Acquires the English Collection of Late Professor Edwin C. Bolles

Boston Evening Transcript


The Great Seal of England

The Great Seal of England



The Great Seal of England bearing the signature of and the official signature of is perfectly preserved, as clearly readable as a modern document. It is made of pure beeswax, a circumstance which account for its perfect condition. It is as large as a teaplate and is attached to a "pardon of sale."

Dr. Bolles often recounted to his classes in English History the circumstances under which this treasure came into his possession. "While in London he visited the shop of a queer old bookseller named Salkill, who ... professed to hate all clergymen. Not recognizing Dr. Bolles as a member of the cloth, the old character received him cordially and gave him to his shop. He showed Dr, Bolles an interesting old chest containing seals of many periods which he had bought at the , and he bade Dr. Bolles pick out any one which he might want. The latter hesitated a long time over his selection, having in mind the choice of a seal of . He chose the seal of , however, because it was the most perfect of the lot. On the reverse of the parchment to which the seal is attached is a signature "Bacon" in a different hand from that on the face. Dr. Bolles traced the difference and finally accounted for it as being the private signature of the great Englishman. Further investigation revealed, however, that it was the writing of the scribe who drew up the pardon of sale.

One of the five extant copies of Pennet's "London", which are printed on Whitman drawing paper, is also included in the collection. Of the other four, one is now in the , one of [sic] the Sir John Sloane Museum, one in a nobleman's private library, and one has disappeared from the shelves of booklovers without binding, but the original covers are with it and otherwise it is in good condition.

One of the rarest books of all, according to the estimate of experts, is "Tom Brown's Schooldays." Two others of note are "London and Londoners, or a Second Judgment of Babylon the Great," and Manners and Customs of Modern London". These books have their special value in that they were personal possessions of the great English author. On the inside cover is a book-plate bearing a star and twisted rope; below "Charles Dickens" is written in bold letters. There are also with them two works of William Winter, autographed.

A rare collection of hundreds of old coins are included in the treasure, many bookbinding tools, tiles from the Norman church of St. Clement at Sandwich, a piece of brick from , a fragment from an old Roman wall, and other touches on the ancient landmarks of England.

The full value of the treasure which has come to the library through the generosity of the trustees cannot at present be estimated. It will require many months of expert appraisal before its extent can be realized.

It was Dr. Bolles's often expressed wish that the collection might eventually be placed in the college library and the trustees in taking this action paid a superlative tribute to the memory of the great man who for so many years served the college so faithfully and so effectively in his various capacities as lecturer, professor, trustee, and finally chaplain.


A book-plate bearing the Bolles coat-of-arms and the seal will be engraved and placed in each volume, with the inscription indicating that it stands as a memorial to the memory of one of the most influential men who ever served Tufts College as an officer of the institution.

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