The Beinecke Library of Yale University

Front Cover
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 2003 - Antiques & Collectibles - 237 pages
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University celebrates its fortieth anniversary with an exhibition and with this book that is itself a celebration of a great architectural monument of modernism photographed by Richard Cheek. This striking building contains a stunning collection of collections, examples from which were photographed by Stan Godlewski, and this celebratory volume also contains a portfolio of photographs taken at the time of the dedication forty years ago by Ezra Stoller and a handful of historic photographs from collections here. The text has a number of essays that together capture the many resourses that constitute this library distinguished throughout the world for its collections and for its support of research and publications and teaching.

Following an introductory essay by Barbara A. Shailor written from the perspective of one who came to join the staff as a graduate student employed to catalogue ancient manuscripts. This she did for two decades before leaving for university teaching and a deanship before returning here recently as director. The history of the design, construction, and impact of the building is acheived in a critical and appreciative essay by Patrick L. Pinnell, practicing architect and planner, who carries the story from the selection of Gordon Bunshaft as architect to the present place of this magnificent building at the center of te Yale Campus. Next comes a memoir by Marjorie G. Wynne about the days before there was a Beinecke Library when the rare books and manuscripts were in the Rare Book Room at Sterling Library until she and that collection crossed the street forty years ago.

Following these are essays about the individual strengths of the collections that together are the Beinecke's chief joys. Robert G. Babcock describes early manuscripts and books while the modern counterparts are featured by Vincent Giroud who also contributed an essay on music in the Beinecke. A brief section on playing cards by Timothy G. Young is included. Patricia C. Willis discusses the Collection of American Literature and Stephen Parks describes the Osborn Collection. German Literature is treated by Christa Sammons and George A. Miles treats the Western Americana Collection.

The Beinecke Library is all this and more, perhaps the most distinguished gathering of literary and historic material of any private university in the Americas and perhaps in the world. Supported wholly from endowments and managed as a financially independent unit within the Yale library system, it serves a broad community of users. It has an active fellowship program bringing researchers from across the campus and across the world to this repository of printed books and manuscripts as well as extensive collections of maps, prints, photographs, and drawings in the fields of language, literature, history, religion, philosophy, art, music, economics, and the natural sciences.

The book itself is a cause for celebration, designed by Greer Allen and composed and printed to the high standards that he earlier had exercised as University Printer. The result of all of these efforts is a triumph of text and illustrations combined in a generous format to delight the eye and the mind.

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