Exhibition at Middle Temple Library: 250 years of Blackstone’s Commentaries

Renae Satterley, Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library, writes about their forthcoming exhibition.

Photo of Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Unidentified bookplate found in the second copy of the second edition of the Commentaries (shelfmark BAY L551)

Middle Temple Library will be hosting an exhibition from Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the publication of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This exhibition was curated by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library, and Wilfrid Prest, Professor Emeritus of History and Law at the University of Adelaide.

Image: 4.A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

A colour plate from The Comic Blackstone

The exhibition was first shown at Yale from March to June 2015. It will be on display at Middle Temple Library from September to November, after which it will be on display at the Sir John Salmond Law Library at the University of Adelaide from December 2015 to January 2016.

The exhibition features over 40 items from Yale’s Law Library collection which depict the origins of the Commentaries, its publishing success and its impact on the common law system and more broadly on English and American society. The items include a volume annotated by one of Blackstone’s students, a legal treatise with Blackstone’s marginalia, the first English editions of the Commentaries, early Irish and American pirated editions, abridgments, teaching aids, student manuscripts, critiques, translations (into French, German, Italian, and Chinese), and a 1963 liquor advertisement.

Image: Portrait of Blackstone

Portrait of Blackstone

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was a member of Middle Temple, admitted 20 November 1741, called to the Bar 28 November 1746 and made a Bencher (i.e. senior member of the Inn) on 1 May 1761. Sir William was Vinerian Professor of the Law of England at Oxford in 1758. Although he was “particularly fond of architecture and poetry” upon entering Middle Temple he gave up his first love to concentrate on the study of law. While Vinerian Professor, he presented a course of lectures which later became the foundation of the Commentaries.

The Commentaries was first printed in four volumes in 1765-9, later going through thirteen English editions in the 18th century alone, while also being published in Dublin and Philadelphia. The book continues to be published up to this day. According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, the “tortuous” complexities of the common law “were outlined in a manner at once authoritative, clear, elegant, and even engaging” and the Commentaries “would become the most celebrated, widely circulated, and influential law book ever published in the English language.”

Image: Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

Bookplate of Sir William Blackstone

In 1759 Sir William donated his own copy of The Great charter and Charter of the forest to Middle Temple Library. The library also holds his personal copy (with bookplate) of Thomas Wentworth’s The office and duty of executors. Unfortunately the latter is damaged, with the title page missing, and was thus mis-catalogued in our collection until recently.

While the library is not open to members of the public, the exhibition can be viewed by making an appointment with the Deputy Librarian (r.satterley@middletemple.org.uk). The library is also participating in the event ‘Open House London: Revealing Magna Carta’ on 19 and 20 September where Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Temple Church and the Royal Courts of Justice will be open to the public. Full details on this event are available at: http://www.middletemple.org.uk/about-us/magna-carta-lecture-series.

The exhibition catalogue, which was published with the support of William S. Hein & Co., is available to download for free at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=amlaw. Mark S Weiner has created a video interview with Professor Wilfrid Prest which can be viewed here: https://worldsoflaw.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/blackstone-goes-hollywood/.

Further information about Yale Law Library’s rare books can be found here: http://library.law.yale.edu/rarebooks. Information about the Law Library at the University of Adelaide can be found here: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/about/libraries/law/.

Last but not least, information about Middle Temple Library can be found at: http://www.middletemple.org.uk/library-and-archive/library.

Renae Satterley is Deputy Librarian at Middle Temple Library and has been working at the library since January 2006, when she was hired as Rare Books Librarian. She completed her MLIS at McGill University in 2004 and worked at Emmanuel College Cambridge from 2004-2005. She is currently Chair of CILIP’s Library & Information History Group and has written on the history of Robert Ashley’s (1565-1641) library.

Royal Asiatic Society catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Royal Asiatic Society have been added to Copac.

 IRoyal Asiatic Society Library

Image: Royal Asiatic Society Library

The collections of the Royal Asiatic Society have developed continually since the founding of the Society in 1823, and today incorporate some 80,000 books and journals, thousands of manuscripts, paintings and drawings, and maps, as well as extensive archive holdings.

The printed collections date back to the sixteenth century, and in subject and language span the whole of Asia as well as adjacent regions, with Indian and Persian cultures particularly well-represented. The core of the printed collections is the nineteenth-century material, which is representative of the development of Oriental studies during that period.

A vast range of subjects are covered, with the main strengths being in languages, philology, art, history, literature, religion, and philosophy.

To browse, or limit your search to the Royal Asiatic Society, go to the main tab on copac.jisc.ac.uk and choose ‘Royal Asiatic Society’ from the list of libraries.

Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection) catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection) have been added to Copac.

Image of Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University

Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University (Image copyright: Cranfield University)

This Collection specialises in Aeronautics and is also strong in Agriculture and Soil Sciences, Automotive/motorsport, Engineering, Environment and Management. The metadata is particularly rich as each report is catalogued at item rather than series level. Reports are generally available for interlibrary loan and a growing number are digitised.

Cranfield’s Aeronautical reports comprise a nationally, if not internationally, important collection of current and historical technical and research reports relating to aerospace and air transport engineering and management from leading research establishments and organisations. Many reports date back to the early the 1940s and 1950s and some even earlier. The translations of reports produced at the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Goring (LFA), Volkenrode which describe German aeronautical research, especially during the 1940s are of particular historical interest.

• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
• NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD)
• European Space Agency (ESA)
• International Civil Aviation Organization
• Aeronautical Research Council (ARC)
• Royal Aircraft / Aerospace Establishment (RAE)
• Office National d’Études et de Recherches Aérosatiales (ONERA)
• Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium
• Deutsche Luft- und Raumfahrt
• National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

To browse, or limit your search to the Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection), go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Cranfield University (Technical Reports Collection)’ from the list of libraries.

Institution of Civil Engineers Library catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Institution of Civil Engineers Library have been added to Copac.

Image of Institution of Civil Engineers Library

Photo copyright: Institution of Civil Engineers.

The Institution of Civil Engineers was founded in 1818 by a small group of idealistic young men and granted a royal charter in 1828 where it declared that its aim was to “foster and promote the art and science of civil engineering”. With over 130,000 titles, including major conference series and over 900 periodical titles, the ICE Library is the largest single resource in Civil Engineering in the world.

The ICE archives contain records relating to the ICE from its formation to the present, as well as, records relating to prominent engineers of the past including James Brindley, John Smeaton, Thomas Telford, The Rennies, and engineering wonders like the Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge, the Forth Railway Bridge, and the Panama Canal.

To browse, or limit your search to the Institution of Civil Engineers Library, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Institution of Civil Engineers’ from the list of libraries.

Brunel University London Library’s Special Collections catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of Brunel University London Library’s Special Collections have been added to Copac.

Photograph of Mural by Joe Tilson in Brunel University Library

Mural by Joe Tilson in Brunel University Library (Image copyright: Brunel University)

Special Collections at Brunel University London houses a variety of book and archival collections dating principally from the 19th century onwards, which have mostly been collected since the 1980s. They include comprehensive collections relating to transport history (particularly railways), the history of tunnelling under the English Channel, operational research and working class autobiographies. Other themes are poetry and dialect, South Asian literature, art, theatre and music, Shakespeare authorship and issues around equality and advocacy (including child protection and disability history).

To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of Brunel University London Library’s Special Collections, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Brunel University London (Special Collections)’ from the list of libraries.

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Chapter Library

Dr Clare Rider, Archivist and Chapter Librarian, writes about the collections at the Chapter Library, St George’s Chapel.

The College of St George, comprising St George’s Chapel and surrounding buildings, occupies the lower ward of Windsor Castle.  Founded in 1348 by King Edward III as a collegiate religious institution, its purpose was to act as the spiritual counterpart of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in Britain. The library has been an integral part of the life of the College from its foundation, serving the Dean and Canons who make up the Windsor Chapter.

