ATBL Meets the Prince of Wales

David Redden, President,  Seana Anderson, Executive Director, and Trustees of the ATBL were invited to the opening of the Magna Carta Exhibition at the British Library on March 12, 2015.  David and Seana, as representatives of the ATBL, were presented to HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales, to receive acknowledgement of ATBL’s $56,000 in support of the Exhibition.  A video from Bill Clinton was played and thanks extended to The New York Public Library for its loan of Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence; and to The US National Archives for its loan of the Delaware copy of the US Bill of Rights, both displayed in the UK for the first time ever.

British Library Current Exhibits

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

cartoonFeaturing such iconic names as Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum) and Posy Simmonds (Tamara Drewe), this exhibition traces the British comics tradition back through classic 1970s titles including 2000AD, Action and Misty to 19th-century illustrated reports of Jack the Ripper and beyond.

Comics Unmasked is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of mainstream and underground comics, showcasing works that uncompromisingly address politics, gender, violence, sexuality and altered states. It explores the full anarchic range of the medium with works that challenge categorisation, preconceptions and the status quo, alongside original scripts, preparatory sketches and final artwork that demystify the creative process.

Enter the subversive and revelatory world of comics, from the earliest pioneers to today’s digital innovators; show runs to August 19, 2014.

Family Drop-In Event at the BL

alice posterYou are personally invited to a curious celebration of the nonsense world of Alice. Hunt the White Rabbit, create a curious upside-down, inside-out wonderland, play strange, silly or sensible games and so much more. But! Remember Rule forty-two:- “All persons more than a mile high to leave.”

That’s not all – we request that you come dressed up as your favourite character, watch not one but two tumbling hedgehogs, take tea (well maybe…) with a dormouse, and meet a flamingo – yes really, meet a flamingo!

Most important of all, see for yourself where it all started: ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’ by Lewis Carroll is perhaps the most famous of all the British Library’s 19th-century literary manuscripts. It is Lewis Carroll’s first version of the work later published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), and it’s on display for you to see!!

Guided Tour of Jewish Museum Exhibit

Jewish Museum Visitors

Members at Jewish Museum: Dyke Benjamin, Lucy Adams, Caroline Rubinstein, Elizabeth Brown, Ralph Brown, David Wachtel, Phillip Winegar, David Redden, William Ginsberg, Jeannette Redden.

On January 29 of 2013, David Wachtel, who curated the Three Faiths exhibit at the New York Public Library, guided ATBL members through Crossing Borders:  Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries at the Jewish Museum last January.

Mr. Wachtel is currently Senior Consultant for Judaica at Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department and Senior  Consultant, Special  Collections, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary. For those who missed the exhibit, which closed February 3rd, the Jewish Museum has online images of these magnificent manuscripts.

Morgan Library Visit

Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters

Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters

January 15, 2013, Executive Committee members visited the current exhibit of Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters at the Morgan Library. The original ideas for many of Beatrix Potter’s stories can be found in the  manuscript picture letters she wrote to children of friends and family members. Perhaps the most famous example is The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which began as an eight-page letter to Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of her former governess, Annie Moore.

Sotheby’s Showing

Sotheby's Viewing

Members at Sotheby’s: Dyke Benjamin, Phillip Winegar, Caroline Rubinstein, Seana Anderson, Christopher de Hamel, David Redden and Dodie Armstrong.

In November, Sotheby’s London offered at auction three Renaissance masterworks:  a major drawing by Raphael (1483-1520); and two 15th century illuminated manuscripts, produced in Flanders for two of the leading patrons of their day, and among the most important examples of their kind ever to come to auction. Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, gave a special showing to ATBL members of these treasures during their stay at Sotheby’s New York.

