ATBL Fall Lectures

Susan Whitfieldd

Susan Whitfieldd

ATBL was delighted to welcome Dr. Susan Whitfield, Director, International Dunhuang Project, based at the British Library, to lecture at the Cosmopolitan Club in September on Early Visitors to Dunhuang, 1920 to 1960.  Through photos, journals
and personal experiences, Dr. Whitfield entranced guests with stories of European visitors to the caves at Dunhuang.  The lecture drew a large crowd, with many first time guests, who had the chance to meet Dr. Whitfield and get to know more about the ATBL’s support of the IDP and the British Library.

 Sarah Thomas, Lecturer of the Bernard H. Breslauer Lecture VII, spoke at the Grolier Club in November on “Transatlantic Perlustrations: Observations on Two Great Libraries, the Bodleian and the Harvard Library.”  Many audience members knew Sarah when she was either University Librarian at Cornell; as a cataloguer in Widener Library, Harvard; or at the Bodleian, before returning as current Vice President of the Harvard Library.  Ms. Thomas is the first American and first woman to hold the title of Bodley’s Librarian in 400 years.  She was gracious enough to host the ATBL

Sarah Thomas

President David Reddin with Sarah Thomas

Chairman’s Council trip to Oxford in 2010.

Ms. Thomas told the tale of her unlikely journey from a Massachusetts mill town to these temples of learning, pausing along the way to savor (savour) the pleasurable encounters with fabled book collectors and uncommon readers.  After a lively lecture and Q & A, guests were able to meet and greet Ms. Thomas at a reception in the Grolier Club Library.

2014 Grants Total Nearly $362,000

To the British Library:

$221,921 for the lectures series at the British Library in memory of Naseeb Shaheen

$50,000 towards the international exhibition on Magna Carta to celebrate its 800th anniversary.  All fo ur of the surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, two of which are held by the British Library, with the others coming from Lincoln Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral respectively, will be brought together for an international event at the BL in early March 2015.

$20,000 for Discovering Literature, an innovative new web resource designed to revolutionize the way literature is taught, studied, and enjoyed.  The first phase, Victorians and Romantics, features over 50 literary works and 1,200 individual collections items explored through 8,000 pages, with 25 accompanying short documentary films shot in locations such as Jane Austen’s House Museum, Bronte Parsonage Museum and Charles Dickens Museum.
$15,000 Shakespeare Exhibition In 2016 the British Library is planning a major exhibition to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

$11,000 for the Polar Exploration Project from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

$7,000 for the ongoing preservation of the Thomas Cranmer materials from the Caritas Foundation for Western Kansas

$1,200 for a Freemasonry Pocket Manual

$800 for the International Dunhuang Project

To the Morgan Library:

And $35,000 to the Morgan Library & Museum to underwrite the shipping and courier costs of the British Library loan of Lewis Carroll’s (Charles Dodgon’s) diaries and the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland manuscript to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication.

Anual Meeting Notes

Presentation Highlights to ATBL Annual Meeting October 20, 2014
by Frances Brindle,
Head of Audiences, BL

Presentation Highlights to ATBL Annual Meeting October 20, 2014
by Frances Brindle, Head of Audiences, BL
I want to start by thanking ATBL members for their generous support. It is thanks to you that we were able to acquire the exquisite illuminated manuscript of, ‘Le Mystere de la Vengeance’, which is on display in the Treasures gallery for all to enjoy and to fund an intern to work with our curatorial team in the lead up to the Magna Carta exhibition in 2015.
In the past four years government funding for the British Library has been reduced by more than 25% and we expect further cuts of at least 5 % a year for the next three years, so your continuing support has never been more important.

Review of 2013/14

Despite the financial challenges, the library has had an enormously busy year. In 2014 we staged two very successful, but also very different, exhibitions in our PACCAR gallery; Georgians and Comics.
As well as catering to our traditional audiences, we want to open up the library and attract new audiences who may not previously have seen its relevance. Comics came in ahead of target and we were delighted to see that 25% of visitors were new to the library and also significantly younger than visitors to the Georgian exhibition.
Our new exhibition, ‘Gothics: Terror and Wonder’ builds on this success and opened on the October 3 to visitor and critical acclaim, selling out on the first weekend. The show which traces 250 years of gothic literature beginning with Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto’, includes hand written drafts of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, right through to the present day and the popular Twilight series.
Thanks to these exhibitions and the recent refurbishment of our Treasures gallery, we are experiencing strong growth in the number of public visitors to the library. More than 700,000 visitors came to our public exhibitions and events last year and we are predicting between 800,000 and 900,000 this year.

