Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia’s Libraries Opening in Butler Library on October 8, 2004


NEW YORK, September 29, 2004 The first major exhibition of treasures from the Special Collections Libraries at Columbia in over 50 years will give the public a glimpse of the unique resources gathered by the University since its founding in 1754. Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia's Libraries, mounted in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of Columbia, celebrates a rich collection of original books, manuscripts, individual and corporate archives, architectural drawings, ephemera, musical scores, works of art, and artifacts, embodying over 5,000 years of human history. The exhibition will open to the public on October 8, 2004 in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Jewels in Her Crown will draw together an unprecedented array of 250 rare and unique items from eleven Special Collections - including a Buddhist sutra dating from the year 1162 C.E., Mrs. Alexander Hamilton's wedding ring, a set model for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s application for study at Union Theological Seminary, a fragment of the Iliad on papyrus, and a 1906 photograph of Czar Nicholas II with his family. The objects in this exhibition are intended to represent and bring attention to the larger collections of which they are a part. Many of them, buried within research collections largely known only to scholars, are on display for the first time. The exhibition will also acknowledge the generosity of the donors whose gifts have made possible the work of students and scholars for many generations.

Other original documents, artifacts, and works of art on display from the Special Collections Libraries in the Columbia system include: manuscripts of Sigmund Freud's Totem und Tabu, 1912-1913 (Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library) and The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill, 1869-1870 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library); a 19th century Tibetan printing block (C. V. Starr East Asian Library); a sketch of the Harrison & Abramovitz plans for the United Nations building, 1947 (Avery Library); John James Audubon's "Elephant" folio edition of The Birds of America (acquired by Columbia by subscription in 1833); the First Folio of Shakespeare's Works, 1623 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library); an original drawing by Giovanni Battista Piranesi for the redesign of St. John Lateran in Rome, ca.1767, (Avery Library); the manuscript of Anton Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, 1878 (Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library); the typescript of Alan Ginsberg's Howl for Carl Solomon, 1956 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library ); and selections from the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project tapes (Oral History Research Office).

The exhibition is in the Rare Book and Manuscript Galleries on the sixth floor of Butler Library, and will be open until January 28, 2005. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 A.M.-4:45 P.M. and Monday, 12:00-7:45 P.M. For additional information about this exhibition please call 212-854-5153.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

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09/29/04 JD