It’s all in the details!

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Shown is a detail from The Cloisters Apocalypse, an early fourteenth century Latin manuscript depicting the narrative present in the Book of Revelations. The manuscript dates to c.1330 when it was produced in Normandy, France for the noble family de Montigny.

Many of the illustrations in the book depict half-human half-bestial beings and were most likely drawn by the scribe himself as he created the Cloisters Apocalypse. The figures rarely correspond to the content of the text and are perhaps reflective of the scribe’s own thoughts and imaginations.

An original of this work is held by the Met in New York City, however Binghamton University Libraries owns a quality facsimile for students, faculty and other scholars to examine.

Please visit Special Collections located on the second floor of the Bartle Library (off of the North Reading Room to see this work which is currently on display as part of the From Aesop to Joachim: Medieval and the Early Modern Facsimiles of Special Collections exhibit.

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Students meet new acquisition


Professor Bridget Whearty and her students examine new acquisition, Postilla litteralis super epistolam ad hebraeos. Photograph by Jonathan Cohen.

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Postilla litteralis super epistolam ad hebraeos is the November 2016 Book of the Month



NICHOLAS OF LYRA, Postilla litteralis super epistolam ad hebraeos (Literal Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews)

Special Collections in the Bartle Library, is celebrating a new acquisition: a 14th-century manuscript of Nicholas of Lyra’s Postilla litteralis super epistolam ad hebraeos. This important medieval manuscript was purchased for Special Collections through the generosity of Alex Huppé.


In Latin, manuscript on parchment Northern France (Paris?) or England (?), c. 1340-1375

i (paper) + 30 + i (paper), modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, complete, (collation i-ii12 iii12[-7 through 12, cancelled blanks]), trace of horizontal catchword remains f. 12v, ruled in lead with the top and bottom horizontal rules full across, single full-length vertical bounding lines, prickings in three outer margins (justification 207-20 x 140-137 mm.), written in a quick gothic bookhand (textualis currens)in two columns of forty-nine lines, majuscules in text stroked with red, biblical lemmata underlined in red, no rubrics apart from explicit, blank spaces for initials (six- to two-line), with guide letters visible, in very good condition apart from minor cockling and a few worm holes.  Bound in modern red leather in 1988 by Donald Taylor of Toronto, title on spine, “Nicholas/ Lyra/ Super/ Hebreos,” excellent condition.  Dimensions 248 x 183 mm.

Nicholas of Lyra’s literal commentary on the Bible is arguably the most influential biblical commentary from the Middle Ages – one that was studied by students of the Bible for centuries afterwards.  This is an early copy of his unedited Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, almost certainly made in university circles in France or England.  The textual and historical implications of the transmission of the text in manuscripts such as this one that include commentaries on single books of the Bible, or small groups of books, have been neglected in the scholarly literature, and deserve careful study.


1. Written in Northern France, likely in Paris, or in England, perhaps at Oxford, in the middle of the fourteenth century, based on the evidence of the script.  The script is a good example of the type some scholars have called littera parisiensis describing the clear, but quickly written gothic bookhand found in so many university texts copied in Paris in the thirteenth and fourteenth century centuries.  The name is, however, somewhat misleading, for similar scripts were used at the English universities (and also in non-university contexts) (discussion and bibliography, Derolez, 2003, p. 100).  This could have been copied in Paris, Oxford, or Cambridge.  Evidence that might hint at an English origin includes the frequent use pendular abbreviations that are attached to the letter and curl around above line, the forked ascenders, and the occasional “forked” (but here short) ‘r’.  Citations within the text use Arabic numerals, again perhaps tilting the balance very slightly towards England.  (Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 22 is a fragment of Nicholas of Lyre’s Postill on the Psalter from the mid-fourteenth century, securely localizable in England based on the style of the penwork initials.  Its script is more formal than the script in our manuscript, but the similar use of pendular abbreviations is noteworthy).

The first folio is darkened, suggesting it has stood at the beginning for a long time, and this is a complete copy of the Postill on Hebrews.  It is possible this was once part of a longer manuscript, possibly a Nicholas’s commentary on all the Pauline Epistles, of which Hebrews is the last.  The verso of the last folio is unruled and quite clean, but it was once followed by six blank leaves (removed when owned by Joseph Pope, see below).

