Thursday, December 23, 2004

Quotation of the day for December 23, 2004

"There are always unexpected dangers in deaccessioning. An extra
copy of Descartes' _Geometry_, which Trinity [College] had set
aside for sale, turned out to have Isaac Newton's critical
remarks scattered throughout the margins. The most spectacular
example involved not Cambridge, however, but Gottingen University
in Germany. The university library had once owned two copies of
Newton's _Principia_, so they decided to sell the dirty one, all
marked up by some previous owner. Only after the duplicate was
released did someone discover that the critic who messed up the
pages was none other than Newton's rival, Gottfried Wilhelm
Leibniz. That copy of the _Principia_ is now one of the great
treasures of the Bodmeriana Collection in the outskirts of

- Owen Gingerich, _The Book Nobody Read_, p. 26.

Submitted by: Chris Doherty
Dec. 10, 2004