While working on the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library’s hidden collections cataloging project, I’ve found some examples of the different methods authors and printers used to fix small errors in a text after an item was printed. Shown below are a few examples of the corrections that were made directly to the page.
In the first example, from Nathanael Emmons’ A sermon, delivered at the ordination of the Reverend John Robinson (1789), the word “North” was scraped off the title page, and replaced with a stamped “West.” The first image shows the stamp, and traces of the other word underneath and to the left of it. The second and third images were made using transmitted light, and highlight the thinness of the paper where it was scraped away.
Another method of correction was to paste slips of paper on top of incorrect words or phrases. These slips may have been printed or hand-written. Two different types of hand corrections can be seen in the N-YHS Library’s two copies of the title below, Owen Biddle’s A plan for a school on an establishment similar to that at Ackworth, in Yorkshire, Great-Britain (1790). In the first copy (below left), the author made corrections directly onto the page by crossing out the incorrect word and writing in the correct one. In the other (below right), the author wrote corrections onto paper slips that were then glued to the page.
I haven’t yet come across any printed correction slips within my work on hidden collections, but the Society does have examples in books outside the current scope of the project. For instance, in both copies of the Chalon Burgess publication below, the last three letters of the author’s first name on both title pages have been corrected with printed, pasted over slips to “LON.”
In another example, a printed slip with the word “CHILLED” has been added to an advertisement in a New York City directory for 1850-1851.
This post is by rare book cataloger Lucretia Baskin.
Cataloging of the Rare Book Collection is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.