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    UnCaged Treasure
    by Kathy Clarke

    In October 2001, Dr. Dabney Bankert spoke to library faculty and staff about her research on a remarkable find in Carrier Library's Special Collections.  The library's copy of the Bosworth Toller Anglo Saxon Dictionary has become a detective story that Dr. Bankert is continuing to unravel.  

    The flyleaf on the dictionary is inscribed; "These four volumes have been each rebound in their original boards, after the editor's death by Mrs. T. Northcote Toller in 1930, " showing that this set was originally Toller's.   The four volumes are heavily annotated in two handwritings that Dr. Bankert has identified as Toller's and Dutch linguist, Peter Jakob Cosijn.  


    Volume 2 with Toller's notes

    Dr. Bankert's tale of her research was fascinating, but was not, in her words "tidy."  Her work to identify the handwritings took her to the British Library, the British Newspaper library, the University of London Library among others.  Frequently, the work was dirty, and hectic, as one lead led to another in less than orderly fashion.  


    Two handwritings in the volumes, presumed to be Toller's (top) and Cosijn's (bottom)

    Dr. Bankert is now working on finding out how the dictionary came to JMU.  Auction and catalog records of the sale of the books are being investigated as possible sources for clues.  


    Dr. Bankert interprets the annotations

    E-mail comments and questions to:
    clarkeke@jmu.edu

    Copyright 2001. JMU Libraries.
    All rights reserved.