Monthly Archives: August 2012

St. Bartholomew’s Day, the Act of Uniformity, and the Book of Common Prayer

A year after the child king, Edward VI, ascended to the British throne, the first Act of Uniformity was enacted in 1549. The Act established the Book of Common Prayer as the sole legal form of worship in England. Subsequent Acts of Uniformity in 1552 and 1559 adopted revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, or reinstated the act after the reign of a Catholic monarch, like Mary I. The Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, is the liturgical text of the Church of England. It contains liturgies for both Sunday and daily worship services as well as orders for baptisms, weddings, funerals, confirmation, and words to say over the ill and dying. Readings from the Old and New Testament were included as well as Morning Prayers, Evening Prayers, and Holy Communion rites. In England, a country that had only just recently broken from the Roman Catholic church, it was invaluable to have a liturgy text in the English language.Book of Common Prayer, 1739

A century later, after the end of England’s Civil War and the reign of Oliver Cromwell and his son, Richard, the monarchy was reestablished under Charles II in 1661. Another major revision of the Book of Common Prayer was published a year later and a new Act of Uniformity was enacted along with it. This new Act was even more stringent. Not only was the Book of Common Prayer the only legal form of worship throughout England again, but adherence was mandatory for anyone who wished to hold a position in the church or in the government. Furthermore, the requirement for episcopal ordination for all ministers was reintroduced. The Act was met with hostility from a large group of ministers who complained that they could not adhere to a revised, yet-to-be-printed, Book of Common Prayer that they had not yet even seen. However, a deadline to comply with the Act was placed on St. Bartholomew’s Day, August 26, 1662.

What is now known as the Great Ejection took place on that day. It is estimated that about 2,000 to 2,500 ministers were cast out of not only the Church of England, but also from social and academic life. The Clarendon Code, named for the Earl of Clarendon, consisted of the Act of Uniformity and three other acts, passed around the same time. The Code forbade non-conformist ministers from holding university degrees from Cambridge or Oxford and many were forced to move at least five miles away from their former home parishes. Historians and former ministers wrote passionately on the injustice of the Great Ejection. Well-known ministers who became victims of the Great Ejection include John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, Sr., Thomas Doolittle, Matthew Poole, Samuel Clarke, and Richard Baxter. At Special Collections, you can find historian John Corbet’s An Account Given of the Principles & Practices of Several Nonconformists and Edmund Colamy’s The Church and the Dissenters Compar’d as to Persecution.
The Church and the Dissenters Compared as to Persecution
Principles and Practices of Several Nonconformists

It would be 150 years before Nonconformists could hold civil or military office. This year, 350 years after the Act of Uniformity of 1662 was enacted, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster held a Service of Reconciliation at Westminster Abbey in London on February 8th. To mark the occasion, an Act of Penitence and an Act of Recommitment were performed, and selections from various writings of seventeenth century and eighteenth century Nonconformist ministers were read.


Posted in Rare Book Collection, Uncategorized

Welcome back, students and faculty!

Every Day at the University of MissouriToday is the first day of classes at MU, and campus is bustling with new and returning students and faculty, just as it has for the past 173 years.  Today’s collection highlight provides a glimpse of campus as it was one hundred years ago.

University publisher Joseph Chasnoff produced a booklet entitled Every Day at the University of Missouri in 1912.  In the introductory text, he noted,

"Last Year 3000 Came"“To this town students come each year in ever increasing numbers to attend the University.  This year 3000 came.  They flooded out at the Wabash and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway stations.  They poured into and filled dormitory and rooming house.  The student is a predominant factor in Columbia.  He is one to three in numbers.  The population of the town is 10,000.”

The library, ChaThe Library is a Quiet but Busy Placesnoff notes, was a hub of campus in 1912 – as it is today. At that time, the library was housed in the west wing of Jesse Hall (then called Academic Hall).  In 1912, the library owned over 100,000 books.  Today, that number is over 3 million.

Most of the buildings pictured in the booklet are still standing.  A few photos, however, provide an idea of how much campus has changed.

Laws Observatory

Dormitories in 1912

A bird's eye view

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Rare Book Collection, University of Missouri Collection

My Great-Grandparents Did What?: Genealogical Resources at Special Collections

Looking for information about one’s ancestors can be a daunting (and sometimes expensive) task. There are quite a few online databases and websites like or that can help fill in the holes of your family tree, but they are not cheap.  Here at Special Collections, researching family trees has become a bit of a hobby for one of our employees. We are extremely lucky here to have plenty of resources in a number of forms including print, digital, and microforms. However, a lot of people have no clue how to begin to look for an elusive ancestor. Although census records and birth certificates can tell a lot, they sometimes do not tell the whole story about a person.

