Category Archives: new acquisitions

never before seen photo: trail to Helen Hunt Jackson’s grave

We are fairly certain this is the first online appearance of a photograph labeled “Trail to H.H. Grave,” numbered 642, Hook Photo. The date is likely 1890.

Writer and activist Helen Hunt Jackson (known in her lifetime as H.H., Helen Hunt, or Helen Jackson) died in 1885. She was buried in South Cheyenne Canyon, but so many people visited the site that her grave was moved to Evergreen Cemetery in 1891. The address for W.E. Hook on the back of photo is 509 N Tejon, Colorado Springs, Colorado, an address first used in 1890.

The photograph is a recent gift of Alan Campbell, former Colorado College Psychology staff. As far as we can tell, no other institution holds a print of this image.

Citation: Colorado Room Photo File for Helen Hunt Jackson, Colorado College Special Collections.

Manuscript Atlas of Korea, China, and Japan

CC History Professor Bryant T. “Tip” Ragan donated this amazing book to Special Collections in December of 2017:


The title is something like Manuscript Atlas of Korea, China, and Japan or Tae Choson Chido (Great Korean Map). It has wood covers, thirteen hand-drawn, hand-colored maps each covering two pages, and twelve additional pages of manuscript text, all on thick rice paper. It was probably made ca. 1800.

Tip writes: When I was little, my family lived in Seoul.  My father purchased this atlas at that time, in about 1970. He was intrigued because of the myths incorporated into the manuscript, as well as the beauty of the book. I wanted to give the book to an institution in which it would be used, rather than have it sit at home and gather dust. At first, I thought that it would make most sense to give it to a major research library. But I realized that I wanted, instead, to give it to CC, the institution that is dearest to my heart. I knew that it would be cared for by our great team in Special Collections, and I also liked the idea that generations of our students, especially those in Korean history and history of the book courses, would be able to study it.

Similar atlases are at the Library of Congress (see lower left) and for sale at the Paulus Swaen Auction and Gallery and Arader Galleries.

We look forward to finding out more about this book in the weeks to come. Thank you, Tip, for the gift!!

New Dante editions

In the spring of 2017, Special Collections acquired five editions of Dante’s Commedia for use alongside the 1491, 1536, and 1822 editions (and others) already in our teaching collection.

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Above, images from a facsimile of the 14th century “Dante Gradenighiano,” named for Giacomo Gradenigo, the man who curated, copied, and commented on this version of Dante’s Commedia. Gradenigo’s name appears in an acrostic on the front pastedown of the book (not shown).


The 1568 edition, edited by Bernardino Daniello and published in Venice by Pietro da Fino, has an inverted wedding cake illustration of Hell prefiguring the one in our 1822 edition.


The 1575 edition, published in Lyon by Guglielmo Rouillio, has the commentary of Alessandro Vellutello.


The 1596 edition, published in Venice by Bernardo Sessa, is edited by Francesco Sansovino and contains two full commentaries: both Alessandro Vellutello’s and Christopher Landino’s.


The 1928 Nonesuch edition, published in London, was limited to 1475 copies and has text in Italian and English. It contains 42 illustrations after those of Sandro Botticelli (that is, the illustrations are based on Botticelli’s but are not perfect reproductions). 

Also available in both Special Collections and the general library collection: comic book versions by Hunt Emerson, Christos Gage, Seymour Chwast, and Stefan Petrucha.



Aldrovandi’s illustrated monsters


In August of 2016, a generous anonymous donor provided CC Special Collections with $18,000 for this important text on monsters:

Ulysse Aldrovandi (1522-1605). Monstrorum Historia (Bologna: Typis Nicolai Tebaldini, 1642).

aldrovandibinding IMG_4156 IMG_4160 IMG_4173 IMG_4181 IMG_4184

We purchased the book from Paul Dowling’s Maryland bookshop, Liber Antiquus. After a telephone conversation invoking Liceti, Piso, and Pokemon, Paul sent us a couple of snapshots from the Aldrovandi Studio in Bologna, showing bones and woodblocks displayed together — a sort of 17th century Pokedex, if you will (those of you who are playing Pokemon Go probably will; the rest of you probably will not).

aldrovandi studio blocks aldrovandi studio bones

I told our anonymous donor that I couldn’t wait to show the book to students because it was going to blow their minds.

