Library Blog

A Historical Miscellany

Monday, July 10, 2017

Most Thursdays for the last couple of years I've had the pleasure of hunting down a historical nugget for the Library's social media accounts - #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT. Luckily, with an in-house collection of 300,000 volumes accumulated over 263 years, it doesn't take too much hunting to find some history in the stacks. Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from the past. Click on any image for a larger version.

1734: Huguenots, coffee, and the finer points of chess, in this 1902 reprint of an apparently famous previously missing manuscript.

Rou Manuscript on Chess

1775: Most of 60 years after they happened, Benjamin Bussey Thatcher interviews a living legend about those turbulent Revolutionary War days.

1770s_Boston_Tea_Party

1789: Things went awry for Captain Bligh in the South Pacific. Here's his side of the story, in a turn-of-the-20th-century edition.

The Mutiny on Board HMS Bounty

1795: When the English-speaking world hasn't yet figured out how it's spelling the name of the recently late king of France. Who read this book hot off the press? - find out here in City Readers.

Reign of Lewis the Sixteenth

1813: Hebrides tourism for Johnson and Boswell - PLUS Authentick Distresses and Escape.

Boswell on the Hebrides

1821: From our French closed-stack holdings, a remembrance and clarification about Bastille Day, with thirty-odd years of hindsight. Notice the pink print at right - that's printers waste, leftover paper sewn into an original book binding to keep the book together and help it open easily. Printers used whatever scraps were kicking around the shop for the purpose; this seems to be some sort of index from another printing job, unrelated to Linguet's memoirs. (Thanks to Conservator Christina Amato for the info about printers waste!)

Jour de la Bastille

1833: Victor Hugo's early play about Lucrezia Borgia - apparently quite successful onstage and in print, since this looks to be the third edition.

Hugo's Lucrece Borgia

1865: The appropriately named Lieutenant Sabre, Union Army, details a brutal time in the Confederate South as a prisoner of war, with pictures.

Nineteenth Months a Prisoner of War

 Watch our blog for more Historical Miscellany later this summer!