The exhibition presents highlights from the Special Collections Department that were acquired with support from the Library Associates and include many of the most important and notable treasures in the collections of the University of Delaware Library.
Special Collections has seen a steady increase in the use of its books, manuscripts and other collections for scholarly research. Paralleling this research use has been an even more dramatic increase in the use of Special Collections by UD faculty and students for graduate and undergraduate coursework.
In planning the approach to the 50th anniversary of the Library Associates, the curators sought to find ways to highlight areas of the collection that reflect new trends in scholarly research and educational applications. The anniversary exhibition seeks to present old and new materials in the contexts of their application to research and teaching.
Among the 18 areas covered in the exhibition are alchemy, dyeing and bleaching, engineering, the seed and nursery trade, the Harlem Renaissance, Irish poetry, literary modernism, science fiction, cookery and food culture, and instruction books for children. This approach allowed the curators to demonstrate how collections are currently being used by students and scholars, as well as how they might potentially be used by future researchers.
The exhibition also includes a 15th century Book of Hours, a special acquisition to mark the Library Associates anniversary. The Book of Hours will be an important resource for students and researchers in medieval and renaissance art, history, and literature; the history of the book, material culture, and a host of other disciplines.
The exhibition, which was jointly curated by Jesse Rossa, senior assistant librarian, Iris Snyder, associate librarian, and Timothy Murray, head of the Special Collections Department, will be accompanied by a printed publication that will be distributed to all members of the University of Delaware Library Associates and to guests of the exhibition upon request.
An electronic version of the exhibition will be available in the fall at [www.udel.edu/library] and click Special Collections.
The Library Associates and the UD Library will co-sponsor the exhibition program and reception in celebration with the exhibition. The event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reserve Room of the Morris Library. Funding support for the event was also received from the Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural Activities and Public Events.
The featured speaker will be the well-known bibliophile Nicholas Basbanes, who writes about books and the book arts, collecting and various aspects of book culture. He will give remarks on “Among the Gently Mad.”
Basbanes has worked as an award-winning investigative reporter, a literary editor, a lecturer and a nationally syndicated columnist. His first book, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (Henry Holt), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award in nonfiction for 1995, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World (Harper Collins, 2005) was described by The Washington Post as “the equivalent of browsing through a rare-book store, spending the morning in a public library, and visiting your most literate friend-all in the course of a few hours.”
In addition, Basbanes has written for numerous newspapers and journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Civilization, and The New England Quarterly. In 2004, he began writing a bi-monthly column, “Gently Mad,” for Fine Books & Collections magazine.
The exhibition-related program will be followed by a reception. The event will be open to the public. Individuals may request a printed invitation by sending an email to [email@example.com] or by calling the Office of the Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries at (302) 831-2231.