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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 3: Telegraphy, 1803-1812Add to your cart.
3 items
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Copie des ordres relatifs aux signaux : autograph manuscript, February 23, 1808 - April 17, 1812Add to your cart.

1 volume (56 unnumbered pages) : tables (some color) ; 26 x 19 cm. Produced in France, February 23, 1808 to April 17, 1812. Title transcribed from caption. Brown ink on laid watermarked paper. First and last leaf blank; 4 leaves removed following page 22, 1 leaf removed following page 38. Includes color flag-signal charts: "Armée Navale de la Méditerranée aux ordres de Monsieur Le Vice amiral Allemand" and "Armée Navale de la Méditerranée aux ordres de Monsieur le Vice-amiral Emériau"; several tables of flag-signaling exercises (1 color); and 4 leaves of tables to calculate ships' distance based on mast height and angle. Bound; lacking wrappers.

Anonymous codebook and journal detailing French military telegraphic codes, past and current usage, and possible improvements. Communication systems described include signal cannon, flags, and flares. Text also includes excerpts from military orders and correspondence registers.

Transferred to Rare Books V285 F8 C67 1808

Folder 9: William Goddard of Chatham, Observations strictures & remarks on telegraphic correspondence : autograph manuscript signed, November 24, 1803Add to your cart.

1 volume (32 unnumbered leaves) : illustrations, tables ; 27 x 19 cm + 2 partial tables laid in. Published in Chatham, England, November 24, 1803. Title transcribed from title page. Brown and red ink on laid paper. Rear free endpaper has mounted volvelle. Signed at end: "W. Goddard, Chatham, the 24th November 1803. Printed signals for ships of war; another manuscript "compiled and arranged by William Goddard, late secretary to Sir Thomas Pasley, Bart"; Signals Collection, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Binding: Full red morocco; spine stamped in gold and ruled in six compartments, five with center floral medallions, top with crest of the Earl of Munster; covers single-ruled with decorative leaf-pattern; gold-stamped borders and turn-ins; marbled endpapers; all edges gilt. Has bookplates of the Earl of Munster, Prince William Henry (later King William IV), and Col. Fitz Clarence. Accompanied by 2 small slips with additional tables in Goddard's hand, originally laid in at leaf [29]. Accompanied by 3 sheets of notes (by P.M. Arnold?) with biographical information on the Earls of Munster, William Marsden, and John Jervis, Earl of St. Vincent (originally laid in at front).

The manuscript lays out Goddard's proposal for a new telegraphic signaling system, one that used coded sentences instead of relying solely on letter-by-letter spelling, thereby improving the speed and accuracy of communications in battle. The proposal includes numeric and alphabetical charts, illustrations of a portable telegraphic apparatus, and a volvelle to decipher messages. It also chronicles Goddard's attempts to present his idea to the Admiralty Board of the British Navy through various channels, with little success. Goddard devotes several pages to his frustrating encounter with Secretary William Marsden, a skeptic "bigoted to the spelling alphabet" who haughtily refused him an audience with Admiral Earl St. Vincent. Admiral John Markham was also not persuaded by Goddard's recommendations despite a face-to-face meeting, deeming the current telegraph system adequate and balking at the possible expense of a change.

William Goddard (1764?-August 10, 1805) joined the Royal Navy at a young age. He saw action in various battles against the French; as purser aboard HMS Bellerophon during the "Glorious First of June" victory in 1794, he experienced firsthand the vital importance of accurate signaling between ships, especially in foggy or otherwise adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately, his innovations to telegraphic communication fell on deaf ears among the naval establishment of his time. Goddard was killed in battle aboard HMS Phoenix on August 10, 1805.

Transferred to Rare Books V285 G7 G63 1803

Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Antonio da Silveria Pinto da Fonseca, Jornal da correspondencia official, estabelecida por ordem de Sua Alteza Real entre o Palacio de Quelluz, e a Torre de S. Julião da Barra, e sustentada pelo telegrapho volante militar, inventado e construido : autograph manuscript signed / por Antonio da Silveira Pinto da Fonseca Teixeira, Moço Fidalgo com Exercicio, e Teniente Coronel de Milicias, anno del 1803, December 28, 1803Add to your cart.

1 volume (21 unnumbered pages, 5 blank pages) : tables ; 22 x 19 cm. Title transcribed from title page. Final page dated "Lisboa 28 de Dezembro de 1803" and signed "Antonio da Silveira Pinto de Fon.ca." Bound manuscript; text arranged in columns; brown ink on laid paper. Produced in Lisbon, Portugal.

In Portuguese; dedication "À Son Altesse Roÿalle le Duc de Sussex" and signed "A. de Silveira" is written in French. Engraved armorial bookplate of the Duke of Sussex. Bound in contemporary navy silk; marbled endpapers.

Text intended to promote Antonio da Silveira Pinto de Fonseca's method of securely transmitting official correspondence. Presents 61 messages sent by military telegraph between the Palace of Queluz and the Fort of São Julião da Barra, dated from December 8 to December 18, 1803. Each message includes a cipher, translation, and observations.

Antonio da Silveria Pinto da Fonseca (1770-1858; "Teixeira" eventually dropped from his name) was a lieutenant-colonel in the Portuguese militia when he became interested in the military applications of telegraphy. He went on to fight in the Liberal Revolution of Porto in 1820, serving as vice-president of the provisional government, and was eventually named Viscount of Canelas.

Augustus Frederick (1773-1843), the first Duke of Sussex, was known as a bibliophile who eventually amassed a vast and varied library.

Transferred to Rare Books UG595 P67 F66 1803

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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