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Besides establishing a prestigious publishing house, Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940) was one of the most successful antique book dealers of the early twentieth century. He sold numerous medieval manuscripts to collectors and libraries in Europe and the United States, including Henry Walters, J. P. Morgan, Frank McClean, Charles Dyson Perrins, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. An extraordinary survivor of Leo's trading days, the so-called Schedario Olschki consists of three file cabinets containing about 100,000 cards with detailed information on books and manuscripts sold by the firm from the 1880s onwards. These cards reveal fascinating information on how manuscripts were priced and sold, on who bought them, on how catalogue entries were written, and on other aspects of Olschki's trade.

This talk by Dr Federico Botana was delievered at the IES Unfinished Business Seminar on 3 February 2021.

Image: Old index card file cabinet, Bibliothek Wissenschaftspark Albert Einstein, CC BY-SA 4.0