections and Archives) and Chelcie Rowell (Digital Initiatives Librarian), we identified specific projects that I will lead, and we developed learning objectives that I will complete. I am excited that at the conclusion of my internship, having led these projects and completed these learning objectives will help me to build a strong portfolio.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from East Carolina University. Of course, my love for the written word and information access drew me to library school. But my interest in archives comes most immediately from my work as an editor and staff writer for a small community newspaper in northeastern North Carolina before returning to graduate school. There, I witnessed the real need for a usable and organized information organization system on a regular basis. The newspaper served not only as a historical record for the community, but for ourselves as well. Working at a print publication, I also became more aware of the contrast (and sometimes tension) between print and digital formats, some of the effects of the shift from one to the other, and the need for digital preservation. These are trends that I will be fortunate enough to explore more during my time at ZSR.

The projects that I have begun working on under Chelcie’s supervision hold a special interest for me. This semester I will be working with PDF files of digitized issues of Wake Forest’s student newspaper, the Old Gold and Black, making them keyword searchable for users of the library’s digital collection. I will also be working to create a digital exhibit with materials from the Secrest Artists Series.

I’m hoping to contribute to the digital community of Wake Forest by helping the library create and improve collections that capture the spirit of the university and make its digital materials more accessible and usable. I will be documenting my progress, thoughts, and learning as a ZSR intern and MLS student on my personal blog and portfolio website, Shelf Life. Anyone interested is invited to follow along. I hope to see you around ZSR!

A Northern Christmas, by Rockwell Kent (1941)

Thursday, December 5, 2013 4:34 pm

A Northern Christmas, by Rockwell Kent, was an American Artists Group gift book for 1941

A Northern Christmas by Rockwell Kent was an American Artists Group gift book for 1941

American artist Rockwell Kent spent Christmas 1918 in a small cabin on an island off the south coast of Alaska. More than twenty years later he recalled the experience in words and woodcut illustrations in a holiday gift book titled A Northern Christmas.

Title page from A Northern Christmas

Title page from A Northern Christmas

The small book was published by the American Artists Group, an organization founded in 1935 for the purpose of providing art for the masses and, in the process, creating a market for artists to earn a living during the difficult years of the Depression. Many prominent artists were members, including Edward Hopper, John Sloan, Thomas Hart Benton, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Max Weber, and Eugene Speicher. The American Artists Group published small monographs and offered unsigned engravings, lithographs, and woodcut prints for sale at very affordable prices. But the group was perhaps best  known for its yearly offerings of Christmas cards designed by its artists. In 1941 they also began a series of small holiday gift books, of which A Northern Christmas was the first.

Frontispiece illustration from A Northern Christmas

Frontispiece illustration from A Northern Christmas

Let it snow or rain and grow dark at midday! The better shall be our good Christmas cheer within. This is the true Christmas land. The day should be dark, the house further overshadowed by the woods, tall and black. And there in the midst of that somber, dreadful gloom the Christmas tree should blaze in glory unrivaled by moon or sun or star.

Rockwell Kent, A Northern Christmas

Cover from American Artists Group Illustrated Monograph no. 2

Cover from American Artists Group Illustrated Monograph no. 2

Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was born and educated in New York. His first art teacher was William Merritt Chase; later he studied with Abbott Handerson Thayer, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller.  Kent also trained as an architectural draftsman and was an accomplished carpenter. He worked in a variety of artistic media, but he is best known for his prints and for his many illustrations for classic literary works like Candide, Leaves of Grass, The Canterbury Tales, and, perhaps most famously, Moby Dick.

Rockwell Kent's famous dust jacket design for Moby Dick (Random House trade edition, 1930)

Rockwell Kent’s famous dust jacket design for Moby Dick (Random House trade edition, 1930)

Kent also wrote and illustrated several of his own books, many of them memoirs of his extensive travels. He often sought out remote areas of untouched wilderness for artistic inspiration. In 1918-19 he spent several months in Alaska with his young son (also named Rockwell).  The resulting book, called Wilderness, was published by G. P. Putnam in 1920.