Board of Directors:  top l to r: Stamas, (Brindle BL), Sitrick, (Wells BL), Redden, Benjamin, (Anderson ATBL). front l to r:  Golden, Zuromskis, Rubinstein, Robinson.

Board of Directors: top l to r: Stamas, (Brindle BL), Sitrick, (Wells BL), Redden, Benjamin, (Anderson ATBL). front l to r: Golden, Zuromskis, Rubinstein, Robinson.

Future Exhibition Plans

The major exhibition charting the history and influence of the Magna Carta opens on the 13 March and will include the American Bill of Rights (from the Library of Congress) and Jefferson’s copy of the Declaration of Independence (from the NYPL).
On a somewhat smaller scale, but also very timely, our new temporary exhibition, Lines in the Ice, opens in November. This will explore our fascination with polar exploration and the associated politics that continue to reverberate to the present day. Speaking at one of the events associated with the exhibition will be Ryan Harris who recently discovered, what is believed to be, traces of one of the lost ships from Franklin’s doomed 1845 expedition to discover the North West Passage.
British Library 50: A strategic program
The strategy will be published early in the new year and we have identified four key priorities:
•    Increasing our impact and profile outside London and the South East
•    Growing the reach and quality of our online services
•    Increasing commercial and philanthropic revenues and reducing our reliance on government funding
•   Digitizing major collections


Chairman’s and Advisory Council: top l to r: Winegar, Ginsberg, Stam, Phipps, Bidwell, Ryan. front l to r: Adams, Stam, Shailor, Phipps.

ECCLES CENTER for American Studies

The group photo contains (l-r): Viscount and Viscountess Eccles, Baroness Williams, Professor Tony Badger, British Library Chairman Baroness Blackstone, Catherine Eccles and Professor Philip Davies (Director of the Eccles Centre)  © Alexander McIntyre 

The group photo contains (l-r): Viscount and Viscountess Eccles, Baroness Williams, Professor Tony Badger, British Library Chairman Baroness Blackstone, Catherine Eccles and Professor Philip Davies (Director of the Eccles Centre)  © Alexander McIntyre

The Centre continued to host an extensive range of events and activities, engaging with audiences of scholars, students, teachers and the interested public.
Cooperation with the Kennedy Memorial Trust to mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’ death was especially notable. A one-day conference brought a world class group of speakers to the Library. The evening talk by David Miliband was delivered to a notable audience, received press coverage, and was published in the New Statesman. Another great event was the launch, to excellent reviews, of the first book to come out of the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence program, Naomi Wood’s Mrs Hemingway. A less predictable, but exhilarating success was the screening of Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, which packed out the auditorium with an audience of Caribbean Studies scholars, members of the Grenadian community in London and was attended by the High Commissioner
for Grenada.
Two more Writers in Residence joined the Center in 2014: Olivia Laing and Erica Wagner.  Both spoke at Eccles Centre events, and moved steadily towards the completion of their books, respectively on loneliness in the city, and on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Meanwhile one of the Center’s first Writers in Residence, Naomi Wood, published Mrs Hemingway to considerable acclaim.  Naomi’s novel, written while she was an Eccles Center Writer in Residence, won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, a Harper’s Bazaar book of 2014 and listed as one of the Daily Telegraph’s best novels of 2014.
The Eccles Center helped with two new acquisitions for the Library:  The Mike Rose Baseball collection; and a set of maps published by newspapers in the United States to show the contemporary development of the Second World War on various fronts.
In May the 19th Douglas Bryant Lecture was delivered by Professor Tony Badger, Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, and Master of Clare College.  Professor Badger has been a key figure in American Studies scholarship.  He is internationally renowned, his work on the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt reportedly even becoming essential reading in today’s White House.  He has consistently provided personal and institutional support for the UK American Studies community. Tony stepped down from his Cambridge roles this year, providing his British Library audience with an exposition both thoughtful and entertaining on ‘How Dismal is the Future of American Politics?’