This description of the collections at the John Carter Brown Library from a 1968 publication is so inviting…
The Library has sought to emphasize not only the textual content of its books but also their characteristics as material objects. We have felt it important, where possible, to assemble data on the economic, legal, social and intellectual aspects of printing and publication. We like to feel that a person using the Library will find its books set among congenial companions which suggest insights and points of view leading to fresh understandings of the role which the Americas played in the history of Western civilization.
What an ingenious way of describing finding aids and allied publications as “congenial companions”. The authors of Opportunities for Research in the John Carter Brown Library point out that “In addition to the basic collection [in closed stacks] described in this handbook, there are some 6,000 reference books, offprints, and reprints. This material is on open shelves.” We may now in this century count among the “congenial companions” the Library’s electronic publications including a wonderful series “I Found It at the JCB” (One of my favourites is the brief piece by Caroline Cox “Tuning of the Fifes: The Life of a Boy Soldier in the Eighteenth Century”.)
The colophon of the 1968 handbook is a treasure too “HAEC OLIM MEMINISSE JUVABIT” — “one day, this will be pleasing to remember” — neatly drops the “perhaps” part in this quotation from Book I of Virgil’s Aeneid. Pleasing it is, no perhaps about it.
And for good measure a link to another of the I Found It at the JCB items wherein Jesse Cromwell relates “coming across a slim 1662 volume by Henry Stubbe entitled The Indian Nectar, or a Discourse concerning Chocalata” and provides a recipe for An Obscenely Delicious Seventeenth-Century Hot Chocolate Recipe. Jesse’s Stubbe “was an Oxford educated scholar of Latin and Greek and a physician, who lived in both England and Jamaica.” My Stubbe is a chocolatier in Toronto. http://www.stubbechocolates.com/history/ And no perhaps about it, I will remember its pleasures.
And so for day 1294