Kierkegaard Sammelbände: A Cataloging Problem, Solved

At the Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s monthly No. 44 Society meetings, it is a tradition to share a book from the RBML vault that is related to the historical events of the day.  On May 5th, a discovery was made while retrieving a first edition of Soren Kierkegaard’s Forord (1844) for the anniversary of the Danish philosopher’s birth in 1813.

Although this copy of Forord was cataloged as a single item, the volume contained three other first editions from Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous “first authorship” period, including Af en endnu levendes papirer (1838), Gjentagelsen: et forsøg i den experimenterende psychologi (1843) and Philosophiske smuler, eller, En smule philosophi (1844).

This discovery brings up an important problem facing our online catalog users.  When card catalog records were converted to electronic records in past years, volumes containing more than one work tended to only have online catalog access to the first work in that volume.  These collections of separately published works that have been bound together at a later time are known by the German term Sammelbände (sg. Sammelband) or more colloquially as “bound-withs.”  Whenever our rare book catalogers come across these copies in our vault, we create new cataloging records with access to all the works in the volume.

The early works of Kierkegaard were printed in small, non-commercial runs by Luno Biancos Bogtrykkeri and published by the firm of C.A. Reitzel.  It is impressive then that the University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript Library should have such a large collection of Kierkegaard’s works in first editions.  As the books were being cataloged, it emerged that most, if not all, of our rare Kierkegaard materials came from an unidentified book dealer or individual named Chislett and were purchased by the library on 22 November 1951.  One of our more impressive holdings is the first edition of Af en endnu levendes papirer (From the papers of one still living), which is a review of Hans Christian Anderson’s novel, Kun en spillemand (Only a fiddler) and is Kierkegaard’s first published work.  The library also holds a copy of Kierkegaard’s thesis, Om begrebet ironi: med stadigt hensyn til Socrates (1841), which was later translated as The concept of irony, with continual reference to SocratesAD

To the End of the World and Back (Post-1650 MS 334)

Under the direction of Captain Sir William Parry, the HMS Hecla and HMS Griper left port on 11 May 1819 destined for the Arctic. Their objective was to continue the search for the Northwest Passage and to pursue the Longitude prize by surpassing the record for a sailing vessel traveling the farthest north (previously set by whalers/explorers William Scoresby, Sr. & Jr. in 1806 at 81 30′ N). Parry’s arctic voyage of 1819-1820 has been labeled the most successful arctic voyage of the 19th century.

The journey, chronicled in Parry’s Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific (London, 1821; shelfmark: Q. 919.8 P24J), sailed to Greenland and to the mouth of Lancaster Sound. The expedition easily passed through the sound (previously thought to be impassable by the 1818 expedition of Captain John Ross) and progressed towards the Arctic Ocean. The expedition finally reached 113 46′ 43.5″ and were impeded by ice, and so the decision was made to winter on Melville Island. This was the first British naval expedition of the 19th century to winter in Arctic conditions.

 During the winter on Melville Island the crew entertained themselves with theatrical shows, hunting, schooling, and with the circulation of a weekly journal called The North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle. The goal of the Chronicle was to “enliven the tedious and inactive months of winter” which would be “wholly dependent on the gentlemen of the expedition”, and was first proposed on 20 October 1819 to be edited by Captain Edward Sabine. The Chronicle was circulated in manuscript form between all of the expedition’s crew.


Post-1650 MS 0334 is the personal copy of Charles Palmer, Midshipman on the H.M.S. Hecla. Mr. Palmer is mentioned many times throughout Sabine’s printed version of the Chronicle as an entertainer and singer, who was a source of good humor for his expedition mates. MS 334 is comprised of 54 large leaves (31 cm) written in two columns and composed as a contemporary newspaper. This manuscript and the printed version (shelfmark: Rare Books Q. 052 NG) are accompanied by a short letter written to Mr. Palmer’s sister, Judith Maria Palmer. DG

Histoire des Ballons from the Library of Amelia Earhart (Q. 629.13322 T52h)

