Saturday, July 2, 2016

New Albani manuscripts on Vatican Library website



Recently launched by the Archivio Albani is a collaborative project Disiecta membra: tracing the history of the Albani Libraries. This endeavor is supported by the Biblioteca e Musei Oliveriani and, by the ongoing support of Count Clement Castelbarco Albani to the operations of the Archivio Albani. CUA's Rare Books and Special Collections department hopes to contribute in a small way to this exciting initiative. As the locus of the largest surviving collection of Albani books, chiefly from the Urbino library,  the department has been involved with the study of Albani provenance questions for at least 6 decades and holds in the collection several manuscript catalogs describing the contents of the Urbino library.

Crucial to any study of the Albani libraries, scattered by wars, looting and auctions, are three important manuscript catalogs owned by the Vatican Library, recently digitized, and now publicly available on their website. By entering the shelf mark number in the search box, researchers may retrieve Vat. lat. 10476, 10477 or 10485.  These manuscripts, (mentioned by Bernard Peebles in his 1961 article The "Bibliotheca Albana Urbinas" as represented in the Library of the Catholic University of America) have long been considered invaluable to scholars doing research on the Albani books located at Catholic University.  The splendid digital images of the Vatican volumes already reveal binding characteristics very similar to books held at CUA, and access to the contents of these catalogs will undoubtedly shed light on some of the material here in Washington and its complicated provenance.

We are grateful to Dr. Paolo Vian, Director of the Manuscript Department of the Vatican Library for expediting the digitization of these volumes, as well as to Dr. Brunella Paolini (Biblioteca Oliveriana) and Dr. Antonio Becchi (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte) for their hard work in this and other aspects of the Disiecta membra project.

I cugini americani







Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Dog and the Tortoise

In honor of the 215th birthday of John Henry Newman we offer this newspaper clipping recently found preserved in a biography of the Cardinal. We will let our readers surmise the occasion which prompted an (as yet) unidentified American newspaper to publish this article around February 22, 1896. It might have been meant to coincide with Newman's birthday as well as with the publication of a work (possibly the Life of Manning) by Arthur Wollaston Hutton (1848-1912), the sometime librarian, sometime Anglican, sometime Catholic and sometime agnostic whose recollections of the relationship between Manning and Newman are discussed here. Ecclesiastical zoologists might wish to consider which of these English cardinals was the dog and which the tortoise.




For readers uninterested in the internal politics of the 19th- century English Catholic Church, the verso of this clipping
may prove more stimulating. It contains the listing of steamer arrivals and departures for East Coast ports, circa 22 February.  Anyone who can identify the newspaper from which this clipping was taken will be rewarded with our fulsome thanks and public acclaim in this blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Malta Milestone for CUA's Rare Books






Rare Books this week finalized an agreement with the Malta Study Center of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) which will allow wider access to Catholic University's manuscripts and rare books relating to the island nation of Malta and the history of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Through a collaborative effort, the manuscript holdings at CUA will be photographed by staff of the HMML and, after cataloging, will be accessible to scholars everywhere via the HMML portal. Eventually some of CUA's Malta-related rare books will also be digitally available. This marks the first formal partnership between the two institutions, although HMML's recent exhibition, Knights, Memory, and the Siege of 1565, included four items from Catholic University.  The Hill Museum and Manuscript Library has a proud tradition of microfilming and digitizing at-risk manuscripts in foreign countries and the agreement with Rare Books is their first domestic collaboration.

 Andrew Abela, Provost of CUA and Daniel Gullo, Curator of the Malta Study Center share a lighter moment after signing the digitization agreement. Behind them are Charles Farrugia, Archivist of Malta, Joseph Micallef, KMOb, and Christopher Grech, Associate Professor of Architecture at CUA.
 

Digitization is expected to commence in the spring of 2016. Two of the CUA manuscripts will require substantial conservation work before they can be safely photographed.  Saliba MS 38 and MS 53 both suffer from the effects of the iron-gall ink with which they were written.  The stabilization of these two manuscripts will cost approximately $25,000 -- work that is essential to prevent more loss of paper and information. 

Most manuscripts from the Middle Ages until the 19th century were produced with home-made inks of varying chemical compositions, some more corrosive than others. An example from MS 38 is seen below. The ink has eaten through the paper in a process which brings together inherent vice and data-rot to produce irreversible loss of both text and paper. Further physical disintegration can only be prevented by expert conservators whose painstaking application of Japanese tissue to damaged areas allows the paper to be handled and read without risking further damage. Treatment of the underlying chemical problem is far more complicated. 

Spanish manuscript of 1778 showing paper dropout from ink corrosion



The Carol Saliba collection, containing material on the 18th- and early 19th-century history of the Knights of Malta, includes several manuscripts which have already been stabilized to prevent further loss of the paper substrate. Below are before-and-after images of a badly damaged example, from the 1807 letter of bailli La Tour du Pin, concerning finances and negotiations between members of the recently displaced Order and the King of Sweden for a new home base on Gotland.
MS 26 before treatment showing losses



After treatment,stabilized with Berlin tissue














Future posts will highlight other items from the Saliba collection and from the earlier gift of Foster Stearns, the New Hampshire congressman whose gift of books and manuscripts was the seed of the present Malta Collection. In closing, we express warm thanks to Daniel Gullo for his imagination in conceiving this partnership and for having the industry and patience to bring it about.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The End of the Beginning: CUA Rare Books completes cataloging of the Miscellanea Relativa alla Bolla Unigenitus

After nearly three years, Rare Books has added records to WorldCat for close to 1,000 pamphlets once owned by members of the Albani family of Rome and Urbino. This represents some 10% of the Clementine Library held at the Catholic University of America. Devoted almost entirely to Jansenism and to the reception of Pope Clement's bull Unigenitus, the recently cataloged Miscellanea series, assembled by the Pope's family, reflects complex politico-ecclesiastical struggles, wider social issues, and French printing practices at various levels of compositorial competency.

