Recent Acquisitions

Our active collecting activities each year bring to the Newberry far more books, manuscripts, and maps than can be highlighted or even listed here. From among the arrivals of recent years, we present a selection that exemplifies our collecting today.

Abraham Balmes
Wing ZP 535 .B633
Abraham Balmes (ca. 1440-1553) was a celebrated translator into Latin of Arabic scientific and philosophical works that had been transmitted to Western Europe only in Hebrew versions. An important figure of the Hebrew Renaissance (the subject of a major Newberry exhibition in 1997), Balmes addressed this grammar to a gentile readership, and it subsequently exercised great influence on Christian Hebraists. Daniel Bomberg, the German gentile, who printed this volume, published the first edition of the Talmud and also in 1523 a concordance to the Hebrew Bible, the first Biblical concordance in...
Gryffith Williams
Case BV 4500 .W65 1624
This volume, one of six North American copies, is a collection of sermons preached before King James I. While Gryffith Williams’ work stressed the importance of sabbath observance, he argued that Puritan scruples over ceremonies gave them no excuse for separation from the Anglican Church. Williams, of Welsh birth, preached at St. Paul’s Cathedral and was domestic chaplain to Philip Herbert, earl of Montgomery (and later Pembroke), to whose children he served as tutor. The Seven Golden Candlesticks is dedicated to the Herbert family. Williams was on the cusp of being named tutor to...
Niccolò Machiavelli
Vault Case DG 737 .A2 M34 1532
The first edition of the official history of Florence compiled by the most important political thinker of the Italian Renaissance. In manuscript, the Historie was presented in 1525 to Giulio de' Medici (Pope Clement VII), who had commissioned it as cardinal and ruler of Florence. This copy contains a rare variant in its colophon.
Justin Martyr
Wing folio ZP 539 .E8033
This first edition of the Works in the original Greek of the third-century Church father Justin Martyr, based on manuscripts of the French Royal Library, is bound along with the first edition of the Latin translation (Paris, 1554) by Joachim Perion. Begun by Robert Estienne and completed by his younger brother, Charles Estienne, this edition of the Greek is set in the first “grec du roi,” a type font designed a decade earlier by Charles Garamond. The Newberry with one of the best collections of Estienne imprints in the Western Hemisphere has numerous examples of Estienne’s Greek type...
John Rogers
Wing ZP 883 .F52
This scarce pamphlet was until 1932 in the library of Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a good example of the type of reading material that inspired those enrolled as seminarians. Lane Seminary was prominently involved in social reform movements like temperance and Sabbath legislation, but it is known primarily for the “debates” held there in 1834 that influenced the nation’s thinking about slavery. Georgetown, Kentucky is 40 miles south of Lane; this is the only nineteenth-century Georgetown imprint at the Newberry.
Sebastian Münster
Wing ZP 538 .P41
The Book of Tobit belongs to the Apocrypha, i.e. those Biblical books for which no Hebrew text exists but which formed part of the canonical Old Testament in Greek. Two separate Greek versions of Tobit survive. Sebastian Münster, originally trained in Biblical languages as a Franciscan friar and later a leading Protestant, took one of them, retranslated it into Latin and simultaneously created a new Hebrew version as a veritable recreation of the Hebrew text that had been lost. This second edition is extremely rare, and only two other copies are known. One is in a German...
Desiderius Erasmus
Case PA 8514 .I6 1761
During the Enlightenment, Erasmus was often presented as a forward-looking reformist thinker, and his works, especially those critical of the established Church of Rome, received many editions in the vernacular and in portable formats designed for easy reading. This diglot Basel edition of The Praise of Folly, in both Italian and French, was probably intended for the North Italian market, where this satire was prohibited by church authorities. The Newberry has an important collection of prohibited and expurgated printed books.
Symphorien Champier
VAULT Case BS2485 .C34 1519
An important and little-studied document in the debate among humanists regarding the identity of Mary Magdalene. Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples initiated this discussion and for which the was excommunicated. He remained, however, a Catholic. Extremely rare, only about six copies known, none in North America.
Vault folio Ruggles 459
A very rare anti-Jackson journal produced by "Tar Feathers & Company." The Library has also acquired three issues of The friend of reform and corruption's adversary (Cincinnati, 1828), a rare pro Andrew Jackson campaign periodical.
Jorge Luis Borges
Wing folio ZP 994 .T23
An important Argentinian artist's book, containing 6 etchings by Leopoldo Presas. Only 3 copies recorded in American libraries. The Newberry emphasizes the acquisition of examples of twentieth century fine printing and book illustration from Latin America.