Recently Digitized: Boston Tax Records, 1780-1821

The BPL Rare Books and Manuscripts Department has just digitized a major collection of early Boston tax records. Comprised of approximately 90,000 handwritten pages, the collection covers the years 1780 through 1821 and represents a rich data set for genealogists and historians alike. The records contain a wealth of information about individual residents and about…
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Medieval Manuscript Highlights: Books of Hours at the BPL

The book of hours is a collection of Christian devotional texts that was extremely popular during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Each individual copy contains psalms, hymns, readings, and other materials arranged to mirror the monastic cycle of daily prayer and worship known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office. However, unlike…
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Recent Digitization Highlights: the San Sisto Choirbooks, 1475-1495

Thanks to the generous support of the Associates of the Boston Public Library, the BPL recently digitized two monumental, highly decorated prayer books from our collection of medieval and early renaissance manuscripts. The two manuscripts -- an antiphonary and a psalter -- once belonged to a larger set of 14 choirbooks created for the Benedictine monastery of San Sisto…
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Up for auction: S.L.M. Barlow’s early Americana at the BPL

On Monday, February 3rd, 1890, the personal library of Samuel Latham Mitchill Barlow came up for auction in New York City. One of the major American book sales of the late 19th century, the auction of Barlow’s collection was also a watershed moment for the BPL rare books collection. During his lifetime, Barlow had been one of…
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