Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Subject Guides / 17th-Century Manuscripts

17th-Century Manuscripts

Seder Birkat ha-mazon Manuscript codex, Vienna, ca. 1700
Seder Birkat ha-mazon Manuscript codex, Vienna, ca. 1700

The 17th-century manuscripts in Special Collections and Archives are valuable historical resources available to Bowdoin students and other patrons. They touch on a wide variety of topics, both secular and religious, public and private. Some are in single collections such as the Prache and Mattern Papers, others may be found in collections of unrelated documents gathered around a common theme such as the Livingston French Autograph Collection, still others stand alone as single manuscript items.

Earlier manuscripts, several before the 16th century, are described in separate list. A composite volume of uncertain date, which contains more than a dozen items which may or may not fall within the time-frame of this list is not included; please inquire for more information.

The following guide is arranged chronologically. It identifies and describes each item and provides physical details; the language or nation of origin are noted when unclear and, if possible, some provenance information is given.

Select by date:


Undated, 17th century

Bible. O.T. Esther [Megilat Ester]. Volumen (scroll) on parchment containing the Book of Esther, in Hebrew; attributed to Yemeni origin. Undated [17th c.]. [M194.B485 oversize folio]

Gift of Gila and Mishel Caspi, 2009.

Ludwig Breslach. Account for goods and a document concerning a legal dispute. Written in German and Latin. On paper. 1 item (20 p.); 32 x 40 cm. folded to 32 x 20 cm. Undated [17th c.]. [M194 Box 2: "Breslach"]

No information on provenance is available.

John Cotton (1584-1652). "Commentary on the First Epistle of John," by John Cotton, first minister of Boston. On paper. 1 v. (376 p.); 30 cm. Undated [17th c.].
Bound in early calf, sides outlined in gilt rules with gilt design in center, brass clasps and catches missing, back with bands, the compartments decorated in gilt. Two columns of text per page.

Gift of the Honorable Paine Wingate (1739-1838). Date of gift not recorded; volume is listed in the Catalogue of the Library of Bowdoin College, 1863, but not in the 1821 catalogue.

Return to top


1601-1660

Paul V (1552-1621). Bull, "Dilecto Filio Officiali Zamorensi ..." Abolishing a monastery of St. James at Zamora in Spain. On vellum. 1 item (l leaf); 79 x 98 cm. September 1609.
Bottom edge folded up, seal attached. Leafwork on top margin and part of left margin. Not in Bullarium Romanum or Bullarium Dominicanorum Accompanying this document is a note in the hand of George T. Little, a former Librarian of the College, which states, in part: "Sacked in Napoleonic wars, taken by French invader." [M194 Mapcase]

Gift of E[dward] F. Searles [1841-1920]. Date of gift not recorded.

Concerning Shipp money. On paper. 1 v. (660 p.); 29 cm. 1638.
Bound in early vellum. Contains the opinions of Baron Weston; Judges Crawley, Berkley, and Vernon; Baron Trevor; Judges Crook, Jones, and Hutton; Barons Denham and Davenport; Lord Finch; and Lord Chiefe Justice Bramstone.

Bookplate of Samuel Vaughan, Esq. with "John Otis 1834" in left top corner of plate; "Prof. A. S. Packard from his friend, John Otis Novr 1847" on fourth leaf recto. Gift of Professor Alpheus Spring Packard (1798-1884). Date of gift not recorded; not in 1863 Library catalogue.

Vitale Faliero. Ersilia, Pastorale di Vitale Faliero. On paper. 1 v. (316 p.); 23 cm. 1653.
Bound in early vellum.

"J. B. Fletcher 1909" on fly-leaf recto. Gift of Jefferson Butler Fletcher (Bowd. h1932), 1943.

Jacques Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704). Avant-propos du premier sermon pour le jour de la Nativité de la Sainte-Vierge. On paper. 1 item (1 leaf); 24 cm. 1659-1660. [M194 Box 1: "Bousset"]

No information on provenance is available.

Return to top


1661-1690

Prache and Mattern Papers (1668-1795). A collection of 37 letters, documents and essays, most dating from 1668-1688, with one from 1795. Most of the letters are to or from Hilarius Prache, an early Quaker, or his son-in-law John George Mattern, all in Low-German and/or English. Much of the material is unidentified, but transcripts and translations of a few of the letters and documents are included. On paper. 0.25 linear feet. 1668 forward.

No information on provenance is available.

Samuel Puffendorf (1631-1694). Note dated London, May 12, 1671, written in Latin. On paper. 1 item (2 p.); 12 cm. 1671. [M194 Box 6: "Puffendorf"]

Gift of Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. (Bowd. h1849), February 1899.

Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Note dated July 31, 167[2?], concerning the debt of "douze mil livres" owed by Monsieur de la Planche. On paper. 1 item (1 leaf); 17 cm. 1672. [M110 Box 9 Folder 40]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1978

Jean Mabillon (1632-1707). Letter dated November 12, 1672, concerning works this French monk and historian considered necessary to have an understanding of history. On paper. 1 item (4 p.); 22 x 33 cm. folded to 22 x 17 cm. 1672. [M110 Box 8 Folder 12]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1978

Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713). "In Mr Jurieu's 7th Pastoral Letter of the first year, is the following Account of Singing heard in the Air in France, Carefully Translated from the French. Dated Decemb. 1st, 1686" with "Monsieur Garsin, another minister of the sd Church of Orthez, declares as follows concerning the singing of Psalms …" dated "Septemb 23d, 1686." The two texts copied in the same hand on recto and verso of a single leaf. On paper. 1 item (3 p.); 30 x 38 cm. folded to 30 x 19 cm. 1686. [M194 Box 4: "Jurieu"]

No information on provenance is available.

