Mortimer Rare Book Room History

The Dimock Collection

On the occasion of an exhibition in October 2000 of selections from the Dimock Collection in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, director of Libraries Christopher Loring remarked:

Great rare book collections in libraries depend upon the zeal of individual bibliophiles. Collectors, or their descendants, realize that the best home for their treasures is a rare book room, where their efforts can be preserved for future scholars and students and where the opportunity exists for the books not only to be admired, but more importantly, to be read.

Such is the case with the remarkable group of approximately 350 books donated in 1968 by Imogen Kinsey Dimock, at the suggestion of her son, Smith College classics professor George E. Dimock. The collection had been assembled by Professor Dimock’s grandfather, also named George. Highlights of the collection are: early editions of the classics, Bibles ranging over 600 years, eleven fifteenth-century books, and works from great sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European presses.

The writings of Cicero on philosophy, ethics, and Roman politics shown here is the product of the eminent sixteenth-century publishing house established in Venice by Aldus Manutius. Aldus’ distinctive dolphin and anchor pressmark is seen here both at the end of the first volume and the title page of the second, with the added text “Aldi filii,” sons of Aldus. This was a multi-generation business.

Cicero. De philosophia … Venice: Apud Aldi filios, 1546. Two volumes in one.