I was right. Listen to the reaction of the first students at CC to see the book, a new student tour on August 10, 2016:

Interest in monsters goes back a long way and shows no sign of stopping. See Allison Meier’s A Visual History of Society’s Monsters for a nice overview. Her article includes a marvelous animated gif of the Aldrovandi monsters made by Kurosh ValaNejad, a film student at the University of Southern California (low-res version below, better version at Meier link):


Unfortunately, no English translation of this text exists. A project for CC Latin students and faculty, perhaps? It would probably only take about twenty years to complete…



CC acquires its 8th incunable

modern-day binding on 1494 Ovid

modern-day binding on 1494 Ovid

"Yummy!" -- 18th century bookworms

“Yummy!” — 18th century bookworms

"Look here!" -- fancily-sleeved pointy finger

“Look here!” — fancily-sleeved pointy finger







It’s not often that an affordable, teachable incunable comes available on the antiquarian book market, so we snapped this one up!

Ovid. De arte amandi et de remedio amoris cum comento [Ars Amatoria]. Venice : Johannes Tacuinus, de Tridino, 1494.

Ovid’s erotic love poems are sure to be a hit with CC’s Latin classes, and this particular copy, with its annotations and bookworm damage, will be of interest to book studies scholars.

Here’s a free online English translation of the text and a list of all of CC’s incunabula and early printed books.


announcing a $75,000 gift!

In December of 2015, just before we left for winter break, the Buddy Taub Foundation (Dennis and Jill Roach, directors) donated $75,000 to Colorado College Special Collections. The foundation slated the money for a particular purchase: a small collection of extremely rare Bauhaus materials.

bauhaus1The collection is made up of a handful of rather amazing items. First, the three-page Programm des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar, German architect Walter Gropius’s 1919 manifesto for the Bauhaus movement. It is illustrated with the famous “Kathedrale” woodcut by Lyonel Feininger (image at right). This particular copy was a gift from Gropius to his student and colleague Chester Nagel. Fewer than ten copies of this fragile document are known to have survived.

Second, a test print of the “Kathedrale” woodcut, somewhat smaller than the print used for the cover of the Programm. This, too, was a gift from Gropius to Nagel. There’s a similar test print at the Museum of Modern Art.

bauhaus4Third, a copy of Satzungen Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, the 1922 handbook for Weimar Bauhaus school, printed soon after the school’s adoption of Gropius’s maxim “Kunst und Technik – eine neue Einheit” (“Art and technology, a new unity”). One of only three known copies in the world.

Fourth, a pair of original Gropius designs in pencil. One is the name of his daughter, “Manon Gropius,” in shaded block letters; the other is a series of architectural sketches.

(Side note: printer of the Press at Colorado College Aaron Cohick tells us of an interesting Colorado/Bauhaus connection: Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer moved to Aspen after he left Germany; he had solo shows at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in 1947 and 1962.)

The Buddy Taub Foundation’s mission is to make funds available to museums and research libraries for the purchase of desirable materials they would not otherwise be able to afford. The Foundation hand-picks the institutions and items for purchase. Past recipients include the Pierpont Morgan, Huntington, and Lilly libraries, among others. Colorado College is thrilled to be in such illustrious company!

Émilie du Châtelet Institutions de Physique

After spending the incredible $10,000 gift from the Woman’s Educational Society, we here at Special Collections decided we weren’t quite finished acquiring important books related to women’s history.

ChateletfullMembers of the faculty of CC’s Feminist and Gender Studies program had directed us to Duke University’s Project Vox, which in turn called our attention to Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet (1706-1749), an important and influential scientist. We were able to purchase two editions of Émilie du Châtelet’s Institutions de Physique: the first edition, in French, from 1740, which was published anonymously; and an Italian translation, with attribution, published in 1743.

If you’re not fluent in French or Italian but you’d like to know more about du Châtelet, you might try David Bodanis’s 2006 book Passionate Minds, which is subtitled “the great love affair of the Enlightenment, featuring the scientist Emilie Du Châtelet, the poet Voltaire, sword fights, book burnings, assorted kings, seditious verse, and the birth of the modern world.” It’s available at the CC library.

