Kislak Center (UPenn) acquires rare manuscripts in alchemy, astrology, Cabbala, Tarot, and more

The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts (University of Pennsylvania) recently acquired 58 manuscript codices from the library of the Duke of Northumberland. The manuscripts were originally collected by General Charles Rainsford (1728-1809), an 18th century gentleman scientist, and cover subjects such as alchemy, astrology, Cabbala and Tarot. A portion of the collection is comprised of texts copied or acquired by Rainsford from the Jesuit College at Naples at its dissolution in the late 18th century. Other particularly notable items include an illustrated book on summoning demons, an astrological horoscope of King George III, a manual by Rainsford - written during his time as Governor of Gibraltar - on judicial astrology, and several alchemical notebooks used by Rainsford for commonplacing, or note-taking, on useful information and discoveries. The manuscripts are written in Latin, Italian, German, French and English, and include documents claiming to have been translated from Arabic and Hebrew as well as Rainsford's own translations into English. For more see: Brief summary and essay on the collection: Press release: