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Discover hand written letters, original manuscripts, historical documents, diaries, and so much more in this section. There's even a sub category for Illuminated Manuscripts, for those who search for gold! As the world's largest independent marketplace for new, used and rare books, you always get the best in service and value when you buy from, and all of your purchases are backed by our return guarantee.

Documents & Manuscripts Books & Ephemera



    NLT Gospel of Matthew by St. Matthew

    The Scottish Bible Society is pleased to announce the launch of Matthew's Gospel in the New Living Translation (British text edition). The New Living Translation is a new translation which combines readability with faithful adherence to the original manuscripts



    Records of the Town of Hyde Park by ROOSEVELT Franklin D

    1928. First Edition . Signed. ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. Records of the Town of Hyde Park Dutchess County. Edited by Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Dutchess County Historical Society. Collections of the Dutchess County Historical Society Volume III. Hyde Park, New York: 1928. Tall quarto, original brown cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4000.Signed limited first edition, number 35 of only 100 copies inscribed by FDR, of this very scarce 1928 history of Hyde Park also edited by him, the place where, as president, he dreamed of returning—“All that is in me,’ he would say, ‘goes back to the Hudson.’”""Franklin Roosevelt presided over our nation as no other chief executive of the 29th century."" Born in Hyde Park in 1882, FDR's family home, ""leaders of the Democratic Party in the Hudson River sent an emissary to Hyde Park to recruit him to run for a seat in the state house"" in 1910—marking the beginning of his political career. In 1928, the year this work was published, Roosevelt entered and won the race for governor of New York. His ""term as governor of New York made his a front-runner for the presidency in 1932"" (Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, 432). Later, as president, ""FDR would sometimes muse about that distant day when he would leave the cares of the presidency behind. 'All that is in me,' he would say, 'goes back to the Hudson.' He dreamed, he said, of returning to Hyde Park, the family seat in Dutchess County, to tend his trees, start a newspaper, maybe serve as what he called the 'moderator' of the United Nations —but only if he could work mainly from home"" (Los Angeles Times). In this very scarce limited first edition of Records of the Town of Hyde Park, edited and inscribed by FDR, he notes, in his foreword, that this work was ""undertaken for two reasons. First, to preserve for future the local history which exists for the most part only in original manuscript form and may at any time be lost or destroyed. Second, to encourage other town in our County of Dutchess to carry out similar tasks."" To presidential collectors and bibliophiles, this limited edition, one of only 100 copies signed by FDR, is a foundational volume. Without scarce dust jacket. Text fresh and clean, inner hinges expertly reinforced, only light edge-wear, minor fading to gilt-lettered boards.



    ST. JEROME, Epistola [Letters]; illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin by ST. JEROME

    EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY FLORENTINE HUMANISCTIC MANUSCRIPT ONCE IN THE LIBRARY OF BERNARDO BEMBO. Illuminated manuscript on parchment in Latin, Italy, Florence, c. 1430-40. Dimensions 353 x 255 mm. 353 folios, catchwords and traces of signatures, written in an early humanistic bookhand, 2-line introductory initials throughout in gold with white vine-stems on green, red and blue grounds, two very large vine-stem initials in gold against green, light pink and blue grounds, one partial vine-stem border with a putto holding a shield. Binding: Crimson velvet over pasteboard, the spine restored. TEXT: A selection of 149 letters and tracts attributed to St. Jerome including exegetical, hagiographical and polemical works and several letters from and to Pope Damasus. The selection is closely related to that of another fifteenth-century volume with the ex-libris of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici as well as a tenth-to eleventh-century example in the Vatican (MS Lat. 341). Written in a Florentine Humanistic script characteristic of the early fifteenth-century. ILLUSTRATION: The decoration of this manuscript is quintessentially Florentine, in particular the white vine-stems that trail around the letters and define the partial border. The style was influenced by contemporary ideas about antiquity such as the putto, taken from Roman art, which became popular in Renaissance illumination. There is a large group of Florentine manuscripts with identi­cal or very similar decoration which suggest the manuscript may be associated with the scriptorium of S. Maria degli Angeli in Florence. PROVENANCE: Written and decorated in Florence in the 1430s then possibly in the library of Bernardo Bembo (1433-1519), Venetian nobleman, important humanist, envoy to the court of Lorenzo de' Medici. Later in the collections of Charles H. St. J. Hornby (1876-1946), Major J. R. Abbey (1894-1969), Peter and Irene Ludwig, The J. Paul Getty Museum, and, most recently, the James and Elizabeth Ferrell Collection. CONDITION: Slightly discolored vertical crease on f. i, otherwise in wonderfully fresh con­dition. Full description and photographs available.



