We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you this news. A special bookplate has been placed in a magnificent 4-volume book in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections in celebration of Dean Judith Sessions’ career at Miami. Dean Sessions will retire from Miami after serving nearly 25 years as Dean and University Librarian.
The book is Jean Baptiste Du Halde’s Description géographique, historique, chronologique, politique et physique de l’empire de la Chine … Paris: P.G. Le Mercier, 1735. It’s a beautiful set in 4 folio volumes, bound in contemporary dark blue straight-grained gilt-ruled morocco and was only recently acquired.
This is a superbly bound copy of the first edition of this extensively and handsomely illustrated work, the most influential and interesting work on China published in the 18th century. In addition to its fascinating full page engravings depicting the natural and cultural life of China, the work contains the first appearance of 43 maps by the celebrated French cartographer, d’Anville; the first separate map of Korea and a previously unpublished history of Korea by the Jesuit J.B. Régis; the first separate European mapping of Tibet and its districts; and the first printed report of Bering’s 1725-1728 expedition, with the accompanying map, “Carte des Pays traversés par le Capne. Beerings,” containing the first printed configuration of any part of Alaska.
The bookplate, shown at right, acknowledges her leadership of the Miami University Libraries. A special framed presentation copy of the bookplate, superimposed on a facsimile of a double-page engraving from the Du Halde, seen below, was presented to Dean Sessions as a keepsake by Provost Bobby Gempesaw at her retirement reception on Monday, Dec. 10.
We are proud to serve as the caretakers of this wonderful book and delighted that it can serve the additional purpose of honoring Dean Sessions. Thanks to Jim Bricker and Lori Chapin for their help in making the bookplate and its presentation a reality.