The LSU Libraries’ Special Collections acquired several rare books in the past year:

  • “Monstrorum Historia,” a 1642 book by Renaissance naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi, was acquired last summer. It’s an illustrated history of monsters and deformities that’s “a window into the world of early modern science, pseudo-science, religion and philosophy,” according to LSU Libraries.
  • Several books related to Dante Alighieri also were added, including a 1578 edition of the “Divine Comedy”; a reproduction of a unique copy of a 1491 Venetian edition of the same, later illustrated by hand; and a collection of 100 line drawings by Sofia Giacomelli, published in 1813, illustrating scenes from the “Divine Comedy.”
  • Nicolas Louis Bourgeois’ “Christophe Colomb, ou, l’Amérique découverte” from 1773 was also acquired. This allegorical retelling of Columbus’ voyages came with an album of 26 original graphite drawings depicting the action in each canto. They are believed to have been created between 1769 and 1772 in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) by Noël Challe. “The album is an extraordinary example of book-related art from the colonial Caribbean and a fascinating source for studying Europe’s image of the Americas in the eighteenth century,” a release says.
  • An early biography of astronomers Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • “Les plus beaux monuments de Rome ancienne” by Jean Barbault, 1761.
  • A collection of French garden designs, assembled in the eighteenth century.
  • Philippe de Belleville’s “Theatre d’histoire,” a chivalric romance from 1613 that is now one of the library’s earliest illustrated French-language books.
  • A Baroque penmanship manual.
  • Books about World War I and II.
  • Numerous examples of fine printing and art books, including “Sleepwalking Through Trees,” “Diary of a Dead Officer,” “The Colors of Rome” and “Stockholm Reflections.”