    Complete Writings by HUBBARD Elbert

    1908. Signed. HUBBARD, Elbert. The Complete Writings. East Aurora, New York: The Roycroft Shop, (1908-15). Twenty volumes. Tall quarto, original three-quarter green morocco, raised bands, gilt- and blind-tooled spines, top edges gilt, uncut. $5200.Author’s edition of the collected Little Journeys, number 894 of 1000 sets, finely printed and bound by Hubbard’s prestigious Roycroft Press, each volume signed by Hubbard. With two pages of Hubbard’s original manuscript for one of the “journeys” bound into Volume I.Appalled by the way commercialization cheapened the art of printing books, and inspired by William Morris’ Kelmscott Press, Hubbard founded his own press in 1893. The Roycroft Press became perhaps the most important touchstone of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America, which sought to revive the standards of medieval craftsmanship by producing books that were themselves works of art. This set is one of the finest examples of the Arts and Crafts style in American printing and the epitome of Hubbard’s ambitions for the Roycroft Press. Under the Roycroft imprint Hubbard wrote 170 “conversational” essays (which he called “Little Journeys”) about the lives and works of historic personages from the arts, government, and private enterprise. Printed in exquisite typography, on Roycroft hand-made paper, with three-color initial letters designed by Dard Hunter, and decorative devices throughout. Each “journey” is accompanied by a delicately etched portrait of the subject either by Gaspard or Schneider. Two pages of Hubbard’s manuscript bound into Volume I, between pages 124-25. Occasional scattered foxing. Light rubbing to extremities, some sunning to original boards. A handsome set in near-fine condition.



    From the Stage Coach to the Pulpit: Being an Auto-Biographical Sketch, with Incidents and Anecdotes of Elder H. K. Stimson (Second Edition) by Stimson, Elder H. K

    NY: O. W. Spratt, 1883. Hardcover, 402 pages. Second edition, inscribed and signed by author on frontis recto. Size 7.5"x5.25". Brown cloth w/gilt stage coach on front, and gilt title on spine. The first edition of this work (1874) was written from memory, the original manuscript having been destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871. "This edition . . . . contains much new matter and gives sketches of Elisha Tucker, D. D., and Rev. Wm. Arthur, D. D., (father of President Chester A. Arthur), who forty years ago were men of renown." Binding copy. Condition of the binding is Poor: exterior is rubbed, scuffed, and ragged; casing has separated from about half of the text block and is only loosely attached to the remainder. Condition of the interior text is Good- (minus): occasional marginal closed tears & soiling/foxing, . Signed by Author.



    LIBER SUPER ETHICORUM ARISTOTELIS (Commentary on the Ethics of Aristotle);Illuminated manuscript on vellum By Thomas Aquinas by Thomas Aquinas

    BOOK DESCRIPTION: ELEGANT RENAISSANCE ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT IN NEAR PRISTINE CONDITION IN LATIN ON VELLUM, Northeastern Italy (Venice), c. 1470, 340 x 235 mm.,160 folios, complete (collation, i-xii10, xii8, xiii-xvi10, xvii2), written in rounded southern gothic bookhands by three scribes in two columns of forty to thirty-eight lines (justification, 213-205 x 150-148 mm.), the first scribe copied ff. 1-67rb, and ff. 81va, line 27- 82ra, line 19, the second scribe, ff. 67va-81va, line 26, and the third scribe, ff. 82ra, line 19 to the end, red rubrics f. 1 only, red underlining through f. 4v, red and blue paragraph marks and running titles, three-line alternately red and blue initials with very fine violet or red pen decoration, diagram, f. 75v, NINE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS with floral borders, f. 1, HISTORIATED INITIAL WITH THREE-QUARTER BORDER. BINDING: Bound in luxurious nineteenth-century red crushed morocco in the Jansenist style by R. Petit, spine with intricate monogram ("E M B"), elaborately gold-tooled turn-ins and green watered silk doublures, edges gauffered and gilt, front joint a little worn, minor rubbing and scuffs on the front and back covers, but in very good condition. TEXT: Thomas Aquinas (c.1224/1225-1274), the Angelic Doctor, has been called the greatest philosopher between Aristotle and Descartes. He wrote this commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (ed. Opera Omnia vol. 47, 1969) later in his life, c. 1271-2, while writing his great Summa theologica (1265-1273). It follows Aristotle's text closely, providing a detailed explanation, often line by line, discussing the aim of moral philosophy, the definition of what is "good" for man, the virtues, both moral and intellectual, friendship, and the rewards (and limits) of pleasure and happiness. ILLUMINATION: This is an elegant example of a Renaissance manuscript illuminated in Venice by Leonardo Bellini (fl. c. 1443-1490), or a close follower, in a style influenced by Ferrarese illumination. The border decoration (especially the flowers with long stamens) and the animal roundel exhibit many similarities to manuscripts illuminated by Leonardo. The elegant illuminated frontispiece includes an historiated initial of St. Thomas, accompanied by a three-quarter floral border set in black ink trellises, with two painted roundels: the monogram, "YHS," and a white swan. PROVENANCE: The distinctive style of the illumination, script and pen work all support an origin in Venice c. 1470; most likely once belonged to the Dominican Convent of SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice; likely belonged to E. M. Bancel in the 19th century; belonged to the Haverhill Public Library, Massachusetts (De Ricci, Census, p. 1062, no. 1). CONDITION, f. 2 is creased with slight loss of legibility in one column (crease also visible on f. 1, text remains legible), f. 1, slightly soiled and with some pigment flaking in the border and initial, small ink smudges, ff. 75, 113, slight stain f. 81, ink on occasional pages abraded (no loss of text), overall in excellent, almost pristine, condition. Full description and photographs available (TM 629).