Cover illustration for Rockwell Kent's Wilderness (1920)

Cover illustration for Rockwell Kent’s Wilderness (1920)

The south coast of the mainland of Alaska is a wilderness of spruce-clad mountains whose outlying, isolated peaks are islands. On one of these we lived, a father and his eight-year-old son. . . . the man in pursuit of his profession, the boy in pursuit of what of education lay in doing things, and both in that pursuit of happiness which, with whatever right, is still what every living creature wants. . . .

Of the fullness of the days–fullness of work and thought, of play, of little happenings, of uneventful peace–we kept record. That record is a book: its name is WILDERNESS. From WILDERNESS these notes about a happy Christmas in the north are drawn.

A Northern Christmas

The Rockwell Kent Papers in the Archives of American Art include extensive correspondence between Kent and Samuel Golden of the American Artists Group. In the 1941 correspondence they discuss all aspects of the production of A Northern Christmas, beginning with the necessity of getting permission from G. P. Putnam for the use of excerpts and illustrations from Wilderness. The publisher at first demanded a rather steep fee but became more reasonable after a “sharply worded letter” from Kent. In the end, Kent insisted that Putnam’s cooperation should be acknowledged in the colophon of A Northern Christmas.

Colophon from A Northern Christmas

Colophon from A Northern Christmas

A Northern Christmas  consisted mostly of excerpts from Wilderness, along with an introduction and a few new illustrations.

From A Northern Christmas

From A Northern Christmas

For Rockwell Kent, the wilderness idyll was a welcome respite from the materialism of the modern world. In the excerpts chosen for A Northern Christmas, Kent describes, in words and pictures, the spare and simple Christmas that he and his son celebrated with their landlord, an old Swedish homesteader named Olson.  The presents are few– young Rockwell receives a pocket knife, some old National Geographic magazines, and a broken fountain pen, but he “sits on the bed looking at the things as if they were the most wonderful gifts.” The holiday proves all the more memorable for its minimalism.

Christmas menu from A Northern Christmas

Christmas menu from A Northern Christmas

The food is good and plentiful, the night is long, only the Christmas candles are short-lived and we extinguish them to save them for another time. Finally, as the night deepens, Olson leaves us amid mutual expressions of delight in one another’s friendship, and Rockwell and I tumble into bed.

A Northern Christmas

Rockwell Kent wrote and illustrated a very different gift book for the American Artists Group the next year. The 1942 book, called On Earth Peace, is a rather bleak wartime fable about a Jazz Age princess humbled by loss and privation.

Cover illustration for On Earth Peace, Rockwell Kent's gift book for 1942

Cover illustration for On Earth Peace, Rockwell Kent’s gift book for 1942

Kent’s popularity as an artist waned somewhat after the war. His style fell out of fashion in the age of abstract expressionism, and his ongoing involvement in  socialist causes aroused suspicion in the Red-baiting 1950s. At one point Kent’s passport was revoked, and he sued to have it reinstated. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled in his favor, a landmark decision that made it more difficult for the government to curtail a citizen’s right to travel.  Kent continued to work for progressive causes and tried to promote improved relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Typed letter to Lynwood Giacomini, signed by Rockwell Kent

Typed letter to Lynwood Giacomini, signed by Rockwell Kent

The items pictured here are all held by ZSR Library’s Special Collections. The library has a sizeable collection of Rockwell Kent books, most of them previously owned by publisher Lynwood Giacomini, whose collection of American literature was purchased by the library in 1976. Giacomini kept up a friendly correspondence with many authors, and his collection includes a few typed letters from Rockwell Kent.

