Collections: Collection Highlights

This page features a few of the more significant or unique items held by the Archives and Special Collections of Franklin and Marshall College. Please visit our complete collection listings for more.

Rare Books

South Netherlands Book of Hours

This ca. 1450 illuminated manuscript is attributed to the Utrecht school and the Dutch translation of Gerd de Groot. Handwritten and decorated on vellum, this type of religious work was commissioned by a family for home devotional use. This item is the oldest "book" owned by the library and is now available in digital format at this link.

Epistola de Contemptu Mundi di Frate Hieronymo da Ferrara...

By Girolamo Savonarola. Londra: Stamperia Kelmscott, 1894.

Beautiful Arts and Crafts- era book printed by William Morris' Kelmscott Press. Contains fine woodcut engravings and tooled leather binding.

Biblia, das ist: Die Heilige Schrift Altes und Neues Testaments...

Germantown: Gedruckt bey Christoph Saur, 1743.

The first Bible printed in America in a European language. One of 1200 copies printed from the 34th Halle edition. Bound in calf-covered wooden boards with brass corners, clasps and bosses.

Illumination of the Bible

Done in the style of a medieval book of hours, this unusual piece is an unfinished ca. 1905 rendition of the New Testament and the Old Testament Book of Genesis. The text was hand-lettered and decorated by Harry Mitchell Culp using a copy of Cranmer's 1541 Bible borrowed from F&M Trustee Rudolph Kelker. In addition to showing the process of the art of illumination, the work contains Culp's notes on the amount of time spent working on the piece.

Speculum Aureum Decem Praeceptorum and Catholicon

These two earliest printed books owned by the library are prime examples of incunabula (books printed in the first 50 years of modern printing). Hendrik Herp's Speculum aureum decem praeceptorum dei was printed in 1481 by Anton Kolberg of Nuremberg. It is printed in Gothic type and is decorated and rubricated throughout. Notes of ownership include a priory of Augustianian canons at Nuenkirchen (Franconia) 15thc. and a Capucin convent at Bamberg, dated 1638. It contains Catholic church sermons.

Catholicon (above) a Latin language dictionary is the second oldest printed work owned by F&M. Published in Venice by Boneti Locatelli for Domino Octaviano Scoto in 1495, the work was originally compiled ca. 1286 by a Dominican monk, Johannes Balbus de Genoa.

These books are two of many early, printed works maintained in the rare books collection.

Conductor generalis; or, a guide for justices of the peace, and coroners, constables, jury-men and overseers of the poor, surveyors of high-ways, governors of fairs, gaolers, &c

a treatise briefly shewing the extent and latitude of the several offices, with the power of the officers therein, to which is added copies of warrants, mittimusses, recognizances, and other necessary instruments. [New York?: publisher unknown,] 1711.

This handbook for public officials is believed to be an American edition of a previous English version. It is the earliest book printed in America owned by the library.

Franklin, Benjamin. A narrative of the late massacres in Lancaster County of a number of Indians, friends of this province, by persons unknown. With some observations on the same.

[Philadelphia: Printed by Anthony Armbruster], 1764.

This pamphlet, written by Benjamin Franklin, describes the murder of Conestoga Indians in Lancaster County in 1763 by the band known as the Paxton Boys. Some scholars attribute this pamphlet's printing to Franklin and Hall.

The poetical works of William Cowper edited, with a critical memoir, by William Michael Rossetti; illustrated by Thomas Seccombe.

London: E. Moxon, Son & Co., [1870].

This book contains the unique form of book decoration known as fore-edge painting. When the otherwise plain pages are flexed, a painted scene magically appears. This English example contains a fox-hunting scene.

Special Collections

Orangutan mask from the motion picture Planet of the Apes

This latex mask was used for one of the background "ape" characters in the original 1968 Planet of the Apesdirected by F&M Alumni Franklin J. Schaffner, Class of 1942. Many other interesting items such as scripts, photos, notes, correspondence, set designs, publicity materials and film prints relating to this and other Schaffner directed films can be found in the Franklin J. Schaffner Collection (MS 1).

World War One Poster, 1918

One of approximately 100 WWI posters in the collection, this one by Sydney Riesenberg calls for citizens to purchase U.S. Government bonds to support the war effort. Other "propaganda" posters in the collection call for food rationing, material donations, red cross volunteers etc.

Document signed by Elizabeth I

This is a rare document signed by Elizabeth I, Tudor Queen of England from 1558 -1603. It is only one example of many documents signed by English rulers in the Herbert Rawnsley Autograph Collection.

Land grant from Henry de Bohun 1176-1220 (First Earl of Hereford) to Richard of Westbury.

ca. 1200.

The second oldest item in the collections. Ink on vellum. Part of the Herbert Rawnsley Autograph Collection.

Sumerian Cuneiform tablet from the city of Umma recording an offering of barley,

ca. 2054 BC

This is the oldest item and oldest written "document" owned by the library. Incised cuneiform writing on clay. Part of the Herbert Rawnsley Autograph Collection.

Sword belt of John F. Reynolds

This is a saber belt and one of the shoulder-board insignias worn by Lancaster, PA native John Fulton Reynolds (1820-1863) while a Major of Artillery in the U.S. Army in the 1850s. Reynolds later became a Major General of Volunteers in the Civil War and was killed on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Many of his papers and those of his naval officer brother, William are preserved in the Reynolds Family Papers MS 6.

William Reynolds' Journals

These significant private and official journals were written by Naval officer William Reynolds of Lancaster while he participated in the famous US Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842. The expedition's discoveries helped lead to the creation of the Smithsonian Institution.

College Archives

Document listing Contributors to Franklin College, 1787.

This original document from the College archives notes the 200 pound contribution made by Benjamin Franklin supporting the creation of Franklin College.

Death Mask of Professor A.T.G. Apple

This macabre item is the plaster death mask of Rev. Andrew Thomas Gilmore Apple professor of mathematics and astronomy at F&M from 1907 to 1918. It is preserved along with numerous other objects of memorabilia in the College Archives.

Manuscript of Flora Lancastriensis By G.H.E. Muhlenberg

Manuscript copy, dated 1794, of Henry Muhlenberg's work Flora Lancastriensis, listing the plant species of Lancaster County, published by the American Philosophical Society, 1793-1799. Muhlenberg is often credited as the first American botanist, and is sometimes referred to as the "Linnaeus of America" He served as Franklin College's first president from 1787-1815.

updated 10/07/10 mrl


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