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Harvard College Library—Report of Nancy M. Cline

Acquisitions of Note

Acquisitions of Note


Significant purchases were made in FY 2007 by selectors across HCL:

Loeb Music Library acquired two autograph scores of works by Igor Stravinsky; a major work of Karl Szymanowski annotated by the composer; an autograph musical score of the opera “Hiarne” by the 19th-century composer Ingeborg von Bronsart, popular during her lifetime but to date unpublished; a substantial group of contracts for jazz musicians from an important club in Philadelphia; and an outstanding aggregation of 18th- and early 19th-century first and early editions of music by classical composers.

The Harvard Map Collection acquired the Map Postcard Collection (ca. 10,000 postcards from all over the world), a unique copper printing plate for US Coast Survey chart of Hyannis (1861), and several 19th-century New England town plans that will be digitized.

The collection Conquistadors: The Struggle for Colonial Power in Latin America, 1492–1825 has been added to our colonial history titles, an area of significant interest to teaching faculty.

The Harvard Theatre Collection purchased the exceptionally large and complete archive of the well-known Broadway designers William and Jean Eckart, whose many shows included the original productions of Mame, Fiorello, Once Upon a Mattress, L’il Abner, and Damn Yankees. Other notable acquisitions included a remarkable collection of pantomime costume designs by “Dykwynkyn” (Richard Wynne Keene, 1809–1887), whose works seldom appear on the market; original designs by Josef Platzer (1751–1806) for early productions in Prague (ca. 1780) of operas by Mozart; original designs by Christian Bérard (1902–1949) for the Massine ballet of the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique; a large collection of printed material related to London’s Vauxhall Gardens in the 18th and 19th centuries, to join other extensive holdings; and the papers of the award-winning stage and screen actress Teresa Wright (1918–2005).

The exceptional Samuel Johnson Collection in Houghton Library grew with several additions, including Johnson’s own copy of Joseph Trapp’s Prælectiones poeticæ (London, 1722); Hester Thrale Piozzi’s copy of Thomas Mortimer’s The British Plutarch (Perth, 1795); the first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s rarest work, The Female Reader (London, 1789); three volumes containing a collection of manuscript glees and catches (1784–1811) composed by Robert Cooke (1768–1814), which includes a four-part elegy “On the Death of Dr. Samuel Johnson”; a rare first edition of poems by Salieri’s librettist, Giambattista Casti (1724–1803); and a copy of Blaise Pascal’s Pensées…sur la religion (Amsterdam, 1701) that Samuel Johnson presented to James Boswell in 1779.

Janus Films, a major distributor of classic European and Asian art cinema in the United States, has donated to the Harvard Film Archive (HFA) the entire contents of two film libraries that Janus inherited from the pioneering and now-defunct film distributors Brandon and Fleetwood films. There are approximately 1,300 items in the collection that constitute an extremely large collection of 35 mm prints. These materials will expand the HFA’s already strong holdings in European art film and will add important titles from historically weak areas in the HFA’s collection, such as Japanese cinema.

The Fine Arts Library (FAL) and Loeb Music Library jointly purchased a facsimile of Fra Angelico’s Il Messale del Beato Angelico for use by a professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture; the Byzantine facsimile, Salterio Chludov, was purchased by the FAL at the request of another faculty member; and the FAL purchased the facsimile Menologion Bizantino de Oxford, which will directly support the research of a graduate student.

The FAL added to its holding of the facsimiles produced from the collection of the National Palace Museum in Tapei by acquiring Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the National Palace Museum, Taipei. The National Palace Museum is considered the world’s largest and most important single collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy.

FAL acquired more Josephine Powell photographs, primarily of Afghanistan, including 715 prints, 2,490 negatives, 6,093 contact prints, and 147 color transparencies, thus completing the transfer of Powell’s professional oeuvre to Harvard.

The FAL and the Middle East Division negotiated a major purchase of microfiche publications that reproduce important illuminated Islamic scientific manuscripts from the Mingana Collection and from the Arabic manuscript collection of the National and University Library in Jerusalem.