Extensive contemporary corrections, particularly in the first half of the manuscript, chapter numbers added in margin.  A few later notes show use:  f. 12v, “Experimentalis”; f. 20v, “Questio.”

2. Top margin, f. 1, a bold “82” in ink; inside lower margin, ff. 29, 30, “6,” also in ink; price code (?), in pencil, back pastedown, top corner, “63XSL.”

3. Belonged to Ruth J. Dean (1902-2003), the author of Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (1999), and a graduate of Wellesley College (1922,) and Oxford University.  Dean taught at Mount Holyoke, and at the University of Pennsylvania, and served as president of the Medieval Academy of America in 1973 (Chance, 2005).

4. Collection of Joseph Pope (1921-2010) of Toronto, investment banker and prominent collector of medieval manuscripts, who acquired it in March, 1984 from Deane.  Bergendal MS 72 (described in Pope, 1999; brief description in Stoneman, p. 194; an overview of the collection is given in Pope, 1997).  The Bergendal catalogue states that this was bound in a seventeenth-century binding when it was acquired, which was in poor condition.  When the manuscript was rebound the last six folios of third quire, originally blank, were removed.

5. Bergendal Sale, London, Sotheby’s, Western Manuscripts and Miniatures, July 5, 2011, lot 80.


ff. 1-30 [contemporary heading, added in the upper margin, Postilla magistri nicholay de lira super epistola ad hebreos], incipit, “[C]um uenerit quod perfectum est euacuabitur quod ex parte est, prima ad cor. 13 [1 Corinthians 13:10].  In primatiua ecclesia illi qui de iudaismo conuertebantur ad fidem christi …; f. 4, incipit, In primis dicendum est etc., Epistole ad hebreos.  Iste prologus communiter preponitur …; f. 4v, Multifarie multisque modus, etc. [Hebrews 1:1], Sicut predictum est.  Apostolus Paulus hanc [ap: expunged] epistolam scripsit aliquibus conversis ad fidem christi …”; f. 6v, incipit, Propteria habundantius [Hebrews 2:1],   Posquam apostolus in capitulo …; f. 20v, incipit, Vmbram enim habens etc. [Hebrews 10:1], In capitulo precedenti probauit …”; f. 29, incipit, Caritas fraternitatis [Hebrews 13:1], Superius apostolus … uobis. Amen. Id est confirmetur in presenti et in futuro per gloriam consummere.  Prestante domino nostro ihesu christo cui honor et gloria in secula seculorum, amen.  Explicit postilla super epistolam ad hebreos eddita a magistro Nicholao de Lyra de ordine fratrum minorum [Ends mid col. b, f. 30, remainder and f. 30v, blank].

Nicolaus de Lyra, Postilla litteralis super epistolam ad hebreos; Stegmüller, no. 5915; there is no modern edition of Nicholas’s Postill on the Epistle to Hebrews.  Indeed, of Nicholas’s most important achievement, a running commentary on the entire Bible that was focused on the literal sense of the text, only the Song of Songs has been edited by a modern scholar (Kiecker, 1998); his Apocalypse commentary has been translated into English (Krey, 1997).  The Strasbourg 1492 edition of the Postillae on the entire Bible is available in a reprinted edition, and online (Frankfurt am Main, 1970; Online Resources).  Nicholas composed the work c. 1322-1331, drawing no doubt on his earlier the lectures on the Bible that he prepared for his students in Paris. This commentary, like his commentary on the Apocalypse and Romans, dates from 1329, but was probably based on lectures very early in his career, c. 1301-03 (Klepper in Krey and Smith, eds., 2000, p. 309; Krey in Dahan, ed., 2011, p. 155). The Postillae were enormously popular, and survive in at least 800 manuscripts, and likely more (Stegmüller, 1950-61, 1976-80, nos. 5829-5923, with a partial list of c. 200 manuscripts; Gosselin, 1970; Krey and Smith, 2000, p. 8); some copies include the commentaries on the entire Bible, others include commentaries on just one or a small group of biblical books.  It was the first biblical commentary to appear in print; first printed in Rome in 1471, and then in more than one hundred editions until 1600, including editions in Basel, Douai, Cologne, Lyons, Nuremberg, Paris, Venice and Strasbourg; Anton Koberger in Nuremberg, printed this work seven times from 1479-97 (Gosselin, 1970).

