Thursday, May 20, 2021

On Researching the Life, Death, and Literary Remains of __ Nobody


In my  library I have the complete print run in two volumes of the first American periodical on book collecting:  The Philobiblion: A Monthly Bibliographical Journal Containing Critical Notices of, and Extracts from Rare, Curious, and Valuable Books.  It is probably the last American periodical where the long s was used in the printing of a magazine.  My set was formerly owned by the Nebraska newspaper publisher and journalist Francis Moul.

The New York City bookman George P. Philes (1828-1913) published The Philobiblion in monthly issues from December 1861 to December 1863.  In addition to critical notices and extracts, The Philobiblion  contained literary essays, notes and queries, priced catalogues of books, as well as miscellaneous items.  The miscellaneous items included anything that Philes thought would be of interest to his readers.  On one occasion Philes was browsing the 1826 edition of the Dictionaire Hiſtorique ou Biographie Univerſelle Claſſique  and came upon a listing of a young poet named Nobody who was the author of a piece of erotic verse.


Nobody (C***), a young poet, born in the environs of Beauvais in 1766; he is only known as the author of a piece of erotic verse, entitled Le Messe de Gnide, Paris, year 2 of the Republic (1793), in 24mo of 35 pages.  He killed himself with a pistol shot in 1787, at Paris.

Philes thought this listing might be of interest to his readers, so he wrote all that he knew about the life, death, and literary remains of Nobody in the November 1862 issue of The Philobiblion.

What Philes told his readers about the life, death, and literary remains of Nobody in the November 1862 issue of The Philobiblion wasn't very much.  But then along came that most splendid thing that Horace Walpole called serendipity.  An attentive reader of The Philobiblion just happened to be attending the sale of the library of a French Count in Paris in January 1863.  And one of the items up for sale was a 1797 Geneva edition of La Messe de Gnide!

Comte H. De Ch*** was Comte Henry De Chaponay (1811-1878),  a member of the French Bibliophiles. 

The 1797 edition of La Messe de Gnide  was item number 457 of the sale.  


457. La Messe de Gnide, posthumous work by C. Nobody (Labaume, followed by fragments of Vépres de Gnide, by the same, and of the Vigil of Venus). Geneva, 1797, in-24, mar. R. tr. Golden. Copy of Pixerécourt

The attentive reader, who shall be known from here on in as H,  took stock of the situation.  When he first read about Nobody's erotic verse in The Philobiblion, he surmised that the erotic verse was so bad that the author didn't want to put his name to it.  Yet, one of the former owners of this book of erotic verse was the famous French dramatist Rene-Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt (1773-1844).  H thought the price of 23 francs was too high, but then L. Potier was one of the most prominent booksellers in Paris, and nobody at the sale batted an eye at the price.  All in all, H began to believe that Nobody was the pseudonym a notable author used for this piece of erotic verse.   H decided to do a  little research to prove his theory that Nobody was somebody of importance.  Potier gave him a starting point by including the name Labaume in the catalogue listing of La Messe de Gnide.

H was a bookman who knew his way around books. He used the same reference book that Philes referred to in the original Nobody article, the Dictionaire Hiſtorique ou Biographie Univerſelle Claſſique.  And under the name Labaume, H was referred to three other names in the Dictionaire: Achards, Baume, and Griffet.  

Under Achards, H found Éléazar Francois des Archards de La Baume, a French missionary who died in 1741.

Under Baume, H found Antoine Melchior de la Baume a French statesman who died in 1794.

And under Griffet, H found Antoine Gilbert Griffet De La Baume, who died in 1805, and his brother Charles, who died in 1800.  Antoine translated a number of English and German books, and even wrote a comedy in verse.  Charles  was a literary man as well.  But neither brother was identified in the Dictionaire as the author of La Messe de Gnide, or as Nobody, for that matter.

H then decided to look the brothers up in a different reference book, the Nouvelle Biographie Générale.

H noted that this reference book spelt the surname of the brothers as Beaume.  But it didn't matter to H because Nobody was finally somebody!   The Nouvelle Biographie Générale attributed La Messe de Gnide to Antoine Gilbert Griffet de Labeaume (1756-1805).

Completely satisfied with his research,  H submitted all he had learned about Nobody to the editor of The Philobiblion, signing his name as H at the bottom of the article.   And under Miscellaneous Items, Philes published the article in the February 1863 issue of The Philobiblion.