The ABC’s of Special Collections and Archives: B is for…

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 3:18 pm

B is for…

The North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection

The Biblical Recorder

The NC Baptist Historical Collection is one of the largest collections in Wake Forest’s Special Collections and Archives. This collection documents North Carolina Baptist churches, institution, and individuals. It contains various materials on Southern, Missionary, Primitive, African-American, Union, and Alliance of Baptist churches. It includes over 16,000 books, periodicals, association annuals, and other printed materials as well as church records, association minutes, and church vertical files. Patrons may also find more than 1,000 biographical folders containing information as well as photographs on Baptist pastors and Wake Forest alumni. This collection serves at a repository for records from North Carolina Baptist churches and institutions as well as for the Alliance of Baptists and the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina archives. However, that’s not all someone can find in this collection. This collection holds a complete set of the print version of the Biblical Recorder, which is the official journal of the North Carolina Baptist Convention. It was published biweekly and in existence since 1833.
To see what else is in this expansive collection, check out the finding aid for North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection or the Ethel Taylor Crittenden Collection in Baptist History.

B is also for…Bill J. Leonard

Bill Leonard playing the carillon

Bill Leonard playing the carillon

Bill Leonard was the founding dean of the WFU Divinity School and is the James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies. He is also a professor of church history, author of Baptist history writings, and an ordained Baptist minister. He received his education form Texas Wesleyan University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Boston University, and Franklin College. He’s recognized for his work in American, Southern and Baptist religious studies and he is the author and editor of 17 books including The Fragmentation of the Southern Baptist and Baptist Ways: A History.
This collection includes some of his personal and professional papers, sermons, and research materials. It also includes research materials for books and lectures, professional papers and correspondence collected during his tenure at Southern Baptist Seminary, Samford University, and Wake Forest University. A major portion of the collection contains materials relevant to the controversy and split of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection also contains his correspondence files with letters from President Jimmy Carter, Walter Harrelson, James Dunn, Glenn Hinson, and many notable figures of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are also some audio recordings of his sermons as well as lectures by such prominent theologians as Jurgen Moltmann.
To find out more about this notable Wake Forest professor, check out the finding aid for Bill J. Leonard and visit Special Collections and Archives to see materials.

And B is for… “Bibi” by R.B. Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936)

Title page

Title page

R.B. or Robert Bontine was a Scottish adventurer, writer, and political radical. He was the son of a Scottish laird and a half-Spanish mother. He was educated at Harrow School and in Brussels. During his adult life he was a rancher in Argentina, a traveller, a socialist Liberal MP (1886-92), and in 1892 a parliamentary candidate for the Scottish Labor Party, a party that he was a co-founder of. He was also elected president of the National Party of Scotland in 1928. He published various works on Latin American history, stories on Scotland, and travel books.

Author's signature and notation that this copy is #251 in a printing of 250

Author’s signature and notation that this copy is #251 in a printing of 250

His short work “Bibi” is a rare find. A editor’s note in the work states “This edition of “Bibi” is limited to 250 copies, numbered and signed by the author” The copy that Special Collections and Archives holds also has a handwritten note underneath the editor’s note that reads “251. Out of series.” The work was published in London by William Heinemann Ltd. in 1929. The work includes a prologue and the story itself is only 19 pages long.

Prologue

Prologue

In this work, Graham writes an episode of the life of Bibi. Bibi is the son of an English family living in Tangier who becomes a follower of Islam. The story is a quick read and very intriguing, and also not the only work of Graham’s that you can find in the Rare Books collection.
To find out more about Bibi or to read more of R.B. Cunninghame Graham’s works visit Special Collections and Archives.

Stay tuned for C…

This ABC’s of Special Collections blog post was written by student assistant Brittany Newberry.

Collections of Hope: The University Archives Documents WFU’s Food Justice Efforts

Monday, November 18, 2013 11:00 am

Collections_of_Hope

Collections of Hope: The University Archives Documents WFU’s Food Justice Efforts
Tuesday, November 21, 2013, 4-5:00PM
Special Collections Research Room, Room 625
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

The Wake Forest University Special Collections and Archives is happy to announce that we are working in conjunction with representatives from Campus Kitchen, The Institute for Public Engagement, and the Food, Faith and Leadership Initiative to begin collections for these groups. Join us as we hear from Shelley Sizemore, Norma-May Isakow and Fred Bahnson about the projects that they have been leading and their hopes for future efforts. Light refreshments will be served.

