While working on the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library’s hidden collections cataloging project, I’ve found some examples of the different methods authors and printers used to fix small errors in a text after an item was printed. Shown below are a few examples of the corrections that were made directly to the page.
In the first example, from Nathanael Emmons’ A sermon, delivered at the ordination of the Reverend John Robinson (1789), the word “North” was scraped off the title page, and replaced with a stamped “West.” The first image shows the stamp, and traces of the other word underneath and to the left of it. The second and third images were made using transmitted light, and highlight the thinness of the paper where it was scraped away.
Emmons, Nathanael, 1745-1840. A sermon, delivered at the ordination of the Reverend John Robinson, to the pastoral care of the church in Westborough, January 14, 1789. By Nathanael Emmons, A.M. … Providence [R.I.], : By Bennett Wheeler, at his office on the west side [sic] the river., . Call no. Y1789.Emm Ser, New-York Historical Society.
Another method of correction was to paste slips of paper on top of incorrect words or phrases. These slips may have been printed or hand-written. Two different types of hand corrections can be seen in the N-YHS Library’s two copies of the title below, Owen Biddle’s A plan for a school on an establishment similar to that at Ackworth, in Yorkshire, Great-Britain (1790). In the first copy (below left), the author made corrections directly onto the page by crossing out the incorrect word and writing in the correct one. In the other (below right), the author wrote corrections onto paper slips that were then glued to the page.
Biddle, Owen, 1737-1799. A plan for a school on an establishment similar to that at Ackworth, in Yorkshire, Great-Britain, varied to suit the circumstances of the youth within the limits of the Yearly-Meeting for Pennsylvania and New-Jersey: introduced with the sense of Friends in New-England, on the subject of education; and an account of some schools in Great-Britain: to which is added, observations and remarks, intended for the consideration of Friends. Philadelphia: : Printed by Joseph Crukshank., MDCCXC. . Call no. Y1790.Bid Pla copy 1 (left; corrections on page), and copy 2 (right; corrections on slips), New-York Historical Society.
I haven’t yet come across any printed correction slips within my work on hidden collections, but the Society does have examples in books outside the current scope of the project. For instance, in both copies of the Chalon Burgess publication below, the last three letters of the author’s first name on both title pages have been corrected with printed, pasted over slips to “LON.”
Burgess, Chalon, 1817-1903. The divine goodness as seen in our national history with a brief view of our perils and obligations. …. By Chalon Burgess. Buffalo : A.M. Clapp & Co….Printers, Office of the Morning Express, 1853. Call nos. BV4305 .B95 1853 and F129.L54 B8, New-York Historical Society.
In another example, a printed slip with the word “CHILLED” has been added to an advertisement in a New York City directory for 1850-1851.
Rode’s New York City directory, for 1850-1851. … New-York: : Charles R. Rode, publisher & proprietor, 66 Cedar St., opposite the post office., . Call no. F128.185 1850b copy 1, New-York Historical Society.
This post is by rare book cataloger Lucretia Baskin.
Cataloging of the Rare Book Collection is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.