This beautiful German calendar, with a binding that includes leaves tied with twine along the spine, is highlighted by a woodcut vignette of Christopher Columbus, looking out a window with his navigational instruments, on its cover. Calendars inside include black and red symbols for tracking the planets, the moon, the zodiac, and weather conditions, and auspicious times for planting, chopping timber, cutting hair, even trimming fingernails. It also includes saints’ days, astrological information, and a calendar of market days for a variety of towns and villages.
You might ask: what does any of this have to do with Columbus?
The calendar also includes essays on the discovery and conquest of America and descriptions of the New World, complete with observations on the nature, character, food, and religion of its inhabitants.
We at the Newberry hope you enjoy our final 2013 “From the Stacks” post, and wish you a very Happy New Year.