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Huntington's latest acquisitions include 17th century text attacking Galileo

February 16, 2011 | 10:00 am

Doubts The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens has announced five new acquisitions by its Library Collectors' Council, including a 17th century text attacking Galileo's theory that the Earth revolves around the sun and a set of gouache studies for mosaic murals for various Home Savings & Loan buildings and branches.

The Collectors' Council comprises 34 member families who meet annually to help to support acquisitions at the Huntington.

A Huntington spokeswoman said that the recent acquisitions came from book dealers and private sources.

Dating from 1632, Claudio Bérigard's "Doubts on the 'Dialogue' of Galileo" is a text that casts suspicion on Galileo's belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, which the famous philosopher spelled out in "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems." 

The Huntington already owns copies of Galileo's "Dialogue" and said that the acquisition of the Bérigard text provides useful historical context.

Also among the acquisitions are artist Susan Hertel's gouache designs for mosaic murals at Home Savings & Loan buildings located mostly in Southern California. The 15 designs, which date from 1974 to 1991, were just one step in a painstaking process used to create the elaborate mosaics that adorn the buildings. Hertel started working for mosaic artist Millard Sheets while a student at Scripps College during the 1950s.

Among the Huntington's other acquisitions are a manuscript proposal for the development of landscape gardens in Cornwall, England; a U.S. maritime diary dating from 1842; and the manuscript collection of Charlton Thomas Lewis that focuses mostly on the period from 1850 to 1884.

The newly acquired items aren't on display for the public, according to the Huntington spokeswoman, but they are accessible to properly accredited researchers.

-- David Ng

Photo: Claudio Bérigard's "Doubts on the 'Dialogue' of Galileo." Credit: Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

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