As a final offering from the last volume of this collection we post here the poorly printed, severely cropped, and otherwise unrecorded form letter which the Bishop of Nevers sent to his clergy in the spring of 1714. The recto of this single sheet would have had the addressee's name entered by hand in the blank (Monsieur le ______). Our copy remains blank and was never sent. On the verso is the required affirmation accepting Unigenitus, to be signed and dated by the priest, and containing a declaration stating that he has promulgated the bull from the pulpit of his parish church.

The Bishop of Nevers, Edouard Bargedé, requests  his priests' signature on this Act of Acceptance.

Verso of letter with spaces for the priest to sign and date. 

The Albani Miscellanea and its provenance evidence are the subject of a recent article by Lenore Rouse, Les Miscellanea relativa alla bolla Unigenitus et les documents en rapport de la Bibliothèque Albani, in Chroniques de Port-Royal, 2014. Completion of the Miscellanea cataloging project by no means exhausts the extensive Clementine Jansenist and anti-Jansenist material in that collection; perhaps an equal number of pamphlets and monographs on this topic remain to be identified and explored as our cataloging progresses though adjacent volumes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jansenists, Printing, and Censorship: Unigenitus 1713-2013

Decretum. Feria iv. die 17. Februarii 1717 : Sacra Congregatio eminentissimorum, & reverendissimorum DD. S.R.E. cardinalium in totâ republicâ Christianâ generalium inquisitorum habita in conventu Sanctae Mariae super Minervam : attento, quod nuper non sine magno christifidelium scandalo in lucem prodierint quidam libelli, epistolae, aliaque folia gallico idiomate conscripta. Lisbon: Manescal, 1717.


Portuguese broadside reprinting the Roman edition of the Inquisition’s decree condemning eight French publications from late 1716 related to the bull Unigenitus. The expedited notice of prohibited books in broadside format generally preceded their listing in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
Clementine MRBU 1:20




Arrest de la cour du Parlement, qui supprime un imprimé, intitulé : Canonisatio B. Vincentii à Paulo. Parisiis, e typis Petri Simon, MDCCXXXVII. Du 4. janvier 1738. Paris: Pierre Simon, 1738.
 
This arrêt published by the royal printer suppresses the printed copy of Pope Clement XII’s bull canonizing Saint Vincent de Paul. Vincent’s saintliness was not in dispute, but Parlement objected to the Pope’s failure to request its approval of the canonization in accordance with ancient Gallican customs.

The printer, Pierre Simon, might have printed this arrêt with mixed emotions, having but recently printed the Canonisatio which it suppresses. While no copy of the Canonisatio has been located, suggesting effective government censorship, this arrêt obviously survived (ironically, in the collection of the Albani) despite the Pope’s threatened excommunication for anyone who read or distributed it.
Clementine MRBU 33:18

 The Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques

Ide de l'Ordre Observ pour la Distribution des Nouvelles Eclesiastique. [France?   between 1730 and 1744?]

The Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques is arguably the most successful underground periodical in history. Published in an edition of 4,000 to 6,000 weekly copies from 1728 until 1803, it evaded governmental attempts to locate and arrest the pro-Jansenist editors and authors, even after a copy was left brazenly in the carriage of the Parisian chief of police. This organizational chart explains the editors' ability to elude the authorities. Individuals are connected in a chain which protects their identity from all but one or two other members, making denunciation to the police impossible. As the caption explains, "each one of the 24 persons ... knows only the person to whom he must report and those who report directly to him." Clementine MRBU 4




Arrest de la Cour de Parlement, qui condamne plusieurs feüilles, intitulées: Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques, ou Memoires, pour servir à l'Histoire de la Constitution, &c. à être lacerées & brûlées par l'executeur de la haute justice. Du 9. Fevrier 1731. Paris : Pierre Simon, 1731

The 1731 writ of Parlement ordering that copies of the Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques be shredded and burned by the public executioner. The pamphlet concludes with a notarized statement that the sentence had been carried out, but this proved to be one of many fruitless attempts to crack down on the most important propaganda weapon in the Jansenist arsenal.
Clementine MRBU 10:40



Nouvelles Eclesiastiques [sic] ou Memoires Pour Servir a l’Histoire de la Constitution Unigenitus . [France?] 1739.

As this engraved title page indicates, the Nouvelles was conceived specifically as a Jansenist/appellant response to the bull Unigenitus. It is not hard to see what the authorities found objectionable in this militantly Jansenist journal which was aimed at influencing nascent public opinion. 

Engraved title pages like this, together with text, hammered home the message that the Constitution perverted the Gospel and infringed traditional liberties of the Gallican church by repressing the Jansenists. The engraver here conveys wordlessly the contrast between the Jansenist (on left) and orthodox Catholic position (on right). From the shading of the books on the Catholic side, the bat-winged putti and allusion to the refusal of sacraments, the Constitutionnaires are depicted in a bad light, while on the left all is sweetness and vrit, as the clergy of Sens (seated in orderly rows) appeal against Archbishop Languet’s catechism, the appellants' angels beaming with divine inspiration validated by tongues of fire above their heads. 
Clementine 273.7.N734