Nicolaus de Lyra, O.F.M., (c. 1270-1349) was the greatest biblical scholars of the fourteenth century; indeed, many consider him one of the greatest biblical scholars of the Middle Ages.  He was born in Lyre, near Évreux in Normandy.   At the age of thirty, around 1300, he entered the Franciscan Convent at Verneuil, and was soon sent to the Franciscan House in Paris to study at the University; the remainder of his life was spent in Paris.  He became a regent master in theology in 1308/09, and later the Franciscan provincial minister for the Province of Paris from 1319-1324, and the provincial minister for Burgundy from 1324-1330.

Nicholas’s greatest work was his running commentary on the whole Bible, the Postilla litteralis in vetus et novum testamentum (The Literal Postil on the Whole Bible).  He stresses the importance of the literal sense of the scriptures, which he argues was often neglected by other commentators, and discusses the grammar, philology, and historical context of the text. “Postilla,” a term which may derive from “post illa verba” (after that word), refers to a commentary written out as a continuous gloss, interspersed with scriptural lemmata. Throughout this commentary, he exhibits a thorough grounding in Jewish commentaries on the Bible, including the Talmud, the Midrash, and the works of Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac), (1045-1105), and a knowledge of Hebrew. Scholars have suggested that he studied with Jewish scholars in Évreux, which was an important center of Jewish learning in the late thirteenth century, although more recently it has been suggested that he studied Hebrew in Paris (Klepper in Krey and Smith, eds., 2000, pp. 289-312; Geiger in Dahan, ed., 2011, 167-203).

In this commentary, Nicholas presents the main theme of the Epistle to the Hebrews as the superiority of the New Testament over the Old, comparing the old covenant with the perfection of evangelical law established by Christ.  There is no modern critical edition, nor has there been a census of the surviving manuscripts of this commentary.  The Postils survive both in impressive multi-volume manuscripts that include the commentaries on the entire Bible (many of these expensive, illuminated copies), and in manuscripts that include the commentary on a single book of the Bible, or a group of books, such as this one; this latter type of manuscript has been comparatively neglected by modern scholars.  Future studies of the textual tradition will need to analyze both types of manuscripts.  Our modern perception of Nicholas’s commentaries, and their text, has been based on the one hand on evidence of the expensive copies of the complete commentaries (studied often for the diagrams and illustrations more than for their text), and on the other, on the widely available fifteenth-century printed editions, many of which present the text of the commentaries together with the Ordinary Gloss and the complete biblical text.  The layout of this practical, working copy of the Postil on Hebrews, could not be more different.  Most university students of theology, and even masters, in the fourteenth and into the fifteenth century would have known Nicholas’s commentaries in manuscripts such as this one.

The influence of the Postilla extended far beyond the Middle Ages, and they were valued by Martin Luther and others.  The often-cited little couplet, attributed to Julius von Pflug (1499-1564), “Si Lyra non lyrasset/ Lutherus non saltasset” (If Lyra had not played, Luther could not have danced), aptly summarizes the importance of Nicholas of Lyra’s thought to Martin Luther, who praised Lyra for his knowledge of Hebrew, and considered him “A fine soul:  a good hebraist and a true christian” (quoted in Wood, 1958, p. 83; see Noblesse-Rocher in Dahan, 2011, 335-357).

The manuscript is available for study in the Special Collections and University Archives department located on the second floor of the Bartle Library.  The department is open to the public Monday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm.

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Happy Halloween event!


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A-Bombs, the Cold War and the Red Scare


Join us in unearthing surprises, prying open the vaults and breathing life into long dead…documents!

Noon-1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, Special Collections, 2nd floor of Bartle Library

Explore the fears of nuclear warfare in the 1950’s and how those fears were exploited by Hollywood. This talk is illustrated with posters from the campus McLaughlin Collection. By Jean Green, head of Special Collections and Archives.

Learn about a civil defense drill on our campus in 1960, at which several students refused to participate. This particular event defined student protests during the infamously tumultuous 1960’s. By Yvonne Deligato, university archivist.

Discover a new mystery genre, atomic renaissance – a term used for female mystery writers of the 1940′s and ‘50s. By Beth Kilmarx, curator of rare books.

