Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Books, Paper, Watermarks

The Washington Post had a recent article about librarians and rare-book people working together in a summer seminar at the University of Virginia to understand books as artifacts. There was a photo of a couple of them looking at a page of a book with light under the page so they could see watermarks.

I took out a couple of eighteenth-century books (part of that collection salvaged at library sales—Princeton and Vanderbilt primarily) and took a look at the paper. Here's what I saw:

A Summary of a History of the Rise and Development of Religious Ideas. Jena (the university town in the same principality as Weimar)

The Life, Fate, and Persecutions of the Prior Hartungus
Secret Philosophy and Character of Monks and Their Institution


* said...

have you read these, actually? they look so cryptic. secret philosophy is always interesting. just looked at my old books too, but no watermarks...

Scott Abbott said...

anti-secret philosophy, actually.

I have read parts of each of them. They are manifestations of the Enlightenment surge against superstition, Jesuits meddling with Protestant countries, and religion as anything other than a human development to meet human needs.

A quick look at the Berlinische Monatsschrift (now available online) will fill out the picture.