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

Some Rare Books from Recent Special Collections

While special collections still remain only a small part of the library's total holdings and acquisitions activity, recent years, following the recommendations of a 1985-86 Graduate Council committee ("the Greiner Report"), have brought a renewed emphasis on unique research collections of national and international significance. Many of the most valuable individual acquisitions of the 1990's were not acquired singly but came to the library as part of very large new collections.

Robert BurnsA Robert Burns letter & inscription, from the G. Ross Roy Collection 
Robert Burns, 1759-1796,
Autograph letter, signed, to Thomas Campbell, August 19, 1786.
Shown with: Moore, John, 1729-1802.
Zeluco. Various views of human nature taken from life and manners, foreign and domestic.
London: A. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1789. Later 19th century morocco. Robert Burns's copy, with his inscription and annotations.
--The G. Ross Roy Collection of Robert Burns, Burnsiana, & Scottish Poetry, the first of these large recent acquisitions, in 1989, is the most important Burns collection outside Scotland. A facsimile of the Roy Collection's The Merry Muses of Caledonia (1799), one of only two known copies and the only one with a complete title-page, was published in 1999. Shown here are an original letter of Burns, from 1786, just before the success of his poems changed his plans to emigrate to the West Indies, and one of Burns's own books, with his annotations, inscribed by him to his friend Mrs. Dunlop.


a Thomas Carlyle rarityA Thomas Carlyle rarity, inscribed, from the Rodger L. Tarr Collection
Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881.
Sartor resartus: in three books.
London: J. Fraser, 1834. Modern calf.
--the Tarr Collection, acquired by purchase in 1989, was the basis for the standard bibliographies of works by and about the 19th century thinker, and friend of Emerson, Thomas Carlyle. Shown here is a copy, signed by Carlyle, of the privately-issued first edition of his most original work, one of only 58 copies printed.


Civitaes Orbis TerrarumThe John Osman Collection of Braun & Hogenberg
Georg Braun, 1541-1622, and Franz Hogenberg, c.1536-1588,
"Caros, quae olim Babylon Aegypti Maxima Urbs,"
from Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Liber I
Frankfurt: Braun and Hogenberg, [1572].
--The Osman Collection, presented to the University by Mrs. Mary C. Osman in 1989, includes more than four hundred copperplate engraved maps and views of European cities, issued by the Dutch engravers Braun and Hogenberg in six volumes over the years 1572 to 1618. This picture of Cairo (Braun & Hogenberg 1:55) is an example of how, from the first volume, the publishers sought to include also major cities from the Middle East, North Africa, India, and even the New World.


Civitaes Orbis TerrarumBraun and Hogenberg maps in volume form 
Braun, Georg, 1541-1622, and Franz Hogenberg, 1536-1588,
"Amstelrodamu, vulgo Amsterdam Hollandiae,"
in Civitates orbis terrarum, Liber I.
Frankfurt: Braun and Hogenberg, [1572]. Contemporary vellum. John Osman Collection.
--most of the Osman Collection, like most other Renaissance map collections, consists of single specimens, but the collection also included two volumes (books 1 and 6) still preserved in volume form, in a contemporary flexible vellum binding. The volumes have recently been professionsally conserved with special clamshell storage boxes.


red wing black bird of SCThe Ethelind Pope Brown Natural History Collection
"The Red wing Black Bird of South Carolina upon a Sevil Orange Branch."
Watercolor by an unknown artist, c. 1765.
--this is one from a series of mid-18th century watercolors of South Carolina plants and birds in a sketchbook donated to Thomas Cooper Library in 1991 by Mrs. William Carroll Brown, of Belton, S.C., followed by an endowment to augment the natural history collections. When the Browns had bought the book in New York in the early 1950s, they had been attributed to the naturalist John Abbott; since their presentation to the University, various other artists have been suggested (notably Mark Catesby, William Bartram, and John Laurens), but the attribution still remains conjectural.