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CEMERS 50th Anniversary Conference, Oct. 21-22


The Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) will host its 50th anniversary conference – titled “The Pre-modern Book in a Global Context: Materiality and Visuality” – Oct. 21 and 22, at the University Downtown Center. The conference, which begins at 9 a.m. each day, is free and open to all Binghamton University faculty, students and staff. Guests can arrive at any time during the conference.

This conference will address all aspects of the study of the pre-modern book as artifact. Plenary lectures include:
• Bruce Holsinger, University of Virginia, “Theologies and Biologies of the Book: Past and Present”
• Lucille Chia, UC Riverside, “Impressions of East Asian Book Cultures: Print and Manuscript Culture in China and Japan, 7th-17th Centuries,”
• Megan Hale Williams, San Francisco State University, “Ideals and Realities in Late Fourth-Century Historical Research: Books and Libraries in Late Antiquity,”
• David Roxburgh, Harvard University, “Emulation in the Arts of the Book: The Early Fifteenth-Century Timurid Workshop in Herat.”
A plenary panel on technology and the study of the book will feature William Noel, University of Pennsylvania, Suzanne Paul, Cambridge University Library, and Paola Ricciardi, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.
An additional 74 papers will be presented in concurrent sessions. For more information, including the full program, go online.

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Celebrating CEMERS Golden Anniversary with the Book of the Month

The Ellesmere Chaucer is the October Book of the Month in honor of  the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies’ (CEMERS) 50th Anniversary

The Knight's Tale from the Ellesmere Chaucer

The Knight’s Tale from the Ellesmere Chaucer

The Ellesmere Chaucer reproduced in facsimile.  Manchester : The University Press, 1911.  Call number:  Z 1152 .C496, v.1-2.

The Ellesmere Chaucer, or Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, is an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  It was first owned by John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford (1408–1462), but the manuscript takes its popular name from the fact that it later belonged to Sir Thomas Egerton (1540–1617), Baron Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley, who apparently obtained it from Roger North, 2nd Baron North (1530/31-1600).  The library of manuscripts, known as the Bridgewater Library, remained at the Egerton house, Ashridge, Hertfordshire, until 1802 when it was removed to London. Francis Egerton, created Earl of Ellesmere in 1846, inherited the library, and it remained in the family until its sale to Henry Huntington by John Francis Granville Scrope Egerton (1872–1944), 4th Earl of Ellesmere. Huntington purchased the Bridgewater library privately in 1917 through Sotheby’s, and the Ellesmere Chaucer manuscript is now owned by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California (EL 26 C 9).  In addition to the Canterbury Tales, the manuscript contains a “balade” on the House of Vere (Earls of Oxford), by one Rotheley, in a later hand (1450-80); a Table of Contents, and Chaucer’s “Ballade of Truth” in a still different hand (before 1450); numerous signatures, marginal glosses, and many scribblings on the four fly-leaves at each end of the text.

The Ellesmere manuscript is a highly polished example of scribal workmanship, with a great deal of elaborate illumination and, notably, a series of illustrations of the various narrators of the Tales (including a famous one of Chaucer himself, mounted on a horse). As such, it was clearly a de luxe product, commissioned by a very wealthy patron.  The manuscript is written on fine vellum and the leaves are approximately 400mm by 284mm in size; there are 240 leaves, of which 232 contain the text of the Tales.[2] Though the text was apparently copied by a single scribe, the illustrations were executed by perhaps as many as three artists.

The text of the Canterbury Tales in the Ellesmere manuscript is complete, in a large, clear book hand, covering 232 leaves of the finest quality thin vellum, sound and flexible. The page dimensions are noble, nearly 16 x 11 inches (the largest known manuscript of the Tales, Harley 7333, is about 18 x 13 inches), with unusually generous margins. But the main glory of the manuscript is the lavish illumination and illustration, in which the Ellesmere is easily unrivaled: on no less than seventy-one pages large foliated initials are joined to “demi-vinet” borders, in gold and other colors, framing the text on three sides. This “demi-vinet” is a conventionalized vine, the stem formed by a thick double bar, one of gold and one of color. This stem gives off, at intervals, rather stiffly curled branches bearing leaves, flowers, and hairline pen flourishes often tipped with gold balls — these last having something of the pleasant incongruity of our Christmas tree ornaments. On the whole, the design has an admirable suitability to the text it encloses: the thickness of the stem is balanced by the grace and delicacy of the hairlines, avoiding undue austerity on one side or decadent over-elaboration on the other. The text is supported by the border, not overwhelmed by it. Opposite the first line of each tale is the figure of the Pilgrim narrator, twenty-three highly individualized portraits, including a very famous one of Chaucer himself. There are, besides, over two-hundred large illuminated initials.