    JEAN DE BAUDREUIL, Sommaire abrégé des ducs de Orléans-Longueville ; illuminated manuscript on parchment in French with frontispiece miniature by the Master of the Paris Entries (active c. 1490-1520s) and 32 painted heraldic shields by JEAN DE BAUDREUIL, Sommaire abrégé des ducs de Orléans-Longueville

    NEWLY-DISCOVERED illuminated dedication copy made for Louis II, the 5th Duke of Orléans- Longueville, confirmING his rights to the duchy and other lands. Illuminated manuscript on parchment, in French, France, likely Paris, c. 1525 (likely after 1524). Dimensions 255 x 180 mm. 32 folios, written in a French lettre bâtarde on up to 21 lines, large opening initial in blue on a red ground highlighted in liquid gold, 32 painted heraldic shields, one large full-page miniature set in a liquid gold architectural frame. BINDING: Old red velvet over boards. TEXT: The manuscript is an abridged summary of the rights and claims over the lands and titles of the House of Orléans-Longueville, with historical justifications, as well as the identification of the customs that apply to the various lands and fiefdoms under their rule. Very little is known about the author. ILLUSTRATION: Among the four other identified copies of this work, the present manuscript is the only one to contain a full-page frontispiece miniature indicating that this was most likely the dedication copy made for Louis II d'Orléans-Longueville. The full-page miniature symbolically depicts the moment when the fiefdom of Châtelaillon is granted to the Counts of Dunois by Charles VII as two knights meeting on horseback. It was painted by the Master of the Paris Entries and his workshop in their characteristic graphic style. PROVENANCE: Manuscript copied and painted in France, likely in Paris, given the frontispiece miniature painted in a Parisian workshop. A shelfmark was added in the sixteenth-century. CONDITION: Traces of use, frontispiece slightly rubbed, overall good condition. Full description and photographs available.



    Epistola de morte Hieronymi; Epistola ad Cyrillum de magnificentiis Hieronymi; Epistola de miraculis Hieronymi; Vita Sancti Hieronymi; Vita sancti Pauli; illuminated medieval manuscript on parchment by Pseudo-Eusebius of Cremona, Pseudo-Augustine, Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome

