Current Exhibitions & Events

King's College Matriculation Book, 1774 King's College Matriculation Book, 1774

Hamilton Treasures at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Exhibition through September 2, 2016

In celebration of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton receiving Columbia’s Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama inspired by American History and also the Pulitzer Prize for Drama this spring, the University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) has put some of its Alexander Hamilton manuscripts, rare books, and memorabilia on display through the summer.

RBML welcomes visitors to see such treasures as Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton’s [Eliza’s] double-banded wedding ring, inscribed “Alexander &” “Elizabeth” on the two bands, along with their wedding handkerchiefs.

Also on display, among other items, is the King’s College Matriculation book listing Hamilton’s admission in 1774, a letter from Hamilton to Washington, written when Hamilton was Washington’s aide-de-camp, a letter from Lafayette to Hamilton speaking of “our brotherly union,” a volume of the first edition of “The Federalist Papers” owned by Hamilton, and the first edition of Washington’s “Farewell Address.”

RBML is located on the 6th Floor, East, of Butler Library and, with the exception of July 4, is open Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. Access is through the Library Information Office just inside the front door of Butler Library. The Hamilton Treasures exhibition runs through September 2nd.


Fame, Celebrity, and Notoriety: L.E.L. (Letitia Elizabeth Landon, 1802 – 1838)

Exhibition, July 5 through September 16, 2016
Chang Octagon Gallery, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th Floor

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was known to her contemporaries the way she signed her poems, as “L.E.L.”  Her poetry was extraordinarily popular in her time, the period of Romantic poetry. She became a literary celebrity in London, at first because of her relative youth, then because of malicious gossip about her personal life, and later because of her mysterious death at a young age.

This exhibition looks first at her extensive body of work, stopping to consider the literary annuals, the “gift books” so popular from the 1820s into the 1850s, and the connection between poetry and illustration found in them. It then considers her wide popularity in her own day – in America, Germany and France as well as her native Britain – and then takes notice of her notoriety, how her life and death kept her memory alive while her poetry fell from critical esteem.

The exhibition is a celebration of, and made possible by, the recent gift of his L.E.L. collection by Francis J. Sypher, Jr. (AB 1963; AM 1964; PhD 1968), who has been tracking Landon and her works since the late 1980s. The collection is recorded in a newly-published catalog, L.E.L. Letitia Elizabeth Landon: The English Improvisatrice (New York: Columbia University Libraries, 2016).

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