Margaret Rickert’s study of English illumination shows the Ellesmere border design to be in a fourteenth-century East Anglian style, done not by monks but by lay craftsmen, probably in London. The work of three — possibly four — different hands is discernible in the illumination and the miniatures, although the text itself is probably the work of one scribe. The evidence suggests, moreover, that text, border, and figures were all done at the same time — this commonplace of modern bookmaking is not, of course, to be taken for granted in medieval manuscripts.

The miniatures are of great charm and interest. They all show a perfect understanding of the text they are intended to illustrate — which is notoriously untrue of illustrating in general, even in our own day — and every horse as well as every rider is individually and appropriately conceived. Part of the appropriateness is achieved symbolically, — the Physician holds up a flask, for example, — and they are imagined as part of the text in a way no longer familiar to us. Thus, the figures all face the text; Chaucer, and the Nun’s Priest, point upwards to the words “My Tale…” The several artists responsible must have worked under the close supervision of one guiding hand. The figure opposite the “Tale of Melibeus” (f.157b) is that of Chaucer himself, on horseback like the other pilgrims (see below)

The Knight’s Tale from the Ellesmere Chaucer

The proportions of rider and horse suggest that this miniature is a copy or adaptation, of an earlier standing figure: in any case, it is probably the earliest portrait of Chaucer, the beginning of one of the two main “portrait traditions” of the fifteenth century.

Chaucer depicted in the Ellesmere

The original Ellesmere manuscript has most fortunately come down to us almost undamaged. Its importance may be better understood after some account of the way in which Chaucer’s works in general, and the Canterbury Tales in particular, have come down to us, nearly six centuries later. In contrast to the unique Beowulf manuscript, for instance — the only manuscript of the only epic surviving from Anglo-Saxon times — the complexity of the Chaucerian textual problem is enormous. Of the Canterbury Tales alone, Manly and Rickert have counted eighty-two, including fragments, and the manuscripts of his other works are counted in tens or scores. None of these can be certainly dated in Chaucer’s own lifetime, nor traced to a scribe directly employed or supervised by him. This means that nearly all the surviving manuscripts were written between 1400 and the time of Caxton’s printing press less than a century later, after which the expense and tedium of hand-copying no longer seemed worthwhile. (Caxton himself printed two editions of the Canterbury Tales from manuscripts now lost.) It means, further, that the attempt to get at what Chaucer himself wrote can be made only through that elaborate system of rigorously controlled inference and comparison that we know as textual criticism. In this case, the thorough examination and comparison of eighty-two scattered and jealously guarded, fragile manuscripts appear an impossibility, yet that is just what the incredibly devoted efforts of John Manly and Edith Rickert, and their associates, brought to successful completion in 1940, in their eight volume work The Text of the Canterbury Tales.

The literary significance of the Ellesmere Chaucer is impressive: it is one of the two or three earliest manuscripts; it provides the best readings, except for one manuscript which is much less complete; it has been long recognized as best representing a contemporary spelling standard; finally, it is the best authority for the order of the tales. We must now add this: it is also one of the most splendid examples of medieval bookmaking, and easily the finest manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, in every respect worthy of our first great poet.

From The University of Rochester Library Bulletin: The Ellesmere Chaucer  by Philip H. GoeppVolume VII · Winter 1952 · Number 2.

Binghamton University Libraries’ copy of the facsimile of  The Ellesmere Chaucer is located in the Special Collections department located on the second floor of the Bartle Library.  The facsimile is available for viewing to the public Monday – Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

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October is American Archives Month!


Did you know that October is American Archives Month?

An archives is a place where people go to find information. But rather than gathering information from books as you would in a library, people who do research in archives often gather firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, audio and video recordings, and other primary sources.

Archivists are professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, maintain control of, and provide access to the portions of this information that have lasting value. Archivists keep records that have enduring value as reliable memories of the past, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records.


