The Card Index of Leo Olschki and the Trade in Medieval Manuscripts in the Early 20th Century

Federico Botana, Institute of English Studies University of London & 2022-2023 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies Visiting Research Fellow

 

December 09, 2022 - 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm @ Virtual
Card annotated with details of a Greek manuscript and its purchase.

Before the age of computers, the card index was a fundamental tool for booksellers. A rare survivor, the card index of Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940) contains a wealth of information about manuscripts sold by the firm in the period c. 1900-1945, including those that are now found in Pennsylvania. Cards can shed light on the movements of particular manuscripts, and also provide insights into the workings of the rare book trade. They contain descriptions, which were used to draft sale catalog entries, as well as commercial information, including accession numbers, sale prices, purchase prices in code, notes on provenance, dates, and names of buyers.

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