Sunday 12 November 1665

(Lord’s day). Up, and invited by Captain Cocke to dinner. So after being ready I went to him, and there he and I and Mr. Yard (one of the Guinny Company) dined together and very merry. After dinner I by water to the Duke of Albemarle, and there had a little discourse and business with him, chiefly to receive his commands about pilotts to be got for our Hambro’ ships, going now at this time of the year convoy to the merchant ships, that have lain at great pain and charge, some three, some four months at Harwich for a convoy. They hope here the plague will be less this weeke. Thence back by water to Captain Cocke’s, and there he and I spent a great deale of the evening as we had done of the day reading and discoursing over part of Mr. Stillingfleet’s “Origines Sacrae,” wherein many things are very good and some frivolous. Thence by and by he and I to Mrs. Penington’s, but she was gone to bed. So we back and walked a while, and then to his house and to supper, and then broke up, and I home to my lodging to bed.

9 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Mr. Stillingfleet’s “Origines Sacrae,” wherein many things are very good and some frivolous."

I wonder which things Pepys thought "very good" and which "frivolous" and whether Captain Cocke agreed.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... discoursing over ... Mr. Stillingfleet ..."

A Cambridge acquaintance( http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/04/23/ ), Stillingfleet was the greatest book collector of the day.
*Spoiler* Eventually he amassed some 10,000 printed books and additional manuscripts, SP ultimately had about 3,000. Following his death, Stillingfleet’s book collection was acquired by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh for his library in Dublin, built in 1701, which retains shelves and fittings unaltered including individual cages to lock in the readers to prevent them stealing books – for photos etc. see:
http://www.marshlibrary.ie/library.html

Australian Susan   Link to this

MR - thank you! Beautiful, beautiful library! As a librarian, I am very envious, but also wonder how they conserve and preserve all that lot? Knowing the problems, it is also amazing that Sam's library has come down to us so intact and in such good condition.

Don McCahill   Link to this

Preserving books of the early modern age is actually less difficult than preserving books of the 20th century will turn out to be. The use of acid based papers from the early part of the last century, up until the 1990s, means that books of that era will deteriorate far quicker than books of earlier centuries. Acid will make the pages completely crumble in less than 100 years.

Saving a dollar or two per book in the cost of paper has resulted in libraries having to de-acidify books individually (page by page, I believe). Around 1990 libraries just stopped buying any books that used acid-based papers, and publishers of scholarly books started to use acid-free paper.

I bet that all those Harry Potter's printed over the last 20 years or so will deteriorate before our Pepys books (unless they happened to be printed on acid free).

Michael Robinson   Link to this

... how they conserve and preserve all that lot?

Marsh's Library now has its own Conservation bindery, and in addition to funds provided by the Irish state:

"In the 1980s the American Irish Foundation gave a grant for the extensive restoration of Marsh's Library. This included rewiring, painting, decorating, carpeting, the installation of security systems, and the conversion of a derelict area into a fine seminar/reading room. These new facilities were entirely provided by the generosity of the members of the AIF and gave a new lease of life to Marsh's Library. Over the past twenty years the American Irish Foundation (now The Ireland Funds) has continued to support various projects in Marsh's Library."
http://www.irlfunds.org/your_money_at_work/proj...

Some interior photographs, showing how much work remains (The writer is wrong to state the library was ever 'chained'):
http://liliblogs.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/schoo...

Ruben   Link to this

What will happen to the books will also happen to the pictures. The more information we get, the worse it conserves. Now that music is also digital, it will also deteriorate at the same time than the digital pictures, together with our family videos, etc. I do not know why to keep all the garbage information, but who knows what is garbage and what is not?
It was Anatole France that had a historian drown in a books avalanche, when he was looking for information about the Penguin Island History. Now the joke is becoming a reality...

Liliblogs   Link to this

I am intrigued to be informed that I'm wrong about Marsh's Library ever being a chained library, and wonder if the author of the comment would be willing to elaborate? I toured Marsh's Library this spring while a book conservation student at West Dean College (West Sussex), and was told repeatedly throughout the tour that the library had been a chained library. I am willing to be wrong--but as I say, I am intrigued. While I know the library has cages where legend says readers were locked in with the books (and I do not believe that _all_ the books would have been chained), I did take photographs of the locks on the book cases, and this source I just found (see link at the end of this post) says that many of Marsh's Library books still have clasps for chains that once locked them to the shelves...

http://books.google.com/books?id=VW-rtv9te8cC&p...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Marsh's Library -- chaining?

Apologies perhaps I was too absolute and one or two cases were chained, Liliblogs, but I don’t recall reading about chaining, nor seeing any evidence of it in Mirjam Foot ‘The decorated bindings in Marsh's Library, Dublin', 2004 – I don’t have a copy immediately to hand but will take a look again. Your fine shelf photographs also don’t show any evidence for the former presence of attachments. Anyway, I will ask and try to find a way to get the reply to you directly.

Australian Susan   Link to this

As well as Don's comment about acid in paper (and yes, it is time-consuming and costly to deacidify a book, but the Library of Congress is doing this - book by book, not page by page, but still v. slow), the problem arises from using non-rag based papers so that the cellulose chains are short and easily break down. Newspapers of the 17th century are in much better condition than those of the 19th and 20th centuries. The other thing that is really anathema to books is sticky tape which is not of library quality - leaves dreadful damage as it deteriorates. Sam had organic problems - worms and so on and not the modern way of dealing with them: putting the book in a freezer (wrapped in special plastic) to kill off the nasties. Takes about 24hrs. Our library's kitchen freezer usually has at least one book in it. Sam's temperate climate for his books would have helped preserve them.

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