    ILLUMINATED MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT IN LATIN ON PARCHMENT, Northern Italy, c. 1440-1470. 203 x 153 mm. 70 folios, complete (collation, i-vii10), remnants of quire and leaf signatures, flourished vertical catchwords, written in a humanist minuscule on 30 long lines (justification, 147-149 x 95-100 mm), horizontal lines ruled very lightly in ink, single vertical bounding lines ruled in lead, prickings remain in top and bottom margins on some leaves, rubrics and paragraph marks in pale red, two-line red or blue initials with contrasting pen flourishes in violet or red, two five-line blue initials, ff. 29v and 35, infilled and on square grounds of elaborate penwork; f. 64v, seven-line polished GOLD INITIAL with white vinestem decoration extending along twenty lines of text and into the upper margin, infilled and edged in deep red and blue with numerous tiny silver dots; f. 1, five-line polished GOLD HISTORIATED INITIAL of St. Jerome, bearded and dressed in red, standing before a Crucifix, with a hilly landscape in the background, on a white vinestem ground, extending into a FULL WHITE VINESTEM BORDER infilled and edged in deep red and blue with tiny silver dots and an erased coat of arms in lower margin, with modern? F.A.. BINDING: Early, almost certainly contemporary, reddish-brown leather over wooden boards, flat spine with three slightly raised bands, head and tail bands, clasp and catch fastening, front to back, with brass catch lettered ave, front cover decorated, most likely in the nineteenth century, with an attractive painted border in green, orange, and gray, connecting four brass studs, and the title, De laudibus et miraculis divi Hieronymi, with initials F.C. at the bottom, back pastedown is leaf from a late fourteenth-century Italian copy of Donatuss Latin grammar, front pastedown shows offset script from removed pastedown from a fourteenth-century Italian text in Latin verse. TEXT: This manuscript is a vivid witness to the importance of St. Jerome in fifteenth-century Italy, and includes the foundational texts for his cult: three letters regarding his death, miracles, and titles to glory and veneration and purporting to be written by three contemporaries of St. Jerome (c. 347-420), namely St. Eusebius of Cremona (d. 423), St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), and Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313-386), but probably written in Rome at the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century; a life of St. Jerome by an unknown author, probably writing in Italy in the twelth century; and Jeromes own life of St. Paul the Hermit, written in 374 or 375. These texts were widely disseminated in both Latin and in vernacular translations, and they influenced the work of numerous writers and visual artists. ILLUSTRATION: The iconographical choice in the historiated initial (f. 1) to depict the ascetic Jerome contemplating the Crucifixion dates from c. 1400 in Italy, and can be particularly associated with Hieronymite congregations in Tuscany. PROVENANCE: Copied in Northern Italy in the middle years of the fifteenth century, as suggested by the evidence of the script and decoration; the penwork initials in particular seem to point to Northern Italy. The manuscript almost certainly once included the coat of arms of its original owner in the lower margin of the illuminated border on f. 1. Three sets of initials are inscribed, in three different hands, all possibly initials of owners: within the roundel on f. 1 a modern owner inscribed an outline of a shield in pen and the initials F.A.; inside front cover, white embossed seal, with the initials L.F.; on front cover, as part of the added decoration, F[?]. C[?]. CONDITION: Slight loss of the leather at the back, top of the spine, and over the lower band of the binding; top of the painted border on f. 1 is very slightly trimmed; f. 1 is darkened; and there is some soiling throughout, but overall in very good condition. Full description and photos available (TM 656).



    [Anonymous], An Actual Report of the Origin of the Disputes in Religious Matters between the Protestant Churches (in German); RATRAMNUS OF CORBIE, On the Body and Blood of the Lord (in German translation); and other texts; manuscript on parchment, in German by [Anonymous], An Actual Report of the Origin of the Disputes in Religious Matters between the Protestant Churches

    A CALLIGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE, THIS COLLECTION OF REFORMATION TEXTS WAS COPIED BY ANDRE WECHELN, THE FIRST POSTMASTER-GENERAL OF SWEDEN. Manuscript on parchment, in German, Stockholm, Sweden, 1636-1637. Dimensions (binding) 115 x 80 mm., (book block) 108 x 70 mm. 178 leaves, written in one hand, black penwork in FOLIATE DESIGNS USED FOR FULL TITLE PAGES, a GREEK CROSS, CALENDRICAL ROUNDELS, COMPASS FOR DESCRIBING WIND DIRECTION, two-, three-, and four-line black penwork initials throughout. BINDING: Gold-tooled 17th century binding of black cordovan leather, with the remnant of a form of ribbon tie on the back cover, sewn on three cords with blue and yellow silk endbands (the Swedish colors), gilt edges, contemporary marbled paper pastedowns, gold-tooled leaf spiral and flower filigree design with central and corner panels in a double frame common on mid-17th c. Swedish bindings, possibly the work of Georg Hornbein (fl. 1624-49), a German who had emigrated to Sweden in 1617 and ran the largest bookbindery in Stockholm. TEXT: This manuscript unites four copies of printed, though rare, Protestant texts: a devotional work on the Eucharist with a Prayer Book, a historical work on the origins of the confessional conflict accompanied by Martin Luther's sermon for Good Friday 1522, a German translation of a Eucharistic treatise by the Carolingian theologian Ratramnus of Corbie, and a guide to reading the Bible during the calendar year. The scribe, Andre Wecheln, was a German in Swedish royal service during the Thirty Years War and the first Postmaster-General of Sweden. PROVENANCE: The scribe names himself on four occasions as Andre Wecheln, writing in Stockholm in 1636-37. It was later in a European Continental Collection. CONDITION: In excellent condition. Full description and pictures available. (TM 514)

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