The Great GatsbyTwo Fitzgerald inscriptions, from the Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli Collection
F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940,
The Great Gatsby.
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. First edition, first printing, with a signed note of presentation from Fitzgerald to the critic Van Wyck Brooks.
Taps at RaveilleShown with: F. Scott Fitzgerald,
Taps at Reveille. 
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935. First edition, second printing, inscribed by Fitzgerald to Annah Williamson.
--the Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli Collection, donated to the University in 1994, has been described as the most comprehensive single-author collection ever assembled. The collection's unique set of galley proofs forTrimalchio, Fitzgerald's first version of The Great Gatsby, were published in facsimile by USC Press in April 2000. Shown here are two of the more than forty books in the collection inscribed by Fitzgerald himself.


PoemsAn Emily Dickinson letter, from the William R. Bailey Collection
Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886, Poems . . .
Edited by . . . Mabel Loomis Todd and T. W. Higginson.
Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1890. William R. Bailey Collection. 
The William R. Bailey Collection included, along with extensive collections from the lexicographer Noah Webster and the novelist Paul Leicester Ford, a group of material relating to Emily Fowler Ford's friendship with Emily Dickinson and the Dickinson family. This copy of Dickinson's poems includes a pencilled letter from the poet to Emily Ford (ca. 1880), illustrating Dickinson's distinctive orthography.


Harvest of YouthThe first copy of Jesse Stuart's first book: the Lucille Jordan Palmer Collection
Stuart, Jesse, 1907-1984.
Harvest of youth.
Howe, Okla.: Scroll Press, c1930. Inscribed by Stuart to Lucille Jordan [Palmer], 20 Aug. 1930.
--Lucille Jordan met the future Pulitzer-prize winning poet and memoirist in the registration lines at Lincoln Memorial University, on their first day as students in 1926, and he reciprocated with this inscription in his first book, one of only four copies known to survive. Late in lifew, Mrs. Palmer donated to the University her collection of Stuart material, including personally-inscribed first editions, more than fifty Stuart letters, and a box of periodical items, clippings and other background material.


Protocollo della republica RomanaA book printed under siege, from the Anthony P. Campanella Collection
Dall'Ongaro, Francesco, 1808-1873, ed.
Protocollo della Repubblica Romana : collezione degli atti indirizzi e proteste trasmesse all'Assemblea ed al Governo dopo l'invasione francese.
Roma: Dalla Tipografia nazionale, 1849. Contemporary half vellum, marbled boards.
--the Anthony P. Campanella Collection of Giuseppe Garibaldi, assembled over fifty years of research, was donated to the University by Dr. Campanella in 1996. It is the best collection outside Italy about Garibaldi and Italian unification. Shown here is a remarkable book of resolutions supporting the Roman Republic of 1848-49, printed in Rome in May 1849, while the city was under siege by the invading French army.


Garibaldi's swordA Sword of Giuseppe Garibaldi
Sword presented to Garibaldi by the people of Montevideo in 1848, on his departure for Italy and the defense of the Roman Republic. Anthony P. Campanella Collection of Giuseppe Garibaldi.


On the Origin of SpeciesThe first edition of Darwin's Origin, from the C. Warren Irvin, Jr., Collection
Charles Darwin, 1809-1882,
On the origin of the species by means of natural selection, or, The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 
First edition. London: John Murray, 1859. Original cloth.
--Darwin's Origin of Species, "the most important biological book ever written," was at first envisaged as only a brief overview of his central case, that "species have changed, and are still slowly changing by the preservation and accumulation of successive slight favorable variations." The C. Warren Irvin, Jr. Darvin Collection, donated to the University in 1996, includes not only works by and about Darwin himself, but also works by Darwin's precursors and by those he influenced.


Hume's A Tretise of Human NatureDavid Hume's first book, from the James Willard Oliver Collection
David Hume, 1711-1776.
A treatise of human nature: being an attempt to introduce the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects. 
2 vols. London : Printed for J. Noon, 1739.
--Professor Oliver's collection of works by and about the Scottish philosopher David Hume came to the library in 1997, and was followed last year by his extensive Bertrand Russell Collection. Hume's first book made little immediate impact, but in time the ideas it introduced would alter the course of Western philosophy.

 

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