Author Archives: Jess Touchette

Jess Touchette

About Jess Touchette

Jess Touchette is a former staff member in the Rare Books unit.

A Negro at the North Pole by Matthew A. Henson

In A Negro at the North Pole (1912), African American explorer Matthew A. Henson recounts his experiences as the personal assistant of Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary during his eight expeditions to the Arctic. In the twenty-three years that Henson … Continue reading

Posted in Featured Book, Rare Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Artist’s Catalog: Collier’s Human Passions Delineated

Human Passions Delineated in Above 120 Figures, published by John Heywood of Manchester in 1773, is a collection of caricatures and poems by “Tom Bobbin” – the pseudonym of Lancashire author and caricaturist John Collier. Peopled with grotesque characters “Design’d in … Continue reading

Posted in Collections, Rare Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Benjamin Franklin’s “The Morals of Chess”

The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving “Pie” from The Home Cook Book

Thanksgiving approaches, and my thoughts have turned to one of my favorite books in SLU’s collection: The Home Cookbook: Compiled from Recipes Contributed by Ladies of Toronto and Other Cities and Towns (1878). Last year, I surveyed the contents of … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Egges or Eyren?: The “boundless chase”

The fractured state of fifteenth-century English is colorfully expressed by printer William Caxton in the preface to his 1490 translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. To illustrate the effects of the “dyuersite [&] chauge of langage” in his time, Caxton recounts a confused communication between a southern woman and a … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Stamped Stories: A Look at Provenance

One of my regular tasks here at SLU is ownership marking our books for security. This entails applying our newly designed “Saint Louis University Libraries” stamp to title pages and plate versos. For some, the idea of marking up centuries-old … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Three Vassar Girls in England (1884)

Five years ago, I was at the tail end of a semester-long study abroad experience in London that had brought me everywhere from standing street-side at a royal wedding to learning what “hobs” were (and just how much food residue … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An 1873 Manual for Modern Mothers

Men have had their say. It is but fitting now that a woman should have hers, especially as the woman who assumes to speak does so with an authority man cannot venture to claim. (18) So writes Eliza Bisbee Duffey … Continue reading

Posted in Rare Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Patterns in Paste: Reflections on Rare Books’ Paste Paper Workshop

On Wednesday, April 6th, the Rare Books reading room underwent its second transformation of the semester from quiet research space to improvised dominotier studio, this time for a workshop in the art of paste paper. The hour-long session – a … Continue reading

Posted in Events, Public Programs, Rare Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Paste Paper: The Common Knowledge Craft

What do these two images have in common? They may share neither a color palette nor a design, but both depict paste papers found in eighteenth-century bindings. Such papers — some boasting bright shocks of color, others dull or faded — are scattered … Continue reading

Posted in Events, Public Programs, Rare Books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment