Unique binding, hand-made paper with an admixture of plants grown in Mendel’s garden, a facsimile of Mendel’s manuscript and a copy of his lecture on plant hybridization. These are all features of a book published on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of birth of the founder of genetics and Abbot at the Old Brno Abbey – a unique limited-edition collector’s item, as only 200 copies will be produced.
Documenta Historica is published on hand-made paper in Japanese binding with visible stitching. The paper features a watermark of the coat of arms of the Order of Saint Augustine, combined with embossing and gilding. The materials in the set include Mendel’s birth certificate, his draft of a sermon, protocol on the comparison of results of his experiments or orders of seeds or bulbs.
The paper used to print the archival material using conventional book printing method deserves extra attention. It comes from Velké Losiny where hand-made paper is produced since 1596. The cotton pulp contains an admixture from pea plants harvested in Mendel’s garden at the Old Brno Abbey. This gave the sheets of paper their unique appearance.
Mendel’s contribution as a person, a man of faith and scientist is summarised by Marek Orko Vácha. Vácha points out Mendel’s activities at the abbey, in research and his legacy for the future. “We are ordinary people invited to do extraordinary things, and as was the case of many saints, even our good deeds and out prayers will yield results in our lifetime, but also quite possibly many years or hundreds of years after our passing,” writes Vácha in his article Mendelův odkaz (Mendel’s legacy). The book offers a set of more than sixty photos; with the first one being the painting of Saint Augustine for the high altar at the Augustinian Church of Saint Thomas. In addition to various rooms and places around the Old Brno Abbey, the photos show a variety of items, such as Mendel’s seal stamp or monstrance, chalice and habit used by Mendel for liturgical purposes. Mendel’s liturgical items were photographed by Zdeněk Vošický; microscopes were the job for Petr Juračka; Mendel’s items for day-to-day use were photographed by Libor Teplý who also did not forget Mendel’s telescope. Ladislav Renner and Slávek Medek complete the team of five photographers who worked on the photobook.
In addition to the archival materials and the photobook, the true copy of Mendel’s lecture and facsimile, the 200th anniversary of his birth is also celebrated via a commemorative medal with an original imprint of Mendel’s seal stamp. It features Mendel’s coat of arms with lilies with leaves and blossoms, a plough and a Latin cross with rays of light.