Archive for June, 2008

Hans Sloane and his Bookplate

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Hans Sloane bookplate

Bookplates are generally good ways of tracing the provenance, or previous ownership, of a book. Sometimes, however, they can be misleading, and researchers should be careful not to jump to conclusions.

A book from the LSU Libraries’ McIlhenny Natural History Collection illustrates this point. Inside the cover of John Ray’s Wisdom of the Works of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation (1756) is a bookplate with the name “Hans Sloane, Esqr.” printed on it. One might assume that the book belonged to Sir Hans Sloane, the famous natural history collector whose bequest of books and artifacts formed the foundation of the British Museum. (Sloane is also famous for having “invented” milk chocolate, the recipe for which was later adopted by John Cadbury, founder of the Cadbury chocolate company).

There’s just one problem: Sir Hans died in 1753—three years before this book was published.

A quick look at the Dictionary of National Biography reveals that Sir Hans had a son, also named Hans; unfortunately, the child died in infancy. However, an inquiry to the Sloane Printed Books Project at the British Library, which is trying to recreate Sloane’s library (many books from which were sold in duplicate sales in the 19th century), reveals that Sloane had a great-nephew, also named Hans, who used a bookplate. Given the 1756 printing date of LSU’s copy of Ray’s sermons, the book must have belonged to Sir Hans’ great-nephew rather than to Sir Hans himself.

At least one other U.S. library with a book bearing the bookplate shown above has identified it as being from the library of Sir Hans. Bibliographers beware! Hans Sloane, Esq., and Sir Hans Sloane were not one and the same.

– Michael Taylor, Assistant Curator of Books

Nita Sims Breazeale Family Papers

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Bundles for Britain

Visitors to the Hill Memorial Library reading room are encouraged to have a look at our newest display, focusing on the Nita Sims Breazeale Family Papers.

Nita Sims Breazeale was born in 1896 to Robert Nicholls Sims, Jr., and Nita Dalferes Sims of Ascension Parish, La. She was a member of a prominent family of businessmen, judges, lawyers, and politicians. As a resident of Baton Rouge, she actively participated in community affairs, and her involvement in charitable organizations continued throughout her life. In 1940, she established the Baton Rouge chapter of Bundles for Britain. This relief organization provided clothing, supplies, and equipment for victims of the London bombings. Her husband, Hopkins Payne Breazeale, a Baton Rouge attorney, served in the 358th Infantry, 90th Division during World War I. During the Allied occupation of Germany, he remained with the American Expeditionary Forces as Provost in Charge of Civil Affairs.

The papers consist of correspondence, legal documents, printed material, photographs, and artifacts that reflect the family’s interest in service organizations, the arts, local history, genealogy, and the professional careers of family members. Notable in this collection are papers related to family history, World War I and the relief organization, Bundles for Britain.

If you would like to find out more about this collection, please contact our reference department at (225) 578-6568.


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