 This two-volume set detailing the history of ballooning in Europe from 1783-1890 was written by balloonist Gaston Tissandier. Tissandier was a prolific author of books on balloons and patented the method of application of the electric motor in balloon flight. His work followed that of Henri Giffard who invented the first engine-powered airship. Although Tissandier primarily wrote on ballooning (including a bibliography) he had many other interests and wrote books on meteorology, chemistry, engraving and photography.
 The library’s copy (Q.629.13322 T52h) of this set has bookplates indicating that it is from the library of Amelia Earhart and is accompanied by a note describing its acquisition:

“…The work was published in 1890 and was a part of the library of the late Amelia Earhart. Miss Earhart (Mrs. Putnam) it will be recalled was a noted aviator who lost her life in a flight over the Southern Pacific Ocean, her library was recently placed on sale and the University was able to purchase this work.”


It is oddly coincidental that this work comes from the library of Amelia Earhart, since Tissandier dedicated it to those balloonists who “sacrificed their lives for the progress of science”:

“A la mémoire des martyrs de l’Aéronautique qui ont sacrifié leur vie pour le progrès de la science depuis Pilâtre de Rozier et Romain jusqu’a Crocé-Spinelli et Sivel.”

Those “Aéronautes” mentioned in the dedication are two who died in an attempted flight across the English Channel in 1785 (just 2 years after the first recorded manned flight of a hot air balloon) and two others who died during a high altitude flight with the author in 1875, which is described in Volume II. Tissandier was greatly affected by the death of his comrades and wrote Les Martyrs de la Science in 1879.

This book also mentions the use of hot-air balloons during the siege of Paris in 1870, over the course of which, according to Tissandier, 64 balloons crossed enemy lines carrying 91 passengers, 363 messenger pigeons and 5000 kilograms of mail. A more descriptive account can be found in Tissandier’s En Ballon! Pendant le Siege de Paris Souvenirs d’un Aeronaute (Paris: E. Dentu, 1871). MS

Hans Christian Andersen’s Presentation Copy to a Young Neighbor (IUA15161)

The Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) gained international fame for his fairy tales.  In fact, at the time of this blog posting, Edward Erikson’s famed statue of the Little Mermaid, which is permanently located in Copenhagen Harbor, is on display in Shanghai, China for EXPO 2010.  It is timely that the Rare Book & Manuscript Library has recently cataloged a copy of Andersen’s tales that he inscribed to a neighbor’s daughter.

IUA15161, the library’s copy of Andersen’s Femten eventyr og historier (Fifteen Tales and Stories), is inscribed to Mary Bruun on the front wrapper.  Mary Bruun was born in 1863 and was the daughter of Andersen’s Odense neighbor, Georg Lassen Bruun.  Andersen’s young neighbor shows up several times in the bibliographical and biographical record of Hans Christian Andersen’s life.

In addition to the library’s copy, there is record of Andersen inscribing another book for Mary Bruun.  In May 1866, he inscribed a copy of Billedbog uden billeder (A Picture-book Without Pictures, also known as What the Moon Saw) to her.  His inscription, “Den lille Mary Bruun, et Vesitkort fra H. C. Andersen,” can be roughly translated as: ”[To] Little Mary Bruun, a visiting card from Hans Christian Andersen.”

Mary Bruun also appears in Andersen’s diary at least once.  In an entry for 3 January 1872, Andersen writes of seeing young Mary at the theatre, attending a show with her father for the first time: ”I Theatret den lille Mary Bruun første Gang, (hun var med sin Fader min Nabo i A Portas Gaard); hun nikkede saa glad og lykkelig” (Dagbøger IX, p. 192-3).

