Rare Acquisitions

Peter P.F. Degrand BequestAll items listed on this page were acquired by the European Languages Division and acquired in part through the Peter P.F. Degrand Bequest; due to their unique nature and rare availability, they are housed at Houghton Library for proper preservation and care. These distinctive materials can be requested via HOLLIS at the links provided below. As they are part of special collections, materials must be viewed at Houghton Library.

Formulaire mathématique ou recueil de formules générales et analytiques sur les principales branches de cette science... : manuscript, 1788

Formulaire Mathematique

Attributed to the Chevalier de Rocheblave, this extensive, unpublished, mathematical text includes finely-rendered diagrams, as well as hand-written detail and description to mimic the look of engraved letters. Delving far beyond the average mathematics text of the era, this tome covers everything from the density of air, algebra, "magic" squares, and more in its 620 chapters. Although de Rocheblave resided in Montreal at the time this manuscript was made, based on the book's style and the paper used it seems likely that this was crafted in Europe, or at least in that style. De Rocheblave did not publish any other mathematical works, and it is unclear whether he was the composer, scribe, or both for this manuscript.

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Carte photographique et systematique de la lune

Carte photographique et systematique de la luneThis atlas, the creation of C. Le Morvan, used the same apparatus as two other Paris-based publications to gather the necessary imagery, and was intended as a supplement to these predecessors. Focusing on never before published proofs, the scale of the atlas was specifically chosen to highlight these impressive images without losing important detail or quality. Published in two parts, the first section 'shows the visible hemisphere of our satellite as illuminated by the sun in the phases between New Moon and Full Moon (plates I-XXIV); while the second shows the phases between Full Moon and New Moon, with the Sun setting on the lunar horizon (plates I.A-XXIV.A).'

The atlas uses a publishing technique called "Heliogravure" which, for the era, was well-suited to reproducing high quality photographic images in a large format. A photochemical process is used to create an engraving of the original image, which can then be used to make additional prints with a high level of detail preserved. While well-suited to the task, the process is also very laborious and time-consuming which explains the small print run and therefore rarity of this atlas.

The only atlas to pre-date this that also covers the entire face of the moon is William Henry Pickering's The Moon (1903). Due to the equipment used, the image quality of The Moon is considered inferior to that of Le Morvan's atlas; however, it was more widely available and better suited to everyday use.

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Astrognosie ou description diverses constellations réparties sur la surface du ciel pour parvenir à la connaissance des étoiles : manuscript, 1830

Astrognosie ou description diverses constellations réparties sur la surface du ciel pour parvenir à la connaissance des étoiles.This small folio, dating to 1830, is thought to be a special binding copy made for the author. It displays the astronomical research of said author, André Schillemans. His work as an enthusiastic amateur scientist paid off in this thorough and richly detailed record of the night sky constellations above Paris, with helpful notes on how to trace and predict their patterns.

In addition to the quality of the content, the binding of this title is also a remarkable example of the work of Frichet (a prominent French bookbinder in the 19th century). Described as "cathedral binding" in the purple morocco gilt that Frichet favored, the binding is a well-suited compliment to the exemplary content within.

This title was acquired through the Peter P.F. Degrand Bequest and the Endowment Fund for the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of the Dr. Samuel Johnson Collection.


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