Hawthorne Hill Treasures: Objects from the Wake Forest Medical Historical Archives

Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:40 am

hawthorne-hill-treasures-poster

Hawthorne Hill Treasures: Objects from the Wake Forest Medical Historical Archives
A Discussion with Dianne Johnson
Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 3-4:00PM
Special Collections Reading Room
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Stop by for cookies and punch and a visit with Archivist Dianne H. Johnson–Dianne will discuss WFU medical school collections as well as how she selected the items currently on display in Special Collections & Archives.

Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, edited by Denis Diderot (1751-1780)

Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:12 pm

Title page from vol. 1 of ZSR's Encyclopedie

Title page from vol. 1 of ZSR’s Encyclopedie

The Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers is a 28-volume monument to the French Enlightenment, combining a wealth of information about all aspects of  human thought and achievement with a subversive attack on the stifling old regime of religion, classical tradition, and superstition. Many hands contributed to the Encyclopedie, but the man most responsible was Denis Diderot, whose recent 300th anniversary was marked by a renewed interest in his life and work.

The Encyclopédie was first conceived as fairly simple moneymaking venture. In 1745 printer/bookseller Andre-Francois Le Breton enlisted three other partners in a project to produce a French translation of Englishman Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. The two-volume Cyclopaedia, one of the first modern encyclopedias, had been a strong seller in England, and Le Breton saw a niche in the French market. But the first translator he hired proved incompetent, so he turned the project over to two young rising stars of the 18th century French philosophes: Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert.

From the outset, Diderot and d’Alembert saw the Encyclopédie project as an opportunity to set out their iconoclastic ideas on a grand scale. D’Alembert’s introduction, the Preliminary Discourse, has often been called a manifesto for the French Enlightenment. It reads in part:

 The work whose first volume we are presenting today has two aims. As an Encyclopedia, it is to set forth as well as possible the order and connection of the parts of human knowledge. As a Reasoned Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Trades, it is to contain the general principles that form the basis of each science and each art, liberal or mechanical, and the most essential facts that make up the body and substance of each. These two points of view, the one of an Encyclopedia and the other of a Reasoned Dictionary, will thus constitute the basis for the outline and division of our Preliminary Discourse. We are going to introduce them, deal with them one after another, and give an account of the means by which we have tried to satisfy this double object.

If one reflects somewhat upon the connection that discoveries have with one another, it is readily apparent that the sciences and the arts are mutually supporting, and that consequently there is a chain that binds them together. But, if it is often difficult to reduce each particular science or art to a small number of rules or general notions, it is no less difficult to encompass the infinitely varied branches of human knowledge in a truly unified system.
[All English translations from The Encyclopedie of Diderot & d'Alembert:  Collaborative Translation Project.]

Frontispiece to vol. 1 of the Encyclopedie

Frontispiece to vol. 1 of the Encyclopedie

Diderot and d’Alembert attempted nonetheless to offer a unified vision of human knowledge. The engraved frontispiece for Volume I set out the basic ideas in visual form: the personification of Truth is illuminated in her temple, with her handmaidens Reason and Philosophy at her side. Theology is relegated to a subordinate position at Truth’s feet, and other branches of the arts, sciences, and trades fill out the scene.

diderot_j

A later volume includes a large folded engraving of a “Tree of Knowledge” representing a taxonomy of human knowledge. Following the ideas first set forth by Francis Bacon, the Encyclopédie’s tree has as its three main branches Memory, Reason, and Imagination.

