Marbled Papers and their Use in Rare Books

Copyright Peabody Essex Museum. Photo Catherine Robertson.

One of the great pleasures of being a librarian in a rare-book setting is seeing the treasures the library owns.  The texts are important, and they are helpful to scholars throughout the world (thanks to our online catalog), and many of the things in the collection are simply beautiful.  One element of their beauty is the papers used in their production.  And one material that has been around for more than 300 years is marbled paper.

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How to Find Books You Can’t Read

Japanese book and Japanese dictionary

In my last post, I briefly explained the differences between two types of bookbinding. Interestingly, both object books that I chose needed a little catalog record TLC. The first, an anonymous journal from the first voyage of Captain Cook, simply needed to be linked to its twin elsewhere in the collection. The second, however, required investigation. You see, no one on the current library staff reads Japanese. Newer books come complete with ISBNs and standard modern publication data, making them nearly effortless to match to existing records despite the language barrier. So how do you track down a book whose information is not only in an old-fashioned format but printed in a language (and writing system) you don’t understand?

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Land Disputes in the White Mountains

Part II:  The Mount Washington Summit Road Company

A sketch of the summit of Mount Washington, taken from an invoice of the Glen House Stage Office dated July 12, 1887.

As discussed in Part I:  The Jackson Iron Manufacturing Company, two companies owned by David Pingree, for which the Phillips Library holds the corporate records, were involved in legal disputes over boundary lines in the White Mountains.  This post discusses those disputes involving the Mount Washington Summit Road Company and the trustees of David Pingree’s estate.

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