Take for instance the story of a 56 year old gentleman, George Valentine, who lived in what is now Ritchie County, West Virginia in 1862. The census records during his lifetime can give information about his name, occupation, family, where he was born, and age (thereby cluing the researcher into George Valentine’s birth year). However, if you search alphabetically in the Union Provost Marshals’ file of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, you will find that George Valentine was arrested by Union troops for being a noted rebel in October 1861 and shipped off to Camp Chase in Ohio, a notorious Union prison where 2260 prisoners died from bad conditions including lack of food, water, clothing, and sanitation.  You would also find a letter, hand-written by Mr. Valentine’s captor to the Governor of Ohio, giving Mr. Valentine over to the governor’s care.
MU Savitar
If your ancestor possibly attended the University of Missouri, you should check out Special Collections’ MU collection. We have publications from various departments on campus.  One of our biggest periodical collections is the MU Savitar. The yearbook, which ran from 1894-2005, includes photographs and stories of thousands of students who have roamed the hallowed grounds of Mizzou for over one hundred years. If you are too far away from the MU campus, you should check out the digitized Savitar collection here.

Plat books contain a wealth of names and information of landowners in a particular county or state. Like the Savitar, most of the Missouri county plat books have been digitized, making it convenient to access nice clear scans of every page from anywhere. If you have an approximate idea of where an ancestor lived at a given point in time, you can usually find their name written in a plat book and estimate how much land the owned.Plat Book of Warren County Missouri

Sanborn Map

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps date back to 1867. They were originally created to assess fire liability and risk, but are used now to see a snapshot of a town or city during the past. This is a great way to find the general store that your great-grandfather ran back in 1905, or his house in 1912. Not only does Special Collections hold an extensive collection of Missouri Sanborn maps, but they have been digitized and put online as well. Furthermore, other states have also digitized their collections.

Finally, Special Collections is the home of one of the largest microform collections in North America. Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals Many of these sets come with their own print guides and indexes. Various microform collections that might of interest to genealogical researchers include the “The Immigrant in America”, extensive personal papers and correspondence of many American pioneers, and our large volume of early American newspapers and periodicals. We also have indexes of many major American newspapers like the New York Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and the Atlanta Constitution, so it is easy to look up someone’s name or a historical event and find the exact date and page number where they were mentioned.

As Missourians, we are truly lucky to have so much in genealogical information readily available.  Although there is a lot that has been put online for easy access, we also have a small staff here at Special Collections ready to help you find what you need up on the fourth floor of Ellis Library.  Even though none of us are trained genealogical experts, we can usually point you in the right direction.  For Missouri-specific inquiries, the State Historical Society is housed in the same building, and can often provide information that we may not have here.  Furthermore, the largest free-standing genealogical library the Midwest Genealogy Center, is located near Kansas City.   Finally, if you find yourself lost, contact us and we can provide you with names of local professional genealogists.

Posted in Special Collections, Uncategorized

Feast Day of Saint Cyriacus

Today marks the anniversary of the death by beheading of Saint Cyriacus and his companions, Largus and Smaragdus. They had fallen afoul of the Emperor Diocletian.  Cyriacus had converted the daughter of the emperor, then went on to stage a mass baptism at the court of a Persian King. Cyriacus and company were tortured and beheaded on this day in the year 303. Their relics were placed in the Church of Saint Maria, in Via Lata, in Rome.

The images you see here are from the front and back of a leaf from a twelfth-century English martyrology in our Fragmenta Manuscripta collection. Martyrologies were anthologies that provided narratives of the lives and passions of saints, arranged according to their feast day. These were read aloud in monastic houses during the office of prime.  The image on the left is the recto. The reading for Saint Cyriacus begins in the middle of the page, where you see the rubric and a fine blue and ochre arabesque initial. The leaf was trimmed along the bottom so it is not continuous with the text on the top of the verso of the folio (below). The text there provides the rationale for the day’s celebration: “However often we brothers celebrate their martyrdom, so often we say praise of the savior. And however often we observe their passions; so often we proclaim the grace of Christ.” The text on the verso looks forward to the Day of Judgment: “And because in the present age the faults of many are not known but in the future time it will be written, when god will judge the hidden things of men and will illuminate dark hiding places and will make manifest the heart’s deliberation. It will be known.  Do not fear the fury of persecutors. And the madness of blasphemers because the God of judgment will come, whereby our virtue and their wickedness will be demonstrated.”

We encourage you to join us in observing  this solemn occasion with a visit to the Rare Books Room.




