Two Hundred Years of USC's Libraries

19th Century: Starting a College Library | Some Antebellum Treasures | Intellectual Ambitions | A Working Library | The Later 19th Century

20th Century: The Earlier 20th Century | The Recognition of Heritage | The Millionth Volume | Rare Books and Special Collections | Some Recent Gifts & Acquisitions

Foreword | 200 Years of Librarians | Selected References

The Recognition of Heritage: Gifts and Treasures

special collections in the McKissick Memorial LibrarySpecial Collections in the McKissick era
Elizabeth Doby English, comp.,
Special Collections in the McKissick Memorial Library, University of South Carolina.
Columbia, SC: n.p., 1952. Original wrappers.
Rare Book CollectionShown with: Davy-Jo Stribling Ridge, ed.,
Rare Book Collection in the McKissick Memorial Library, University of South Carolina.
Columbia, SC: McKissick Memorial Library, 1966. Original cloth.
--from the 1940's to the mid-1960's, within McKissick library, increasing attention was paid to the non-South Carolinian rare books, both new acquisitions and rarities newly rescued from general circulation. The two catalogues displayed here chart this process; the first listed 717 titles, while the second (still the fullest published record) describes 2277. In the picture of McKissick library's refurbishedTreasure Room can be seen some of the Audubon plates, purchased by the library in the 1830's, which were removed from the original bound volumes for conservation in 1965, in memory of F.B. Welbourn, former treasurer of the University.


Camellia JaponicaSome Gift Collections of the 1950's, I: the Phelps Collection
"No. 42: Camellia Japonica," from William Curtis, The Botanical Magazine; or Flower-Garden Displayed: in which the most ornamental Foreign Plants, cultivated in the open ground, the Green-house, and the Stove, will be accurately represented in their natural colours, volume II.
London: for W. Curtis, at his Botanic garden, Lambeth-Marsh, 1788.
--Among several major donations to the library in this period was the Phelps Memorial Collection, assembled by Mrs. Sheffield Phelps of Aiken, donated by her daughter Claudia Lea Phelps, in 1959. The volume displayed here, the earliest detailed handcolored engraving of a single camellia flower, must stand in for many other spectacular books from the Phelps gift, including the Curtis-Pope Monograph on the Genus Camellia (1819).


Blaeu's Grand atlasSome Gift Collections of the 1950's, I: the Kendall Collection 
Blaeu, Willem Janzoon, 1571-1638
"India . . . orientalis,"
in vol. 11, Asie, of Joan Blaeu, 1596-1673, Le grand atlas, ou, Cosmographie blaviane: en laqvelle est exactement descritte la terre, la mer et le ciel.
12 vols. Amsterdam: Jean Blaeu, 1667. Contemporary gold-stamped vellum. Kendall Collection.
--A second major donation, also in 1959, was the Henry P. Kendall Collection. The main Kendall donation, which brought over 300 maps and 2500 books and pamphlets of mainly South Carolina-related material,, is located in the South Caroliniana Library, with some more general items housed in Thomas Cooper Library's Special Collections. Shown here is the spectacular Kendall copy of the Blaeu Grand Atlas, in which the younger Blaeu collected along with new material maps engraved by his father as much as fifty years earlier. A copy in apparently identical binding was auctioned at Sotheby's in 1999, suggesting that the vellum binding originated with the publishers. The Blaeu atlas has been featured in the library's exhibits Africa and Brazil.


An account of America in the time of the Lords Proprietors 
Ogilby, John, 1600-1676.
America: being the latest, and most accurate description of the New World; containing the original of the inhabitants, and the remarkable voyages thither. . . . Collected from most authentick authors, augmented with later observations, and adorn'd with maps and sculptures.
London: Printed by the author, 1671. Large paper copy, with printed presentation leaf, "To the . . . Levant or Turky-Company . . . by His Majesty's cosmographer John Ogilby," and with additional map by James Moxon, "A new description of Carolina by order of the Lords Proprietors," by James Moxon. Contemporary brown panelled calf, rehinged. Kendall Collection.
--John Ogilby was a Royalist who turned to publishing translations after losing everything in the English Civil War of the 1640s. The South Carolina College Library included Ogilby's splendid illustrated folio translations of Homer. "The most authentick authors" from whom Ogilby collected this work were essentially a single Dutch source, by Arnoldus Montanus, published in Amsterdam the previous year. The library has also a fine copy of Montanus, from the Alfred Chapin Rogers Collection.


PolychroniconThe library and the history of the book 
Ranulf Higden, d. 1364,
Polychronicon.
English manuscript on vellum, 15th century.
--This beautifully-made codex (manuscript book) was acquired by the library in 1965, in attempt to provide a more complete illustration of early book history. Its author was a Benedictine monk from Chester in England, and his Polychronicon is a history of the world, in Latin prose. Produced shortly before the invention of printing, the volume includes elaborate illuminated opening pages for each of the work's five main sections. The manuscript had previously been in the well-known libraries of Richard Townley (1629-1707) and C. W. Dyson Perrins. A 1965 article (Columbia Record, October 29, 1965), shows the Polychronicon being inspected by dignitaries including Prof. Alfred Rawlinson (Director of Libraries, 1947-1967, on left with Mrs. Rawlinson); President Thomas Jones (on right), and the library's rare book consultant, Mr. Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt.


King James BibleThe first edition of the King James Bible
The Holy Bible, conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: newly translated out of the originall tongues & with the former translations diligently compared and revised by his Maiesties speciall comandement; appointed to be read in churches.
London: Imprinted by Robert Barker, printed to the Kings most excellent Majestie, 1611.
Contemporary reversed calf.
--The Authorized Version or King James Bible of 1611 dominated English-speaking religion (and English prose rhythms) for three and a half centuries. This is the second issue of the first edition, known as the "She Bible" (from Ruth iii, 15: "she went into the citie."). Also, in Matthew, xxvi, 36: "Judas" is printed for "Jesus." The Thomas Cooper Library copy lacks several preliminary leaves, including the general and Old Testament title-pages; the New Testament title-page shown here simply used new letter-press in the center of the same elaborate pictorial frame.


The Posthumous Papers of Pickwick ClubsLater books and original condition
"Boz" [Charles Dickens, 1812-1870],
The Posthumous Papers of Pickwick Club.
Part XVII. London: Chapman and Hall, 1836. Original wrappers.
--the interest in building research collections also led to extensive acquisitions of eighteen and nineteenth-century literature. This original number-part from Dickens's first novel represents the continuing effort to acquire significant works in the form in which they were seen by their first readers.

 

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