The Library of Congress’s reconstruction of Thomas Jefferson’s library now receives many visitors who wander through the remarkable library of a remarkable man, institutionalized at the very heart of the US government. The importance and preservation of the libraries of “great men” has been a part of our history for a long time; and most national, university, college, and other institutional libraries are based around those of white men.
None of the books from the first library of William & Mary survived the 1705 fire, except, that is, for this one, Paolo Sarpi’s History of the Council of Trent (BX830 1545 .S323 1676b), found in England during the Second World War. How it ended up there is a mystery, especially in light of its inscription, which indicates that the book was the gift of Captain Nicholas Humfrys to William & Mary in the year before the fire. An answer to the question of how this book survived – or whether it ever made it to the College – may never be possible, but in looking at Humfrys’s life we may be able to put some of the pieces together.
At Homecoming this year, Special Collections opened a new exhibit showcasing selected items from our holdings arranged from A to Z. In Alphabetical Order: A Selection of Materials from Swem Library’s Special Collections was developed through a team effort with several staff and student workers involved.
Each year, Swem Library displays W&M faculty scholarship from a selected department in its Bright Gallery. Previous exhibits have included scholarship from Psychology, Art and Art History, Geology, and Religious Studies, among others. “Scholarship on Display: Economics Department,” pictured right, is currently on display in the Bright Gallery, 2nd Floor Rotunda of Swem Library until September 30, 2015.
For the past few months, we have been working to translate the W&M Hip Hop Collection into an exhibit titled Re-Mixing the Old Dominion: 35 Years of Virginia Hip Hop History and Culture. In addition to selecting the “stuff” to showcase the collection and the history of Virginia hip-hop, a completely different set of skills are also needed to create a successful exhibit. The process of creating an exhibit entails a level of organization, public writing, and display techniques that are different from curating and archiving a collection.