Grail roof boss, St George's Chapel Library

Roof boss in medieval library room

An introduction to the medieval library and a survey of the documentary sources for its study are the subject of a new St George’s Chapel monograph by Dr James Willoughby, published at the end of 2014.   Dr Willoughby describes how the first books were kept chained to desks in the Chapel. On the orders of Edward IV, who donated a number of books to the College, a separate library was built in the 1480s above the Dean’s Cloister to house the growing number of volumes. Despite the loss of seventy of its manuscript books in 1612, donated to Sir Thomas Bodley for his new library in Oxford where they continue to reside, the library’s holdings continued to expand.

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

In 1692 the books were removed to the Vicars’ Hall, where they remained for three centuries as a working library, augmented by later acquisitions until, in 1947, the newly formed Library Committee decided to convert the Chapter Library into a ‘museum–library’,  arranging for the sale of its post-1692 publications. A few eighteenth and nineteenth century volumes escaped the cull and a small number of additions have been made to the rare-book collection since then.  However, the vast majority of the library’s collection of approximately 6,000 rare-books, dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, forming a splendid sequence from the main English and

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

and European printing presses of the time. The volumes cover a wide range of subjects:  theology, ecclesiastical and political history, classics, geography, topography, navigation, bibliography, mathematics and medicine. The nine incunables in the collection include a fine edition of Caxton’s The mirrour of the world (1481), and a beautifully illustrated copy of The crafte to lyve well and to dye well printed by Wynkyn de Worde (1505).

Image of Typus Cosmographicus Universali

Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (left-side)

Amongst the most interesting of the non-theological holdings is the rich collection of sixteenth and seventeenth century topographical and navigational works and atlases including all four parts of Sir Robert Dudley’s Dell’arcano del mare (1606), a fine edition of John Speed’s The theatre of the empire of Great-Britain (1676), Mercator’s Atlas siue Cosmographicae (1606), Jan Blaeu’s Atlas maior (1662) and Moses Pitt’s The English atlas (1680-1683).  One of the earliest published world maps, Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (1488-1552), is included (in two parts) in the 1555 edition of Simon Grynaeus’ Nouus orbis regionum which also forms part of this collection. With its lively depictions of cannibals, winged serpents, elephants, and monsters, and its curious topographical interpretation of North America (labelled as the land of Cuba), it makes a fascinating study.

Image of page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

Page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

An intriguing eighteenth century addition to the Chapter Library was the donation by Canon Walter Harte of a bound volume entitled ‘The Scrutiny at the Conclave held at Rome in the year 1676, when Cardinal Odescalchi was chosen Pope (Innocent XI)’. The volume, which Canon Harte purchased in Italy, contains daily scrutiny papers (printed lists of cardinals with manuscript annotations recording number of votes for each on a daily basis) from the Papal Conclave held in the Vatican from 4 September to 21 September 1676, ending with an engraving of Odescalchi in his new role as Pope. The Apostolic Constitution governing papal elections requires all notes as well as ballot papers to be burnt in order to maintain secrecy. These papers, presumably smuggled out of the Vatican for the antiquarian market in Rome, offer a unique insight into an important moment in the Roman Catholic Church.

Photo of Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

In 1999, the rare-books moved down into the Vicars’ Hall Undercroft, which had been converted into an archives and library repository with the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The library collections are open to the public for research without charge (by prior appointment) and the Archives and Chapter Library welcomes group visits, donations from which contribute to the library conservation fund. The introduction of a successful Adopt-a-Book scheme in 1998, together with charitable grants and donations, has enabled the professional restoration of over six hundred rare-books since 1998.  We are delighted that the library’s catalogue is now included in Copac which has assisted in opening up the collection to a wider audience.

You can see the full St George’s Chapel collection here on Copac. Search within the collection to view details of individual items.

For more information about the Archives and Chapter Library, please visit our website: http://www.stgeorges-windsor.org/archives.html

Published catalogues and guides to the Chapter Library

J. Callard, A Catalogue of Printed Books (Pre-1751) in the Library of St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.15 (Windsor, 1976)

J. Willoughby, The Medieval Library of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle: Documentary Sources, Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.19 (Windsor, 2014)

All images copyrigr.ht St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

 

Library of Queen’s University Belfast catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of Queen’s University Belfast Library have been added to Copac.

