13 August 2011

At the Library

What do you do when you turn 100? If you’re the New York Public Library you create a special exhibit of more than 250 treasures from your vast collections for all to enjoy. And enjoy you will. From a gigantic first edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America to a tiny (just one inch tall) copy of Harry Crosby’s The Sun to a collection of fancy 19th century dance cards to a group of photographs of political prisoners held in the Mountjoy Prison in Dublin, the items on display are diverse and interesting. While some of the objects are disturbing, like a KKK hood and robe, others are lighthearted and amusing, like a letter from Groucho Marx to Harold Ross. Here are just a few of my favourite items (in addition to the Crosby book). 

e.e. cumming's typewriter (love him). I wonder if he ever used the shift key?

Charlotte Brontë 's writing desk. I tried to imagine her arm resting on the edge of the wood where it meets the deep burgundy velvet as she wrote. And there's even her pencil! Extra bonus.

Both bizarre and fascinating is Charles Dickens' letter opener that he had made from the paw of his dead cat Bob. I know Dickens loved his cat but I think this may just be going a bit too far.

A 15th century map of Italy and Corsica is incredibly beautiful. Look at that blue. It's even more vivid in person.

And check out the colours and details in this illuminated manuscript of St. Augustine’s The City of God. Isn't it stunning? 

Celebrating 100 Years is on view at the main library through December 31, 2011.

Photo of the lion by Michele.
All other images are from the NYPL's website.

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