Visitors to Special Collections often ask whether we add materials to our collections, and if so, how we acquire them. The answer is yes, Special Collections is an active and growing collection! We acquire new-to-us materials every year, through both purchases and gifts. Read on for a description of a few of the books that we added to Special Collections during the 2014-15 academic year…

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. [By Harriet Ann Jacobs]; edited by Lydia Maria Child. Boston: Published for the Author, 1861. First edition.

jacobs title page

Harriet Jacobs’s story of her life as a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, and her eventual escape to New York is one of the most famous American slave narratives. Edited by the well-known activist and author Lydia Maria Child, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an important primary source document for the study of 19th century American history. This first edition was purchased by ZSR Special Collections with funding from the Oscar T. Smith endowment.

Leaves of Grass. By Walt Whitman. San Francisco: Arion Press, 2014.

arion leaves of grass

The Arion Press is the premier American publisher of fine letterpress books. In honor of the Press’s 40th anniversary, publisher Andrew Hoyem chose Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass as his 100th publication. The limited edition of 300 copies was hand-printed and bound. It reproduces the text of the 1855 first edition, with an original introduction by Helen Vendler. ZSR Special Collections has a large collection of Arion Press imprints. Leaves of Grass was purchased with Library funds as part of a standing order with the Press.

La Cantinière. By G. Montorgueil, illustrations by JOB. Paris: Charavay, Mantoux, Martin, 1898.

Cover art for La Cantiniere, illustrated by JOB

This profusely illustrated story of the Napoleonic wars is part of a donation received from Robert Maloney. Mr. Maloney, who  gifted several books to ZSR in 2014, collects in a variety of areas, in particular books illustrated by the French artist Jacques Onfroy de Bréville (generally known by his initials, JOB) and early 20th century examples of the pochoir illustration technique.

Sense and Sensibility. By Jane Austen. Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1833. First American edition.

sense sensibility american

Jane Austen’s first published novel appeared in Britain in 1811. Many copies of the British edition made their way across the Atlantic, but it took more than 20 years for an American publisher to put out an edition of Sense and Sensibility. This copy of the 2-volume Carey and Lea edition retains its original paper and cloth bindings and has a label from a 19th century bookseller in Mobile, Alabama. It was purchased with funds from the O.T. Smith endowment.

Duck Blind. Text and illustrations by Bill Kelly. San Diego, CA: Brighton Press, 2013.

Illustration from Duck Blind, by Bill Kelly, published by Brighton Press

We added a number of volumes to our artists’ books collection this year. One of them was the lovely Duck Blind, which features original woodcuts and poetry by Bill Kelly. This book was hand-printed at the Brighton Press in a limited edition of 50 copies. It was a library purchase.

A General History of Pyrates, their Robberies and Murders, as also their Policies, Discipline and Government. By Charles Johnson (pseud.?). Dublin: Printed by J. Watts, 1725.

Title page and frontispiece from 1725 edition of A General History of Pyrates

This 18th century compilation of buccaneer biographies is one of the most important primary sources for pirate lore. The author (whose actual identity has never been established) tells of the lives and adventures of Edward Thatch (a.k.a. Blackbeard), Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and many others. The book was first published in London in 1724; this newly-acquired library copy was printed in Dublin the following year. Given that Dublin publishers of the 18th century were fond of reprinting London imprints without permission, it is quite possible that this History of Pyrates is a pirated edition. It was purchased (legally!) with funds from the O. T. Smith endowment.

The History of Charlotte Summers, the Fortunate Parish Girl. Attributed to Sarah Fielding. London: J. Wilkie, 1758. Fourth edition.

The History of Charlotte Summers, the Fortunate Parish Girl, 4th edition title page

This popular 18th century novel, first published in 1750, follows on the heels of Henry Fielding’s History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. Like Tom Jones, it tells the story of a foundling who finds wealth and happiness after various complications. Though the author of Charlotte Summers remains anonymous, many critics today believe it is the work of Henry Fielding’s sister, Sarah, who was also a novelist. This early edition of Charlotte Summers has been added to our collection of works by 18th century women authors. It was a library purchase, funded by the O. T. Smith endowment.

Revolt in the Desert. By T. E. Lawrence. New York: George H. Duran, 1927.

Dust jacket from Revolt in the Desert, by T. E. Lawrence, first American edition

This first American edition of T. E. Lawrence’s account of the Arab Revolt of 1916 arrived as part of a gift collection of books by and about Lawrence, which will be added to our existing collection of early 20th century British literature. The collector and donor is Jonathan Mandelbaum, son of Dr. Allen Mandelbaum and longtime friend of ZSR Library.

If you would like to see these or any other of our recent acquisitions in person, please visit Special Collections or contact us for more information.