Whether or not you realize it, you probably have an archives in your home. It might be in a filing cabinet in the study, a box in the basement, a chest in the attic – or even in all three. This is your personal archives: a collection of material that records important events from your family’s history.

Believe it or not, there are similarities between your family’s archives and local, state, or national archives. All save items to serve as proof that an event occurred, to explain how something happened, or for financial or sentimental reasons. All types of archives may be stored in more than one location. And both personal archives and larger archives save a variety of materials that can range from letters, to photographs, to films, to databases, to official documents, and more.

Come and celebrate American Archives Month with us!

To learn more about archives and archivists, visit Special Collections on the second floor of Bartle Library!

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Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies to host lecture on velum making


Wednesday, October 5, 3:00 - LN 1106, IASH Conference Room

Parchmentally Yours: Animal Materiality in the Intimate Study of Medieval Book Production and its Related Fields

Jesse Meyer, Pergamena Parchment and Leathers

Parchment, or vellum, is one of the oldest and most durable of bookbinding and production materials, both as a covering material and as a text support. It was the principle “plastic” material of the Middle Ages, and remains one of the strongest, most sensuous, and most archival of natural materials available to the bookbinder and calligrapher. Its alkalinity makes it an ideal material for conservation purposes and its continued existence in our libraries and institutions provides an invaluable window into our written history.

Join us as Jesse Meyer discusses and demonstrates the process of producing vellum by hand. Jesse will guide us through the “wet work” portion using actual raw animal skins, as well as tools and equipment, taking the fresh animal skins through the dehairing stage to the point of stretching and scraping them on the frame. We will also learn about the “dry work”, the finishing processes of the skins, and will end with sanding the skins to proper thickness and finish. There will also be numerous examples of the material available for inspection and handling.

Jesse Meyer has been producing parchment for over 15 years at his family-owned leather tannery located in Montgomery, NY.  His background includes a degree in fine arts which, along with his long family history in the craft of leather production, helped lay the foundation for exploring animal skins as an art material, and eventual research and production of the material as a binding and writing material used in ancient and medieval manuscripts.

CEMERS  Lecture Series/Calendar of Events

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Rare, first edition discovered within book sale donations!

An incredible rare book was found during a review of the recent gift book donations. The novella, Under a Glass Bell, was written by Anaïs Nin in 1944. It is a first edition, and is one of 300 unnumbered copies printed at the Gemor Press.

George Leite and Anaïs Nin at Daliel's Bookstore in Berkeley, CA, 1946.

George Leite and Anaïs Nin at Daliel’s Bookstore in Berkeley, CA, 1946.

Anaïs Nin began writing the stories collected in Under a Glass Bell in Paris during the mid to late 1930s and finished in New York after she fled France because of the war.  When she could not find a publisher for her original collection of eight short stories, she resorted to self-publishing with her Gemor Press in 1944.

Designed completely at the Gemor Press, the text was handset by Nin in Bernhard Gothic Light Italic, ten point, and printed on Watermarked Zurich Plate Finish paper.  The cover and the seventeen engravings on copper were designed and created by Nin’s husband, Ian Hugo.

The book is in excellent condition with little wear to its spine or edges, considering no dust jacket was issued.  It has an interesting provenance as it is was once owned by Harold Geisse, Jr.– a former librarian in the Bartle Library.

Geisse inscription

This book can be considered an association copy due to this inscription written on the front free endpaper:  Harold L. Geisse, Jr. Camp Ritchie, April 1944.

According to Wikipedia, during World War II, Fort (Camp) Ritchie became the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Training Center, the first time in the history of the U.S. military that it had a facility for this type of centralized intelligence training. Once soldiers arrived, they were told not to identify themselves as “military intelligence” to anyone, not even their families.

Thousands lived and worked at Fort Ritchie during World War II. The Army conducted signal intelligence training, instruction regarding interrogation techniques and close-combat training (in a mock German village constructed at the site) throughout the war.  More than 10,000 students graduated from the Army’s intelligence program at Fort Ritchie by the end of the war.

Our thanks to Mr. Geisse for his support of the University Libraries. This book will become part of the rare book collection in our Special Collections Department.
For more information, contact Beth Kilmarx, Curator of Rare Books at or 607-777-3403.
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