Might it be that the VMs was originally destined for the Vatican Library, but when Voynich arrived and placed the winning bid for the manuscript part of the deal was that his identity would not be divulged to anyone (especially the Vatican and competing bidder)? Voynich may have been concerned about legal repercussions from the Vatican preventing him from realizing a profit from the sale of the document. He also realized that he needed to establish a credible timeline and ownership of the manuscript to establish its value, which he set at $160,000 (the value that Kraus went to after originally starting at $100,000). A.M. Nill appears to have held at least one of the purse strings to the Voynich estate. She went to work for Kraus following Wilfrid's death. BTW, from Sowerby's book "Rare People and Rare Books" we learn that Voynich was constantly under surveillance by spies in London and therefore his "paranoia" was both real and justified. The following is a list of the documents referenced in The Chicago Tribune:
"Art Works Worth $1,500,000 Arrive to Escape War". The Chicago Daily Tribune. October 9, 1915, p.1, col. 2:
"Lives of the Saints", with "300 water sketches" possibly "painted by Giotto".
"Geneology of the Gods", with "portrait of Boccaccio".
"Latin New Testament", "tenth century".
"a work by Roger Bacon in cipher"
"a map used in the Magellan expedition".
"oldest known set of playing cards".
"Antique Books Worth $500,000". The Chicago Sunday Tribune. October 10, 1915, sec. II, p.1, col.5:
"Poor Man's Bible", "a French Biblia Pauperum".
"an ancient chant", "inscribed and illuminated on vellum".
"a breviary...of the town of Therouanne", "made for Henry of Lorraine".
"a portion of ... a map used in the Magellan expedition".
----- Original Message -----
From: Rene Zandbergen
Sent: Monday, December 30, 2002 1:39 AM
Subject: Re: VMs: Re: VMS in Russia?
I will have to do some 'delving', but here goes
for a first.
--- "Rafal T. Prinke" <rafalp@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I can understand the purchase was done in secret -
> why should it be kept secret after Voynich's death?
> And if so, why not after Ethel's death? Very
What appeared to me from the correspondence was
that it should have stayed a secret forever.
For example, in one letter from a Jesuit father
(rank unknown) it was made clear that the high-ranked
Jesuit in charge of the Mondragone (rector?) was
not allowed to know of the sale.
In the letter, Ethel V. writes that Wilfrid told
her where it came from, since she was his wife,
but she could not tell anyone. Then, we she got
older, she realised that with her death this
information would be lost, so she wrote the
letter, to be opened after her death.
To me, that seemed to be a kind of way out
without breaking her promise. For what it's
worth, this type of evidence has high value in
law courts (at least in those novels I read :-) )
> But De Ricci was published in 1937 - so the secret
> already been revealed then? So why Ethel's letter?
I am pretty sure that De Ricci just includes
the same phrase as all publications about the
VMs: from an undisclosed source in Europe.
I remember that the copy I saw was a later
edition. (Part of my delving to be done).
> I was also amazed at what Erla Rodakiewicz wrote to
> in 1945:
> I wish I could help you gain access to the
> photostatic copy,
> but I am in a rather peculiar position myself in
> with another Voynich MS. - the De re militari of
> Valturio of Riemini (+1475). Miss Nill, co-owner
> Mrs. Voynich, objected strongly to my mention of
> the MS. in
> an article in the 1940 issue of "Maso Fuigerra",
> in Milan, by Prof. Donali of the Vatican Library.
> The irony
> of the situation is that my article was intended
> to promote
> interest in the MS. and was dedicated to the
> memory of my
> old friend.
Voynich bought two copies of this. I don't know
if they were MS or printed copies, but I suspect
the former. One of them was later bought by
Kraus. Kraus also writes about it in his auto-
I can't quite understand either, why they would
behave like this. It's bordering on paranoia.
Would they be afraid that study by a specialist
would reveal that it was a former Jesuit book?
> How about the 1915 Chicago announcement? Does it
> list any items?
I have never seen it.
Kind regards, Rene
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