Adventures in the Archives: Stanley Slotkin


One advantage to having an archives that has not been fully-organized is that you are more likely to discover items that nobody knew we had. This happened to me last year when I stumbled across a mysterious folder.

Last December, when I was cleaning out a desk in the room next to the archives, I noticed a large, flimsy folder. After peeking inside, I was surprised to find 11 book pages, each from different books dating from the 1200s to 1700s. Each page was STAPLED onto its own larger paper that provided information about the book, and explained where the book came from (yes, I removed all of the staples!).

For example, the oldest book page that I found was stapled onto a paper that said that the page was from a Quran dating back to A.D. 1207. It also said that this Quran was found by Stanley Slotkin in Tehran, Iran in 1952, who insured it for $25,000 before disassembling it. First of all, $25,000 was a lot of money in 1952. Second of all, he DISASSEMBLED it?

Only the Quran’s description mentioned Stanley Slotkin, while the other ten book pages were said to be “From the Antiquarian Library of Mark A. Slotkin.” Since I could not find anyone who knew where Trinity acquired these old book pages, I decided that researching more about the Slotkins could be my most promising clue. After doing a bit of online digging, I learned that Mark is/was Stanley Slotkin’s son. However, who was Stanley Slotkin? Stay tuned to learn more in my next post.

2 Comments

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  1. Katharine Van Arsdale

    I’m curious about your page from the 1207 Quran. The library where I work has one. So does the Smithsonian. I wonder if all the pages still exist, and what they all look like. I’m also curious if your library kept any provenance for these Slotkin pages (mine did not). It’s a mystery…

    • Taylor Wilcox

      Hi Katharine, thank you for your comment. That’s neat to hear that you also have a page from the 1207 Quran. I am also curious to know where all of the pages have ended up. Unfortunately, like you, I do not know the provenance of our Slotkin pages. I hope that someone will be inspired to do more research about Slotkin and his collecting, because he seems like an interesting person. If you learn anything further about him, feel free to let us know!

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