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MikeH  MikeH is offline
Join Date: 03 Nov 2007
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 443
Beinecke titles

I found the emails, Huck.

First here is my email to the email contact address on the Beinecke website:

."..I also have a few questions. First, the Cary "Visconti" tarot trump cards on-line are given both a name and a suit, one of the 4 regular suits, e.g. "Empress of Swords." I haven't seen other trump cards classified this way, with suits. Where [does] this suit-classification of these cards come from? Was it part of what you were given when you took possession of the collection? When was it added and why?

Also, why is [it]it categorized as "Visconti" as opposed to some other name, such as "Sforza"? I have read reasons in some books on the subject, but they don't seem that conclusive. So I'd like to know your reasons.

Then I have a couple of questions regarding the Cary Sheet, the one with the tarot trumps on it. Is what we are seeing simply a sheet off the press before it is cut, or something different, like a mirror image of what the card player would see? And would the card itself look just like the sheet, or would details or colors be added?"

Timothy Young replied, from

[email protected]

"Cataloging information about the cards was received with the collection when it was given by the Cary family to Yale. The author of the printed catalogue to the Cary Collection used their descriptions when he created fuller catalog records. The names "Visconti" and "Sforza" refer to the families who owned specific decks of cards. Because there are quite a few items filed under "Cary Sheet," I am unsure which item you are referring to. If you can cite a specific item, perhaps I can respond with some more information."

Then on 8/28/08 I emailed back:

"Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. The Cary Sheet that I was asking about is your negative number 3613378. I access it by searching for "Cary Sheet 3S," but I don't remember where I got the "3S" designation. Are we looking at the cards the way a card player would see them, or the way the woodblock artist would see it (which would be a mirror image of the other)? And would the actual cards have color or other embellishments on them, beyond what we see.

If I came as a researcher, I would be (a) looking for small numbers or other writing added after the d'Este and Visconti cards were made, and (b) wanting to see the Cary cataloging material you referred to, to see if there is anything else of interest there..."

Mr Young replied:

"Mr. Howard:

The sheet you mention "ITAsheet3S" appears to be a print that shows images as they would appearas finished playing cards. The catalog information for this sheet is very brief. It probably did not come with much information, as did a great number of items in the Cary Collection. I checked and found that the cataloger's notes about the Visconti and the Este cards are the exact information that appears in the printed catalog.

Keep in mind that the entire Cary catalog is searchable through our digital images database as a separate section:

Links to the essays about the collection are also found on that page."

Let me add that the Beinecke staff has been really helpful whenever I have made requests. I've been there before, on non-tarot related missions. Perhaps they are more possessive when it comes to playing cards.

I was hoping to inspect the actual cards, as I was going to be in New York. But the Beinecke was in the middle of remodeling and I decided not to press them.

I was also interested in seeing the PMB, but I did not email the Pierpont Morgan Library, as I assumed that I could just pop in when I was in New York. I had done that with the Beinecke once, and it was no problem. In the case of hte Morgan, that was an incorrect assumption. Next time I will know.
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