Today, the Literary Remains of Antoine Gilbert Griffet de Labaume, AKA Nobody, namely La Messe de Gnide, can be printed on demand.  Down thru the years the work has been reprinted in French several times, most notably in Brussels in 1881.  The Belgian artist, Félicien Rops( 1833-1898)  created an erotic frontispiece for the 1881 edition.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Dr. Franklin Norwood Rogers: The Pediatrician Who Liked to Write Poems

 William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) wasn't the only pediatrician in the last century who wrote poetry.  Although he was nowhere near as well known as Williams, Franklin Norwood Rogers (1881-1956) wrote poetry as well.  His poems have appeared in The Medical Pickwick, The New Hampshire Troubadour, and in An Anthology of New Hampshire Poetry.  Moreover, his wife, Bernice Clough Rogers, published a book of his poetry after he died.

If his appearance of  lighthearted demeanor in the portrait above tells me anything about Franklin Norwood Rogers, it is that I expect his poems to be amusing and entertaining.  And that's what most of his poems are.  Here are some of his shorter ditties that appeared in the October 1920 issue of The Medical Pickwick under the name of F. N. Rogers.

According to the Manchester, N. H. Historical Association,Dr. Franklin Norwood Rogers (1881-1956) is said to be New Hampshire's first pediatrician.   He graduated from Tufts Medical College, and then settled in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1905 where he joined the staff of Elliot Hospital in Manchester.  Here he is in a group photo of the staff that was taken in 1932.  Rogers is in the top row, the fourth man from the left or the right.

Dr. Franklin N. Rogers participated in several discussions on childhood diseases  at the Sixty-Ninth Annual Session of the American Medical Association, held at Chicago in June, 1918.

Here are two atta-boy  newspaper clippings about him from The Portsmouth Herald

                                                                      Jun 10, 1926


                                                                                Apr 9, 1937

Dr. Franklin Norwood Rogers was a descendent of Thomas Rogers (1571-1621), one of the Mayflower passengers.  Franklin himself served as  Governor of the Society of Mayflower Descendents in the State of New Hampshire from 1940 to 1942.

Franklin's wife, Bernice Clough Rogers, was a descendent of John Clough (1614-1691) who sailed on the ship Elizabeth and arrived at Charles Town in the Plantation of Massachusetts in the summer of 1635.   Bernice herself was one of the founders of the John Clough Genealogical Society in 1939, and served as its first Vice President.  Her husband's poem, "A Pilgrim's Progress," serves as the frontispiece of Volume II of The Genealogy of the Descendents of John Glough of Salisbury, Ma.

Franklin's poem, "White Church Spires," introduces the  July 1951 issue of The New Hampshire Troubadour:

His poem, "Compensation," graces the pages of the second edition of An Anthology of New Hampshire Poetry, published by the New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs in September 1938.  I recently acquired a copy of this book from Ray Boas, a bookseller in Walpole, New Hampshire.  I ended up buying two more books online from Ray Boas the next day, but that's another story.

I mentioned earlier that Franklin's wife published a book of his poems after he died.  I have a vague memory of buying that book several years ago in a thrift store in or near  Crystal River, Florida while toodling with the Harrises on a Friday.  My friend Tom Harris passed away in April 2016, and, for the life of me, I can't remember if he was still alive when I bought this book!  But buy it I did.  And then I promptly lost it!

Now I have always been meticulous about cataloguing my recent acquisitions on Library Thing, usually the day or the day after I acquire them.  And I even used to post lists of my recent acquisitions on my monthly biblio-connecting blog.  But the Rogers book of poetry was nowhere to be found –– not in my Library Thing catalogue, or on my biblio-connecting blog, or in my library for that matter.  I remembered that it was a thin book.  And inserted in the book was a photo of the author along with a  sheet of paper containing one of his poems.  But I had that sick feeling that the book had slipped into the waste paper basket next to my desk....  I no longer have that sick feeling, for the book has miraculously reappeared in my library!  It was snuggled in between two books on the bottom shelf of my Philology Collection that I hadn't looked at in years!  How it got there, I do not know!

And here's the photo of the author and the sheet with the typed poem:

Franklin's poem, "Pilgrim's Progress," is on the very first page of the book.  "White Church Spires" is on page 3.  And "Childhood Fantasy" is on page 19.  All told there are 49 poems in the book.  The very last poem in the book is "A Matter of Judgment."

I don't ever ever have to fret and worry about losing a copy of Poems by Dr. Franklin Norwood Rogers again!  Why?  Because I now have three copies!

One book I would like to have is a book – any book – from the private library of Dr. F. N. Rogers!  

According to the Internet Archive, The National Library of Medicine has his copy of The Practice of Surgery by Samuel Cooper.

Rogers gave this book to Dr. George Sanford Foster, who, in turn, presented it to the United States Army Medical Library in Washington D. C.

