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Philip Mills Arnold Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Sign Languages


Accounting and Geometry

Paleography - Writing


Language - Philosophy - Philology


Specimens of Early Typography




Personal Papers

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Philip Mills Arnold Papers, 1477-1981 | MS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: Philip Mills Arnold Papers, 1477-1981Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1477-1981

ID: MS/MS/ms006

Primary Creator: Arnold, Philip Mills. American businessman and collector.

Extent: 39.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 06/05/1979

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Philip Mills Arnold Semeiology Collection, perhaps the most diverse and comprehensive of all the Washington University Libraries Special Collections, brings together a broad range of materials dealing with or exemplifying the nature and characteristics of communication. Placing particular emphasis on early printed materials that appeared at early stages of the development of interest in topics relevant to semeiology, the Arnold Collection had especially strong holdings in the fields of cryptography, artificial memory, decipherment of unknown languages, early development sin stenography, Braille, deaf and mute languages, and various forms of nonverbal communication.

Complementing the more than 2,000 volume in the Arnold book collection that forms the largest component of the Semiology Collection is a small, yet select, group of manuscripts and printed ephemera, including materials relating to cryptography, sign languages, telegraphy, accounting, paleography, mnemonics, philosophy, stenography, and other topics.

The sign languages section contains numerous single printed sheets from the nineteenth century depicting different systems for deaf-mute communication in many languages, probably published as teaching aids. The three items on telegraphy emphasize its use for the military, focusing on secretly communicating sensitive offers for maneuvers. Items included in the Accounting and Paleography sections demonstrate the variety of early forms of alternative numerological systems and alternative scripts, both of which indicate that communication is based on an ever-changing use of various signs.

An important work on mnemonics, Raymond Lull’s Ars demonstrativa et ars brevis, highlights this curious and frequently mystical system of logic, metaphysics, and the intricate workings of the communicating mind. Manuscripts depicting many of the thousands of separate languages of the world are also included in the collection, mostly relying on biblical texts to illustrate the complex nature of human communication. One other example of alternative means of communicating is a shorthand version of the Psalms.

Finally, included as an illustration of the early evaluation of printing, are 52 specimens of early typography, dating from 1477 to 1674. Taken as a whole, the manuscript collection reveals the interdisciplinary nature of semeiology and reflects the eclectic range of Arnold’s important collection.

Collection Historical Note

Philip Mills Arnold, executive, researcher, and scholar, retired in 1976 as vice president for research and developement of Phillips Petroleum Company after nearly forty years with the company. Most of his career was spent in scientific research. He played a ,ajor role in the company's entry into the chemical industry, in which it rapidly became a major producer of synthetic rubber, plastics, fibers, and fertilizers.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1970, Arnold also has been active in the National Research Council. He served in the Executive Committee of its Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology and on its committee on Scholarly Communication with the Peoples' Republic of China.

While his professional life has been devoted to science and technology, his avocaton has been study in the humanities. The holder of 22 patents, Arnold reads widely in several languages. A student of semeiology - the study of the use of signs and symbols - Arnold has explored the history of communication, from efforts to relate through universal languages and alphabets, to systems to conceal, specifically, codes and ciphers. He founded in 1966 and has supported over the years the Philip Mills Arnold Semeiology Collection. In addition, Arnold built other distinguished collections, including early books on comets and early editions of the medieval philosopher Boethius. Upon Arnold's death in 1995, the libraries received the bequest, as well as his entire estate.

Arnold earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering in 1932 and a master of science degree in chemical engineering in 1941 from Washington University. In 1968, he was recognixed at Founders Day with an Alumni Citation from the Washington University Board of Governors.

