Scholars of politics, history, linguistics, pharmacy, and medicine may all find some unusual and
delightful surprises in the new issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries.
The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries is an annual publication of the Libraries that
publishes scholarly articles based on the holdings of the Rutgers University Libraries, with
particular focus on the resources in Special Collections and University Archives. The Journal
supports inquiry and investigation of topics that examine the history of New Jersey, Rutgers
University, prominent political or social leaders, and/or libraries, books, or printing. Robert
G. Sewell, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management at the
Rutgers University Libraries, serves as editor of the Journal.
The 2007 issue of the Journal offers an in-depth look at four topics of scholarly interest, two
related to the history of the book and two related to the history of medicine;
- An article by Karl Morrison, the Lessing Professor of History and Poetics in the Department of
History in Rutgers-New Brunswick, highlights the book genre of Festival Books – elaborate
publications, many with rich illustrations, published in early modern Europe to celebrate
milestones in the lives of royalty, nobility, and church elites. Rutgers’ Special Collections
holds a growing collection of Festival Books.
- A transcript of the February 2007 public lecture by Rutgers-Newark History Professor Jack
Lynch, presented at the opening of the Libraries’ exhibition of the Edward Bloustein Dictionary
Collection. Professor Lynch’s spirited address offered a humorous and illuminating chronicle of
the battles between early English lexicographers as they sought to advance their craft and
differentiate their wares from their bitter competitor’s works.
- A personal essay by Professor David Cowen, an internally renowned scholar on the history of
pharmacy (now deceased), on the stories that accompany some of the rare volumes in his
collection. Professor Cowen’s notable collection of publications on pharmacy’s history was
donated to the Rutgers University Libraries after his passing in April 2006.
- An investigation by Sandra Moss, a retired MD and current Rutgers history department graduate
student, on the ‘medical topography’ practices of 19^th century New Jersey physicians – wherein
they correlated illnesses with the geographical features and weather conditions of specific
areas. Such practices were a common feature of public health studies and epidemiological
research in that era.
The new issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries, soon to be mailed to
subscribers, is available now as open-access journal. Copies of the four articles described
above, including all accompanying illustrations, as well as the journal editor’s preface can be
Inquiries about the Journal, including subscription requests and submissions of articles for
consideration, should be addressed via email to Journal editor Robert G. Sewell at
|Illustration of the temporary procession area built to celebrate the return of William III to Holland, after his coronation in 1690. Image from the Festival Book, published in Amsterdam in 1691. This image, and others, accompanies the article by Professor Morrison in the 2007 issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries.