December 2017
A Digital Library for Universal Benefit
A warm thank-you to those who participated last week in our #GivingTuesday end-of-year campaign kick off! Our focus this year is to raise funds to digitize the Library’s collection, making John Carter Brown’s books and maps freely available to anyone with an interest in the history and culture of the Americas. The JCB’s goal is to raise $65,000 by the end of the year. If you have already donated, thank you! If not, please consider making a gift today to help ensure that the JCB can share its peerless collection digitally with people from around the world, regardless of where they live, what language they speak, or their economic resources. 
Fulfilling the Founder’s Desire: A Very Special Peruvian Acquisition
The Library has purchased a spectacular Peruvian collection containing the very rare Relacion de la mission apostolica de los Moxos en la provincia del Peru (1696) by Diego de Eguiluz. Once owned by the French bibliophile Henri Ternaux-Compans, this volume is an important part of the Library’s history. In the photo shown, the newly purchased book is in the foreground, but in the background is John Carter Brown's own copy of Ternaux-Compans's Americana catalog, which Brown interleaved and used as a checklist for his collecting. On the open page, the only item without his red check mark denoting a successful purchase is – you guessed it – the Library’s newly acquired Relacion de la mission apostolica de los Moxos en la provincia del Peru . The JCB is delighted to have added at last one of the treasures that John Carter Brown was unable to purchase during his lifetime. 
Video: Ten Things I Learned from Shakespeare
In late October, the Library was pleased to host Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. A scholar of wisdom literature and culture, he delivered an engaging lecture that explored what wisdom he gleaned from Shakespeare’s plays and shared his thoughts about why so many of us still connect with Shakespeare’s work centuries after he completed his oeuvre. For example, Witmore observed how Shakespeare’s King Lear and Richard II demonstrated that power is harder to give away than it is to get and he described how The Merchant of Venice , Othello, and Titus Andronicus speak to the ways in which race governs our actions. In a nod to the JCB’s focus, he noted that Shakespeare was likely influenced by living during the time of colonial expansion. Attendees also had the opportunity to view the JCB’s copy of the first printing of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays known as the “First Folio”.
Meet Fellow Barbara Mundy
Barbara Mundy is Professor of Art History at Fordham University and a long-term David R. Parsons Fellow at the JCB. In support of her project, “The Embodiment of the Word: European Book Culture and New World Manuscripts, 1540-1600,” Barbara has been looking at some of the first printed works to be produced in the Americas, particularly ones created on the printing press that was imported from Seville to Mexico City.

“Thanks to the foundational work of late-nineteenth- and early twentieth- century bibliophiles, scholars have a good understanding of what was coming off the press – the law compilations, the catechisms, the confessionals, the dictionaries; many of the latter three were translations into indigenous languages. What we don't know is what the public made of this new world of print,” observes Mundy. “By ‘public’, I'm particularly interested in the millions-strong Nahuatl-speaking communities, whose reception of the printed page was conditioned by their own deeply-rooted book tradition. The JCB collection offers me three key resources among their American incunables: printed books with annotations that reveal reader engagement; manuscript books that mimic printed books; and indigenous manuscripts whose makers are in dialogue with printed forms. But this is a living tradition, and in my frequent trips to Mexico, I'm also able to see traces of the indigenous responses to European books very much alive today.”    

According to Barbara, there is no better place to work on this material than in the JCB’s collection: “It is, hands down, the best in the world, holding 64 of the 131 surviving works to have been printed in the Americas before 1600. Animating the collection of century-old volumes I'm working with is the living expertise of the Library staff.”
Fresh Ink: Patrullajes Marítimos en el Occidente de la Nueva España
Congratulations to former fellow Guadalupe Pinzón Ríos (Alexander O. Vietor/Helen Watson Buckner Memorial, 2012-13) on the publication of her article, “Patrullajes marítimos en el occidente de la Nueva España. Propuesta naval, defensiva y comercial de un funcionario novohispano (1742)” in Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos , Vol. 33 No. 1, Winter 2017. Pinzón Ríos analyzes a 1742 proposal from the governor of New Galicia to the Spanish Crown to construct two barquentines, financed by the royal treasury, to patrol the coasts of New Galicia and California. The proposed purpose of the ships was to combat indigenous revolts, support exploration, and deter enemy ships. Her article explores the economic problems and possibilities presented by the proposal, as well as the early reformist measures implemented during the first half of the eighteenth century.
Remembering a Renowned Scholar of Cartography: Barbara Backus McCorkle
The JCB community is saddened at the news of the passing of Barbara Backus McCorkle. “Bobby”, as she was known, received her undergraduate degree from Hunter College and, at just past mid-life, her graduate degree in library studies from Emporia State University Teachers College. She served as an associate librarian at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas and later was appointed head of reference and map curator at the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. 

McCorkle’s New England in Early Printed Maps 1513 to 1800: An Illustrated Carto-Bibliography (Providence, 2001) was perhaps the JCB’s signature publication for the new millennium. Her research for the book brought her to more than forty collections of maps in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The capstone to McCorkle’s illustrious career, this work includes a listing of some 800 maps, with over 450 cartographic depictions. Funders of the landmark project included Norman B. Levanthal, the Frank Stanley Beveridge Foundation, and the Luther I. Replogle Foundation.

McCorkle’s final publication, A Carto-Bibliography of the Maps in 18th Century British and American Geography Books , was published by Digital Publishing Services, University of Kansas Library in 2009, when was 89 years old. She was the mother of six children and a friend to hundreds of admirers and colleagues, including many in the JCB community. Barbara Backus McCorkle passed away on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, at the age of 97.