"Building the Future, Remembering the Past: Fifty Years of the University of Delaware Library Associates" Exhibition


Book of Hours

    The exhibition “Building the Future, Remembering the Past: Fifty Years of the University of Delaware Library Associates” opened in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery of the Morris Library on Tuesday, August 19, 2008.  The exhibition, which was jointly curated by Jesse Rossa, Senior Assistant Librarian, Iris Snyder, Associate Librarian, and Timothy Murray, Head, Special Collections Department, will remain on view through Friday, December 12, 2008. The exhibition will be accompanied by a printed publication which will be distributed to all members of the University of Delaware Library Associates and to guests of the exhibition, upon request.           

    The exhibition presents highlights from Special Collections which were acquired with support from the Library Associates and includes many of the most important and notable treasures in the collections of the University of Delaware Library. Special Collections has seen a steady increase in the use of its books, manuscripts, and other collections for scholarly research, but paralleling this research use has been an even more dramatic increase in the use of Special Collections by University of Delaware faculty and students for graduate and undergraduate coursework.

    In planning the approach to this fiftieth anniversary celebration, the curators sought to find ways to highlight areas of the collection which reflect new trends in scholarly research and educational applications. The fiftieth anniversary exhibition seeks to present old and new materials in the contexts of their application to research and teaching. Among the eighteen areas covered in the exhibition are alchemy, dyeing and bleaching, engineering, the seed and nursery trade, the Harlem Renaissance, Irish poetry, literary modernism, science fiction, cookery and food culture, and instruction books for children. This approach allowed the curators to demonstrate how collections are currently being used by students and scholars as well as how they might potentially be used by future researchers. The exhibition also includes a fifteenth century Book of Hours which was acquired as a special acquisition to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the University of Delaware Library Associates.  The Book of Hours will be an important resource for students and researchers in medieval and renaissance art, history, and literature; the history of the book, material culture, and a host of other disciplines.

    An electronic version of the exhibition is available at [www.udel.edu/library] and click Special Collections.

    The University of Delaware Library Associates and the University of Delaware Library will co-sponsor the exhibition program and reception in celebration with the exhibition “Building the Future, Remembering the Past:  Fifty Years of the University of Delaware Library Associates.”   The event will be held on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reserve Room of the Morris Library. Funding support for this event was also received from the Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural Activities and Public Events.

    The featured speaker, Mr. Nicholas Basbanes, will be the well-known bibliophile who writes about books and the book arts, collecting and various aspects of book culture, will give remarks on “Among the Gently Mad.”  Mr. Basbanes has worked as an award-winning investigative reporter, a literary editor, a lecturer, and a nationally syndicated columnist.

    Mr. Basbanes’ first book, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books (Henry Holt), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award in nonfiction for 1995, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.  His Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World (Harper Collins, 2005) was described by The Washington Post as “the equivalent of browsing through a rare-book store, spending the morning in a public library, and visiting your most literate friend—all in the course of a few hours.”  In addition, Nicholas Basbanes has written for numerous newspapers and journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Civilization, and The New England Quarterly.  In 2004, he began writing a bi-monthly column, “Gently Mad,” for Fine Books & Collections magazine.

    The exhibition-related program will be followed by a reception. The event will be open to the public.  Individuals may request a printed invitation by sending an email to or by calling the Office of the Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries at 302-831-2231.

About the Special Collections Department

    Holdings of the Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library include books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, broadsides, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera, and realia from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. The collections complement the Library's general collections with particular strengths in the subject areas of the arts; English, Irish, and American literature; history and Delawareana; horticulture; and history of science and technology. The University of Delaware Archives is separately administered and comprises university records and history of the institution.