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Herbert Kraft manuscript and book leaves

Identifier: Mss 0029

Scope and Contents

The Herbert Kraft manuscripts consist primarily of pages from various books and manuscripts dating from 793 AD to the early twentieth century. The majority of the materials come from printed books, but there are a large number from hand-lettered manuscripts. The pages are made from a variety of materials, including wood-pulp and non-wood-based paper, and vellum.

Most of the items consist of an original page glued along one edge to a folded black cardboard backer which acts as a book cover. Many pages which have been glued completely to the board also include a facsimile of the glued side of the original, likely dating from the 1920s; most of these are identified in the description. Most, but not all, items also include a typed description created by Herbert Kraft and attached to the front of the board holding the item.


  • 750-1950

Language of Materials

The materials in this collection are in a number of languages including, but not limited to, Latin, Greek, German, French, English, Arabic, Sanskrit, and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All materials available in this collection (unless otherwise noted) are the property of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and Seton Hall University, which reserves the right to limit access to or reproduction of these materials. Reproduction of materials or content is subject to United States copyright restrictions and may be subject to federal or state privacy regulations. Permission to publish exact reproductions must be obtained from the Director of the Archives and Special Collections Center.

Biographical / Historical

Herbert Clemens Kraft (1927–2000) was a Professor Emeritus of anthropology at Seton Hall University, director of the Museum of Archeology at Seton Hall and the world's foremost expert on the Lenape Indians.

Kraft was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1927. He graduated from Seton Hall University in 1950 and finished his graduate work at Seton Hall in 1961 and at Hunter College in 1969, with degrees in history and anthropology respectively. Kraft later became a professor of anthropology at Seton Hall. He wrote numerous books about archaeology in New Jersey, the Lenape and the Paleo-indians of New Jersey, as well as over 170 articles in his career, and was the first Archivist of Seton Hall. Herbert Kraft was also highly interested in antiquities and manuscript collecting, amassing a collection of books as well as book and manuscript leaves. His collection of objects forms the basis of the Seton Hall University Museum Collection.

Biographical / Historical

Books and manuscripts are collections of writing, the communication of ideas and knowledge in textual or illustrative form.

The book as it is most commonly referred to today is a codex, a stack of sheets, called leaves, attached at one end. Prior to the development of this form, books in Europe were on scrolls, long rolls of parchment, paper, or other thin sheets of material. The term manuscript refers to a document written by hand. Books created before the invention of the printing press are therefore manuscripts, as are any texts created by hand of any era.

Prior to the invention of the printing press, books and manuscripts were produced in a wide variety of ways and used any number of possible materials and processes. Wood, bone, shells, stone, and clay tablets have been in use since antiquity. Papyrus, using certain fibers, was invented in Ancient Egypt in about 2400 B.C. and was used to make scrolls. In Europe and the Near and Middle East, parchment, using animal skins, eventually replaced papyrus in use for writing, starting in about 300 B.C. Paper, invented in China and used in China and the Far East beginning in 105 A.D., became heavily used for book-making in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries. Many books were created and copied in monasteries in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, from around the 3rd century to the 13th century A.D.

The printing press, a way to mechanically produce books in multiple copies, was invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenburg in Europe. This process lowered the cost of printing books and allowed for greatly increased production and distribution of books to larger numbers of people. Books printed before 1501 are known as incunable (singular) or incunabula (plural).

The earliest known books are records of governments or organizations, and for a very long time in most of the world books were used for record-keeping and for religious texts, used for study and learning. A small percentage of books contained poetry, forms of literature, or other types of knowledge. The world's first novel, the Tale of the Genji, was written in Japan and published in 1021 A.D. In Europe, non-religious texts began to be produced and distributed more widely starting in the 12th century, and blossomed after the widespread use of the printing press.

The practice of breaking or dismantling books, or removing multiple or single sheets or leaves from volumes, has most likely occurred since books were first created in codex form. In the United States, dismantling books to sell individual leaves was popular among many dealers and collectors, especially in the early part of the 20th century, as was the selling or trading of individual leaves from books that may have been dismantled at some time in the past. Individual leaves or portions of leaves have a great deal of artifactual as well as scholarly interest, particularly if they contain illustrations, notes, or evidence of particular printing processes. While most conservators, preservationists, and collecting institutions no longer consider the dismantling of books to distribute individual leaves an acceptable practice, many dealers and collectors continue the sale and trade of individual leaves that may have been dismantled in the past, even the recent past.


5 Linear Feet (Approximately 250 items.)


Herbert Clemens Kraft (1927–2000) was a Professor Emeritus of anthropology at Seton Hall University, director of the Museum of Archeology at Seton Hall and the world's foremost expert on the Lenape Indians. The Herbert Kraft manuscripts consist primarily of pages from various books and manuscripts dating from 793 AD to the early twentieth century.

Preservica Internal URL

Preservica Public URL

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection is the gift of Joan E. Kraft to the Archives and Special Collections Center in 2001. Accession number 2001.12.28.

Processing Information

Collection was processed and finding aid created by the Archives and Special Collections Center using an inventory provided with the collection. Re-housing and finding aid edits for encoding, and creation of HTML by Patrick Tobias, Brianna LoSardo, and Tracy M. Jackson, 2014. Historical note written by Tracy M. Jackson, 2014.

Herbert Kraft manuscript and book leaves, 750-1950
Tracy M. Jackson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US