For my readers in New Hampshire, if you happen to come across a book with the book stamp of Dr. F. N. Rogers, please contact me right here on this very blog!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Second Virtual Tour of My Mary Hyde Collection

On June 30, 2012, I took my blog viewers on a virtual tour of my extensive Mary Hyde Collection.  Since then I have added more books and various pieces of ephemera to the collection.  And today I will give a Second Virtual Tour of My Mary Hyde Collection.

 Today is the last day of March, Women's History Month.  And I will begin the tour with a book containing the conversations of the Bluestockings, some rather famous English ladies from the latter part of the eighteenth century: Conversations, or, the Bas Bleu. Addressed to Mrs. Hyde.

Loosely inserted in this book is The Address to Mrs. Hyde by Sidney Ives.  He was the former owner of the  "find" I mentioned in An Unexpected Find in Umatilla, Florida, which was my very first post to My Sentimental Library blog.

This bookplate of my Mary Hyde Collection was long overdue!

I contemplated about selecting a bookplate for my library in my February 2013 post to my Contemplations of MoiBibliomaniac blog.  One of the four bookplates I was considering included the portraits of three authors whose books I collected, Samuel Johnson, William Shakespeare, and Mary Hyde.

I still hadn't selected a bookplate for my library four years later.  But in May 2017, I decided to create separate bookplates for two of my collections.   My friend Charles Brown greatly improved upon the bookplate of my Mary Hyde Collection.  Keeping portraits of Shakespeare and Johnson was a no-brainer;  Mary Hyde was a Shakespeare collector before she became a Samuel Johnson Collector.  I pasted the bookplate in a spare set of Four Oaks Farm and Four Oaks Library that I donated for the silent auction  at the season-ending banquet of the Florida Bibliophile Society that month.

I've pasted this bookplate in many of the books that I displayed in the first virtual tour of my Mary Hyde Collection, and in some of the books I've added to the collection since then.  I have yet to paste a bookplate in my most recent addition, a magnificent gift from my friend David Launderville: Friends in the Library.  It is a bound copy of a speech Mary Hyde gave at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on June 24, 1969.  The speech was about friends of libraries, including the friends of the Hyde Library.

Mary Hyde's talk, which was typed on note cards, contains manuscript revisions to the speech in her hand.  Someone, possibly her secretary, Mrs. Ternan, made photocopies of the typescript note cards and then had them bound together in book form.   Typescript note cards were created for several of Mary Hyde's speeches, but the typescript note cards for this speech may have been the only ones that were bound in book form.  

A copy of this speech does not appear in the Mary Hyde Eccles Papers at the Houghton Library.  Most likely, this book was part of the sale of books about books to Oak Knoll Books by Gabriel Austin at the dispersal of the Hyde Library in 2003 or 2004.  David Launderville, who was a friend and regular customer of Bob Fleck's, bought it not long afterwards.  And recently, he thought the book belonged in my Mary Hyde Collection.  David is one of the readers of My Sentimental Library blog. 

The Hartford lawyer and former partner at Robinson & Cole, Robert H. Smith, is one of my blog readers as well.  And when he saw that I had become a member of the PLA (Private Libraries Association) in 2019 he copied my address down and sent an obit of Mary Viscountess Eccles (Hyde––Mary Morley Crapo) for my collection.  The obit appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of the Social Register Observer.

Another blog reader of mine, Bob Mueller of Robert Mueller Books, Bellingham, Washington, was culling his book collections and decided to give me his copy of Gabriel Austin's Grolier Club Iter Italicum.  Donald Hyde was President of the Grolier Club at the time, and Mary Hyde accompanied him on the tour of Italy.

My Australian friend John Byrne ––and another lawyer at that ––sent several items for my Mary Hyde Collection, including the menu for the Bi-Centenary Banquet of the Johnson Society in 1984.  Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, the Past President of the Johnson Society, gave the toast to the immortal memory of Doctor Samuel Johnson.

Another item John game me for my collection was the Order of Service for the Memorial Service held for Mary, Viscountess Eccles held at St. Dunstan-in-the-West  in London on December 3, 2003.

My friend the Boswell scholar Terry Seymour has added to my collection as well. In April of last year he gave me a copy of  Re-Collecting Donald and Mary Hyde: Untold Stories from Their Private Archive by William Zachs.  This lecture, which occurred on Dec. 9, 2009, was  the Fourth Breslauer Lecture given at the Grolier Club.

Just recently I acquired a copy of the keepsake  Dr. Johnson's Life in Scenes from Terry.  These were reproductions of leaves from the manuscript of Boswell's LOJ.  Mary Hyde wrote the Forward to the keepsake.

