Acquisition of Narbrough Journal and Cataloging of BL’s Hebrew Manuscripts

The 2009 grants are targeted at completing the cataloging of the BL’s magnificent Hebrew Manuscripts collection; and to aid in the purchase of the journal and charts of the 17th-century English naval explorer, Sir John Narbrough.  Some $66,000 of the total has been allocated for a yet unspecified purpose at the BL.

Golden Hagaddah

Golden Hagaddah

These monies had been originally assigned to help defray the costs of mounting some seventy items from the BL on loan to the New York Public library for its scheduled exhibition, Sacred, due to open in New York next October.  Sacred,  a compilation of important holdy books representing the three Abrahamic faiths, had been produced successfully in 2007 by the British Library in Lobdonb where it broke all attendance records.  A portion of it was scheudled to travel to the NYPL for the Sacred exhibition here.  In mid-December the BL regretfully had to cancel its participation in the NYPL show, it said, for security reasons.

The balance of the ATBL grants total has been forwarded to the BL for the Hebrew manusripsts and narbrough Journal projects:

Hebrew Manuscripts ($12,125) has been an ongoing project to catalog and digitize one thousand images from part of one of the world’s finest collections, namely, the more than 100 medieval Hebrew manuscripts, most of them illuminated in Europe.

At present there is limited online access to these treasures of Hebrew manuscript art which include the Golden Haggadah, the Barcelona Haggadah and the peerless Lisbon Bible. The project’s completion will add these treasures to the Library’s Digital Catalog of Illuminated Manuscripts.

Narbrough Journal

Narbrough Journal

The ATBL’s grant of more than $12,000, raised at a dinner in New York City last April to pay tribute to the late William Golden, has helped complete the project. Mr. Golden had been a longtime benefactor of the Library’s collection of Judaica.

Narbrough Autograph Journal and Charts ($30,000). The acquisition of this unpublished material detailing John Narbrough’s three-year voyage in 1669-71 to South America enables researchers to evaluate more thoroughly the explorer’s role in assessing for his country the commercial potential of South America.

Narbrough’s passage through the Straits of Magellan,  in both directions, demonstrated for the first time the viability of English trade in the Pacific. That in turn would dictate the course of English foreign policy for the next half-century.

Through these documents — which include colored charts along with illustrations of the natives and wildlife of Patagonia and Chile — Narbrough may be perceived as a crucial figure in the history of English exploration, standing midway between Sir Francis Drake and Captain Cook.

The ATBL’s grant was made possible by funds from the Bernard Breslauer Bequest.

Other grants to the BL this past year was an ongoing pledge from the Caritas Foundaito of Greater Western kansas for the conservaiton of Thomas Crnamer’s prayer book.  And Roger Baskes, ATBL Board member and collector of maps and atlases, made an in

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