Accessibility and Website Information Skip Site Wide Navigation Skip to Content
Link to the City of San Diego Website Home

The Wangenheim Collection

Collection Highlights

The Wangenheim collection traces the history of book making and includes Egyptian papyrus, vellum manuscripts, lacquered palm leaf books from India, a bark codex, Chinese silk scrolls, and early handmade papers from Japan. Below is a sample of the rare items in the collection. For more on the Wangenheim collection, visit the Library's online catalog.

Clay Tablets Image

Babylonian clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform characters, ca. 2300 BCE.


Egyptian Hieroglyphics on Papyrus

Egyptian hieroglyphics painted on wood, ca. 400 BCE.


Squares of Bark Image

Writing on squares of bark from Sumatra. Possibly Indonesian incantations and magic cures in Batak script ca. 1850.


Tablet with Gold Chinese Characters

Tablet with Chinese characters incised in gold.

Date unknown.


Heavy Copper Plates Image

Burmese prayers on heavy copper plates. Sri Lanka.

18th or 19th century.


Latin Bible Image

Latin Bible on vellum, 1260, Bible, Latin, Vulgate. Manuscript in black gothic miniscule. 17th century binding. (Book of Psalms bound in back was published in London in 1646.)


14th Century Manuscript Image

Manuscript Leaf from 14th Century. Original leaves from 14th century French manuscript, ca. 1335.

These Illuminated vellum pages were probably made in Paris between 1330 and 1340.


Leaft from Scriptum Image

Saint Thomas Aquinas. A leaf from Scriptum in IV Libros Sententiarium.

Venedig, Nicolas Jenson, 1481.


Nuremburg Chronicle Image

Augsburg edition of Nuremberg Chronicle-1497.

Example of incunabula. Books printed from 1456 up to and including 1500 are called incunabula, the Latin word meaning cradle because they were printed during the infancy of printing. The printers used 645 different wood blocks to produce the 1,809 illustrations.


Dime Novel Image

From the Raymond A. Mengar Dime Novel Collection, 1898-1928.

Copyrighted © 2002-2014 City of San Diego. All rights reserved.