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Digital collection of annotated books extended

A belated announcement:

The PUDL’s digitization of annotated printed books in Firestone Library continues, with the addition of seven additional titles, including Gabriel Harvey’s annotated copies of Machiavelli’s Arte of Warre; Buchanan’s De Maria Scotorum regina and his Detectioun of the duinges of Marie Quene of Scottes; Smith’s De recta & emendata linguæ Anglicæ scriptione, dialogus; Freigius’s Paratitla … juris civilis; Magnus Olaus’s Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus; and Melanchthon’s Selectarum declamationum.

Research Report on Philip the Fair by John Benton for Joseph Strayer

In 1956, John Benton *59 (GS) prepared a research report for  Joseph Strayer, the distinguished medieval historian who was chair of Princeton’s history department for many years. Benton was Strayer’s research assistant, and the report is a book-length typescript of 301 pages, dated 1956. There are only two copies in the world: the original at Princeton, and  a carbon copy at the Getty.

Additional Mesoamerican manuscripts now available in the Princeton Digital Library

A miscellany of items digitized from Princeton University Library’s three collections of Mesoamerican manuscripts: Garrett-Gates Mesoamerican Manuscripts Collection (C0744), Garrett Collection of Mesoamerican Manuscripts (C0744), and Princeton Collection of Mesoamerican Manuscripts (C0940). The Garrett-Gates and Garrett collections form part of the larger Robert Garrett Collection (C0744).

Heike monogatari published in the PUDL

One of the finest manuscripts in the East Asian Library’s Rare Book Collection is a 30-volume edition of the Japanese classic, the Heike monogatari. Bound in green and gold-figured silk brocade flecked with gold foil, the large, traditionally bound volumes of colored Japanese paper with worked-in designs contain several hundred brilliantly colored hand-painted illustrations in reds, greens, blues, whites, purples and gold—characteristics it shares with other so-called Nara ehon books. The volumes lack details on the artists or previous owners, and how they came to Princeton is unknown, but it is likely these volumes were produced in the early Edo period (17th c.), perhaps as a New Year’s gift or as part of a wedding trousseau, for a feudal lord or wealthy merchant. The volumes have not been subjected to heavy use and are in pristine condition.

The text is a fictionalized account based on historical events of the 12th c., and describes the rivalry between the Taira (Heike) and Minamoto (Genji) clans. It is permeated with a Buddhist sense of the impermanence of all things. Various different versions were composed from the 13th century onwards, and these were frequently narrated or chanted by itinerant Heike professionals, often blind singers. (A longer introduction to this work by Martin Collcutt is available in The Gest Library Journal IV:1 (Spring 1991), 9-26.)

Portion of PUL’s Arabic Movie Posters and Lobby Cards Collection now available in the PUDL

The Middle Eastern Film Posters Digitization Initiative at PUL has published 768 lobby cards in the PUDL.

Princeton University Library’s Arabic Movie Posters and Lobby Cards Collection was acquired in Lebanon in 2008 and is comprised of 1,748 posters and 768 lobby cards. Egyptian posters predominate with 1,474, reflecting the unchallenged prominence of Egypt in the production of Arabic feature films. Some 150 posters are for Lebanese films, 113 Syrian and 11 Iraqi. The purpose of the posters was to advertize coming attractions, and they represent films produced from 1935 to 2007. Most of the posters are on standard Arab single-sheet size paper. However, many are on non-standard sheets. Similarly, there are posters that are composed on multiple sheets, including some on twenty-four sheets meant for display on the side of multi-story buildings. The lobbies cards, also for coming attractions and meant for display in theater lobbies, are composed of multiple still shots taken on movie sets and affixed to standard–sized cardboard. They represent 172 films produced in Egypt (145), Lebanon (13) and Syria (14) from 1964 to 2007.

PUL intends to publish digital versions of the entire collection.

Alfonso Chacón’s history of the wars against the Dacians published in the PUDL

The triumphal column erected by the Roman senate in 113 A.D. to celebrate the victories of the emperor Trajan (died 117) over the Dacians is one of the best-preserved monuments of Imperial Rome. The first publication to include a full series of illustrations of the sculpted reliefs was Alfonso Chacón’s history of the wars against the Dacians. In 1569, the Brescian painter Girolamo Muziano (1532–92) had been granted permission to publish prints of the frieze, which are thought to have been based on the drawings of Jacopo Ripanda (fl. ca. 1500–16), one of the first artists to make a close study of the column. Alfonso Chacón, a Spanish Dominican scholar in Rome, dedicated his book to King Philip II of Spain, the self-proclaimed champion of the Church of Rome, and the ruler of a vast empire. Philip would have been flattered by the analogy to the emperor Trajan (also Spanish-born), whose victories over the enemies of the empire were celebrated by the column.

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Collection of Japanese ehon (picture books) now in the PUDL

From the 17th through 19th century the ehon or “picture book” was one of Japan’s most important art forms. It was in these heavily illustrated volumes that some of the most famous woodblock print artists of the day began their careers, experimenting with the compositions, color, and printing techniques that we find in their later Ukiyo-e masterpieces. Unfortunately, because of this pedigree, many ehon have been unscrupulously cut so that dealers could reap greater profits selling the pages as individual prints. The ones that remain are extremely rare.

Marquand Library is fortunate to have a small, but growing, collection of Japanese “picture books” and has begun a digitization project that will allow students and scholars unprecedented access to these beautiful, but often fragile, books online. With the expense of color printing, one rarely finds more than a single image from an ehon in books or serials, and by digitizing complete volumes, the library is offering a rich and unique resource to people working in a wide range of disciplines.

Browse the collection: Japanese ehon

Mesoamerican manuscript added to the PUDL

A high-resolution digital facsimile of the Book of the Chilam Balam of Kaua (ca 1824) has been added to the PUDL: This facsimile joins a reproduction of the Chilam Balam de Chumayel ( in a growing miscellany of items digitized from Princeton University Library’s three collections of Mesoamerican manuscripts: Garrett-Gates Mesoamerican Manuscripts Collection (C0744), Garrett Collection of Mesoamerican Manuscripts (C0744), and Princeton Collection of Mesoamerican Manuscripts (C0940). The Garrett-Gates and Garrett collections form part of the larger Robert Garrett Collection (C0744).

Engineering in the Modern World: in the PUDL

Beginning with the industrial revolution in Great Britain, engineering objects and systems have shaped our modern world. The works included in this collection support the teaching and research conducted by students enrolled in the Princeton University course entitled "Engineering in the Modern World." In addition to exploring the impact of engineering on shaping the modern world, the course also puts emphasis on the scientific, political, ethical, and aesthetic aspects in the evolution of engineering over the past two centuries. The collection highlights selected structural engineering works: the St. Louis Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge and a wide range of structures by Thomas Telford. Along with many other innovations, these provide a base for studying how engineering advances helped shape the modern society and culture.

Piranesi’s Hadrian’s Villa in the PUDL

Princeton’s copy of Pianta delle fabriche esistenti nella Villa Adriana by Piranesi, Francesco, 1756-1810 is now on line in the PUDL. Its six plates were designed to form a single plan.