Administrative Information

Repository: MS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Gift of Philip Mills Arnold

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 1488. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, June 5, 1979

Accession number 1492. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, June 6, 1979

Accession number 1730. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, July 1, 1987

Accession number 22953. Gift of Philip Mills Arnold, February 12, 1990

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Cryptography, 1531-1834],
[Series 2: Sign Languages, 1679-1836],
[Series 3: Telegraphy, 1803-1812],
[Series 4: Accounting and Geometry, 1775-1816],
[Series 5: Paleography - Writing, 1664-1835],
[Series 6: Mnemonics, 1516],
[Series 7: Language - Philosophy - Philology, 1838-1855],
[Series 8: Stenography, Undated],
[Series 9: Specimens of Early Typography, 1477-1674],
[Series 10: Miscellany, 1633-1816],
[Series 11: Microfilm, 1981],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Personal Papers],

Series 1: Cryptography, 1531-1834Add to your cart.
5 items
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz, Steganographiae nec non Claviculae Salomonis Germani, Ioannis Trithemii, abbatis Spanheimensis ordinis S. Benedicti (quae hucusque à nemine intellectae, à multis fuerunt condemnatae, & necromantiae notâ inustae) genuina, facilis, dilucidaque declaratio : ex quâ constabit liquido omnia ea quae author in iis libris promittit, effectum habere infallibilia securissimum, huncque nullo modo à pactu aliquo, aut superstitione dependentem, sed à principiis, & naturalibus causis necessaria sequela dimanantem / a Ioanne Caramuel L. sacrae theologiae professore Cist. in Trithemii apólysin summo studio, summo dispendio temporis concinnabatur ; opus sanè hucusque ab inpioribus creditum inpossibile, à sanctioribus, qui mores, vitam, scriptaque Trithemij venerantur, peroptatum, Cabalaeae doctrinae theoricis ditissimum secretis ; nec non doctoribus theologis, expositoribus, Hebr[a]eosophis, Latinis, humanae criositatis studiosis, regibus, principibus, omnibusque qui litterarum, vel fortunae eminentias obcupant perennè necessarium, [1635]Add to your cart.

Published: Coloniae Agrippinae : Typis Egmondanis, sumptibus auctoris, anno M. DC. XXXV [1635]. 48 unnumbered pages, 158 pages : illustrations; 19 cm. Rebound in modern half-leather over marbled paper-covered boards; spine ruled and lettered in gold over red leather panels. Title page signed "A.J. Odell." Final page has approbations and errata.

A vindication of Trithemius's controversial text on cryptography, Steganographia, which was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for supposed allusions to witchcraft. Caramuel decoded some of Trithemius's previously unsolved ciphers and argued for the utility of coded writing in protecting state or business secrets. Includes Book 1 of Trithemius's text along with Caramuel's commentary.

Caramuel Lobkowitz was a Spanish theologian (1606-1682). He had a varied career, serving Emperor Ferdinand III, Pope Alexander VII, and occupied some of the highest positions in the Cistercian concerns, with secret correspondences and means to communicate by hidden indications, the invocation of spirits, writing explained by code, etc.

Transferred to Rare Books Z103.T84 C37 1635

Folder 2: Ceffis Moisé, Invenzione di cifre di me, undatedAdd to your cart.

Photocopy of autograph manuscript from microfilm, unbound. Original held in Fabayan Collection, Library of Congress. Ciphers developed by an Italian captain for secret communication between princes and potentates. Includes keys to ciphers. Brief text in Italian translated into English and typed out opposite text.

Located in oversize.

Folder 3: Sir Henry Spelman, Archaismus graphic[us] : manuscript / ab Henr: Spelmano conscriptus in usum filiorum suorum 1606 ; Jo Fitzwilliam ... transcribi curavit a[nno], 1684Add to your cart.

1 volume (67 leaves, 8 blank leaves) : paper ; 29 x 22 cm. Produced in Cambridge, England. Uniform title: Glossarium archaiologicum. Selections. 1684. Other title: Archaismus graphicus ab Henr: Spelmano conscriptus in usum filiorum suorum 1606. Archaismus graphic ab Henr: Spelmano conscriptus in usum filiorum suorum 1606. Title transcribed from title page. "Jo Fitzwilliam [est?] Cod. MSS in Bibliotheca Col. Cor. Christ. apud Cantabrig extante, ope & amicitia G Spencer ejus[dt?]e socÿ transcribi curavit Ao 1684. Reddenda e[st] ra[ti]ö villica[ti]ö[n]is." In another hand: "Viroptmus [meus?] mihi legavit. Tho. Smith." Brown and black ink on laid paper. Pages ruled in red, with page numbers and heading letters in red. Interleaved. Some entries possibly in Smith's hand. Binding: Full calf; spine has five raised bands, lettered in gold in the second compartment from top, with year 1606 stamped in bottom compartment; spine stamped in gold and blind; covers single-ruled in gold, with blind-tooled edges.