Terry, who at one time lived near Four Oaks Farm, corresponded with Mary Hyde and would send her newspaper clippings that he thought would be of interest to her.

In July 2004,  I bought Mary Hyde's copy of Lawrence Clark Powell's book Ex Libris.

I gave this copy to my friend Jan in September 2004, along with a rather extensive presentation of sorts about its provenance that I pasted to the front pastedown: from Powell to Mary Hyde, to Gabriel Austin, to the Brooklyn bookseller Joe Maynard, to me, and then to my friend Jan. Three years later, when I was desperately waiting for my disability retirement from the Postal Service to be approved, Jan bought My Sentimental Airman Collection en bloc for her husband who was an aviation enthusiast.

In November 2014, Mary Hyde's copy of Ex Libris found another home.  The shelves of one of Jan's sturdy oak bookcases had collapsed, and her books were spread out across the floor.  She figured it was way past time to cull some of her collections, and Ex Libris came back to my library.

I bought three more books for my Mary Hyde Collection from Joe Maynard in April 2020.  But now he was located in Trumbull, Ct.

This is a play written by a nun about a grandfather who strives to find and save his granddaughter who has fled from a life of holiness for a sinful life in a house of ill repute.  Lord David Eccles, Mary Hyde's second husband, gave this book to Mary Hyde.

The Hroswitha Club, of which Mary Hyde was member, was named after Roswitha.

Philip Hofer,  a Harvard librarian and world traveler had 300 copies of Himalayan Reverie privately printed and sent a copy to Mary Hyde for her to read while recovering from a foot operation.

Inserted in the book was a letter from Hofer to Mary Hyde written on Harvard College Library stationery.

The third book I bought from Joe Maynard in April 202 was a copy of The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss.  The author gave this copy of the book to Donald Hyde on the occasion of his being a guest at the Grolier Club on October 13, 1964.  Accompanying the book was a letter to Donald Hyde from Auchincloss thanking him for a letter and remarking, "I was particularly touched that you and Mary should have read my book aloud over your 25th anniversary."

By far my largest acquisition of books for my Mary Hyde Collection in the last ten years came from the Arthur A. Houghton Jr .Library, Corning Community College, sometimes called "The Other Houghton Library."  In 2013, the library staff was preparing for a major renovation of the library and would be deaccessioning some of their books, including some books from the Tucker Brooke Collection.  One of the librarians had read my June 2012 post, A Virtual Tour of My Mary Hyde Collection and mentioned me to her library director.  I was offered some of the deaccessioned books if I was willing to pay the postage! 


I received the books on October 3, 2013, and wrote about the provenance history of one of the books later that month in A Splendid History of Ownership.

All told I acquired 25 books that were deaccessioned from the Tucker Brooke Collection at the Arthur J. Houghton Jr. Library.   Mary Hyde had bought the entire Tucker Brooke library en bloc after Tucker Brooke's death in 1946 –– all 4000 books of Elizabethan literature!  Her gardener George Knapp, built shelves in the attic, and the room became known as the Tucker Brooke Library.   In the Hyde archives at Harvard, there are photographs dated Dec 1969-Jan 1970 Ms Hyde 98 (2505) of the moving of the Tucker Library.  The books I received were absorbed into the Houghton Library  from 11/05/70 to 10/19/72. The dates the books were absorbed into the library were written in the gutters of the page after each title page.

 The only book I mentioned by title in the Oct 2013 blog was Shakespeare's Tours.  And that book was the only one with an extensive provenance history.  Several books were presented to Tucker Brooke including one by a former student, Germaine Dempster.

Another book was presented to Tucker Brooke by a Shakespeare scholar who would later become one of the early directors of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Joseph Quincy Adams.

All of the books had the bookplates of Tucker Brooks and Mary Hyde pasted either on the front pastedown or on the front free endpaper.

There is some doodling in one of the books formerly owned by Lester D. Burton, a Yale student who drew a picture of the Yale Water Wagon.  Burton fell off the wagon, so to speak.  If he stayed in school, he would have graduated in 1920, but only attended Yale in his freshman and sophomore year.

Many of the books were related to Shakespeare, including one by Victor Hugo.

Here's a collage of some of the books I acquired from the Tucker Brooke Collection:

You can view listings of all the Tucker Brooke books in my Library Thing catalogue.

I should mention that I am not done collecting Mary Hyde.  Heading my way is yet another book acquired from Joe Maynard.  It is a copy of Dust in the Road: A Play in One Act by Kenneth Goodman.  The reason I wanted the book was because of its provenance: from the guest house of Mary Crapo Hyde!