Finding aids for the following research collections are now available on the Goucher College Special Collections & Archives website.

Alberta H. and Henry G. Burke papers and Jane Austen research collection, 1811-1996

The Collection consists of personal correspondence and non-published research materials related to the Burke’s book collection documenting Jane Austen.

Hans and Frances Mitchell Froelicher papers, 1790-1994

A variety of records documenting the personal and professional lives of Hans and Frances Mitchell Froelicher, including German language letters and manuscripts relating to the Froelicher family, certificates and memorabilia, especially of Goucher College, published works and related notes, diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks, especially of the laying of Froelicher Hall at Goucher College.

Goucher College Class of 1903 round robin letters, 1907-1938

The Round Robin Letters cover a wide variety of topics, including family life, war and war efforts, suffrage, and travel.

H.L. and Sara Haardt Mencken collection, 1886-1951

The bulk of the H.L. and Sara Haardt Mencken Collection materials includes correspondence between Sara Haardt and Mencken on their relationship and Mencken’s opinions on writing, the film industry, Baltimore, and national and international events of the 1920s and 1930s. The Collection also includes all of Sara’s published and unpublished works, other materials related to her career, and correspondence with other prominent writers.

Florence B. Seibert papers, 1897-1991

The Papers include biographical material, scrapbooks, personal correspondence, writings and publications, and awards related to the life of Florence B. Seibert, a researcher whose work focused on the identification and treatment of tuberculosis.

Dorothy Stimson papers, 1890-1988

The Papers include biographical information, correspondence, publications and writings, awards and degrees, diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs relating to the life and work of Dorothy Stimson, an historian in the field of the history of science, and president of the History of Science Society from 1953-1957.

Lilian Welsh papers, 1894-1954

The Papers include biographical materials, professional papers, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the life and work of Lilian Welsh, professor of anatomy, physiology, hygeine, and physical training at Goucher College, 1894-1924.

(Index of Finding Aids)


Over the summer, we were presented with a large task: to move the library collections to a brand new building. This past week, we celebrated the opening of the library which now resides in the Goucher Athenaeum. The grand opening also served as the kick-off for the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of Goucher College.

We begin moving the books from the Julia Rogers Library to the Athenaeum.

We begin moving the books from the Julia Rogers Library to the Athenaeum.

The shelves were taken out of the former Rare Book Room to be used as a Pilates studio.
The shelves were taken out of the former Rare Book Room to be used as a Pilates studio.
A small section of books was symbolically passed by community members from the Julia Rogers Library to the Goucher Athenaeum.
A small section of books was symbolically passed by community members from the Julia Rogers Library to the Goucher Athenaeum.
College President Sandy Ungar moderates a panel in the new forum about "The College Library in a Changing World."
College President Sandy Ungar moderates a panel in the new forum about “The College Library in a Changing World.”
What's a celebration without cake?
What’s a celebration without cake?
Our new reading room allows researchers to spread out and take advantage of our collections.
Our new reading room allows researchers to spread out and take advantage of our collections.
We now have a prominent place to display exhibits, like this one on the treasures of our collections!
We now have a prominent place to display exhibits, like this one on the treasures of our collections!
The books now reside in our new compact shelving.
The books now reside in our new compact shelving.

 Please come visit us in our new space!


Everybody knows that books are bad for the environment.  All that paper is made from trees, and deforestation is contributing to the loss of habitat and biodiversity.

Would it surprise you to know that little over 150 years ago, paper was actually eco-savvy?  Or moreover, that it was a means of recycling old undergarments and rags?  Prior to the mid-19th century, paper was made from leftover or discarded cotton and linen.  This is what’s known as “rag paper.”

During the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when newspapers and pamphlets really came into vogue, there was an international shortage in the rag supply.  Certain countries even issued sanctions against the exporting of rags, and rag smugglers started up a new black market!

Continued shortages caused paper manufacturers to seek alternative fibers in the 18th century, and it wasn’t until the 1840’s that experiments in using ground-wood pulp began. But once we figured out how to process wood fibers into paper pulp, boy, did that solve the problem!  Trees grow everywhere.

If you’d like to see an early example of wood pulp paper, stop by the upcoming exhibit of Highlights from the James Wilson Bright Collection, opening September 9th in the Goucher College Athenaeum.  More details to follow!

When I think of banned books, the last title that usually comes to mind is the Bible. Nonetheless, Willem Vorsterman’s 1528 Bible, printed in Dutch, was banned by an edict of Emperor Charles V in June of 1546.

Despite obtaining a privilege to print from both the city of Antwerp and the Holy Roman Emperor, as well as consent from the local inquisitor, the vernacular Bible’s success and popularity with Protestants led to its eventual ban.

Complete copies are rare; Goucher’s has all but the final leaf.

Among Professor Bright’s books catalogued last week was a small octavo, the first edition of Robert Venables The Experienc’d Angler; or Angling Improv’d, printed for Richard Marriot in 1662. It was neatly rebound sometime in the 1820’s in black morocco, and the binder took care to re-affix two distinctive bookplates upon the marbled front pastedown and free endpaper. I’m guessing 1820s because the binder had neatly sewn in two gatherings of mostly blank leaves on wove paper with an 1822 watermark. This was done to pad the front and back of the text block, and to accommodate an unidentified bibliographer’s manuscript notes. These were written in library hand on the last two leaves of the first “preliminary” gathering and a conjugate leaf inserted between the contents and the first page of the work (i.e., between leaves [A8] and B1); and on a replacement leaf conjugate with the second gathering of blanks at the back of the book giving in manuscript facsimile the text of missing pages 101-102. Though I applaud this person for expending great pains to make this copy “perfect” and to preserve his or her sundry comments in it, they now serve only to distract from what makes this book truly special: the fishes.