Bound manuscript dictionary of Latin abbreviations to assist legal scholars in decoding documents relating to the early history of law. It was first published as part I of Henrici Spelmanni Equit. Anglo-brit. Archaeologus (London : John Beale, 1626) and later reissued as Glossarium Archaiologicum (London : Alice Warren, 1664).

Scribe John Fitzwilliam D.D. (died 1699) was an English nonjuring divine educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. He continued at Magdalen as a scholar, librarian, and lecturer in music, later serving as a family chaplain and tutor to prominent patrons, including the Duke of York (afterward James II) and his daughter, the future Queen Anne. After James was deposed in the revolution of 1688, Fitzwilliam refused to pledge loyalty to the new monarchs, William and Mary. He bequeathed his voluminous library to Magdalen College, with some volumes also going to the Bodleian Library.

Thomas Smith (June 3, 1638-May 11, 1710) was an English scholar, expelled Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and non-juring divine. He was elected vice-president of Magdalen in 1682 and became bursar of the college four years later. However, his fellowship was revoked after the revolution of 1688, when, like his friend John Fitzwilliam, he refused to swear fealty to King William and Queen Mary. In later life, he managed the manuscripts of the Cotton Library and was often consulted on the formation of libraries. Most of his books and manuscripts passed through Thomas Hearne to the Bodleian Library.

Transferred to Rare Books PA2889 S725 1684 4o

Folder 4: System of Symbols, circa 1834Add to your cart.
Autograph notes. Note accompanying the manuscript indicates that it was from a group of drawings from the granddaughter of General Henry Clinton, probably circa 1834.
Folder 5: Johannes Trithemius, Steganographia: photocopy of manuscript, 1953-1982Add to your cart.

Bound photocopy of 8 manuscripts, in 2 unidentified hands, from microfilm (negative); with additional page tipped in at front describing contents and noting missing pages. Pages numbered in original manuscript, possibly by a later hand. Added leaf numbering in pencil on versos. Printed on rectos only. Leaves 129v-143v and 146r-146v missing. 1 volume (147 numbered pages); 23 x 20 cm. Full navy library buckram; spine stamped and lettered in gold. In Latin and German. Given to Philip Mills Arnold by the Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University, Vatican Film Library Collection.

Original manuscript dates from approximately 1618. With: Picatrix (excerpt dated 1568) -- Theophrasti Paracelsi Libri 7: de coena Domini ad Clementem Septim. Pont. Romanum. Aō 1530 (incepi describere 23. jun aō 1618; finis Brÿnnae 13 8br A1618) -- Arcani artificiosissimi aperta arca, das ist, Der allergrösten und künstlichsten Geheimnüssen der Natur eröffneter und ofstehender Kasten (excerpt, 1617) -- Spiritus ex sal. urinae -- Aqua salis -- Ex lib. experimentorum Trithemi (excerpt) -- [Alchemical recipe].

Steganographia (written 1499; published 1606) is a book on cryptography and steganography, containing examples of 55 different ciphers, alchemical formulas, and various methods of encoding messages. It was suspected of promoting witchcraft and placed on the Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum from 1609 to 1900. This manuscript also includes excerpts from works by other authors on magic, astrology, and alchemy.

Johannes Trithemius (February 1, 1462-December 13, 1516) was an abbot, lexicographer, cryptographer, and occultist active in the German renaissance.

Transferred to Rare Books Z103 T84S 1618a

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Cryptography, 1531-1834],
[Series 2: Sign Languages, 1679-1836],
[Series 3: Telegraphy, 1803-1812],
[Series 4: Accounting and Geometry, 1775-1816],
[Series 5: Paleography - Writing, 1664-1835],
[Series 6: Mnemonics, 1516],
[Series 7: Language - Philosophy - Philology, 1838-1855],
[Series 8: Stenography, Undated],
[Series 9: Specimens of Early Typography, 1477-1674],
[Series 10: Miscellany, 1633-1816],
[Series 11: Microfilm, 1981],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Personal Papers],

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