Exhibition catalogue Liberty & The American Revolution wins Leab Award

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Liberty & The American Revolution: Selections from the Collection of Sid Lapidus ‘59 won the Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Award from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. The catalogue took the honors for division one of the award competition’s five divisional groupings. Exhibition organizer and catalogue editor, Stephen Ferguson, received the award certificate on Sunday June 27, during the annual meeting of the American Library Association in Washington, D.C. The awards recognize outstanding exhibition catalogues issued by American or Canadian institutions in conjunction with library exhibitions, as well as electronic exhibition catalogues of outstanding merit.

Richard Noble, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards committee and rare books cataloger at Brown University, said of the catalogue: “The purpose of this catalog is succinctly put in [curator] Stephen Ferguson’s preface: ‘How does one gain … a sense of the past? Not only by experiencing books as physical objects, seeing them as readers of that day saw, felt, and handled them, but—through the extensive quotations from the books themselves found in this catalogue—by making them speak as well.’ This is, in essence, a catalogue of books and a book of quotations that trace the evolution, in a multiplicity of spheres, of the concept of ‘liberty’—a concept which it is all too easy to interpret ad lib. Whatever else the many books presented in this catalog may be about, the organization of the entries and passages quoted all address the question posed in the introduction by Sean Wilentz: ‘What are the boundaries of American liberty?’ The texture of these texts is itself a pedagogical device, a taste of the books. Pick it up and read it aloud to yourself and you realize that this is also a catalog of voices.”

For more on the awards, plus details of the division two Leab Award going to another Princeton University Library catalogue, Beauty & Bravado, see: http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/news/ala/2010-rbms-leab-exhibition-award-winners

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