Friday, February 18, 2011

Tiny books

While Fales has a lot of oversized items in the collection, we also have some tiny ones. The item below is possibly the smallest - an 1843 "History of the Bible", printed in Cooperstown, NY by H. & E. Phinney.

This book, known as a "Thumb Bible", is 49mm in height, bound in leather, with a cross-stitched spine to hold the boards.

The text, which truncates the Bible story into 192 pages of 12 lines of text, includes woodcuts of  the heads of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job, Aaron, Micah, Joshua, Samson, Ahab, Jonah, Daniel, Elijah, Nicodemus, Pontius Pilate, and King David. Also included are woodcuts of various 'action' scenes: Moses 'receiving' the Law, Bears tearing the Children, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel in the Lions Den and The Crucifixion.  

Thumb Bibles were primarily designed for children who could not yet read the full Biblical text themselves, and were usually decorated, as this is, with images. The first known example was printed in London in 1601, and they also appeared in France, Holland and Germany as well as England and the United States.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We're excited about the Museum of the Moving Image's current series TV Party: A Panorama of Public Access Television in New York City, which features a large amount of material preserved by Fales from our collections. In the museum's words, "The compilation programs span four decades of must-see fringe television, most of which has never been shown publicly since appearing on cable. Laugh, cry, and scratch your head at natural-born performers, uncensored callers, celebrity cameos, rare musical discoveries, raucous parodies, and unclassifiable acts" Check out a sneak peek here:

Friday, February 11, 2011

De Partibus Aedium

Fales recently acquired the 4th Parma edition of Francisci Marii Grapaldi's "De Partibus Aedium". This edition is the first with the vocabulary, and an important edition of this famous work on domestic economy. Containing a glossary of terms used in buidling, gardening and various domestic crafts, it also relates to architecture and gastronomy, describing how to furnish and run a country house and includes descriptions of plants that may be found in the garden, fish in the fishpond and wines in the cellar.

The above woodcut portrait of the author, holding a pen and knife, appears on the recto of the first leaf.

Printed the year after Grapaldi's death, this edition is the last from the original publisher. The colophon indicates the printers as Saldo & Ugoleto, for Quintiani, 1516.

Woodcut crible initials appear throughout the text, indicating either new headings or, for the smaller initials, subheadings within descriptions.

The index to the main work contains 3000 entries, arranged in alphabetical order, although the foliation is in some cases confusing due to misprinting of leaf numbers.

One of the most interesting things about our copy is the marginalia that appears within it, in two differing hands. The one shown above seems to be a contemporary hand, and indicates the type of use that this book was put to by previous owners.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We are all thrilled about our recent acquisition of this broadside handbill, designed by Tristan Tzara for an evening of Dada performances in Paris, 1920.