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Rare Book Club: merry pills, cuckolds and 17th century astrology

22 November 2021

In this episode of Rare Book Club, Emeritus Professor Paul Salzman transports us back the 17th century through some intriguing almanacs from the John Emmerson Collection.

Almanacs were extremely popular during the 16th and 17th centuries, when over an estimated 350,000 were produced every year. They provided a useful hybrid of a diary and a calendar for their owners, as well as a source of astrological and scientific knowledge, and these days provide an intimate glimpse into the past.

Paul examines clues pointing to multiple owners of one particular almanac, including an apothecary who listed many of their medical recipes inside. Most notably, the almanac includes the recipe for a 'merry pill' to help cure depression.

Learn more through the Emmerson Collection blog.

About Rare Book Club

Welcome to the Rare Book Club, a show-and-tell video series where we explore, inspect and marvel at some of the unique and extraordinary rare books in the Library’s collection.

Ranging from medieval manuscripts and early printed books to 20th-century modernist literature and contemporary artist books, the Rare Books Collection is full of fascinating holdings just waiting to be shared.

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