For more examples of Andersen’s dedication copies see Arne and Mads Portman. Omkring en Samling H. C. Andersen Dedikationer. (København: Victor Nielsen Tryk, 1967). The Portmans’ work includes almost 100 examples of Andersen’s presentation inscriptions.  Andersen’s diary is published in 12 volumes as Dagbøger 1825-1875 (København: Gad, 1971-77). AD

Moon Type Books

At the early age of four Dr. William Moon (1818-1894) lost sight in one eye due to scarlet fever and by 1839, he became totally blind. Moon quickly devoted his attention to learning the various types of type for the blind and eventually began teaching other blind pupils of various ages, which led to the formation of the Asylum for the Blind, Easton Road, Brighton. Observing that his pupils had a difficult time committing many passages to long term memory, Moon desired to develop a new method of reading that was based loosely around the Roman alphabet. Moon developed his new Moon Type and published his scheme in 1845. Moon type was very successful, especially with readers who had lost their sight later in life after learning how to read. Throughout his career, Moon published more than 300 works in Moon type in over 400 different languages and dialects and set up Home Teaching Societies and Free Lending Libraries across the United Kingdom. It is estimated that his embossing stereotype plates produced over 200,000 imprints.

During our cataloging of the backlog in the Rare Books & Manuscript library, we stumbled upon a box of materials for the blind that had not been touched since the late 1980’s. This box included four volumes in Moon type, Shakespeare’s Henry V printed in Boston line type [IUQ04524], and a fragmented run of the Michigan Herald for the Blind [IUQ04525], donated to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library by Professor Joseph Larsen in 1987.


IUQ04520 is Moon’s “First illustrated reader” published in the late 19th century. This reader credited on the title page as “Owing to the extensive use of the Elementary School Series, published by Messr. Daldy, Isbister & Co.,” and includes eight embossed plates of images that would allow readers to ‘see’ illustrations of the topic being discussed in the text. This is an early use of the tactile images that would later become popular in works for the blind, especially children’s works. IUQ04521 is Moon’s adaptation of T. Nelson and Sons’ Royal school primer printed in the late 19th century. IUQ04522 is the first volume of a 10 volume English dictionary that Moon produced during the last years of his life. This volume contains definitions for words A-Base. IUQ04523 is a unique find and is not listed in the bibliography found in Rutherfurd’s William Moon and his work for the blind (1898). It is an illustrated history of the United States based on the popular work by John Fiske (1894). This work provides illustrations and embossed maps with captions for the reader.

These books are the only works in Moon type cataloged at the University of Illinois, and provide very unique examples of a rarely-used reading system for the blind for students on the Urbana-Champaign campus. DG


Alexander Pope Presentation Copies

While cataloging the Nickell Collection of 18th-century English Literature, a presentation copy from Alexander Pope to William Oliver has been discovered.  Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is best known for his poems, which include The Rape of the Lock (1712) and An Essay on Man (1733-4).  But Pope was also a prolific letter writer due to a feeling of alienation that stemmed from his affliction with a form of tuberculosis which attacked his bones and left him severely hunchbacked and in chronic pain throughout his life.  This presentation copy inscribed to his friend William Oliver, a two-volume collection of Pope’s letters, further emphasizes the privileged place of letters in Pope’s literary output.

William Oliver (1695-1764) met Alexander Pope and Bishop William Warburton through Ralph Allen, a mutual friend.  The friendship between Oliver and Pope is evidenced through the fact that Pope later designed a memorial for Oliver’s parents and supplied the verse for it.  William Oliver was a prominent Bath physician and inventor of the Bath Oliver, a biscuit which is still being made and consumed in Great Britain today.

The two volumes of Pope’s letters are a large paper issue bound in full calf.  Volume I [Q. Nickell B. P825p11737d] bears the inscription: “The Gift of the Author as a Mark of the Friendship with which he is pleased to honour W: Oliver 1739”. Volume II [Q. Nickell B. P825p1w1741] bears the inscription: “Ex dono amicipium Auctoris Gulielmo Oliveri” and has Oliver’s bookplate, done by J. Skinner, a known Bath engraver of bookplates.


The Rare Book and Manuscript Library has a significant collection of Alexander Pope material acquired through the purchases of the collections of Lloyd F. Nickell, an alumnus of the University of Illinois, and George Sherburn, Harvard professor and noted Alexander Pope scholar. AD