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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 7: Language - Philosophy - Philology, 1838-1855Add to your cart.
5 items
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 20: C. F. H., Charaden, Rathsel, Logogryphen, Homonymen, Anagramen : autograph manuscript, 1838Add to your cart.

1 volume (239 unnumbered pages) : paper ; 25 x 21 cm. Produced in Bratislava, Slovakia. Title and statement of responsibility transcribed from title page. "Erste Sam[m]lung." Place of production given as "Pressburg." Creator unidentified. Autograph manuscript in cursive script; brown ink on laid paper; each page single-ruled by hand on three sides, in pencil. Quarter plain brown over blue paper wrappers; spine lettered by hand.

Collection of cryptic charades, riddles, word puzzles, homonyms, palindromes, and anagrams, chiefly in rhyme, each followed by solution.

Transferred to Rare Books PN6373 C44 1838

Folder 21: Giovanni Dacus, Il Paternoster in varie lingue e scritture : autograph manuscript, 1855Add to your cart.

1 volume (151 unnumbered leaves, 50 blank leaves, 4 leaves of plates) : illustrations ; 23 x 17 cm. Produced in Rome, Italy (?). Title transcribed from title page. Dedication page: "All' Illustrissimo e Rever[issi]mo Monsignore Paolo Brunoni, Vicario Apostolico dell Imperial Città di Costantinopoli, Giovanni Dacus, alumno del Ven: Coll: Urb: de Prop: Fide qual figlio obbediente e diletto Questo libro delle varie lingue. D. [G.?] D." Each geographic section preceded by steel-engraved plate depicting a Biblical scene, and followed by blank leaves. Full brown morocco; spine and covers stamped in gold with floral motifs; marbled endpapers; all edges gilt. Rear free endpaper recto has penciled note: "Morton, S.L. Ser. II."

Album containing the Lord's Prayer written out in the various languages of Asia, Europe, Africa, and America. Each page illustrated with a decorative frame, sometimes evoking the language or associated culture. Each script done in stylized calligraphy. Languages include Kurdish, Phoenician, Chaldaean, Tibetan, Coptic, various European dialects, Native American languages, and Egyptian hieroglyphics (among many others).

Giovanni (or Joannes) Dacus (December 1, 1837-March 30, 1900) was born in Constantinople and entered the Collegium Urbanum de Propaganda Fide in Rome on July 16, 1853, at the age of 15. In the course of his theological studies, he created this multilingual book, possibly as an exercise in calligraphy or philology. Dacus graduated June 29, 1859 with the title of Acolyte. He went on to serve as a secular clergyman in the Cathedral of Constantinople for over thirty years; upon his death, he was remembered for his jovial nature and work with the poor.

Transferred to Rare Books P351 D33 1885

Folder 22: Photographs of leaves from Blaise de Vigenères’ Traicté des chiffres, Undated.Add to your cart.
Contains Chinese and Japanese characters.
Folder 23: C.S. (Charles Stokes) Dudley, Specimens of sixty-five out of the one hundred and sixty-four versions of the Holy Scriptures printed or promoted by the British & Foreign Bible Society : autograph manuscript and printed text, circa 1848?-1862Add to your cart.

Album with pages from Bibles in various languages pasted in. Neatly printed handwritten captions on opposite pages give the language and geographic distribution.

Accompanied by several leaves from 'The Bible of every land,' first published by Samuel Bagster & Sons in 1848, including a list of languages, two color maps, and specimen pages of languages not included in the original album (perhaps meant to be added later). Manuscript note inside front cover (in another hand): "Bought of a butcher at Raunds for [51-?], who had purchased it in a lot of odd volumes at a farmer's sale. From the unanimous testimony of his family, the writing is in the hand of Mr. Stokes Dudley, formerly one of the District Secretaries of the B. & F. Bible Society. Wm Major Paull, Leamington, June 15th 1877." Binding: Quarter textured brown cloth over black, red, and tan plaid-patterned paper-covered boards; cover has a printed paper label. Accompanied by 7 leaves detached from another publication, originally laid in at back. 1 volume (approximately 66 unnumbered pages) : paper ; 28 x 23 cm + 7 laid in leaves

Charles Stokes Dudley (September 18, 1780-November 4, 1862) was the eldest son of Mary Stokes Dudley, a Quaker minister. Born and raised in Ireland, Charles went into business in England at the age of 17. He became involved in the British & Foreign Bible Society's Southwark auxiliary in 1810, and spent most of his adult life traveling the country on the Society's behalf, organizing and shepherding other auxiliary branches. In 1821 he wrote 'An analysis of the system of the Bible Society,' a large volume of historical background and guidance on establishing and maintaining auxiliary branches.

The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in England in 1804 to encourage "wider circulation and use" of the Scriptures. It remains a non-denominational charity organization, dedicated to making the Bible available in all corners of the world.

Transferred to Rare Books P352 D83 1848 4o

Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Traitté des poids, des monoyes et des chifres qui etoient en vsage chez les Hebreux, les Grecs et chez les Romains pour seruir a l'intelligence des anciens auteurs : autograph manuscript, circa 1750-1780?Add to your cart.

1 volume (4 blank leaves, 119 pages, 1 unnumbered page, 47 blank leaves) : illustrations, charts ; 22 x 17 cm. Produced in France (?) between circa 1750 and 1780 (?). Title transcribed from caption. Brown ink on laid paper. With marginalia and chapter headings. Includes index (alphabetical "Table," pages 113-117); index entries lack corresponding page numbers. In accompanying note, former owner Philip Mills Arnold remarks that little of the material in the manuscript is original and gives the source of a chart and some figure symbols as Pierio Valeriano's 'Hieroglyphica' (1556). Compiler/scribe unknown. Binding: Full vellum; manuscript title on spine. Accompanied by P.M. Arnold's explanatory note, originally laid in at front.

Manuscript intended as a reference for scholars of antiquity. The compiler draws from various sources with the aim of correcting the considerable errors and faults in even the best translations on the subject of the weights, currencies, and numbering systems of the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans.

Transferred to Rare Books QC84 T73 1750z

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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