. . . I was hired fresh out of Rare Book School to serve as the special collections librarian for this project. My role is to identify and describe the unique qualities of the rare books and archival materials in the collections that fall under the purview of this CLIR-funded initiative, and to teach the lucky few Goucher students the principles of bibliographical description. This is a conservative business, and we will be taking care to describe printed books and other rare materials according to the principles established by Sir Walter Greg, Fredson Bowers, Philip Gaskell, and the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee. My passion for this work was born in 1994 at the ruined library of the New York Law Institute, where I served my first post in the profession. Here on Broadway across from Trinity Church are the remains of the first law library of the United States – founded in 1828 and still open to subscribers – where I found first editions of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the open stacks, and many books once owned by Chief Justice John Jay. This is beginning to sound a bit too high-minded, and the purpose of this blog is threefold: to provide a forum for us to ask for help, as no one person can master the Principles; to share some of our darker or dorkier passions, be it crushed morocco or tree calf; and to make public some of our more interesting discoveries. For example, we discovered in the James Wilson Bright collection – the first to come under our purview – the only known copy of the “Cat paw Chaucer,” – so named after a cat’s paw prints tracked in brown ink across folios 68 and 69 of Professor Bright’s 1598 Tho. Speght edition of Chaucer’s works. More mysteries and excitements to come!

E. Kenneth Giese
Special Collections Librarian