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
In the course of my work in the Archive, I have recently come across a tiny gem in the College collection of Wesleyana: The Methodist Pocket Book for the Year of our Lord 1798. The volume measures 8 x 12 cm and contains “poetry, anecdotes and a variety of useful and edifying articles” as well as blank spaces where the owner could record expenditure. The book was printed for G. Whitfield, City Road [Chapel], London and could be bought at Methodist Chapels “in Town & Country”. George Whitfield had been left John Wesley’s types and presses in his will, and he was a prominent publisher of Methodist works in the period following Wesley’s death. Read more
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.
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
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.
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.
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.