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Many of the libraries we have today, the places we rely on for our most important knowledge and cultural heritage, were built from the private collections of people who lived centuries ago. Binghamton University’s copy of Danielis Heinsii In obitum v. illustr. Iosephi Scaligeri (1609), contains many ownership marks. This book survived over the centuries thanks to the many owners who valued it enough to preserve and pass it on. Using the names, dates, and other information from these ownership marks, I researched these owners’ lives and library collections. Each private and institutional owner valued the book to varying degrees and for different reasons. The book was treasured as a religious artifact by some owners, yet was discarded by the British Museum. Danielis Heinsii provides an exciting opportunity to trace how the interests and values of our book-collecting predecessors fundamentally shaped the information that is available to us today.



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From the Discard Pile to Special Collections: How Book Collectors Shape Today’s Information