Queen’s University Library has extensive collections covering the arts, humanities, social sciences, science and engineering. The Library provides access to a wide range of services in support of each subject holding more than 1.5 million books and journals as well as providing access to an extensive range of electronic resources.

The Library houses the University’s Special Collections of rare and manuscript materials as well as British and Irish government publications.

Image of Queen's University Belfast Library

Image copyright: Photograph by Photo Unit, Marketing and Domestic Recruitment, Queen’s University Belfast

The Library is spread over three sites. The McClay Library at Queen’s blends the best features of a traditional library with the latest technology to create a truly 21st century environment for students. It opened in 2009 offering a wide range of integrated library and ICT support services in a landmark new building which was awarded the SCONUL Library Design Award in 2013. With over 2,000 reader seats in a mixture of formal and informal spaces, the Library offers places for quiet study and significant provision for group work. Queen’s also has a modern Medical Library and Biomedical Library which offer a wide range of services for students in the Medical and Health Care disciplines.

To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of Queen’s University Belfast Library, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Queen’s University Belfast’ from the list of libraries.

Library of the Royal Academy of Arts catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Royal Academy of Arts Library have been added to Copac.

The Royal Academy Library holds a comprehensive collection of books and exhibition catalogues on British art, artists and architects, with a particular concentration on the life and practice of past and present Members of the Royal Academy and the history of the institution, its exhibitions and collections.

Photo of Royal Academy of Arts Library

The Royal Academy of Arts Library. Photo: Benedict Johnson.

Holdings include complete runs of the Royal Academy annual (Summer) exhibition catalogues from 1769 to the present, and the loan exhibition catalogues from 1870 to now. The library also holds a special collection of illustrated books, which highlights the contribution of British artists to the illustration and design of the book.

The library’s Historic Book collection, comprising some 12,000 volumes published before 1920, reflects the early teaching philosophy of the Academy Schools. It includes rare volumes of engravings reproducing masterpieces from classical to post-Renaissance European art and architecture, and original editions of virtually all the early treatises on art, anatomy, perspective, colour theory and connoisseurship.

To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of the Royal Academy of Arts Library, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Royal Academy of Arts’ from the list of libraries.

New Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland and the RLUK “Hidden Collections”

Dr Karen Attar is currently editing a new edition of the Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland: http://specialcollectionsdirectory.org for the Rare Books and Special Collections Group of CILIP. Here she reflects on how it relates to RLUK activity:

Recently I was looking again at the results of the survey carried out by the London Library and RLUK in 2010 on hidden collections: http://www.rluk.ac.uk/work/hiddencollectionsreportwork, conducted to gather evidence about the ongoing need for retrospective cataloguing. Findings included the facts that hidden collections are a problem (because, not being known, they are becoming marginalised and therefore cannot be earning their keep in terms of use); that some sectors have more hidden collections than others but that the problem is cross-sectoral; and that special collections, both printed and archival, form a significant proportion of the hidden collections. An intriguing point of the survey was its sheer breadth of coverage: not just the university and national libraries that are especially strongly connected with RLUK, but such diverse places as the National Portrait Gallery, Hull City Libraries, and the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution.

Editing the Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland makes one very aware of just how fascinating some of these hidden collections can be. Like the survey, the Directory aims to cover all libraries that are willing to make their holdings open to bona fide researchers: national libraries, university libraries, school libraries, ecclesiastical libraries of different levels and denominations (how many people know about the French Protestant Church’s library in London, which has existed since the early seventeenth century?), museum libraries, professional libraries, subscription libraries, club libraries, company libraries, and more. The only restriction is that they must contain printed rare book or special collections of at least fifty volumes. Libraries are asked to provide brief collection level descriptions providing the date range of material, subject matter, and other salient features; the provision of urls enables potential users to investigate in more detail from each library’s own website. Especially exciting is to see reports from libraries not represented in the previous edition of the Directory (1997) – some, but by no means all, new libraries. Take the following, for sheer diversity:

