|Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, completed 1963|
It is said that this treatment of glass enclosed books was the inspiration for the British Library's glass tower of George III's collection in their new building of 1997.
Among of the Beinecke' treasures are two sets of The Birds of America, the works of John James Audubon (1785-1851). Audubon was born in Haiti and came to the US in 1803. For more than ten years he drew and painted American birds. According to the text panel, each book contained 425 plates showing 1055 birds, mostly drawn from life. To the left is the page showing the white-winged Crossbill. The plates were engraved and hand colored ion Edinburgh and London; the books were sold by subscription.
To the right is Audubon's Orchard Oriole in one of the two volumes of The Birds of America in Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The building was a gift of the Beinecke family in 1963; it is one of the world's largest buildings devoted to the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. In addition to the visible stacks, there are several floors underground for archived of precious books and papers.
Collections range from medieval and renaissance manuscripts to papers relating to the life, family and careers of a wide range of persons, from Boswell to "Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes. I am looking forward to attending the next meeting of the Angela Thirkell Society, which will be held at the Beinecke. How Ms. Thirkell's papers ended up at Yale will be an interesting topic!
Every day a page is turned in the Beinecke's Gutenberg Bible, one of five complete Gutenbergs in the U.S. To the left is the page we saw, not too elaborate, but certainly an interesting design. Johann Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany, printed these Bibles about 1455, the world's first books printed with moveable type. There are 21 complete Gutenberg Bibles in the world and another 20+ incomplete versions. This copy, once in the Benedictine Abbey in Melk, Austria, was purchased by Mrs. Edward S. Harkness for presentation to Yale as a memorial for Mrs. Stephen V. Harkness.
At right is one of the many displays around the Beinecke Library as part of an exhibition called Psyche and Muse, shown until June 13, 2011. According to the brochure, it "explores cultural, clinical and scientific discourse on human psychology and its influend on twentieth-century writers, artists, and thinkers." I am sure that F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda and their friends provided rich source material for the exhibition's essays. Diane and I could have spent hours investigating each display and panel. However, another visit to Thomas Lawrence beckoned and we had to pass up a close examination.
Here is link to the Beinecke's website.
For more information about Psyche and Muse, start here.
Labels: Victoria Hinshaw