Friday, March 27, 2009

Yesterday, I had an incredibly good time in New Haven with my friend Emily. Thanks to Stephen Jones of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library it was both exciting and productive to view the document I am currently writing about. Also, a big thank you goes out to James for tolerating all my questions that don't yet have answers.

After parking the car, we got off to a shaky start. Yale students mulled about the intersection. Emily stopped someone and asked directions. The guy looked at us with dark and hollowed eyes. Earrings hung out of his cheek and his hair was in a red Bandanna. I am not exaggerating when I say he looked like he came from Night of the Living dead. He said, "I'm going that way, follow me." He turned. We looked at each other with a great deal of trepidation and reluctantly followed him. I had all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. We were nearing the end of the block as I started pleading my case, "we drove down from this direction and we were looking at the street signs. We didn't see Wall St." I was about ready to lie and say "oh here it is" when Emily stopped someone else and found out we were going in the opposite direction.

Below are some pictures of the library. The receptionist told us books are also stored 3 floors below the outside terrace. It's a very interesting place. Glass encloses numerous floors of old and rare books. We went upstairs to the mezzanine and found numerous exhibits that housed the Gutenberg Bible, Harry Potter written in 3 languages (one was Latin) and alchemistry books. Then Stephen took us to the lockers to store our stuff. I brought all my research papers, but they went in the locker. Downstairs, James led us to a small room. Inside was a large chalkboard sized map from the Lewis and Clark expedition. We spent considerable time studying different aspects - the fold, the tape, the ink, the parchment, the patches. He turned it over so we could see the back. It sure looked old. I regret that I didn't bring a magnifying glass (don't own one), but I wonder if that would have been stored in the locker too. After our time was up, James was kind enough to show us other old documents of the same time period. What really impressed me was the tiny tiny writing on the pages. I think I'd go nuts if I had to write that tiny. After a very enlightening and worthwhile visit we headed over to have white clam pizza at the very well known Pepe's.

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