Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

About the Exhibition

Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia’s Libraries
October 8, 2004 - January 28, 2005
Rare Book and Manuscript Galleries, Sixth floor of  Butler Library

Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures from the Special Collections of Columbia's Libraries is the first major exhibition of treasures from the Special Collections Libraries at Columbia in over 50 years and gives the public a glimpse of the unique resources gathered by the University since its founding in 1754. Mounted in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of Columbia, this exhibition celebrates a rich collection of original books, manuscripts, individual and corporate archives, architectural drawings, ephemera, musical scores, works of art, and artifacts, embodying over 5,000 years of human history.

Jewels in Her Crown draws together an unprecedented array of 250 rare and unique items from eleven Special Collections - including a Buddhist sutra dating from the year 1162 C.E., Mrs. Alexander Hamilton's wedding ring, a set model for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s application for study at Union Theological Seminary, a fragment of the Iliad on papyrus, and a 1906 photograph of Czar Nicholas II with his family. The objects in this exhibition are intended to represent and bring attention to the larger collections of which they are a part. Many of them, buried within research collections largely known only to scholars, are on display for the first time. The exhibition also acknowledges the generosity of the donors whose gifts have made possible the work of students and scholars for many generations.

Other original documents, artifacts, and works of art on display from the Special Collections Libraries in the Columbia system include: manuscripts of Sigmund Freud's Totem und Tabu, 1912-1913 (Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library) and The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill, 1869-1870 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library); a 19th century Tibetan printing block (C. V. Starr East Asian Library); a sketch of the Harrison & Abramovitz plans for the United Nations building, 1947 (Avery Library); John James Audubon's "Elephant" folio edition of The Birds of America (acquired by Columbia by subscription in 1833); the First Folio of Shakespeare's Works, 1623 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library); an original drawing by Giovanni Battista Piranesi for the redesign of St. John Lateran in Rome, ca.1767, (Avery Library); the manuscript of Anton Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, 1878 (Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library); the typescript of Alan Ginsberg's Howl for Carl Solomon, 1956 (Rare Book and Manuscript Library ); and selections from the September 11, 2001 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project tapes (Oral History Research Office).


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