2012 ATBL Annual Meeting


The ATBL Annual Meeting and luncheon was held on October 15, 2012 at the Grolier Club.  Grants approved to the British Library were $76,200 towards purchasing St. Cuthbert’s Gospel; $40,000 for cataloging and digitizing King George III’s Topographical Collection (KTOP)  (North American views); $15,000 from the Peck Stacpoole Foundation for the KTOPl; and $12,814 from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation for internships for American PhD candidates in the Department of Illuminated Manuscripts. Below are photos of a few of the attendees taken by Tamia Blackman. Prints or downloads available at










ATBL First Fundraising Event

Honoring Chairman Lansing Lamont and Dame Lynne Brindley

Lansing Lamont and Dame Lynne Brindley

Lansing Lamont and Dame Lynne Brindley

ATBL’s first annual benefit luncheon, held at the Harvard Club last October, was an opportunity to honor two of our most distinguished figures: Lansing Lamont, who has served the ATBL since the 1990’s, becomming President in 2000, and chairman since 2010; and Dame Lynne Brindley, the long-time Chief Executive of the British Library who is retiring later this year.

Mr. Lamont’s leadership was a driving force behind ATBL’s increased membership, including major donors, which allowed ATBL to increase its grants to the BL substantially over the last ten years. During his tenure as President, the prestigious Breslauer Lectures were instituted. This lecture series was named after Bernard H. Breslauer, the renowned rare book dealer and collector of illuminated manuscripts.

Lansing Lamont and David Redden

Lansing Lamont and David Redden

David Redden, current ATBL President, began his introduction with a recording of Mr. Lamont playing the piano and singing. The honoree was truly surprised and the attendees gave him a hearty round of applause. Mr. Lamont’s gift for song is well known to participants in the annual Chairman’s Council trips to London, which he leads. Mr. Redden followed with a more formal introduction citing Mr. Lamont’s many interests and accomplishments.  Lansing Lamont, Harvard ’52, is an author and journalist who has been a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History; a Bryant Fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  In appreciation for his leadership and counsel, Mr. Lamont was presented with a hand- calligraphied certificate.

Mr. Lamont’s remarks drew on his experience as a boy and later as a journalist to illustrate the importance of books, more particularly books by British authors such as Dickens, Kipling, Tennyson, H.G. Wells, and the Huxleys. Mr. Lamont saw these books as the inspiration that urges us on to the wonderful adventures that form our lives. He spoke of the great libraries of the world, and paid homage to the British Library:

“But there is something extra special, in my view, about the British Library. It occupies not only an important place in the cultural life of the British nation, it occupies a singularly important place in the cultural life of the world, and in particular the U.S. which sends the largest foreign cohort of British Library users.”

In closing, Mr. Lamont quoted the writer Toni Morrison: “Access to knowledge is the supreme act of truly great civilizations.” He used this quote in a tribute to his co-honoree: “Lynne Brindley, you and your team at the British Library have been inspired leaders in realizing this truth. For that, we not only thank you—but I personally am deeply honored to be sharing this platform with you.”

Paul LeClerc, Dame Lynne Brindley and David Redde

Paul LeClerc, Dame Lynne Brindley and David Redde

Following that tribute,  Paul LeClerc, former Director of the New York Public Library, longtime friend and admirer of Dame Lynne, presented her with a hand calligraphied certificate acknowledging the importance of her dedicated service to the BL. Dame Lynne has headed the British Library since 2000, overseeing its move from the Reading Room to its own campus in St. Pancras. Her vision has spear- headed the digitization of its collection; educational programs and outreach have been expanded under her leadership.  After twelve productive years, Dame Lynne is resigning to return to the private sector.  The ATBL wishes her Godspeed.

In her remarks, Dame Lynne chose to focus on the acquisition of the St Cuthbert Gospel by the BL. Describing the Gospel as a “ treasure that predates theViking raids on England; a precious example of the finest craftsmanship from the early middle ages; and a book of unparalleled significance to our shared understanding of our cultural history.” She highlighted the generous donations that are making the acquisition possible, including sizable ATBL and Breslauer Bequest grants that have allowed the BL to take advantage of this “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

In keeping with the BL’s mission to provide public access to these national treasures, Dame Lynne outlined the steps that will be taken to conserve, display and provide online access to scholars and the general public so they will be able study this important manuscript in depth.

The ATBL Board voted to send the net proceeds of the event to the BL to help them meet their goal of £9m ($14.1m) for the acquisition of the St. Cuthbert’s Gospel.  Information regarding the ATBL grant for the acquisition and Dame Lynne Brindley’s resignation can be found in the following pages of this newsletter.

Photos by See more images from this event at