Rare book as artifact


This intriguing object was found on our shelves recently by Tabrizia Jones, our rare book processor. Forty-six issues, dating between 1808 and 1853, of the Neuer Bauernkalendar, an Austrian farmer's almanac, were stitched into a canvas wrapper.



Each issue is 32 pages, and is mostly devoted to the hand-colored illustrated calendar showing the saints' days & prognosticating the weather, and a shorter list giving phases of the moon. It's pretty wonderful; lively and information-rich.

Being a city girl, I don't understand why the farmer owner carefully kept the issues from year to year, eventually stitching them into this rough canvas bundle. But I am grateful to whomever it is who preserved this vibrant piece of home book-making for the hundred years between the middle of the 19th century and 1960, when it was given to Special Collections by a regular donor, Harry G. Friedman (1881-1965; PhD, 1908).

Dr. Friedman's Economics thesis was on the taxation of corporations in Massachusetts. From his Wall Street address, he donated a wide variety of items starting in 1952, including Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts, cuneiform tablets, prints, early printed books, many hand-written documents, and at least one curious binding.


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