Tuesday, February 13, 2007

JJ Rousseau Book Discovered at Lloyd Library

Japanese scholar and Rousseau expert Takuya Kobayashi has confirmed that Cincinnati's Lloyd Library holds philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's copy of Dominique Chabrey's 1658 Omnium Stirpium Sciagraphia et Icones (an abridged edition of French botanist Jean Bauhin's three-volume Historia Plantarum Universalis). The book "includes Rousseau's signature on the title page as well as hundreds of annotations throughout in his handwriting." Kobayashi is completing a doctoral dissertation at the University of Neuch√Ętel on Rousseau's study of botany.

"This discovery added important new knowledge about Rousseau and the whereabouts of his library's contents. The 1678 Chabrey was known to have belonged to Rousseau at the time of his death, but its location was unknown until early in 2006 when the volume was brought down from Lloyd's stacks and brought to light. It had been at the Lloyd since at least 1893, but very little attention was given to the signature and annotations within before last year. According to Kobayashi, the book is one of only eight botanical books worldwide verified as having belonged to Rousseau. Two are in the United States (one at Harvard and one at the Lloyd); three are in the United Kingdom ; one is in France ; and, two are in private collections."

The Chabrey and other Roussaeu books will be on display March 10-May 31 for an exhibit titled "In Rousseau's Own Hand—His Book, His Notes, and Botany."

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