Special Collections & Archives Blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Music. . .

diderot_q

. . .to Mammals.

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Astronomy. . .

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. . . 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.

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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.

N.C. Archives Week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:35 am

Archives Week exhibit

Archives Week exhibit

It is Archives Week in North Carolina! This year’s theme, “Home Grown! A Celebration of NC Food Culture and History” provides a wonderful opportunity for institutions across the state to highlight materials in their archives as well as create local connections.

Here at ZSR, our student Brittany put up a small exhibit in the entrance-way that contains some archival materials It also has brochures, posters, and other materials from food-related campus initiatives. Soon we will be partnering with Campus Kitchen, the Office of Sustainability, and the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative to establish collections and schedule events. Stay tuned!

Deconstructing Book Repair

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 3:03 pm

Comedies and Tragedies

Many books come into Preservation with a broken joint or torn internal hinge, which makes the repair needed easy to see. Sometimes, one might see the repairs of a prior bookbinder. This was the case when I began work on Comedies and Tragedies, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, printed in 1647. Small tabs of vellum with a cursive script on each one had been attached to the spine (I assume to help hold the cover board on securely). These vellum tabs were obviously cut from a sheet of vellum used for another purpose and were now being re-purposed. In addition, 2 strips of printed paper were also sewn onto the edge of the spine created a flange (again, I assume for more secure board attachment). I think this underscores how valuable unused pieces of paper, vellum or leather were to early binders. They used everything they could in order for there to be almost no waste.

In an article by Barbara Rhodes , 18th and 19th Century European and American Paper Binding Structures: A Case Study of Paper Bindings in the American Museum of Natural History Library, she mentions these spine linings using “printers waste.” Rhodes states that in a survey of the American Museum of Natural History collection, 63% of spines were lined with printers waste. In this collection, the earliest book lined with printers waste dated from 1759 and Rhodes states this practice became common by 1830.

I am currently doing a folio review in our Special Collections and this practice really teaches you about the collection: the content and the condition. I enjoy this meditative practice which involves examining and measuring each folio (approximately 15″ or taller) in the collection. This review will identify preservation needs as well as space requirements.

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 12:08 pm

hawthorne-hill-treasures-poster

Hawthorne Hill Treasures: Objects from the Wake Forest Medical Historical Archives
October-December 2013
Special Collections Research Room, Room 625
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Featured Collection: David Needham Gore Papers

Thursday, September 26, 2013 2:42 pm

This Featured Collection post was written by Paige Horton, student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

The David Needham Gore Papers (MS192) is a small, but worthwhile collection housed amongst hundreds of larger collections in Personal Collections & Manuscripts. We should all know by now not to judge a book by its cover or a collection by its size. Small, but mighty the David Needham Gore Papers house biographical information, sermons, personal correspondence, and Cape Fear Baptist Association Notes that speak to his work as a missionary. This collection offers a unique view into the late 19th century in North Carolina.

David Needham Gore was not only a Wake Forest College graduate but he was also a much loved and highly successful North Carolina pastor. Born in 1835 in Columbus, North Carolina, Gore dedicated his time to serving his community through his church. According to Baptist Biography Data Form, housed in Folder 1, Gore was a pastor at County Line Baptist Church in Turkey Creek, Louisiana and also a missionary to Ogbomosho, Nigeria, in West Africa for several years. He was also the first pastor of the Piney Forest Baptist Church after it organized in 1869. Gore was pastor for two periods: 1869-1875 and then again from 1877-1879. He also led in the organization of the Sunday school for the church in 1871. Reverend Gore was “greatly loved and respected by the members of the church.”

The great debate about this collection comes in the form of the Civil War. In his biological information there is a reference to Gore being Captain to the 18th Regiment in 1861. When our librarians researched this they found no mention of a David Needham Gore who served from North Carolina in the Confederate Army. In his Biography data it also says that he served as chaplain and that was also found to be inconclusive. What we do know about Gore comes from his biography information but also the rest of the collection including sermon notes, the personal correspondence, and the Association notes.

The entirety of his personal correspondence is addressed to one Miss Mary Rockwell of Whiteville, North Carolina. The correspondence, dated from 1879 to 1881, is well preserved and offers an exciting look into the everyday life of a 19th century pastor. The Association notes also hold interesting bits and pieces about Gore as a pastor. He was an Itinerant for the Southern portion of the Cape Fear Baptist Association in 1860; while he was Itinerant, he “traveled for 56 days, preached 93 sermons, received 65 persons, and baptized 46…[and his] traveling expenses [were] but $1.80.” Maybe the most surprising fact out of all of that is that he only spent $1.80 for 56 days of travel! The Association notes hold many more pieces like this in which Gore’s missionary work is detailed out.

The collection is full of interesting and surprising details just like the ones listed above. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with the Special Collections to view the collection.

What Are You Working On?

Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:56 am

photo (2)

Our student assistant Katie Paige has worked in Special Collections since she started at Wake Forest and her dedication is greatly appreciated. Today, Katie is working on pulling material for our collaborative digitization project “Religion in North Carolina.” Project partners include The Divinity School Library at Duke University and The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. You can read more about it on the project blog and see the finished products in the Internet Archive Religion in North Carolina site.

Some recent statistics show our contribution is well worth the effort:

For the period January-August 2013, WFU added 1132 items to the collection, and there have been 16,391 downloads of our items. Total downloads for the whole project thus far are 77,088.

Thank you to Katie and all of our hard working student assistants!

Four New Finding Aids Published

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:39 pm

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce the completion of four new finding aids!

From the University Archives:

From Personal Collections and Manuscripts:

We will continue working hard to make our collection searchable online and to provide access to researchers.


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