Columbia University Libraries Presents Evening on George Arthur Plimpton on October 15

NEW YORK, October 8, 2008 The Friends of the Columbia Libraries will sponsor a special event on George Arthur Plimpton next week, with remarks by Robert A. McCaughey, Professor of History, Barnard College, and Jennifer B. Lee, Librarian for Public Services & Programs, Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “Reflections on George Arthur Plimpton: The Man and the Collection” will take place on Wednesday, October 15, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 523, Butler Library, 535 West 114th Street.


Following the program there will be a reception and a preview of the exhibition, “The Tools of Learning: George Arthur Plimpton’s Legacy to Columbia University,” on display in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML, Butler Library, 6th Floor, East). The exhibition runs from October 16, 2008 through January 30, 2009. To attend, please register at, or send an e-mail to

George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1935) was a publisher, author, and book collector, born in Walpole, Massachusetts. He assembled a remarkable collection of manuscripts and books illuminating the history of education. Describing his sixty years of collecting in the preface to his first book, The Education of Shakespeare, Plimpton wrote: “It has been my privilege to get together the manuscripts and books which are more or less responsible for our present civilization, because they are the books from which the youth of many centuries have received their education.” The collection was given to Columbia in 1936.

Drawn exclusively from the Plimpton Collection, the exhibition includes manuscripts and books from medieval times through the early 20th century, including many of the manuscripts and books that were used to illustrate Plimpton’s The Education of Shakespeare and The Education of Chaucer, and David Eugene Smith’s Rara Arithmetica. Additional sections of the exhibition deal with handwriting and education for women, two of Plimpton’s particular interests.

For hours of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, visit the Library’s website at

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.