Rare Book Examination


The Notes on The State of Virginia-Thomas Jefferson

The book I examined was The Notes on the State of Virginia written by Thomas Jefferson. It was published in November 12, 1794 in Philadelphia.


This book was bound using string. The front and back covers seem to be made of a leather material covering a type of cardboard-like material. Unfortunately as you can see in the photo the cover edges and spine are wearing away. This is a sign of regular library use as well as general aging. Below you will see an example of the aging as well as the type of binding twine utilized on this particular text.


3-D text

I noticed that the print in the book was definitely from a printing press. I noticed 3-D imprint on either side to show evidence of this printing press use. I found this to be very interesting as I never have encountered this type of material before. Also, it is to be noted that the pages are made of thicker paper than books today.  Also, it is easy to note the horizontal chain lines across the page. Clearly these pages were also trimmed it was nice and neat on the edges. As you can see below the 3-D text is visible on the page above.


Unfortunately because this book was donated by a prominent woman at our college, librarians pasted a donation label inside the cover. Although it was a good thought to know where it came from, in a way it detracts from the nature of the book. However, it does tell us a good bit about the life of this book. We know it came from the Mabel Gardiners collection.

Close Up


Probably my most favorite aspect of this book is the notation on the cover page. The inscription reads “Anderson J Henshaw” there is also some crossed out inscription


written in brown ink that I couldn’t decode. However I could make out the brown ink “Bought this 24 July, 1901 price 15/-“




Text Variation


I also noted the variation in text. In some places a regular “s” was used. Then oddly enough, in the next line it was an “f” used instead. I am not quite sure why this may have been done, however, it is  quite a unique aspect to this rare book.

Finally the last interesting aspect of this book was a foldout chart. It was placed about the middle of the book. It was also made of notably lighter material than the rest of the pages.

All of this information was collected from a book in the rare books collection at Shepherd University’s Scarborough Library.

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