W.E.S. gift (part 5)

This is the fifth and final report on how we spent the $10,000 gift we received from the Woman’s Educational Society:

beadle_35009_cvr1lIrwin P. Beadle.  Beadle’s Dime Book of Etiquette: A Practical Guide to Good Breeding. New York: Beadle & Adams, [ca. 1890]. Revised and enlarged edition. A manual for behaving properly in society, useful for understanding the history of gender. We learn that “some men have a mania for Greek and Latin quotations; this is a peculiarity to be avoided. Nothing is more wearisome than pedantry.” Ladies, on the other hand, should “always maintain a dignity of character, and never condescend to trifle” in conversation.

robinson_820_1lRobinson, William Davis. Memoirs of the Mexican Revolution: Including a Narrative of the Expedition of General Xavier Mina. Philadelphia: Lydia R. Bailey, 1820. First edition, edges untrimmed. Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869) was the first woman printer in Philadelphia, inheriting her husband’s floundering press in 1808. (She was followed soon after by Jane Aitken (1810) and Ann Cochran (1812). Under Bailey’s management, the press thrived for five decades. At its peak, it employed forty workers and was one of the largest printing establishments in the city. (For more information, see Loena M. Hudak’s Early American Women Printers and Publishers, Scarecrow Press, 1978.)

gilmanCharlotte Perkins Gilman. Concerning Children. Boston: Small, Maynard, 1900. This is the fourth book by Gilman, best known for her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and her novel Herland. In it, she argues that mothers and children would both benefit from group childcare centers. The decorative binding, signed “MLP,” is by Marion Louise Peabody.



W.E.S. gift (part 4)

We continue our report on how we spent the $10,000 gift we received from the Woman’s Educational Society, celebrating several more works of literature by women authors.

alcottLouisa May Alcott. Jo’s Boys. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886. First edition, first state (text block measures 1 1/16 inches), in brown cloth. Following up on Little Women and Little Men, this is Alcott’s final book featuring Jo March.austen_33732_spn1l

Jane Austen. Persuasion. Westport, Connecticut: The Limited Editions Club, 1977. With an introduction by Louis Auchincloss and illustrations by Tony Buonpastore. Designed by Robert L. Dothard and printed at the Stinehour Press. Copy 1009 of 1600 signed by the artist.

dickinsonEmily Dickinson. Poems: Second Series. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1892. First Edition, early printing. (Special Collections owns the preeminent collection of the papers of Dickinson’s childhood friend, the writer Helen Hunt Jackson. Until now, however, we have never owned any 19th century editions of Dickinson’s collections of poetry.)

wharton_30719_cvr1lEdith Wharton. The Age of Innocence. Avon, Connecticut: The Limited Editions Club, 1973. With an introduction by R.W.B. Lewis and illustrations by Lawrence Beall Smith.  Designed by Philip Grushkin and printed at the Press of the Archer. Copy 389 of 2000 signed by the artist.


Laura Ingalls Wilder. On the Banks of Plum Creek. Illustrated by Helen Sewell and Mildred Boyle. New York: Harper & Brothers, c. 1937. Ninth edition, in dust jacket.


W.E.S. gift (part 3)

We continue our report on how we spent the $10,000 gift we received from the Woman’s Educational Society, celebrating several works of literature by women authors. (More in the next post.)

bronteCharlotte Brontë (publishing as Currer Bell). Shirley. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1849. First edition. “Triple decker” (three volume set), beautifully re-bound in half leather.

hooksbell hooks. And There We Wept. Los Angeles: Published by Gloria Watkins / Golemics, 1978. This unpaginated poetry chapbook is bell hooks’s first book. Her next book, Ain’t I a Woman, addresses problems of race and class within feminism.

udolpho1Ann Radcliffe. The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Romance. London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1794. Second edition, in four volumes. (This second edition appeared the same year as the first.) Bound in half-calf over marbled boards. Radcliffe is widely considered to be the mother of the Gothic novel, and Jane Austen references Udolpho repeatedly in her Gothic satire, Northanger Abbey.colorwalker

Alice Walker. The Color Purple. Illustrated by Brad Teare. Norwalk, Connecticut: Easton Press, 2000. Originally published in 1982, Walker’s novel has been made into a film, a Broadway musical, and this “collector’s edition,” part of the subscription series “Great Books of the 20th Century.” We look forward to comparing this edition (green with gilt) with the first edition (in jacket).








The Moss Rose. New York: Leavitt & Allen, [ca. 1855]. Gift book containing Mary Shelley’s “Sisters of Albano” along with stories and poems by many other women authors. Decorative binding, all edges gilt.