celebrating 100 years…
The New York Public Library is featuring over 250 artifacts from its incredible research collections in the new exhibition Celebrating 100 Years, which opened May 14 at the Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
The exhibition – a cornerstone of the Library’s celebration of the Schwarzman Building’s 100th birthday – is organized by independent curator Thomas Mellins and will shine a spotlight on items spanning thousands of years and representing the worlds of literature, dance, social activism, invention, exploration, religion, history and innumerable other intellectual disciplines and creative pursuits. Artifacts belonging to literary giants such as William Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte and Jorge Luis Borges will complement historically important items related to a wide variety of issues and events, from the Age of Discovery, to the creation of the Soviet Union, World War II, the Civil Rights movement and the AIDS crisis.
Specific items in the exhibition include 4,300-year-old Sumerian cuneiforms – among the earliest known examples of writing; John James Audubon’s Birds of America; some of Jack Kerouac’s personal effects, including his glasses and his harmonica; Virginia Woolf’s walking stick and the last entry in her diary before she took her own life; the first Gutenberg Bible brought to The United States; photographs by Diane Arbus and Vik Muniz; Johannes Kepler’s Mysterium Cosmographicum of 1596; Katharine Cornell’s makeup box; first-edition sheet music of the “Star Spangled Banner”; a letter from Groucho Marx; a board game from 1809 called “A Voyage Round the Habitable Globe”; a copy of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot with Ezra Pound’s edits; Jerome Robbins’ visual diary, which is made up of a series of collages and is a piece of beautiful artwork in itself; illustrations from the Bhagavata Purana; Charlotte Bronte’s writing desk; Terry Southern’s “Easy Rider” script; Malcolm X’s briefcase and a personal journal written during his 1964 trip to Mecca; a ballot from the first post-apartheid election held in South Africa; photos from Ellis Island; W.W. Denslow’s “Wizard of Oz” illustrations; a lock of Mary Shelley’s hair; a diary from Chester F. Carlson, the inventor of Xerox; John Coltrane’s handwritten score for his arrangement of “Lover Man”; the copy of David Copperfield that Charles Dickens used for public readings and Dickens’s personal letter-opener, made out of his beloved cat Bob’s paw; a 1939 New York World’s Fair scrapbook; Ludwig van Beethoven’s handwritten score for the Archduke Trio; a 16th Century scroll of The Tale of Genji; an Andy Warhol silk screen; copy of Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book owned by Lin Biao, Mao’s designated successor who was later denounced as a traitor to the nation; a costume from Ballets Russes; and etchings from Francisco Goya’s anti-war print series The Disasters Of War.