Tree of Life fold-out frontispiece from the first Table Analytique volume of the Encyclopedie

Tree of Life fold-out frontispiece from the first Table Analytique volume of the Encyclopedie

Diderot was the general editor for the project, and he and d’Alembert wrote many of the articles themselves. But Diderot also enlisted many other authors, including Louis de Jaucourt, Baron d’Holbach, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Some of the contributors to the Encyclopedie

The first edition of the Encyclopédie was offered for sale by subscription, a common practice for expensive works at this time. Originally conceived as a work of just a few volumes, the Encyclopédie quickly grew into a massive undertaking. The first two volumes of text appeared in 1751. Fifteen more text volumes followed over the next several years. Over 2500 engraved illustrations were also published in eleven volumes separate from the text. Subscribers did not receive the last volume until 1772, and the cost was far greater than had originally been proposed. But the readership was undaunted: as the publication process progressed, the number of subscribers increased from 2000 to over 4000.

The large folio volumes of the first edition were printed by at least four Paris printing houses. Illustrations in the Imprimerie section of the Encyclopédie itself illustrate the process by which the volumes were constructed.

18th century printing press in action

18th century printing press in action

Printing in the 18th century was a labor-intensive process. Compositors set each letter by hand; pressmen printed sheets one at a time. Binding was a completely separate process. It is estimated that a single volume of the Encyclopédie took nearly five months to produce, even with four or five compositors and twenty pressmen on the job.

diderot_printing3

Not surprisingly, the Encyclopedists often ran into trouble with the civil and  religious authorities in 18th century France. Printing and selling of books was tightly controlled: one had to have an official permit from the king– called a privilege—in order to publish anything, and Diderot was constantly in danger of losing his. But the Encyclopédie project also had friends in high places. One of the officials in charge of government censorship of the press was Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, himself a proponent of Enlightenment thinking. Malesherbes made sure that the work of the Encyclopedists could continue without interference, at one point hiding Diderot’s manuscript in his own home while government officials searched Diderot’s residence for subversive material.

Title page for vol. 7 of the Encyclopedie

Title page for vol. 7 of the Encyclopedie

In 1759 the Catholic church placed the Encyclopédie on its index of prohibited books. Even though French officials had little desire to interfere with what was by this time a very profitable enterprise, they had to pay at least lip service to the Pope’s ban.  Diderot’s privilege was revoked, and publication (which had reached the letter G) was temporarily halted. But with assistance from Malesherbes and others, Diderot was soon back in business, publishing the remaining volumes under the false imprint of a Swiss printer.

Title page for vol. 8

Title page for vol. 8

In the end the Encyclopédie contained over 70,000 articles on the widest imaginable range of topics. Subjects included a staunch defense of Reason (vol. 13) as the primary source of human knowledge:

No proposition can be accepted as divine revelation if it contradicts what is known to us, either by immediate intuition, as in the case of self-evident propositions, or by obvious deductions of reason , as in demonstrations.

And an equally impassioned condemnation of the Slave Trade (vol. 16):

Slave trade is the purchase of Negroes made by Europeans on the coasts of Africa, who then employ these unfortunate men as slaves in their colonies. This purchase of Negroes to reduce them into slavery is a negotiation that violates all religion, morals, natural law, and human rights.

But not all entries took on lofty subjects. An article on Werewolves (vol. 9) is decidedly skeptical:

The demonologists add that these men are not really transformed into wolves, but that the devil simply gives them that shape, or that he carries their bodies somewhere and substitutes for them the appearances of a wolf. The existence of such creatures is proven only by stories that are totally unconfirmed.

And in his entry on Chocolate (vol. 3), Diderot tries to be diplomatic on the controversial topic of whether or not to add vanilla:

The sweet scent and potent taste [vanilla] imparts to chocolate have made it highly recommended for it; but time has shown that it could potentially upset one’s stomach, and its use has decreased; some people who favor the care of their health to the pleasure of their senses, have stopped using it completely. In Spain and in Italy, chocolate prepared without vanilla has been termed the healthy chocolate ; and in our French islands in the Americas, where vanilla is neither rare nor expensive, as it can be in Europe, it is never used, when the consumption of chocolate is as high as in any other part of the world.

