Qurʼan

This 19th-century manuscript Qurʼan is in a Nashki script with diacritical marks in black. Nashki was the calligraphic style used for the most beautiful Qurʼans of the period, because of its small size and great delicacy. The first two pages are elaborately illuminated in green, blue, and red on a gold background. The titles of the surahs (chapters) are in gold. The borders are in gold, blue, and red. The colophon is illuminated in gold and colors. Probably of Persian origin, this Qurʼan was copied in Arabic by Kohazadeh Ahmad Rashid Safi and decorated by Adham Gharbaldeh al-Balawi.

Iberian or Georgian Alphabet with Prayers

Alphabetum ibericum, sive georgianum: cum Oratione (Iberian or Georgian alphabet with prayers) is one of the first two books printed in Georgian using moveable type. In the 1620s, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the body of the Roman Catholic Church established in the early 17th century for the purpose of spreading Catholicism in non-Catholic countries, began to train monks going to Georgia for missionary work. The monks were taught Georgian by Niceforo Irbachi Giorgiano, the ambassador of the Georgian king, Teimuraz I, in Rome. The sacred congregation’s printers cast the Georgian type and published several books in Georgian in 1629, including a Georgian–Italian dictionary and this small volume of prayers and devotions. The book includes a table with the Georgian alphabet and the sounds signified by its letters and their Latin equivalents, followed by the texts in Georgian of the Pater noster (Lord’s Prayer), Ave maria (Hail Mary), the Credo, and other basic texts. Christianity began its spread into Georgia in the early centuries of the first millennium AD. The resulting Georgian Orthodox Church, founded in the fourth century AD, has been in communion with the Orthodox churches since the first decade of the seventh century, but it has never been subject to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

Verin Noravank Gospels

This beautifully illuminated gospel book was copied in 1487 AD at the Monastery of Verin Noravank in Armenia. The exact location of the monastery is unknown, although, since the late 1980s, it has been associated with the ruins of the Monastery of Arates (Aratesivank) of Siwnik. Verin Noravank was in close contact with the better-known Noravank of Amaghu, with which it has often been confused. Fewer than 15 manuscripts are known to have been copied at Verin Noravank. As was customary with most Armenian manuscripts, the Verin Noravank gospel contains a lengthy colophon that traces its own history. The colophon is also important because it contains one of the few references to the White Sheep Turkoman overlord of that region at the time, Yaqub Bek. The four miniatures of the Evangelists and the decorative illuminations in the text are striking features of the gospel book, which was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2008. Technical analysis of the illuminations has revealed that the artist used a number of rare pigments, including tin white (tin oxide, SnO2); a blue-pigment mixture of cobalt glass (smalt), ultramarine, and possibly indigo; and a mixed red lead-vermillion pigment. The use of these pigments suggests ingenuity on the part of the artist, as well as the influence of Near Eastern and indigenous ceramic and textile technologies.

History of Armenia, by Father Michael Chamich; from B. C. 2247 to the Year of Christ 1780, or 1229 of the Armenian Era

History of Armenia, from B. C. 2247 to the year of Christ 1780, or 1229 of the Armenian era is a translation of an abridged version of the three-volume history of Armenia, originally written in Armenian by Father Mik’ayel Ch’amch’yants’ and published in Venice in 1784–86. Ch’amch’yants’ was born in Istanbul in 1738, and in 1762 he became a member of the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist order at the St. Lazar Monastery in Venice. Written in chronicle style and based on Armenian and non-Armenian primary source materials, this work by Ch’amch’yants’ was the first critical examination of the history of the Armenian people. In 1811 Ch’amch’yants’ produced an abridged version of the history, which Hovhannēs Avdaleantsʻ (Johannes Avdall) translated into English and which was published in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) in 1827. The translation includes a dedication by Avdaleantsʻ to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, a preface by Avdaleantsʻ containing an overview of the history of Armenia and assessments of the most important Armenian historians, and a postscript containing a summary of events in Armenia from 1780 to 1827.

History of Armenia

Mik’ayel Ch’amch’yants’ was born in Istanbul in 1738. After training and working as a jeweler in his native city, in 1762 he joined the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist order at the St. Lazar Monastery in Venice. Founded by Abbott Mekhitar (1676–1749) in 1700, the Mekhitarists were dedicated to the religious, cultural, and literary revival of Armenia, which at the time was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Ch’amch’yants’ was appointed instructor in the Armenian language at St. Lazar in 1774, and in 1784 he published the first volume of History of Armenia from the beginning of the world to the year 1784, bringing out the final volume in 1786. Written in chronicle style and liberally employing and analyzing non-Armenian primary source materials, this three-volume, 3,000-page work was the first critical examination of the history of the Armenian people. In 1811 Ch’amch’yants’ prepared an abridged version of his history, which was translated into English and published in India in 1827. His work exercised a great influence on Armenian studies and Orientalism throughout the 19th century and is still recognized by specialists as a classic in the field. In 1795, Ch’amch’yants’ was appointed the resident Mekhitarist representative in Istanbul, where he died in 1823.

