Rare Book & Manuscript Library to Host Its 11th Annual Book Arts Lecture

NEW YORK, January 13, 2005 Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library will host its annual Book Arts Lecture, featuring Gerald Beasley on January 25, 2005. Beasley, Director of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, will present "Architects and Books: A Special Relationship" at 6:00 P.M. in the Faculty Room of Low Library.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library has presented its annual Book Arts Lecture since 1995 during Bibliography Week, when the principal national organizations devoted to book history have their annual meetings in New York. The series explores topics in a wide variety of related fields including calligraphy, paper, type design, printing, illustration and book binding.  This year’s lecture, "Architects and Books: A Special Relationship," will focus on examples drawn largely from the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library to review the contribution of architects to the design of the printed book in the Western tradition. Is it possible that the livre d'architecte, or architect's book, exists as an identifiable genre, like the livre d'artiste? If so, what are its characteristics? 

Beasley joined the Columbia Libraries staff in June 2004.  He has a first degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and an M.A. in Library Studies from University College, London. He joined the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), an international study center and museum, in 1994. He previously served as Assistant Curator for Rare Books at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London, and before that as Editor of the Early Works Catalogue at the British Architectural Library of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He co-authored the RIBA’s five-volume catalog Early Printed Books, 1478–1840, last year’s winner of the prestigious Besterman/McColvin medal, awarded annually by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the United Kingdom for an outstanding contribution to bibliography. He is also co-author of three catalogs of the Mark J. Millard architectural collection for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Following the lecture there will be a reception in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s Kempner Exhibition Gallery, where the exhibition Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia’s Libraries will be on display until February 28, 2005. The event is free and open to the Columbia community and the general public. To register, or for more information, please call 212-854-4048.

Jewels in Her Crown brings together 250 items selected from the collections of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, the Barnard College Library, the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, the Arthur W. Diamond LawLibrary, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library, the Office of Art Properties, the Oral History Research Office, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, and the Gabe M. Wiener Music and Arts Library. The exhibition celebrates both the rich collections of books, manuscripts, drawings, and other research materials that have been gathered over the past 250 years and the generosity of donors whose gifts have enabled the work of generations of students and scholars.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children's literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For additional information about the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 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.

01/13/05 JD