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Posts by Sarah Cusk

Unlocking the Senior Library: Edmund Audley’s gift

This term’s Unlocking event looked at the first major donation to the College library in the 16th century: a collection of manuscripts and incunabula (books printed before 1501) given by Edmund Audley, Bishop of Salisbury (c.1439-1524). Read more

Unlocking the Senior Library: Michaelmas Term 2017

Last term’s Unlocking event looked at the first 300 years of the Senior Library, from the heady days of the 15th century, when Lincoln’s library must have been one of the finest in Oxford, to the major bequests of the 18th century.  It was particularly exciting to be able to show some of the College’s manuscripts, normally kept in the Bodleian.
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A Syriac New Testament

I am currently cataloguing the corner of the Senior Library that houses a small collection of books in Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Syriac and Ethiopic, languages that pose a challenge to even the hardiest antiquarian cataloguer. These books come largely from the library of Thomas Marshall (1621-1685), Rector of Lincoln and a remarkable philologist who left over 1,000 books to the College.  Among this collection are 4 of the earliest works printed in Armenian, translations of the Quran and a variety of polyglot editions of parts of the Bible. Read more

Richard Kilbye: Lincoln’s first great collector of Hebrew books

Lincoln Unlocked was officially launched on November 23rd with a lecture on Richard Kilbye, Lincoln’s earliest collector of Hebrew books, by Joanna Weinberg, Oxford Professor of Early Modern Jewish History and Rabbinics.

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A Renaissance library of Hebraica and Judaica

Among the treasures of Lincoln’s Senior Library is its collection of Hebraica and Judaica. Although this is not the largest collection of Hebrew books in Oxford college libraries, as a fine result of the systematic collecting of books in the field of Hebrew and Jewish studies it is one the most remarkable collections of printed Hebraica and Judaica in Oxford. Read more

Unlocking the Senior Library: astrophysics

Towards the end of the Michaelmas term, as part of our “Unlocking the Senior Library” series, the Senior Library opened its doors to a group of Oxford astrophysicists interested in exploring material in our collection that related to their fields of study. It was with some trepidation that I set about choosing books from the historic collections that might be relevant to a group representing a range of specialities, from exoplanetary science to the evolution of galaxies, very much outside my area of expertise.

Aristotle, Opera (Basel, 1539)

Aristotle, Opera (Basel, 1539)

The final selection included 16th century editions of the works of some of the earliest Greek and Arab astronomers, from an Aldine edition of Simplicius’ commentary on Aristotle’s De coelo (Venice, 1526) to editions of Ptolomy’s Almagest (Basel, 1538) and Abu al-Hasan’s De iudiciis astrorum (Basel, 1551). One of the treasures of the Senior Library is a copy of Erasmus’ edition of Aristotle’s works (Basel, 1539) in which one section, the Physics, is heavily annotated in Greek by a 16th century reader.

Cassini, Abrege des observations (Paris, 1681)

Cassini, Abrege des observations (Paris, 1681)

We moved on to the 17th century with two important first editions: Kepler’s Tabulae Rudolphinae (Ulm, 1627) and Hevelius’ Selenographia (Gdansk, 1647), the first complete lunar atlas and a landmark in lunar topography. We also looked at editions of works on comets by Cassini and Halley and, of course, Newton’s Principia (the second edition). We ended with a run of printed volumes of astronomical observations made at the Radcliffe Observatory from the first half of the 19th century.

Interdisciplinary encounters can sometimes feel like ships passing in the night. This was the opposite, with genuine engagement on both sides. I gained a new appreciation of the intellectual context of the books we looked at, and conversely I believe our guests enjoyed seeing familiar topics in historical context. For me at least it was one of the highlights of 2014.
Dr Sarah Cusk is the antiquarian cataloguer at Lincoln, cataloguing the early printed books in the Senior Library.
 With thanks to Vinesh Rajpaul for his photographs of the event.
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