Letters Addressed to Clarinda, &c., Appendix

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns’s broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and in 1788 he was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. He spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. During his stay in Edinburgh, Burns met Mrs. Agnes Craig M'Lehose in December 1787. It was love at first sight for both of them. In addition to numerous visits, the couple carried on what has been termed a "hothouse romance" by correspondence. The two soon decided to use "Arcadian names" as Burns called them: she was Clarinda, he Sylvander. Marriage turned out to be impossible, and the correspondence dwindled once Burns left Edinburgh. Mrs. M'Lehose later loaned the letters from Burns to John Findley, who claimed to be writing a biography of the poet (the biography never seems to have been written). Some of the letters were published without her permission in 1802.

Letter, 1788 July 18th, Mauchline, to Mr. John Smith, Jun., Bookseller, Glasgow

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns's broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. The spring and early summer of 1788 saw many significant transitions in his life. After leaving Edinburgh for Mauchline, Burns married Jean Armour, took a lease on the farm at Ellisland, and was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. It is hardly surprising that he was also trying to clear up outstanding debts owed to him, as seen in this letter requesting payment for his books. Burns refers to the nine copies sent from Kilmarnock, and mentions that he "will be in Glasgow in a month or two myself." As Burns did not receive a reply to this letter, he wrote a follow-up letter to the same bookseller five months later (See related item link to "Letter, 1789 Janry. 17th, Mauchline, to Mr. John Smith..."). This unsuccesful correspondence conveys the complexity and delay in settling accounts, where both individual subscribers and multiple booksellers were involved.

Letter, 1789 Janry. 17th, Mauchline, to Mr. John Smith, Jun., Bookseller, At the Circulating Library, Glasgow

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns's broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. The spring and early summer of 1788 saw many significant transitions in his life. After leaving Edinburgh for Mauchline, Burns married Jean Armour, took a lease on the farm at Ellisland, and was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. It is hardly surprising that he was also trying to clear up outstanding debts owed to him. In this letter, Burns asks the bookseller John Smith to "please send me if convenient the value of nine copies of my book which I sent you last from Kilm. and are yet unaccounted for." This letter is following up on an earlier letter sent July 18th, 1788, which requested payment for nine copies of his books sent from Kilmarnock (See related item link to "Letter, 1788 July 18th, Mauchline, to Mr. John Smith..."). Five months later, Burns had still not received this additional payment. This unsuccesful correspondence conveys the complexity and delay in settling accounts, where both individual subscribers and multiple booksellers were involved.

Letter, 1794, May to Collector Syme

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns's broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and in 1788 he was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. He spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. This document contains a poem addressed to John Syme, with a contemporary endorsement in another hand, dated May 1794. This extempore verse was included by James Currie in his Works of Robert Burns(1800), but without Syme's name in the title or in line 4 of the poem. Syme first met Robert Burns in Dumfries, 1791, when Burns lived in the floor above his office of Distributor of Stamps. Burns respected his critique on literary matters, and the two became traveling companions for a tour of Galloway in 1793. After Burns's death, Syme assisted his friend's family and encouraged the publication of his later works, which were edited and published by Currie.

Letter, 1792 Feb.?, Dumfries to John McMurdo, Drumlanrig

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns's broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and in 1788 he was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. He spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. John McMurdo, to whom this letter is addressed to, was Chamberlain to the Duke of Queensberry at Drumlanrig. He and Burns likely met in 1788, establishing a lifelong friendship - Burns's poem "Bonnie Jean," for instance, was written about McMurdo's younger daughter. After Burns's death, McMurdo became one of the trustees of the money raised for Burns's widow and children. The second section of this letter reads, "I think I once mentioned something to you of a collection of Scots songs I have for some years been making. I send you a perusal of what I have gathered...There is not another copy of the collection in the world..." The collection of Scots songs to which Burns refers was his manuscript of "The Merry Muses of Caledonia." The songs included in this collection were circulated to a few chosen friends, but the manuscript disappeared after Burns's death, possibly removed from his papers by Dr. James Currie. In 1799 a collection of songs appeared anonymously, bearing Burns's working title. The following year Currie included this letter in his edition of Burns's works, but added a spurious sentence: "A very few of them [the poems] are my own." (Liverpool, 1800) The extra sentence may have been intended to play down Burns's role in producing the collection of bawdy poems.