Valentin Esprit Flechier, evêque de Nimes (1632-1710). Letter dated "Nismes," December 11, 1688, concerning a translation of the New Testament. On paper. 1 item (4 p.); 19 x 26 cm. folded 19 x 13 cm. 1688. [M110 Box 5 Folder 42]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

Thomas Danforth. Appointment of John Hill as Ensign of the Foot Company in Saco, Maine, August 23, 1689. On paper. 1 item (1 leaf); 20 x 32 cm. 1689. [M94 Box 1 Folder 1]

From the Howell Document Collection. Gift of the estate of Roger Howell (Bowd. 1958), 1990

Return to top

1691-1695

Samuel Wheelwright, Justice of the Peace. Depositions of William Frost and Samuel Hatch, given before Samuel Wheelwright, Justice of the Peace in Wells, Maine, April 6, 1691, in a case concerning an injury to a horse owned by Wheelwright's son, John. On paper. 1 item (1 leaf); 23 cm. 1691. [M94 Box 1 Folder 2]

From the Howell Document Collection. Gift of the estate of Roger Howell (Bowd. 1958), 1990

John [Gerrish ?]. Note to John Hill, April 10, 1693, concerning the garrisoning of Saco, Maine. On paper. 1 item (2 p.); 15 x 19 cm. 1693. [M94 Box 1 Folder 3]

From the Howell Document Collection. Gift of the estate of Roger Howell (Bowd. 1958), 1990

Francis Hooke, Major. Letter to Capt. [John] Hill, Capt. Rogers and Lt. Wheelwright, August 3, 1693, concerning a march at arms near Wells, Maine. On paper. 1 item (2 p.); 17 x 20 cm. 1693. [M94 Box 1 Folder 4]

From the Howell Document Collection. Gift of the estate of Roger Howell (Bowd. 1958), 1990

John Wincoll, Register of Probate. Document concerning the settlement of the estate of Roger Hill of Wells, Maine, October 3, 1693. On paper. 1 item (1 leaf); 13 x 19 cm. 1693. [M94 Box 1 Folder 5]

From the Howell Document Collection. Gift of the estate of Roger Howell (Bowd. 1958), 1990

William III of England (1650-1702). Letter to Sir William Phipps, February 15, 1694, ordering him to appear before the Privy Council. Signed "By his Majty's comand J. Trenchard." On paper. 1 item (2 p.); 31 x 40 cm. folded to 31 x 20 cm. 1694. [M194 Box 6: "Phipps"]

No information on provenance is available.

François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon, archevêque de Cambrai (1651-1715). Receipt for "trois mille livres," payment for three months (January - March, 1694) as tutor to the Duc de Bourgogne, heir to Louis XIV. On vellum. 1 item (2 p.); 18 x 24 cm. 1694. [M110 Box 5 Folder 35]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

Return to top

1696-1700

Jean Henry du Trousset de Valincourt (1653?-1730). Letter dated "Toulon" August 20, [1696?], which includes mention of naval personel and batteries in 1694-1695 and other related business. On paper. 1 item (4 p.); 22 x 34 cm. folded to 22 x 17 cm. 1696. [M110 Box 11 Folder 38]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1979

Guillaume Amfrye, abbé de Chaulieu (1639-1720). Document concerning the [discharge of a debt?] of "six mil cent ving [sic] livres" from Madame Bretau, signed by Chaulieu and countersigned with a note in another hand, February 20, 1697. A second note, is signed by Madame Breteau, July 2, 1699. On paper. (2 p.); 23 x 33 cm. folded to 23 x 17 cm. 1697. [M110 Box 3 Folder 28]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

Louis Joseph, Duc de Vendôme (1654-1712). Letter to "monsieur" dated from Perpignan, May 17, 1697. Written, according to a note on the verso, in the hand of poet/dramatist Jean Glabert de Campistron, then Vendôme's secretary. On paper. 1 item (1 p.); 20 cm. 1697. Filed as "Campistron." [M110 Box 3 Folder 15]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

Jules de Mascaron, evêque d'Agen (1634-1703). Letter dated Agen, January 16, 1698, admiring a discourse by the recipient. On paper. 1 item (2 p.); 22 cm. 1698. [M110 Box 8 Folder 31]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1978

Charles Auguste, Marquis de La Fare (1644-1712). Receipt dated July 29, 1700, and headed "3000 l[ivre]s six ders. mois de 1699" for services as captain of the guard, signed "La Fare Laugere." On vellum. 1 item (1 leaf); 15 x 20 cm. 1700. [M110 Box 7 Folder 21]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711). Receipt for "soixante et quinze livre" signed by the poet "N. Boileau" and dated at Paris, September 22, 1700. On vellum. 1 item (1 leaf); 14 x 19 cm. 1700. [M110 Box 2 Folder 31]

From the Livingston French Autograph Collection. Gift of Françoise Livingston, 1977

L'art de faire les Glaces. An unsigned manuscript on ice-cream making. On paper. 1 v. (84 p.); 20 cm. Ca. 1700. Bound in original calf.

Bookplates of George Vicaire, author of the Bibliographie Gastronomique, and of Robert Viel, celebrated restaurant proprietor and also a collector of cookery books. Purchased from Maggs Bros. in 1938 by E. Parmalee Prentice and given by him to Bowdoin College. Date of gift not recorded.

Grace After Meals. Yiddish and Hebrew. Seder Birkat ha-mazon u-Birkat ha-Nehenin im ziyyurim ve-tikun keriat Shema al ha-mita veh-ha-viddvi. Miniature [87mm] illuminated codex on parchment, Vienna. Ca. 1700. Bound in contemporary parchment boards.

Gift of Gila and Mishel Caspi, 2009.

Return to top
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288