    • The Congregation of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in Brentford, Middlesex. This international Catholic religious order was founded by Frances Margaret Taylor (1832-1900), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Margaret_Taylor who established a considerable reputation in the late-nineteenth-century as a journalist, author, and translator. It is to her that the order owes the origin of its library, which focuses on the various editions of the literary works of Fanny Taylor (aka Mary Magdalen Taylor) and her friend Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Given the century, this might sound pedestrian – but in fact Copac shows her output to be held in few libraries, mainly Oxford (16 titles), Cambridge (18 titles), Trinity College Dublin (10 titles) and Heythrop College, London (8 titles), and no library on Copac holds everything.
    • Prison Service College Library, Rugby. Here there are some 200 volumes, mainly related to prisons, including some by the early prison reformer John Howard (1726-1790).
  • The Laurence Sterne Trust http://www.laurencesternetrust.org.uk/the-collection/ at Shandy Hall, near York.
    Marbled page featured in 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman'

    Marbled page featured in ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’. Image reproduced with permission of the Laurence Sterne Trust.

    Founded in 1967, this holds the world’s largest collection of first and contemporary editions of the works by Anglo-Irish curate and writer Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), as well as a comprehensive run of later editions and of translations into more than fifteen foreign languages, and other books, manuscripts, and ephemera relating directly and indirectly to Sterne.

  • The Grey Coat Hospital School, London. Headmaster William Dear bequeathed his collection to the school in 1728, and the subsequent donations enriched the library: mostly mathematical and Christian texts, reflecting the school’s history as a religious foundation that prepared its pupils to be ships’ navigators.
  • The Mills Archive, Reading (founded 2002). http://www.millsarchive.org/. Its library contains about 3-4,000 rare, out-of-print or hard-to-find books and pamphlets on mills and milling worldwide from primitive technology through to the present day. Most titles were published in short runs or privately printed; about one-quarter are in foreign languages.

    The Mills Library

    The Mills Library. Image reproduced by permission of the Mills Archive.

Not all these collections are hidden. Some have opacs accessible from their own websites – and the definition for the ‘hidden collections’ study is that collections are not catalogued online; it does not look at how or where they are catalogued. Very few collections being reported to the Directory have no finding aid at all: many still count as ‘hidden’ for want of online cataloguing, but it is unusual not to have a card catalogue, a printed catalogue, or a handlist of some description, and sometimes this is mounted on the web. But one needs to know that an organisation like the Mills Archive or the Laurence Sterne Trust exists in order to go to its website and use its catalogue, and here the Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections meets a need by recording the presence of collections rich in editions of Emanuel Swedenborg (the Swedenborg Museum), economic pamphlets (the Marshall Library of Economics at the University of Cambridge), Regency novels written by women (Chawton House), and so forth.

A desire arising from RLUK’s hidden collections report was for an online register of retrospective cataloguing. The Directory does not quite provide that, but it goes a long way towards providing all the information by noting a large number of collections and by recording when they are not catalogued online, and noting the alternative method of accessing the contents. RLUK’s ‘Unique and Distinctive Collections’ project is intended to show ‘how RLUK members and other libraries can make the most of their collections in challenging times’. Reporting their presence and holdings to the Directory is a good start.

Library of the Society of Friends catalogue loaded

We’re pleased to announce that the holdings of the Society of Friends Library have been added to Copac.

Photo of Society of Friends Library

Photo: Colin Edwards. Copyright: Britain Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers)

The Library of the Society of Friends is one of the world’s largest collections of Quaker and Quaker related material. Founded in 1673, its printed collections include works published by the Society of Friends, and works written by and against Quakers, as well as a growing collection of work about Quakers and Quakerism.

It holds notable collections of 17th-18th century pamphlets, anti-slavery campaigning literature and peace publications. Quaker work in foreign missions and war relief (such as the Friends Ambulance Units of the two world wars) is well represented.

To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of the Society of Friends library, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘Society of Friends’ from the list of libraries.