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Provenance Stories

In addition to the cabinets with traceable provenance, there were also several items discovered which had interesting backgrounds as discovered through their provenance, but no traceable locations.

The Byble in English, 1553

The Byble in English: that is to say, the contente of all the holy scripture, bothe of the Olde and New Testament, accordyng to the translacio that is appointed to be read in churches.
London: Imprinted at London by Edwarde Whytchurche, 1553

The Byble in English, also known as the Great Bible owing to its size, was the first authorised edition of the Bible in English.  It was prepared by Myles Coverdale, working under commission of Sir Thomas Cromwell, Secretary to King Henry VIII of England.  The King subsequently authorised its reading aloud in the services of the Church of England, and decreed that I be made available for all to read. The Great Bible includes much from The Tyndale Bible, with features objectionable to the bishops revised. As the Tyndale Bible was incomplete, Coverdale translated the remaining books of the Old Testament from the Latin Vulgate and German translations, rather than working from the original Greek and Hebrew texts.

This particular Bible has had a long and interesting life, or so we can deduct from the many inscriptions within. Throughout the book can be found comments, notes and manicules relating to the text. In between the various books within the bible are more notes and sketches. On her assentation to the throne in 1553, the catholic Queen Mary ordered that all Protestant books and Bibles be burnt. This copy does show signs of charring.

One of the most interesting inscriptions appears at the start of the New Testament where there is a page depicting the history of the book as it was passed down from family member to family member. (Displayed here)

Where as this booke was given and Bequesthed by William Coles in 1588 to his sone & sonnes by his sone Richard Coles & Bequethed by him in 1617: two his sone: William Coles then Bequethed and Leaft this book to Elizabeth Coles moathear [Mother] to saied William, and then in 1654 Elizabeth Coles bequeathed this same booke to Benjamine Andrewes sone to Elizabete Coles daughter to Richard Coles, And – in the thurd mounth [third month]– twenty day Benjamin Andrews give this same booke to his coasen [cousin] Benn Yeats grandchild to Richard Coles in 1656. B. Yeats? B.Y

There are further details regarding the Coles family on the rear endpaper, along with multiple variations of this family trail repeated throughout the book.

On the opposite page there is a later ownership inscription “Benjamin Bullock his Book, 1712” as well as some equations, no doubt by Benjamin to work out the age of the book.

Thorburn Brailsford Robertson

Thorburn Brailsford Robertson, translated by V. M. Arkhangelsky
B"lkovyya veshhestva : s dobavleniyami avtora k Russkomu izdaniy
S.-Peterburg: Knigoizdatelstvo "Estestvoizpitatel", 1913

This is the Russian translation of Robertson’s "The proteins”, translated from the German version titled “Die physikalische chemie der proteine".

Thorburn Brailsford Robertson was a talented and innovative biochemist. By the age of 24 he had received a Ph.D from the University of California in 1907 and a D.Sc from The University of Adelaide in 1907. He became Professor of Physiology at Adelaide University in 1919 and was the first professional appointment to embrace biochemisty in Australia.

The translator, B. Arkhangelsky writes several letters to Brailsford Robertson, stating his intention to translate his “excellent lectures” and then later apologising for the delay in completing it. The translation took two years, partly due to government interference.

Helen Keller

The story of my life; with her letters (1887-1901) and a supplementary account of her education, including passages from the reports and letters of her teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan  [edited] by John Albert Macy.
New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1905

Helen Keller was an American educator and humanitarian who suffered from both blindness and deafness. With the help of her also partially deaf teacher Anne Sullivan Helen learned how to read, write and speak.

She wrote her first book ‘The Story of My Life’ at the age of 21 while studying at Radcliffe
College, by which point she had learned multiple different methods of communication including touch-lip reading, Braille, speech, typing and finger-spelling.

After college, Helen became a celebrity, with word of her achievement spreading across
America. She worked to help the lives of others, lecturing on her experiences and worked on behalf of others who lived with disabilities.

Throughout her life she advocated for many causes including social and political issues,
women’s suffrage, pacifism and birth control. She supported many charities dedicated to
helping those less fortunate.

After World War Two she visited Australia along with several other countries. During her visit she stayed with Sandra Ewen and later inscribed for her a copy of her autobiography;

To Sandra Ewen with a happy memory of her sweet smile four years ago. Affectionately Helen Keller August 25th. 1952.

The book was donated to the Barr Smith Library by Sandra Ewen’s daughter in 2010.

Testamenta Marra

Testamenta Marra : Jesuni Christuni ngantjani jaura ninaia karitjimalkana wonti Dieri jaurani
Tanunda, S.A.: G Auricht, 1897

In 1897 the small Barossa Valley printery of G. Auricht published the Testamenta Marra, a translation of the New Testament by Koppamarra missionaries into the local Dieri language. This was the first translation of the entire New Testament into an Australian Aboriginal language.

One of our foremost donors, Sir Samuel Way, took a liking to this rustic text, which was printed in an edition of only 500. He promptly despatched copies to the British Museum, Harvard University, and the Bodleian, Christ Church and Athenaeum libraries, among others, transforming what should have been a rare text into a worldwide holding. In 2008 this rare regional text was digitised by Google Books from an copy a held by Harvard University.

3 copies of this text are held here in Special Collections.

A Round of days

A Round of days: described in original poems by some of our most celebrated poets, and in pictures by eminent artists; engraved by the brothers Dalziel
London: George Routledge, 1867

George and Edward Dalziel were British brothers who ran a firm of engravers, known as the Brothers Dalziel, which was founded in 1839.

They were highly prominent wood-engravers, working with some of the most important artists of the Victorian age, and produced engravings for magazines such as ‘Punch’ and the ‘Illustrated London News’ and books such as Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass.’

‘A Round of days’ consists of original poems which were written to accompany the engravings within, rather then having the engravings drawn to accompany the poems.

These two versions of ‘A Round of Days’ are believed to be the personal copies of Edward Dalziel. They both contain several letters addressed to the brothers from some of the poets who were commissioned to write for the book (dated around 1866) and also contains Edward’s hard-to-find bookplate.

One of the volumes is also an excellent example of provenance lost, where a new endpaper has been pasted over the top of not only Edward’s plate in the front, but also Sir Samuel Way’s bookplate in the back. No doubt a thoughtless library repair.

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