Elsevier and Leiden’s Scaliger Institute Establish Fellowship Program for Rare Books Scholars

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Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, and the Scaliger Institute of Leiden University Libraries announced today the founding of a three year fellowship program to enable international rare books scholars to study 16th -18th century scientific scholarship and publishing. The program will support two scholars to work with the extensive Leiden University Special Collections and the Elsevier Heritage Collection for a period of one to three months annually. They will be invited to share their research through public lectures and publications.

The fellowship program builds on Elsevier’s recent launch of the Elsevier Heritage Collection’s online catalogue comprising over 2,000 rare books with more than 1,000 distinct titles published by the original Elzevier publishing house from 1580 to 1712. Based in the Netherlands and closely tied to Leiden University, the original company published groundbreaking work from contemporary scholars including Descartes, Huygens and Galileo. The modern publisher Elsevier, founded in 1880, was named after the original firm when as a tribute to the publishing achievements of the Elzeviers.

The Scaliger Institute will also work closely with the Elsevier Heritage Collection team to provide training and expertise on preservation, exhibitions, display techniques, cataloguing, bindings, history and provenance study. The fellowships offer a scientific publishing complement to the longstanding Scaliger Institute Brill fellowships. These focus on rare books research in the fields of Middle East, Islamic and Asian Studies, medieval and early modern history as well as religious and classical studies.

”Our collaboration falls squarely in the tradition of the Scaliger Institute,” remarked Kurt De Belder, University Librarian and Director of Leiden University Libraries. “It stimulates the study of rare books and special collections to further our understanding of the foundations of academia. The Scaliger Institute is also dedicated to public outreach and looks forward to hosting the lectures and master classes generated by studying the history of publishing and scientific scholarships.”

“The Elsevier Heritage fellowships reinforce our longstanding relationship with the University of Leiden, and builds upon the original Elzeviers’ tradition of publishing the great scientific minds of the 16th-18th century,” noted David Ruth, Senior Vice President of Global Communications, Elsevier. “Supporting scholars to study the history of scholarship and science also ensures that the Elsevier Heritage Collection can be more fully researched and made available to scholars around the world.”

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