Which is which?

In December 2022,  Dr Cristina Juan was again in Manila to visit the  Intramuros  and meet up with Ms Lou Revilla-Baysic, San Agustin’s Museum and Library Collections manager and conservationist and see how the 1762 archive project is progressing. After that  initial visit in June 2022,  we are happy to report that much has been done to identify, catalogue and preserve  the San Agustin library materials that  would have been part of the 1762 archive  and were somehow left behind at the convent after the ransacking.

Ms Lou has been busy cataloguing the newly accessioned materials using two formats: the San Agustin’s own library cataloguing system and the 1762archive formatted metadata fields for the IIIF manifests ( in a shared drive).

For each of the cataloguing requirements for either format, she is  painstakingly noting down  the publishing details of each material – title, author, publisher etc. Using mostly Dublin core basic accessioning requirements, she is  indicating the  physical dimensions of the items, the type of binding, paper and ink used etc. The  material condition is also being described in detail.  Since the transfer of all the identified materials from the storage room of San Agustin, Ms Lou noted that the temperature controlled conditions of the library will help preserve the materials .Thankfully, the book worms and dust mites that previously infested the materials, seem to now be  under control. Severe foxing,  the traces of worming, acidity and brittleness  are all described carefully so as to lay down a baseline for future conservation work.

Ms. Lou is also doing exciting provenance research for each of the materials. As she carefully goes through the items page by page, she is slowly compiling a  growing list  of  signatures, marginalia, book plates,  ink stamps and binding characteristics that can be used as identifying markers for what belongs to the 1762 archive. 

In this sample of the library’s cataloguing template, (see Figure on the right) she writes  that this book, published in 1613, was not only signed by Fray Casimiro Diaz (1693-1746), but that it also has a written note at the back of the title page. Fray Casimiro Diaz was a Spanish Agustinian friar born in Toledo Spain, and was famously part of the first Spanish expedition to the Philippine Cordilleras. He would later write “Conquistos de las Islas Philipinas” in 1718 and which was later published in Villadolid in 1890. Ms Lou has done forty-eight such catalogue entires and continues to work with the materials that the 1762 archive project team members initially segregated from the bulk of the items retrieved form the San Agustin’s storage room.

From the cataloguing work she has been  doing for the 1762 archive project, these are some of the few notes on the identifying markers she has compiled:

The Biblioteca San Pablo book plate

A majority of the 1762 archive materials have this bookplate attached to the title pages. Using the iconic emblem of the Order of Saint Augustine of a flaming heart pierced by an arrow on the background of an open book - the book plate is a clever application of the emblem on an actual open book -- the motif suggesting the Order's dedication to a search for knowledge, both divine and earthly.