Archive for May, 2014


Commencement 2014

   Posted by: rring    in Events, Tours

IMG_2854We were thrilled yet again to have a steady stream of visitors on Saturday of Commencement Weekend, many of whom were urged to visit by President Jones, who has always been a staunch supporter of the Watkinson.

In all we had 113 people, including students and their families, as well as random alumni, wander in between Noon and 3pm, who came to view our featured items:


IMG_2853Lucky 13!, a “baker’s dozen” of student exhibitions in the Watkinson Library including Native American education movements, explorations of Latino identity through artists’ books, 19th-century tourism in the Hudson Valley, the history of the Hartford Insane Asylum, and the works of Beatrix Potter.

2nd folio t.p.The so-called “2nd Folio” of Shakespeare’s plays, acquired in 2012, which was published in 1632, nine years after the landmark “First Folio” of 1623 (in which eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays were published for the first time). The 1632 edition bore over 1,200 corrections as well as the first published poem by John Milton.
title pageThe first edition (Brooklyn, 1855) of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which the poet self-published (he also designed the binding and set some of the type). Just acquired, this literary landmark has been considered America’s second Declaration of Independence, in terms of its radical break with European literary culture and distinctly American voice.
John James Audubon’s Birds of America (1826-39). Given in 1900, this is by far the most valuable book at Trinity. We began turning the page to a new bird every week in September 2011. We are halfway through Volume II, and will get through the entire 4-volume set sometime in 2019.


Cambridge0001If the Shakespeare world of the nineteenth century would seem at times to have been more than usually populated with brilliant rogues and charming rascals, it also had its less colorful and more sober-minded scholars. Chief among these were the editors of the Cambridge Shakespeare, who issued their enormously influential nine-volume text between 1863 and 1866.


Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print (Cambridge UP, 2003)

FurnivallIn 1880, F. J. Furnivall began issuing photolithographic facsimiles of the quartos, with the texts being created by William Griggs and Charles Praetorius, which was apparently not a happy collaboration. While it provided facsimiles for students with scholarly introductions, it came under criticism a few decades later from the bibliographer W. W. Greg.

Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print (Cambridge UP, 2003)

Halliwell0002Between 1853 and 1865 James Orchard Halliwell produced one of the most lavish editions of the nineteenth century, in sixteen extensively illustrated folio volumes, with woodcuts by F. W. Fairholt. The edition was strictly limited and very expensive.

According to the Edinburgh Review, “Mr. Halliwell’s magnificent folios, which rejoice the eye . . . afford no solace whatever to the mind.”

A total of 150 copies were produced for subscribers, after which the ‘blocks and plates of the numerous woodcuts , facsimiles, and engravings used’ were destroyed.

In 25 copies the plates were reproduced on India paper (the cost of these copies was 150 guineas). For regular copies, the subscription price was 80 guineas.Halliwell0001

Halliwell, who co-founded the Shakespeare Society with John Payne Collier (Shakespearean critic, editor, and forger) and others, had a rather shady past. Granted access to the manuscript collections of Trinity College (Cambridge), he stole some materials from the library and sold them to the British Museum! He managed to weather that storm (the two institutions failed to agree on terms regarding legal action), and became friendly with Sir Thomas Phillipps, the wealthy antiquarian and collector. After gaining access to the library, Halliwell also sought Phillipps’ daughter in marriage, which enraged the father and led to a schism, but the couple inherited the Phillipps fortune after his death in 1867.

Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print (Cambridge UP, 2003)