ORBI 2015-16 Lecture series: Natural History, Print, and Empire

“Disorderly Nature and Biological Diversity: Aristotelian Environmentalism in Historical Perspective”
Malcolm Wilson, Classics, University of Oregon
Wednesday, February 10, 2016  Paulson Reading Room 4:45 pm

“Slavery, Natural History, and the Ecological Imagination.”
Christopher Iannini, English, Rutgers University
Wednesday, March 2, 2016  Paulson Reading Room 4:45 pm

“Alexander von Humboldt and the Crucible of the Tropics.”
Ralph Bauer, English, University of Maryland
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016  Knight Browsing Room, 4:00 pm

[Title TBA: about Cook’s Voyages and the engravings in our collection]
Elizabeth Bohls and Amanda Schmidt, English University of Oregon
April 20th, 2016  Paulson Reading Room 4:45 pm

“Why Write a Book on China?  Athanasius Kircher (1602-80) between Rome and the World”
Paula Findlen, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History, Stanford University
Thursday, May 5th, 2016  Knight Browsing Room, 4:00 pm

“Breakfast” at the Royal Society


Nehemiah Grew, Musaeum Regalis Societatis, or A catalogue & description of the natural and artificial rarities belonging to the Royal Society and preserved at Gresham College (London: Rawlins, 1681). 504.R812

Nehemiah Grew, Musaeum Regalis Societatis, or A catalogue & description of the natural and artificial rarities belonging to the Royal Society and preserved at Gresham College (London: Rawlins, 1681). 504.R812

Breakfast at the Royal Society, June 2, 2015, 9:00 am – 11:00 am, Knight Library, Browsing Room, University of Oregon

Royal Society Mini Exhibit Self-guided Tour, June 2, 2015, 11am -12 pm, Knight Library, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon

The Royal Society (https://royalsociety.org/), located in downtown London near Whitehall, was founded in 1660 and is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. As the publisher of an early scientific journal, an early locus for experiments, and, since its founding, an avid collector of data and speciments, the Royal Society proved foundational for the emergence of modern experimental science. Come have a virtual “breakfast” with the Royal Society in a simulcast event as part of the conference, “Archival Afterlives: Life, Death, and Knowledge-Making in Early Modern British Scientific and Medical Archives” (conference description below).” Coffee, tea and pastries will be served.

Participants will hear the keynote of the conference delivered by Lauren Kassell of Cambridge University (http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/people/kassell/) and will have the opportunity to participate in the Question and Answer period. A prominent historian of science and medicine, Professor Kassell is the leader of a prominent digital humanities project which offers an important Renaissance magical and medical archive to the public (http://www.magicandmedicine.hps.cam.ac.uk/). For her talk (abstract below), she will focus on the astrological collecting of Elias Ashmole (1617-1692), one of the founding members of the Royal Society, as well as of the Oxford Philosophical Society and of the Ashmolean Museum (still in existence in Oxford).

The UO Special Collections and University Archives is blessed with an excellent selection of rare books relating to the founding days of the Royal Society. Thirteen seventeenth and early eighteenth-century works will be on view through a self-guided tour upstairs in Special Collections and University Archives following the event, allowing participants to interact with the Royal Society through both new digital connections as well as through the older connection of print.

Conference Description

Early modern naturalists collected, generated, and shared massive amounts of paper. Inspired by calls for the wholesale reform of natural philosophy and schooled in humanist note-taking practices, they generated correspondence, reading notes (in margins, on scraps, in notebooks), experimental and observational reports, and drafts (rough, partial, fair) of treatises intended for circulation in manuscript or further replication in print. If naturalists claimed all knowledge as their province, natural philosophy was a paper empire. In our own day, naturalists’ materials, ensconced in archives, libraries, and (occasionally) private hands, are now the foundation of a history of science that has taken a material turn towards paper, ink, pen, and filing systems as technologies of communication, information management, and knowledge production. Recently, the creation of such papers, and their originators’ organization of them and intentions for them have received much attention. The lives archives lived after their creators’ deaths have been explored less often. The posthumous fortunes of archives are crucial both to their survival as historical sources today and to their use as scientific sources in the past.

How did (often) disorderly collections of paper come to be “the archives of the Scientific Revolution”? The proposed conference considers the histories of these papers from the early modern past to the digital present, including collections of material initially assembled by Samuel Hartlib, John Ray, Francis Willughby, Isaac Newton, Hans Sloane, Edward Lhwyd, Robert Hooke, and Théodore de Mayerne. The histories unearthed—of wrangling over the control and organization of the papers of dead naturalists (and by extension, of the legacies of the dead and the living), of putting the scraps and half-finished experiments cast off by fertile minds to work, of extending and preserving their legacies in print—serve not only as an index of the cultural position of scientific activity since the early modern period. They also engage us in thinking about genealogies of scientific influence, the material and intellectual resources that had to be deployed to continue the scientific project beyond the life of any one individual, the creation and management of scientific genius as a posthumous project, and scientific activity as a collective endeavor in which scribes, archives and library keepers, editors, digital humanists and naturalists’ surviving friends and family members had a stake.