However, as there is still quite a large number of people who favor the use of vanilla, and as it is only fair that we should respect their feeling, we shall use vanilla in the composition of the chocolate , the one that might be the better-prepared and the best overall…. Since there are in tastes an infinite variety of opinions, everyone wants their interest to be reckoned with, and one would concede what the other refuses; and even if we were to agree on the ingredients to be mixed, it proves impossible to pinpoint dosages that would be universally accepted; and it should be deemed enough that these dosages suit the highest number of people, thus forming the trend that is most popular.

diderot_s

More than 3000 engraved illustrations accompanied the text volumes. The plates are equally detailed and wide-ranging in subject matter. They cover everything from Shipbuilding . . .

diderot_p

diderot_o

. . . to horsemanship (or lack thereof).

diderot_l

Music. . .

diderot_q

. . .to Mammals.

diderot_t

Astronomy. . .

diderot_a

. . . to Anatomy.

Volume of plates from the Encyclopedie currently on exhibit in ZSR Special Collections, along with artifacts from the Coy C. Carpenter Library archives

Volume of plates from the Encyclopedie currently on exhibit in ZSR Special Collections, along with artifacts from the Coy C. Carpenter Library archives

More than 4000 copies of the first edition of the Encyclopédie were printed in large folio format– a very large print run for an expensive book in the 18th century. Nearly half of the first edition went to subscribers outside of France, in other parts of Europe and North America. The Encyclopédie was reprinted in smaller, cheaper editions that proved equally popular. Many copies still exist in libraries throughout the world, providing countless readers with a direct link to the 18th century Enlightenment.

ZSR Library’s complete first edition was purchased with funds endowed by George W. Paschal, Jr.

diderot_r

Recommended Reading

Why Use the Baptist Collection?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 4:00 pm

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

-Alex Haley

When people see boxes of old papers, black and white photos, and especially reels of microfilm, many of them assume that no one would want to use these types of materials because they are 1. old, 2. not online, 3. sometimes difficult to read, and 4. on microfilm. Why would anyone want to spend time trying to decipher a name written in a book over 200 years ago? Who needs to know what church someone attended after the Civil War? Who cares when a church started? What difference does it make if a church moved from one town to another in the 1900′s?

People may be surprized to know that the NC Baptist Collection is one of our most frequently used collections, with researchers requesting its materials on almost a daily basis. Many divinity school students use the collection, as well as undergraduates in history, religion and sociology classes. Faculty from WFU as well as other schools have spent many hours with Baptist materials as they write books, dissertations and articles. And genealogical researchers make up a large portion of our users, devoting much time to reading church records, histories, clippings files and manuscript collections. These researchers come to find answers, to find connections, to discover their own histories. Using these resources in the NC Baptist collection can help people find the missing part of their stories, the missing link to a distant connection. And yes, that is important. Just in the past 3 months, we’ve had genealogists from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia and even California who have made trips here to use our Baptist materials.

Dr. Phil Neighbors, who came from California to research with us, shared his thoughts about using the collection. He wrote:

“The Dutchman Creek Baptist Church, now named the Eaton Baptist Church, in Davie County, North Carolina was founded in November of 1772. My 5th Great Grandfather, Ebenezer Fairchild, was a charter member and the first clerk of the church. My family and I discovered that the original records of the church were located in the special collections section of the library at Wake Forest University. When we visited this summer, we were thrilled to see the handwriting of our 5th Great Grandfather. Thank you for taking care of such a precious document.”

Dr. Phil Neighbors
Pastor of Valley Baptist Church
Bakersfield, California

While he was here, some of his relatives were even able to travel over from Raleigh and other areas to see the records as well. It was a family reunion, precipitated by the Baptist collection! They all had a wonderful time sharing stories and information about their families, and even posed for a picture.

Dr. Neighbors and relatives

Dr. Neighbors and relatives

(The picture is of Chris Fairchild (back row, left) and her father (seated), Ed Anderson (middle, back row) and Phil Neighbors. All of us are direct descendants of Ebenezer Fairchild.)