Posted in Uncategorized

Tips for Travelers

Cover of Baedeker's Lower Egypt (Leipzig, 1895)Travel guides began to appear in the eighteenth century with the rise in popularity of the Grand Tour. Wealthy young men traveled the continent, seeking to experience culture and the arts and enjoying European society. While the outbreak of the French Revolution curtailed the practice, peacetime brought tourists back to Europe.
Travels in nineteenth century Europe were facilitated by the advent of stage coaches. They allowed those who could not afford to hire private transportation to travel more economically. Additionally, the adventurous and self-sufficient could travel independently, departing from established routes. These travelers were served by guidebooks. In addition to listing of routes and overview of culture and history, these books offered practical advice on everything from where to stay, what to wear, and who to tip.
Title page from Letters from Italy (London, 1800)Special Collections has several guidebooks from this period. Mariana Starke’s Letters from Italy (London, 1800) reassured travelers that travel was safe and that the cities of Italy had not been robbed of their artwork. Starke gave her readers practical information about specific sites. Karl Baedeker published his first guidebook in 1839, basing the content on his personal travel experiences and including detailed maps. These guides became extremely popular. The firm is still producing guidebooks today. While not technically a guidebook, Bachelder’s Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them (Boston, 1875), gave travelers to the United States guidance on how to reach newly establish National Parks in the west.
Detail of the map of Stockholm from Baedeker's Norway and Sweden (Leipzig, 1879)

Advice from our guidebooks:

    Avoid local fauna:
    “The sting of a scorpion (seldom dangerous) or bite of a snake is usually treated with ammonia.”
    Baedeker’s Lower Egypt(Leipzig, 1895)
    How to pack:
    “A soft or compressible portmanteau is not recommended, as the “Skydsgut”, who is sometimes a ponderous adult, always sits on the luggage strapped on [the pack horse]. A supply of stout cord and several straps will be found useful, and a strong umbrella is indispensable.”
    Baedeker’s Norway and Sweden (Leipzig, 1879)
    Illustrations of Yellowstone National Park from Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them (Boston, 1875)
    Visiting a National Park:
    “If the National Park of the Yellowstone be the objective point, the tourist will continue on the Union Pacific Railroad to Corinne, Utah, at present the nearest approach by rail. From Corinne, the trip is completed partly by stage and by saddle, but should only be undertaken by person of strong physical endurance, after special preparation.”
    Popular Resorts and How to Reach Them (Boston, 1875)

    An early rating system:
    “The Cappella Sistina contains some of the finest frescos in the world, namely, The last Judgement, by Buonarroti, immediately behind the alter, and on the ceiling, God dividing the light from the darkness, together with the Prophets and Sibyls, stupendous works by the same great Master !!!!!”
    Letters from Italy (London, 1800)
    Description of artwork from Letters from Italy (London, 1800) with many exclamation marks.Starke’s use of multiple exclamation points following her descriptions functioned as a kind of rating system. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescos earns the highest praise, a rare five exclamation marks.
    Take a sweater:
    “Villa Borghese (This beautiful and magnificent Villa is so cold, and so much is to be seen in the grounds, that it should be visited in warm dry weather only).”
    Letters from Italy (London, 1800)
    Local insects:
    “The gnats which swarm in some of the inland districts, especially in the Swedish Norrland, including Lapland, are a great source of annoyance and suffering, but the plague generally abates after the middle of August.”
    Baedeker’s Norway and Sweden (Leipzig, 1879)
    Where to stay in Vienna:
    “The inns of this City are bad and dear; Wolf’s is deemed the best, and the white Bull once was tolerable; but the present Master is so notorious a Cheat…; besides which, his dinners are so bad that it is scarcely possible to eat them. Indeed, the only way of living comfortable at Vienna is to take a private lodging.”
    Letters from Italy (London, 1800)
    Detail from a map of Alexandria in Baedeker's Lower Egypt (Leipzig, 1895)Advice for cigar aficionados in Egypt:
    “Cigar-smokers will find it very difficult to become accustomed to the Oriental tobacco, but they will find tolerable cigar-shops at Alexandria and Cairo… As a general rule smokers are recommended to carry with them, both in going to and returning from Egypt, as little tobacco as possible,… as a rigorous search is often made and a heavy duty exacted, both at the Egyptian, and at the French, Austrian and Italian Frontiers.”
    Baedeker’s Lower Egypt (Leipzig, 1895)
An explanation of hieroglyphics from Baedeker's Lower Egypt (Leipzig, 1895)Special Collections has several of Baedeker’s Guides in our collection. Search for Karl Baedker (firm) in the Merlin catalog. Limit your search to Special Collections.
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Rare Book Collection
Be Sociable
Facebook  Twitter  Tumblr Special Collections and Rare Books
%d bloggers like this: