Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Dusty, crumbling, smelly, irreplaceable documents and books"

Don't you just love the library? It is truly irreplaceable, as Anthony Grafton mentions in his November 2007 article on The New Yorker website entitled Future Reading: Digitization and its discontents. I've written about his article and my own love for libraries on 100 Years in America within my post entitled: On libraries: "the narrower path".

As far as libraries go, the Boston Public Library is one of the best. It has an extensive number of genealogy resources not to mention its other collections.

As you may have learned if you read my "Mazes, windings and turnings": a little digression on maps, I appreciate a good diversion into the world of cartography. The Boston Public Library's Norman B. Levelthal Map Center is currently displaying an exhibit entitled Boston and Beyond: A Bird's Eye View of New England. As the BPL press release states:
As the high-flying observer looks down as though from 2,500 feet on the mapped area, the town “below” appears in a kind of historical snapshot, revealing factories, homes, parks, churches and cemeteries, and even architectural details. The story that unfolds is of the growing economic vitality and urbanization of Boston and the New England region while America matured into a late 19th century global giant. The Boston area craftsmen who made these elaborate images were the leaders of the bird’s eye view vogue and the exhibit will showcase their diaries, field sketch notes, and manuscript drawings.

Take a virtual tour of Boston and Beyond via the Norman B. Leventhal website. The city has changed alot over the years, as I mentioned in my earlier post Boston's Big Dig: another one for the history books. This map exhibit will run through June 2008. Hope you'll get a chance to visit!

Whether or not you're in the Boston area, take some time this summer to enjoy a few "dusty, crumbling, smelly, irreplaceable" written treasures from your own local libraries.

Image of the vintage Boston Public Library postcard courtesy of USGenWeb's Penny Postcards website. The site also has many more vintage Massachusetts postcards.

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