Scandinavia in the Special Collections

This month, we gather together a number of different items which share a northern theme: twentieth-century cartoons, seventeenth-century astronomy, nineteenth-century literature, sixteenth-century history, eighteenth-century exploration, and a seventeenth-century Bible. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus [Description of the Northern people], Olaus Magnus (1550) ∑.2.14 Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) was a Swedish writer and Archbishop of Uppsala, and thisContinue reading “Scandinavia in the Special Collections”

Mamusse wunneetupanatamwe up-biblum God (the Massachusett Bible), 1661-1663

St John’s College library has a copy of the first Bible published in America. It is written in the Massachusett dialect of Algonquian, a Native American language which missionary John Eliot learnt in part of his attempt to convert the Massachusett people to Christianity and literacy. In 1663, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Samuel Green published JohnContinue reading “Mamusse wunneetupanatamwe up-biblum God (the Massachusett Bible), 1661-1663”

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

In St John’s College Library’s Special Collections there are four copies of Ortelius’s world atlases. These were the first attempts at mapping the known world in its entirety which demonstrate a balance between striving for accurate cartography and presenting the wondrous elements of the distant world. Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) From Antwerp, Brussels, Ortelius was partContinue reading “Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum”

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Westminster: William Caxton, c. 1483)

Early printed books form a significant part of the library’s Special Collections, and this particular item contains an illustrated second edition of one of the most famous works of middle English literature, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It is thought to have been published in 1483 by William Caxton, famous for being the first English printer, andContinue reading “Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (Westminster: William Caxton, c. 1483)”

‘The Field of Human Conflict’: War Exhibition 2014

The Library at St John’s College houses extensive Special Collections, which date back to the 9th century and include some 400 manuscripts, 20,000 early printed books and significant collections of modern literary papers. In order to give College members the chance to learn more about these, we organise exhibitions displaying a number of items ofContinue reading “‘The Field of Human Conflict’: War Exhibition 2014”