Category Archives: new acquisitions

building a feminist collection

As you may recall, we recently acquired an early edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. We had such an outpouring of interest in the book that we decided we should reach out to the Feminist and Gender Studies program at CC and ask for suggestions for other acquisitions. A lively discussion ensued about the books that had brought us to feminism, and Special Collections ended up purchasing several first and/or interesting editions of:

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Sylvia Plath, Ariel
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Louisa May Alcott, Her Life, Letters, and Journals
Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Robert Bly’s copy with his annotations)
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

We’re always happy to talk with faculty about acquiring books they’ll use with their classes. I’m looking forward to incorporating these new acquisitions into instruction sessions in FGS classes and others.

CC Authors Reception

The CC Authors Reception is today! We’re celebrating 70 faculty and staff authors with publications since May of 2014. It’s quite gratifying to me, as a librarian and a writer, to see the impressive scholarly output of the faculty and staff at Colorado College, a small liberal arts college with a focus on teaching. You’d think we were a big university from the amount of publications on display!

This year we’re concurrently celebrating a few amazing new acquisitions in Special Collections, since, why not, we’re just upstairs from the authors reception. We’ve mentioned many of these acquisitions in earlier blog posts, but not these two:

themistoclesThemistius. Paraphrasis in Aristotelem. [Treviso, Italy]: Bartholomaeus Confalonerius and Morellus Gerardinus, 1481. Purchase. Now the earliest printed book in the library, beating out a 1484 Jacobus de Voragine for the honor. With bookworm damage (not affecting text) and a previous owner’s marginalia throughout.


beaumont fletcher madBeaumont, Francis, and John Fletcher. Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. Second folio. London: Printed by J. Macock, for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, Richard Marriot, 1679. Gift of the National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship at Colorado College, 2015, courtesy Steven Hayward.

The event is co-sponsored by Tutt Library and the Crown Faculty Center.

1814 Magic Flute

MozartmusicMozart title pageMozartPersonen





Look at this gift we got from Paul Petersky, CC class of 1977! It’s a two-volume score of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in German and Italian, published in Bonn in 1814. It’s in remarkably good condition for its age, and we know it will be fun to show to CC students in the years to come.

1794 Wollstonecraft

wollstonecraftThe first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in London in 1792, currently sells for about $20,000 (if you can even find one on the market). Too rich for our blood! We recently acquired a copy of the third American edition (Philadelphia, 1794) for a fraction of that price. (About a twentieth, if you must know.) Our edition was published toward the end of the author’s life: she died in 1797.

Colorado College students read this text in a number of classes (English, Philosophy, Feminist and Gender Studies). Perhaps an enterprising student will take the opportunity to compare this edition with earlier and later editions we have in electronic and paper form.

An “indestructible” Mother Goose

Special Collections recently purchased an “indestructible” 19th century edition of Mother Goose, Mother Goose’s Melodies: containing all that have ever come to light of her memorable writings. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1879. What makes it indestructible, you ask? It’s printed on coated linen, so the book is chewable, droolable-on, and unrippable. (If you click the image on the right, you’ll see that the page is made of cloth.)

mothergoose mothergooseinterior

This isn’t the first “indestructible” edition ever published. The London firm Addey & Co. advertised its “Indestructible Books for Children” printed on “cloth expressly prepared” as early as 1856 (see the ads in the back of George Measom’s Light from the East). American firms also published “indestructible” books around this same period.

While some might argue that all books should be indestructible, it seems particularly useful in a book for young children. Most students at Colorado College are familiar with cloth or plastic books from their own childhoods, so we’re guessing it won’t take them long to figure out why a publisher might print Mother Goose this way. If they can’t figure it out, I guess the curator could give them a hint by nibbling on the front cover.

May acquisitions


In May of 2014 we acquired lots of new goodies. We purchased Karen Hanmer’s boxed set of binding models, Biblio Tech: Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures.genderzines

Adison Petti of Colorado College’s Collaborative for Community Engagement donated about thirty zines to the CC Zine Collection, most of them concerning social activism and/or transgender experiences.

And our own Amy Brooks, Cataloging Coordinator at Special Collections, donated a 1951 cookbook published by Westinghouse, Sugar an’ Spice and All Things Nice, which is full of excellent recipes and even more excellent illustrations.


stenciled music, a sea monster, and a Harry Potter knockoff

Three exciting new acquisitions in Special Collections:


For our history of the book collection, an example of an unusual printing method for music (or anything): stenciling. Description from Les Enluminures: Antiphonal for the Day Offices, Diurnale Carmelitarum in quo continentur omnia quae cantantur in choro per annum [Carmelite Diurnal Containing Everything Sung in Choir throughout the Year]. In Latin, stenciled manuscript on parchment with musical notation. France, Paris, eighteenth century, ca. 1700-40 (?) (after 1689).

Jumping ahead about three hundred years, we have a diorama-style artists’ book, Bryan Kring’s Sea Monster. From the Abecedarian Gallery description: “When the brass ring is pulled, the waves move, the sailboat rocks, and the arm of the monster rises threateningly.” Yes, it does, and it’s wonderful.

Bryan Kring Sea Monst_opt1

Last and perhaps least, Harry Potter and Leopard Walk Up to Dragon, an unauthorized Harry Potter book in Chinese, with illustrations stolen from Disney and other sources. This will be a useful book for Harry Potter fans and anyone interested in copyright and intellectual property. See this article for more information.


Sand Creek Massacre memoir: “all one sided”

Isaac Clarke memoir

Isaac Clarke memoir

page 191

page 191

In September of 2013, we received an amazing gift from Tom Courtney: a 200-page leather-bound handwritten memoir, dated 1892, by Isaac Clarke, a Union soldier who witnessed the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.

Along with the manuscript, we received a 60-page typed “reconstruction” of the memoir, available in full here. See pages 40-43 of the transcription (179-195 of the original) for Clarke’s memories of Sand Creek.

Please note: the transcription corrects spelling and syntax and frequently paraphrases Clarke’s words. For example, on page 191 of the original (pictured above), Clarke writes:

…I do think it was the most cowardly act I ever saw and this was what is recorded in history as the grate sand creek Battle and it was a grate battle but all one sided for the indens were all kild an to tell the truth they wear a band of friendley indens and they were all masacread by the hundred day men.”

The transcription for this passage reads:

“…It was the most dastardly, cowardly act I ever saw, and this was what is recorded in history as the Great Sand Creek Battle. The truth of the matter was that it was a band of friendly Indians massacred by a regiment of white savages, the hundred day men.”

If possible, therefore, researchers should visit CC Special Collections and consult the original rather than depend solely upon the transcription.

1487 demonology book

fortalitium marginaliapointyphingerCC Special Collections recently purchased a 1487 edition of Alphonso de Spina’s Fortalitium Fidei (Fortress of Faith), written in 1458 and published anonymously multiple times in the late 15th century. The Fortalitium is a pro-Catholic work containing arguments against Muslims, Jews, and other detractors; its final section is on demons and how to fight them. It may be the first printed book to discuss witchcraft, and most certainly played a part in the Spanish Inquisition. The Fortalitium is generally understood to be an anti-Semitic work; some believe that de Spina, a Franciscan priest, converted from Judaism.

chestfaceOur edition (Lyon: Guillaume Balsarin) is in a later binding (probably 19th century) and contains a single woodblock illustration  depicting a demon with horns on its head and a face in its chest, perhaps a cousin to the Blemmyes (Latin Blemmyae), who have faces in their chests and no heads at all. Our copy, formerly in the library of the Convent of St. Francis of Siguenza in Guadalajara, Spain, has unusual marginalia from a former owner or owners, including decorative marks and, on the final page, a sort of doodle of a fuzzy-haired, winged demon.




ADDENDUM: in September of 2013, Penn’s Peter Stallybrass  visited Special Collections and viewed our copy of the Fortalitum. He believes the doodle may depict an 18th-century gravestone similar to those in the photographs below. We concur!


medusa 1797 Sweetsers-medusa  1776 Lydia Bordwell


Coochie-Coochie tenses

bucketlistsSpecial Collections is home to the Colorado College Zine Collection, an eclectic mix of low-price, semi-home-made, small-circulation publications. We recently acquired a complete set of J Diego Frey’s PocketBucket Lists, which are pocket-sized bundles of funny, poem-like lists of such things as “committees to avoid,” “the pillars of civilization,” and, as seen in the image, verb tenses for Coochie-Coochie. Frey also shares these lists online.