Category Archives: new acquisitions

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.

Dorny and Padgett pyramid book

padgett 1padgett 2padgett 3





In May of 2013 we purchased a copy of Petite Ode à Jean François Champollion by Ron Padgett and Bertrand Dorny. We have number 8 of 24 copies signed by the author and the artist. Each copy is somewhat different, with hand-glued collages throughout. Both the original text and the collage materials (maps, etc.) are in French. The book can be stored flat or displayed in a pyramid shape. Our particular copy comes with typed instructions from Padgett himself on how to configure the pyramid. (It isn’t difficult to configure, but those of us who find spatial relations challenging — this Curator included — will be glad to have the instructions.)

We are the second U.S. library (with Yale) and the third world-wide (with the Bibliothèque Nationale) to own a copy of this book. We look forward to sharing it with students and scholars.

Two new 16th century books

In the spring of 2013, Special Collections purchased two 16th century German books: Johann Schradin’s Expostulation (Augsburg, 1546) and David Chytraeus’s Historia der Augspurgischen Confession (Rostock, 1576).

schraderAccording to Blackwell Books in London (the dealer who sold us these books), the Expostulation is a poem about Ariovistus, Arminius, Barbarossa, and Georg von Frundsberg visiting the author in a dream. Perhaps of interest to book studies folks, two of its pages didn’t print properly and someone added the missing text in manuscript. This image shows the manuscript text on the verso of leaf 9.

chytraeuschytraeus claspsThe Chytraeus has a contemporary pigskin binding with working clasps. A history of the Augsburg Confession, the text was translated into many languages and frequently reprinted after it first appeared in 1576. Our copy has marginalia from at least one previous owner and a rebacked spine.

A looooooooooong Merwin poem


Our anonymous donor surprised us this month with a gift of the Ninja Press edition of W.S. Merwin’s The Real World of Manuel Córdova (1995). When stretched out, this accordion-style production measures fifteen feet long. Here’s the dealer’s description.

We look forward to sharing all fifteen feet with book arts and poetry students and other researchers in the coming years, perhaps alongside our similarly-stretchable two editions of Carlos Oquendo de Amat’s Five Meters of Poems (one from Ugly Duckling Presse and one from Turkey Press).

Our anonymous donor strikes again!

With a money gift from a very kind anonymous donor, Special Collections has just acquired our fifth incunable! (Incunabula are European printed materials from pre-1501. A list of our incunabula and early printed books is here.)

This new one is a 1492 edition of Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ, printed by Anton Koberger in Nuremberg. It’s smallish, less than six inches tall and comfortable in the hands.

Owners and censors have been “refreshing” it in various ways over its five century life. Marginalia has been excised, leaves have been replaced, words have been struck out, owners have placed their signatures and stamps and bookplates in it. We know from its scent that at least one previous owner was a smoker. We know from the dealer that the clasp has been replaced. We look forward to scholars working with it and finding out much, much more.

So, on this day-before-Thanksgiving, we say: thank you, anonymous donor!  Thank you, Medieval Books, for the generous discount you provided in support of Colorado College’s minor in book studies! And thank you, book people everywhere, for loving books and caring for them so that they last and last.