Vaughan's Engraved Title Page

Vaughan's Engraved Title Page

The first fish appears on an added title page engraved by Robert Vaughan, in a design which depicts a “moving” still life in the rectangular space between the frame of the plate and the cartouche at its center. It must be a pure engraving, for the design teems with “slices of life,” on the order of Edouard Manet’s Still Life with Fish. The fish depicted here to the right of the cartouche is a Pike hanging on a hook looking not too displeased by its situation. Below its tail are various worms and two artificial flies, marching forth like little soldiers in a boundless space. The barbs of the slender fly hooks curve backwards upon their artificial bodies like two great blue herons having a nip behind their wings, and the bodies of the worms seem suffused in little halos of light. They are making their march above a tackle-basket; and as one’s eye follows their course, they settle upon two long rods standing upright to the left of the cartouche, with the lines of each casting about freely in a wind. Above the cartouche is a small shelf with a caster and other fishing accoutrements upon it. The vitality of the design is all of a piece with Vaughan’s unique cursive letter forms giving the title. This is copperplate engraving and intaglio printing at its best, and it presents a stark contrast to the crudely printed letterpress title page so typical of much 17th century English printing.



The second fish is a Trout, which appears in chapter five, “Of divers sorts of Baits for several fish,” printed intaglio with its head facing the fore edge of the leaf (E4 recto), with relief text above and below it. The plate mark measures exactly 4 x 7.5 cm, and the impression shows that the plate was tilted upwards at the upper right hand corner, thereby imparting to the Trout an impression of swimming upstream, or out of the book! It is rendered with a lively scowl on its face, and gives a sense of rapid movement. The engraving looks to be nearly as fine as Vaughan’s Pike on the title page, but it is not signed. Nor are the eight other engraved fish that follow in succession, all inserted in the text. On the next page (E4 verso) one finds a Barbel and Carp facing the fore edge, printed on two plates one on top of the other, with letterpress above both; followed by a Tench on p. 57; and another, distinct Pike on p. 58; an Eel on p. 59; a Bream on p. 61; and a Loach and Bullhead, one on top of the other, on p. 63. All nine fishes are rendered alive, each displaying a distinct personality, being of a piece with Venables’s descriptions of the various baits used to catch them: “The Trout takes all sorts of worms, especially Brandlings ; all sorts of flies, Menow, young Frogs, Marsh-worme, Dock-worme, Flag-worme ; all sorts of Cadbait, Bob, Palmers, Caterpillers, Gentles, Wasps, Hornets, Dores, Bees, Grashoppers, Cankers and Bark-worm ; he is a ravenous greedy fish, and loveth a large bait at ground, and you must fit him accordingly.” When I learned from Lowndes that, “The engravings of the fish are the same as used for Walton’s Angler,” the hunt was on; I was determined to follow these fishes to the man who made them.

Why not Robert Vaughan? The 1653 first edition of Walton’s Compleat Angler was also published by Richard Marriot. Of this edition, Lowndes says only, “The plates are supposed to have been engraved on steel by Lombart.” Although Lowndes may be a bit out of date – and it is unlikely that they were engraved on steel – a 2003 New York Public Library exhibition celebrating the 350th anniversary of Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler had their two copies of the first edition on display, with one open to the trout. The label reads: “The handsome trout shown here, in an engraving (on indifferent paper) attributed to Pierre Lombart, is the quintessential English freshwater game fish.”

This attribution is very likely based on Thomas Westwood’s authoritative Chronicle of the Compleat Angler published in 1883. Of the first edition, Westwood says, “Not a noticeable book, amongst others, by any means, and yet superior to most of its class in point of adornment, by virtue of those plates of fish . . . which are, indeed, very daintily and delicately handled. There is no name attached to these engravings, but they are ascribed, with a great show of probability, to the noted French engraver, Pierre Lombart, at that time resident in this country, and whose talent was mostly devoted to book-illustration. Sir Harris Nicolas, though giving preference to Lombart, suggests, at the same time, as a possible candidate for the honour, Faithorne or Vaughan, the latter of whom was certainly employed by Marriot on other work.”

Pierre Lombart is best known for his headless portrait of Oliver Cromwell on Horseback, after Van Dyck’s equestrian portrait of Charles I, and Robert Vaughan for his engravings illustrating the first English translation of Thomas Norton’s Ordinall of Alchimy in Ashmole’s Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum of 1652.

Maybe those fish were engraved on plates of steel after all!

As Ken mentioned, our first task is to catalog the James Wilson Bright Collection: 4,000 books (1539-1926) collected by pioneering Johns Hopkins philologist James Wilson Bright, including examples of early English printed books, and numerous early printed editions of English and European literary works and scholarly works relating to Anglo-Saxon literature and English philology from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries.

If you’d like to take a look at our progress so far, click here to be redirected to the library catalog!

. . . 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