Elsevier fellows 2013
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and the Scaliger Institute of Leiden University Libraries have founded a three year fellowship program starting in 2012. The Elsevier fellows for 2013, Professor Allen Reddick and dr. Arjen Dijkstra will arrive in Leiden after the summer to conduct his research on the Special Collections of Leiden University Library and the Elsevier Heritage Collection in Amsterdam.
The Elsevier fellows for 2013 are: Professor Allen Reddick from the University of Zürich. His research is titled ‘Thomas Hollis’s Gifts to Leiden University, “eminent among the noblest”’ From the years 1759 to 1770, the Englishman Thomas Hollis (1720-1774) sent books anonymously to Leiden University, each of them bound in splendid red or even green morocco leather, and stamped with unusual gold tools. Ten of these books have been located in the Leiden University Library. Each was inscribed cryptically--for instance, “from A Citizen of the World”-- some were annotated throughout, and some contained extra-illustrations of smoke-prints or engravings. He sent Leiden at least eleven medals as well, medals he had commissioned and whose design he had supervised, mainly celebrating British victories over the French. Additionally, he sent a set of thirteen wax portraits of English worthies, such as Francis Bacon and John Milton, created by Isaac Gosset around 1758; and he also sent them a large set of prints, executed to his own demands, designed, for the most part, after portraits in his own possession. In addition to the ten books, nine of the unique wax portraits, and ten of the prints survive in the Leiden University Library. Further on-site searches could reveal more gifts, including the location of the medals.
Dr. Arjen Dijkstra (Universiteit Groningen). His research is titled ‘ Outsourcing in the seventeenth century. Books published by the Elsevier company, but printed by others’.
His proposal is to make a more thorough investigation into the process of outsourcing by the seventeenth century Elsevier publishing house. How often did the Elseviers make use of printers from outside of Leiden and Amsterdam? What could be their reasons to do so? Did they do this for a specific segment of their publications? Was it commercialism that lay at the core of this and were printers outside the main cities just cheaper? Or did the Elseviers want to have specialized editions – like those in mathematics – overseen by specialists, like in this case the author? Does the quality of the books printed on ‘strange presses’ deviate from those printed on Elsevier owned presses? Or is Metius possibly a one off, and did the Elsevier house hardly make use of printers outside Leiden and Amsterdam? Questions like these can help to understand the very complex world of printing and publishing in the seventeenth century. They will help to chart what the difference was between those different facets of the making of books, in that age. These questions will also help to get a better understanding how the Elsevier house functioned. Was it a centralized run company, or did it roll with the tides of the market?
The Elsevier Heritage Collection consists of over 2000 volumes with more than 1000 distinct titles published by the original House of Elzevier from 1580 to 1712. The collection is divided into our core collection, of around 1500 volumes and a reserve or “duplicate” collection. Approximately 400 non-Elzevier antiquarian titles and over 30 reference titles are also preserved in our museum quality, acclimatized display shelves in our Elsevier headquarters in Amsterdam.