Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giants Lately Discovered...

A title page for "Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack."The fascination with finding natural wonders in the New World lingered long after the initial rush of first encounters, and exotic "discoveries" continued to catch the public's attention. The cover of this 1768 Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack (London, 1768), depicts the "Giants lately discovered in South America."  The figure of the European sailor is said to be 5 foot 11 and 1/2 inches, and is offering the South American giants a biscuit.

The way this almanac came to our collections was something of a natural wonder in and of itself.  We are on a quest to get everything in our collections cataloged so people know what we have and can find it. Last week, we found this piece in a batch of material that had been in the library for 13 years, but never cataloged.  With it was a 1997 letter from a Boston book dealer that stated "33 years ago" then head of Special Collections, Betty Sherrard, had requested the book.  The dealer had just located a copy and offered it to us because of our past interest. We snapped it up, and now, 46 years later, we are pleased to report that Sherrard's wish has been fulfilled: the almanac is fully cataloged and ready for use.  A giant lately discovered...

Ask for Rare F73.3 B53 1767.  It was worth the wait!

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