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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 5: Paleography - Writing, 1664-1835Add to your cart.
7 items
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cartas famaliares de Marcos Tulio Cicero, traduzidas em Castellano : manuscript, 1664Add to your cart.

1 volume (209 unnumbered pages) : paper ; 22 x 16 cm. Produced in Spain (?). Title transcribed from title page. Text copied out in at least three different hands from Los deziseis libros delas epistolas o cartas de M. Tulio Ciceron vulgarmente llamadas familiares / traduzidas de lengua latina en castellana por el dotor Pedro Simon Abril (first published in Madrid, 1589). Brown ink on laid paper. Includes one decorated calligraphic heading and one tailpiece. Some cancellations, emendations, and marginalia present. Scribes unknown. Originally acquired by Philip Mills Arnold as an example of period handwritting. Quarter brown leather over brown treated book cloth[?]; speckled edges.

Transferred to Rare Books PA6315 S8 E65 1664

Folder 15: Giovanni Battista Palatino, Libro di M. Giovambattista Palatino cittadino romano : nelqual s'insegna à scriuer ogni sorte lettera, antica & moderna, di qualun que natione, con le sue regole, & misure, & essempi : et con vn breve et vtil discorso de le cifre, [1550]Add to your cart.

128 unnumbered pages (the last 2 blank) : illustrations, portrait ; 21 cm (quarto). Published in Roma in Campo di Fiore : Per Antonio Blado asolano, il mese di agosto M.D.L. [1550]. Edition: Riueduto nuouamente, & corretto dal proprio autore : con la givnta di qvindici tavole bellissime. Imprint from colophon. Papal permission dated 1540, the year of the 1st ed. Palatino's dedication dated 1545 (A4v), and a number of the pages bear dates of 1540 or 1545. The present ed. is a re-issue of that of 1548; letterpress pages have been reset; see Bonacini. Signatures: A-H⁸ (H8 blank). Woodcut port. of author on t.p. The pages displayng the chancery hand and the various alphabets are printed from woodcut blocks. "Sonetto figurato" (sonnet in rebus), F6v-F8r. Full-page cut of writing implements, G8v. Moth/flame emblem, H7v. Historiated initials. Full brown mottled stiff paper wrappers. Imperfect; lacking leaves B8, E3-E7, G7-G8, H1-H8. Duplicate leaves D3-D5, D8-E1 laid in.

Palatino was know as the “calligrapher’s calligrapher,” and his work went thorugh numerous editions. These random samplings demonstrate how well known his work was, and the broad interest in his calligraphy as an example to emulate.

Tranferred to Rare Books: Z43 A3 P3 1550 c.2

Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 16: J. (Johannes) Teesfen, Verzameling van schriften en anderen oefeningen voor het examen : gehouden den 9 November 1831 : autograph manuscript signed, 1827-1831Add to your cart.

2 volumes (37, 86 pages) : color decorations, color map, music ; 33-44 cm. Published in Amsterdam between 1827 and 1831. Title transcribed from title page. Title page in several calligraphic scripts, with geometric decorated color frame. Each page spread signed and dated by J. Teessen in Amsterdam. Pages apparently prepared by Teessen over the course of five years of study, in preparation for exams. Chiefly in Dutch, with some sections in German and English. Half burgundy leather over brown marbled paper-covered boards; spine stamped in gold. Volume 1: 44 cm. Volume 2: 33 cm. Has engraved bookplate of A.G. De Bruyn (both volumes).

Two bound volumes of calligraphy samples in a variety of contexts. Contains passages copied from textbooks, musical scores, orthographic tables, business correspondence samples, accounting ledgers, and decorated alphabets, as well as a color map of the "Pays-Bas."

Transferred to Rare Books Z43 T44 1831 fol. v.1 and Z43 T44 1831 fol. v.2

Folder 17: William Coham Turner, 1835-1838Add to your cart.
(3 items) Calligraphy samples texts of proverbial sayings, probably Turner’s own. Turner taught at Commercial and Mathematical School, Barnstable, England (May 27-31, 1836). Sewn Auto ms., 7 pages, (Mid-summer 1835). Sewn Auto ms., 9 pages, (Nov. 14-28, 1838). Sewn Auto ms., 14 pages
Folder 18: Ethiopic prayer books : manuscript, 1800s?Add to your cart.

1 volume (134 unnumbered pages) : vellum ; 14 x 9 cm + 1 booklet (29 unnumbered pages ; 6 x 5 cm). Produced in Ethiopia (?). Title supplied by cataloger. Manuscript on vellum in 9 quires and at least 9 different hands, possibly comprising separate texts. Text in single column, with varying number of lines per page. Some quires have scored vertical and horizontal lines. Prickings visible in outer margins. Text in black ink, with some words and phrases in red. Some annotations in pencil. Some words marked out. Small booklet on vellum bound in at back, inside folded vellum leaf with crude pencil notations. Bound in split wood boards; coptic chain stitching on 4 sewing stations.

Chiefly prayers to the Virgin Mary. In Ethiopic (Ge'ez script).

Transferred to Rare Books BX137 A2 1800z

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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