Keynote: Lauren Kassell, Stars and scribes, astrology and archives

The story of astrology’s heyday in seventeenth century England is well known. Cheap print and political turmoil fuelled its popularity, while Copernicanism, mechanical philosophy and medical protectionism challenged its credibility. Almanacs and handbooks document one part of the story, polemical books and pamphlets the other. I want instead to focuses on astrological charts, kept singly or in series in casebooks or later amassed in collections. Whether forecasting the weather or judging a person’s fortune, astrologers mapped the stars on pieces of paper. Sometimes these were discarded, but often they were kept, retained, and sometimes collected, reused or recalculated. This history of the accumulation and study of astrological archives—called by one astrologer a ‘body of astrology’ and by another ‘astrological experiments’—parallels the rise of natural history, but astrologers faced distinct epistemological and practical challenges, often answered by consulting increasing numbers of records, current and historical. The ultimate astrologer antiquarian was Elias Ashmole (1617-1692), who collected and studied the majority of English astrological records that now survive. This paper considers Ashmole’s pursuits amidst a broader history of astrology and archives.





Rare Book resources for teaching history

In October, we held a workshop and brainstorming session for history faculty interested in integrating rare books into their teaching. Below is a list of call numbers of some of the types of sources we looked at. Please note that these are by no means exhaustive!


Travel and Exploration

RBC E 123.P73 Plautius, Caspar, and Honorius Philoponus. 1621. Nova typis transacta navigatio.
RBC x 910 0r8 Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, [1579 and 1584?]).

RBC x912 5a58 V.2 = Atlas Nouveau: A L’usage de Monseigneur le duc de Bourgogne. Amserdam: Pierre Mortier, 1690-96. (vol. 1 also on shelf)

RBC x919.6 C772 1785 Atlas = Plates to Cook and King’s Voyages. 1785.

RBC x919.6 C772 Atlas = (Maps about Cook’s Voyages?)

RBC x914.7 P177 1794 Atlas = Voyages du Professeur Pallas: Tome Neuvieme (author?). Paris: Maradan, 1794.

RBC x910.4 L312 1798 Atlas = Charts and Plates to La Perouse’s Voyage. 1798.

RBC x912 F496 = Perkins, Jos. A New General Atlas. Philadelphia: Anthony Finley, 1835.


Newspapers and Scientific Periodicals

RBC O52 AT42 = Athenian Gazette: or Casuistical Mercury. Vol. I. London: Raven, 1691.

RBC O52 AT42 = Athenian Gazette: or Casuistical Mercury. Vol. II. London: Raven, 1693.

RBC Q157.A18 V.4 = Opuscula Omnia Actis Eruditorum Lipsiensibus Inserta. Vol. 4. Venetiis: Jo. Baptist ea Pasquali, MDCCXLIII.

RBC xxE187.N38 C74 = Colonial Newspaper Collection: 1760-1800s.

RBC Q111.P45 1731 V.2 = Lowthorp, John, M.A., F.R.S.The Philosophical Transactions and Collections: To the End of the Year MDCC. 4th ed. Vol. 2. London, 1731. (there are further vols. on shelf).

[Plates from Diderot’s Encyclopédie]

RBC AE25.E54 Plates V.1 = Recueil de Planches. Vol. 1. Geneve: Chez Pellet, Imprimeur, MDCC LXXIX.

RBC AE25.E54 Plates V.2 = Recueil de Planches. Vol. 2. Geneve: Chez Pellet, Imprimeur, MDCC LXXIX.

RBC AE25.E54 Plates V.3 = Suite du Recueil de Planches, Sur Les Sciences et les Arts Mechaniques. V. 3. Geneve: Chez Pellet, Imprimeur. MDCC LXXIX


Bibles and Prayer Books

RBC BS308 1770 = Erthyglau

RBC 220.54 B47 = La Sainte Bible. MDCX.

RBC xxBS1 1657 = Novum Tetamentum Graecum, Typist, Johannis Wittigau. MDCLVII, 1657.

RBC 335.H33 P8 1871 = Na Halelu. New York: 1871.

RBC 220.5392 B47 = Biblia. Amsterdam: Haaro Compagnie.

RBC xxBS1 1654 V.1 = Biblia Polyglotta. Ed. Brian Walton. MDCLVII.

RBC BS170 1590 = Biblia.

Burgess 025 = Biblia Latina. 1495.

RBC BS90 1669 = Biblia Sacra. Amstardam: 1669.

RBC BT235.G8 = Gulichii, Abrahami. Librorum Propheticorum: Veteris & Novi Testamenti Compendium et Analysis. Amsterdam: Joannis a Someren, CIC IC LXXXIII.

RBC BT430.C95 V.2 = Oraciones Vespertinas de la Passion y Muerte de Christo S. Nvestro. Vol. 2. 1660.

RBC BS185 1611.L62 = The Bible. London: Robert Barker, 1611.

RBC 220.52B47T = Common Prayer: Holy Bible. London: Robert Barker, 1611.

RBC x220.52 B47c = The Complete Family Bible. Burslem: J. Tregortha.

RBC BS2638. A25 1482 = Evangeliae. 1482.



RBC x940.7 G772 = Fascicvlvs: Rervm Expetendarvm Ac Fugiendarum. 1535.

Burgess 134 Melanchthon, Examen eorvm, qvi avdivntvr anteritvm pvblicae ordinationis, qua commendatur eis ministerium Evangelii. Wittenberg, 1554

RBC 284.1 M48 = Melanchthon, Philip. Eyne Summa der Chriftlichen Leer. Wittenberg: 1524.

Burgess 112 Melanchthon. Der Prophet Daniel

RBC 284.2 C139IE = Norton, Thomas. Calvin’s Institutes. London: Anne Griffin, 1634.

x BR1600.F622. John Foxe, Acts and monuments of the Christian martyrs. [s.1. : s.n., 1632?]

Next ORBI event: Prof. Hester on March 5th!






Hester new date

Titles and call numbers of works shown with Nathalie Hester’s talk:

1. Tassoni, Alessandro. Pensieri diversi di Alessandro Tassoni. Libri Dieci.

Venice: Barezzi, 1686.
RB 854 TI 853d

2. Guicciardini, Francesco. Historia di M. Francesco Giucciardini Gentil’huomo Fiorentino. Venice: Nicolo Bevilaqua, 1565.
RBC DG 539 .G8 1565

3. Ariosto, Ludovico. Orlando Furioso, translated from the Original Ialian by Sr. John Harrington Knt; adorned with sculptures. London, M. Flesher and R. Young, for E.E.R.M.W.L. and D.,P. 1642.
RB 854 Ar40 Ea

4. Ariosto, Ludovico. Orlando Furioso di M. Ludovico Ariosto novissimamente alla sua integrita ridotto & ornato di varie figure. Con alcune stanze del S. Alvigi Gonzaga in lode del medesimo aggiuntovi per ciascun canto alcune allegorie, & nel fine una breve espositione. Venice: Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari, 1546.
RB 854 Ar40 1546.

5. Tasso, Torquato. Gerusalemme liberata. Genova: Girolamo Bartoli, 1590.  [some plates are original plates by Agostino Caracci].
RB 854 TI85gg.

6. Ariosto, Ludovico. Orlando Furioso. Venice: Eredi di Pietro Deuchino, 1577. [miniature]
RBC 854 AR40 1577

7. Pietro Bembo. Gli Asolani. Venice: Aldo Manuzio, 1515.
RB 094M B422.

UO English Department event, March 11


McLeod poster

Note: This is not an ORBI event, but may be of interest to the rare books community.

In addition, Prof. McLeod will also be offering a workshop in Special Collections, based on his exploration of our holdings, scheduled for Thursday, MARCH 13th at 4 pm. We hope to see you there!

Call numbers for maps discussed in Prof. Sayre’s talk

“The Fur Trade and the Exploration of the Northwest Coast: Maps and Narratives from Special Collections”

917.1 D651     Arthur Dobbs, An Account of the Countries Adjoining to Hudson’s Bay (1744)

917.1 M199    Alexander MacKenzie, Voyages from Montreal… 3 copies, all with maps, but one of which has the maps removed and stored in a separate binder.

917.12 H228   Daniel William Harmon’s Journal, 1800-1819.

917.12 M388 Masson, L. R., Les bourgeois de la compagnie du nord-ouest, Québec, 1889-1890. There is one map in vol. 1.

917.3               Jonathan Carver’s Travels  5 copies, various editions, 1781-1796, two of them with maps and illustrations. There is also one in SCA Haycox 1243.

917.3 M837    Jedediah Morse, American Geography, 1794. Has a map of North American that includes Mackenzie’s first voyage, but not his second.

917.8 P635      Zebulon Pike, The expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike to Headwaters of the Mississippi River, through Louisiana Territory, and in New Spain, during the Years 1805-6-7. 2 copies; one a 1810 edition, one 1811. The latter has a map.

917.9 F774      Georg Forster, the German version, in 3 vols., of his account of Capt. Cook’s second journey, published first in English as A Voyage Round the World in his Majesty’s Ship Resolution. 

919.8 H351     Samuel Hearne, A journey from Prince of Wales’s fort in Hudson’s Bay to the Northern Ocean, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772  2 copies.

919.8 M887    Gerard Fridrikh Muller, Voyages et découvertes faites par les Russes le long des côtes de la mer glaciale & sur l’océan oriental, tant vers le Japon que vers l’Amérique : on y a joint L’histoire du fleuve Amur et des pays adjacens, depuis la conquête des Russes : avec la nouvelle carte qui présente ces découvertes & le cours de l’Amur, dressée sur des mémoires authentiques, publiée par l’Académie des sciences de St. Pétersbourg,Amsterdam,  Chez Marc Michel Rey 1766, 2 vols. the second one being the Histoire du fleuve Amur, bound as one.

F 1031.5 W3   Peter Pond. This is a modern small-press edition in a box, with a separate little envelope with maps.