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Blog topic: Rare books

Sweetness in difficult times

March 23, 2020
by Sarah B Sussman

As we shelter in place, and think about the current political and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, it is a good time to think about how past societies have responded to times of upheaval. Rachel Waxman, a doctoral candidate in History at Johns Hopkins University, recently spent 3 weeks in Stanford Libraries' Special Collections doing research in the Gustave Gimon Collection of French Political Economy on the sugar crisis during the French Revolution.

Volvelle page 42. Tebalducci, Claudio. Delli dialogi della quantita et del numero delle sfere terrestri et celesti. Roma: Per il Santi, & Comp., 1588.

Volvelles: the rotating diagrams with some assembly required

December 18, 2019
by Ann K.D. Myers

A recently cataloged 16th century astronomy book provides fascinating insight into how a particular kind of diagram was printed and constructed. These rotating diagrams, called volvelles (from the Latin volvere, to turn), were used in both manuscripts and printed books to calculate data related to calendars, tide tables, astronomy, astrology, and more. They typically consist of one or more circles surmounted by other graduated or figured circles or pointers which rotate from a central axis. The circles could be made of paper, cardboard, or vellum, and the pivots were typically made of string or thread. The most common were printed with woodcuts.

Nazraeli Press, Deanna & Ed Templeton

Fall 2019 - Cataloging, Metadata & Processing Projects Underway in Redwood City (Part 1)

October 16, 2019
by Glynn Edwards

Part One - Regular Staff in Collection Services

The regular staff in the Collection Services arm of the Department of Special Collections & University Archives has finally unpacked from our last relocation in July and settled into our new space in Academy Hall on Stanford’s Redwood City campus. It is a great relief to see our cataloging, processing and digital units once again hard at work and various collections spread out in our workroom. As always, they, and all of those behind the scenes in Redwood City and our colleagues on campus, did a phenomenal job!

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