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PCA 202: Introduction to Art History - Special Collections Tour

Manuscripts in Special Collections

The department of Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives at Butler University holds several collections that contain manuscripts (paper materials that are handwritten or printed, primarily unpublished but sometimes single-sheet items from a published source). Some material types include correspondence, documents, ephemeral pamphlets and papers, publications, published and unpublished papers, etc. These collections also include other forms of print materials, including blueprints and other architectural drawings, maps, photographs, art prints, etc.

The following are a selection of collections that contain manuscript materials online. Follow the links to access the digital collections and view select items. See below for a selection of materials from the department's collections. (For more Butler University-related collections, view the last subsection titled Butler University History Materials.) 

To search the catalog for materials held by Special Collections, see the search box in the left sidebar.

Manuscripts Collection (PRI 003)

The Manuscripts Collection (PRI 003) is a collection assembled by the department of Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives. It contains individual manuscript examples from a variety of donors, sources, and time periods. 

Excerpt from Treasures at Butler University: Some Special Collections in the University Libraries, 1986, Page 13.

“By their very nature, manuscripts are an immediate and most intimate human record. They often become removed from their original context and survive in fragments. The value of these specimens lies not only in their intrinsic beauty and quality of penmanship but also in the challenge to find and understand their origin.”

Below are a selection of materials from this collection. Follow the links to view larger images of the materials.

Examples of Calligraphy

The following three items are examples of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy (language specified in item titles). Follow the links to view larger images of the materials.

Chinese Scroll, circa 1860 (Donated 1976)

Excerpt from Treasures at Butler University: Some Special Collections in the University Libraries, 1986, Page 13.

“A Chinese calligraphy scroll written by Ching-tsing about 1860. The subject of the poem recalls the long-ago scholar Tang-Po, while at Shih-pi on the bank of the Yangtze River. 26 x 73 in. (size of scroll) Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Warren Andrew, 1976.”

A translation of the poem is included alongside the photograph of the scroll. 

Chinese Manuscript, n.d. (date of gift is 1927)

This manuscript was sent to Butler University President Robert J. Aley, who served in this role from 1921 to 1931. It was included in his presidential papers which are stored in the department of Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives. The accompanying letter was sent by Henry Galloway Comingo (H. G. C.) Hallock, a Christian missionary in China during the early-to-mid 20th century. His letter gives a description of the manuscript, details on the manuscript's context and imagery, and his own personal opinions and reflections. The following are pertinent excerpts from the letter. No additional research has been conducted regarding the manuscript, and the excerpts from the letter exhibit the author's personal knowledge and opinions and not scholarly or verified information. 

"...Shanghai, China, March 11, 1927.

...On the tiger sent rides Chang Tao-ling, the first Taoist Pope in China. He is said to have been born on Tien Moh San (Heavenly-eye Mountain) in A.D.35... Chang was asked to be an official; but he chose to meditate in silence and cultivate virtue. He went to dwell in China's Western Hills where he was shown, by a book given him from above, how to find the elixir of life and from other ancient books how to ascend to heaven, how to fly, and how to walk among the stars. With such and other magic powers he could fight demons, divide mountains and seas, rule the winds and thunder and send demons running with fright or bring spirits cowering before him. Being the head of the Taoists and being in possession of the elixir of life and of talismans for the cure of all diseases, not only is he highly respected; but he has enabled the Taoist priests to gain great wealth by the sale of such thing to the people and they themselves to be sought out as great healers.

Charms with Chang Tao-ling's seal are purchased by rich and poor for goodly sums and are pasted up in the homes or are carried about on their persons. You can see these charms and seals above Chang's head. You will see, too, that he is dressed in fine, figured garments. In his right hand he has his magic sword and in his left hand he has a cup of the elixir of everlasting life. The tiger on which he rides is crushing with its paws the five poisonous creatures that represent all creatures that injure the health. If you look carefully you can make out a snake, toad, centipede, lizard and a spider. The little tiger behind has in its mouth Chang's gavel of authority. Chang is pasted up in the home on the 'Double Fifth'--the 5th day of the Fifth Moon. He is supposed to repress the poisonous creatures so to ward off calamity and sickness, especially during the hot, trying months of Summer. On the Double Fifth the children are dressed in cheap, tiger-like suits of clothes, also to keep off disease-causing evil spirits who whish to harm children but are afraid of tigers. The children are also decorated with charms around their necks and arms and have tiger stripes of yellow paint on their faces.

Chang Tao-ling is also called the 'Heavenly Teacher,' 'Chang the Angel,' 'Chief of Wizards,' 'The Ideal Man,' etc...." 

Japanese Manuscript


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