More volumes of the Transactions from the Calvary bookshop.

I’ve been puzzling through the copies of the Transactions at he University of Chicago Library Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center and in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.

The new university President bought the S. Calvary and Company’s entire book collection to establish the library. Hugo Bloch at K.F. Koehler’s Antiquarium acted as an agent for the university.

Above you can see the manuscript catalog entry for the Philosophical Transactions that Bloch wrote for the periodicals he sent to Chicago from Berlin. (source: University of Chicago. Library. Office of the Director. Zella Allen Dixson. Records, Box 5, Folder 10, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library) The catalog arrived with the first batch of volumes, many now in the research collection. A second batch arrived 23 Nov 1893, as the the Calvary bookshop tried to fulfill their promise of completing the periodical sets. The volumes in the second batch ended up split between two present-day collections.

The earlier volumes are in the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center.

Early volumes on a cart

The later volumes are in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.

Later volumes on a cart

Unlike the volumes in the first batch from the Calvary bookshop, these seem to have come from several sources so lack the penciled numbers on the title pages and other distinguishing marks. If we put these volumes in a table with their evidence like we did the previous batch’s volumes some patterns emerge.

Vol. 97 (1807) 99 (1809) 100 (1810) 102 (1812) 104 (1814) 105 (1815)
Binding: Modern dark blue cloth (mdbc) mdbc mdbc mdbc mdbc mdbc
On spine, gilt: rule, title, volume, date, rule (rtvdr) rtvdr rtvdr rtvdr rtvdr rtvdr
Binding stamp: Newberry 8/64 (N) N N N N N
Bookplate: institution white-line (iw) iw iw iw iw iw
Accession: 198034 98008 198037 198039 198041 198042
On t.p: Calvary (ink, upper left), 1897 (pencil, lower right)
On t.p.: ‘1897’ (penciled, lower right) On t.p + 2: 25954 (pencil bottom)

Vol. 106 (1816) 107 (1817) 170 (1879) 171 (1880) 172 (1881) 173 (1882)
Binding: mdbc mdbc modern strong blue binding boxed, modern black cloth (mbc), b, strong yellowish brown contemporary paneled calf with modern spine modern deep blue cloth (mdebc)
rebound 31 Jan – 11 April, 1956
On spine: rtvdr rtvdr title, volume, year, call number (tvyc) tvyc lettering piece with title and year, volume, call number tvyc
Binding stamp: N N
Bookplate: iw iw iw Berlin Collection (BC) institutional BC
Accession: 198043 198044 98026 98027 198109 98028
On t.p.: ‘1897 | 384’ (pencil, lower right) ‘1897 | 384’ (pencil, lower right)
On t.p. + 2: 1923 (pencil, bottom) ‘349210’ (ballpoint, bottom) ‘165199’ (stamped) ‘71397’ (stamped, light greenish blue), ‘339986’ (stamped, black)

Vol. 174 (1883) 175 (1884) 176 (1885) 177 (1886) 178 (1887)
Binding: modern blackish blue cloth (mbbc) modern black binding (mbb) modern moderate bluish green cloth mbc mdebc
rebound 15 Jan 1948 16 Aug 1964 4 – 8 Aug 1954, 9 Oct 1954, 5–28 April 1955
On spine: five panels: blank, title, volume, year, call number (5btvyc) rule, title, volume, year, call number, rule (rtvycr) title, volume, year, call number [drawn] rtvycr tvyc
Bookplate: BC BC iw institutional BC
Accession: 98029 98030 98031 98032 98033
On t.p.: ‘1897 | 384’ (pencil, lower right) ‘1897 | 384’ (penciled, lower right) ‘1897 | 384’ (penciled, lower right) ‘1897 | 384’
On t.p. + 2: ‘168460’ (stamped, light greenish blue) ‘174298’ (stamped, light greenish blue) ‘235531’ (stamped, light greenish blue) ’332007’ (ballpoint, bottom)

Vol. 179 A (1888) 179 B (1888) 180 (1889) 181 A–B (1890)
Binding: mbbc modern strong brown cloth boxed, repaired 19c Ger. binding typical of previous batch (19cG) 19cG
On spine: 5btvyc Royal Society, title, series, volume, year, Crerar library heavily repaired with tape (hrt) hrt
Bookplate: BC Crerar BC BC with Dewey number
Accession: 98034 340907 98035
On t.p.: ‘1897 | 384’ (penciled, lower right) On t.p.: ‘L062.76 | 17’ (penciled, bottom middle), ‘173607’ (stamped, dark greenish blue) over ‘27/353’ ‘1897 | 384’ (penciled, lower right)
On t.p. + 2: ‘151739’ (stamped, dark greenish blue) ‘69061’ (stamped, light greenish blue)

The accession numbers beginning with 198034 were purchased from another source and added to the accession record in 1904. Consistently, none of them have the bookplates, pencil markings, or bindings we’ve seen on books from the Calvary bookshop.

The “Newberry” marking apparently indicates that these volumes had been transferred to the Newberry Library and back again, possibly merely to be rebound. The only volume that seems to have been part of the second Calvary batch that bears that marking is volume 99 from 1809. It’s binding, however, matches the other volumes that were transferred to the Newberry and back. Note that the penciled notation typical of the Calvary copies, “1897 | 384”, is cropped in the Newberry copy.

The presence of a Berlin Collection bookplate seems to consistently indicate items from the Calvary bookshop, but the absence of such a bookplate does not demonstrate that the book was not from that shop.

Volume 172 seems to be from a wholly different source. It’s binding is unlike any other and its accession number is outside of the other ranges. Volume 179, series B, comes from the Crerar Library so was added to the university’s collection after accession numbers had ceased to be used.

The cloth used for rebinding in the 1940s to the 1960s seems to have been anywhere between moderate bluish green to blackish blue or black. Since the records of rebinding come from the library cards at the back, there may be unrecorded rebinding and it’s possible that a variety of cloths were used in each era. The letterforms stamped on the spine are also wildly inconsistent between bindings. Perhaps a variety of binderies were contracted and each had their own style?

The volumes, however, clearly come from a variety of sources, not just the Calvary bookshop. While the accession books record these books and do not record them being withdrawn, this does not demonstrate that they are from the Calvary bookshop. It seems probable that as new collections were added, the librarians replaced worn-out copies with those in better shape.

The current run of the Transactions, thus, outlines the history of the library’s acquisition of materials. I propose this hypothesis:

The history of a library’s copies of the Philosophical Transactions coincides with the history of the library.