We are glad that we had the records for Eaton Baptist Church that gave Dr. Neighbors and his relatives a direct link to their ancestor. Seeing Ebenezer Fairchild’s handwriting and touching the book that he actually wrote in connected them to him in a special way. This is one reason that we keep the materials that we do. Many times we have the only item that helps a person “live on”, the only evidence of a person’s existence. Being able to help people find this information is one of the highlights of our jobs in Special Collections.

***Special Collections is also happy to share a new finding aid that is available for Baptist materials. The Baptist State Convention of NC Scrapbooks and VBS Materials collection was recently donated to us by the main office in Raleigh. The materials reflect the conferences, training sessions, planning and day-to-day workings of the office as well as Bible School materials, clinics and statistics. See the full finding aid at this link: BSCNC Scrapbooks and VBS Materials

New Finding Aid Online!

Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:27 am

Special Collections and Archives is happy to announce that the Harold Tedford Collection of Theatre Programs is processed and the finding aid is now online. This collection is one of many performing arts collections available in Special Collections & Archives. We will be publishing a guide to all of these collections soon, so stay tuned!

The ABC’s of Special Collections: A is for…

Thursday, October 24, 2013 11:06 am

A is for…

Archives Week! And a great way to start the ABCs of Special Collections and Archives.

Archives Week is an annual, week-long observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. –Society of North Carolina Archives

2013 N.C. Archives Week poster

The theme of the eighth annual archives week is: “Home Grown! A Celebration of NC Food Culture and History.” This theme offers a great way of looking at the food culture and history of Wake Forest University and the surrounding area as seen through various forms of archival materials. This year’s exhibit will feature materials from various offices and programs around campus, such as the Office of Sustainability, Institute of Public Engagement as well as various articles about Campus Kitchen. The exhibit includes materials from the University Archives and the Howler. Check it out this week: Oct 21-27th!

A is also for…Abbey Theatre

Abbey Theatre is a well-known theatre in Dublin, Ireland. It’s the national theatre of Ireland and was the first theatre to be state-subsidized in 1925. Founded by W.B Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, it first opened its doors to public audiences on December 27, 1904.  It was then located on Old Abbey Street, but after a fire in 1951 the original buildings were badly damaged and the Abbey Theatre was relocated Queen’s Theatre. However, in 1966 it moved back to its original site. Information on the revival of this theatre and various productions can be found in the Dolmen Press Collection, Liam Miller Personal Paper series. Liam Miller was a passionate theatre goer, who enjoyed live theatre. He helped to revive both the Abbey Theatre and the Abbey’s Peacock Theatre.

Stage design pamphlet for Abbey Theatre

Stage design pamphlet for Abbey Theatre

Interior of Abbey Theatre pamphlet, written by Liam Miller

Interior of Abbey Theatre pamphlet, written by Liam Miller

Abbey Theatre program

Abbey Theatre program

Verso of Abbey Theatre program

Verso of Abbey Theatre program

"A Comedy in Three Acts"

“A Comedy in Three Acts”

And A is for…Archibald Cree

Archibald Cree, a Baptist minister from Scotland, moved to North Carolina and served several Baptist Churches in places such as Macon, Littleton, Jackson, and Vaughan, North Carolina. Within the Archibald Cree Papers collection, you can find biographical and genealogical info, speeches, sermons, and even a diary that he kept on his trip to Switzerland in 1878. You can also find a wooden box that contains his shoemaking instruments. Another collection found in the archives is his sermons. You can find in this collection seventy-two hand-sewn sermon booklets. Each includes the date or dates that each sermon was preached and some even have the hymns that were used from the Spiritual Songster.

Sermon on Micah, written by Archibald Cree

Sermon on Micah, written by Archibald Cree

Sermon on Peter

Sermon on Peter

These events and collections are only a small part of what can be found in Special Collections and Archives, be on the lookout for B…

This ABC’s of Special Collections blog post was written by student assistant Brittany Newberry.


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