January 2013 Archives

When Pyne Library opened in 1897 [more], such rare books as the Morgan Virgils were shelved in a special room fitted with glass-fronted bookcases. The ground-floor room was the New World offspring of the Old World wunderkammer. Its purpose was public exhibition of private treasures. By extension, the Library’s location designator “Ex” (shorthand for “Exhibition Room” [more]) became the designator for the Library’s general rare book collection. It remains so down to today. A brief photo essay about the room follows.

    1916 floor plan keyed with pictures (left to right) NW corner, NE corner, SE corner, and SW alcove (Hutton death mask collection)
For larger image [ link ]
An early photograph; display cases have not yet filled the entire floor as they would do during the 1910s and 1920s. Original at Hist. Soc. of Princeton. Rose glass plate negatives: no. ROS6194.
  An early photograph of the Hutton alcove; more masks would be put on display during the 1910s and 1920s.  
For larger image: see http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/pr76f392t
  Northeast corner of the Exhibition Room
For larger image, see: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/pk02cb19t
  Northwest corner of the Exhibition Room For larger image, see: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark://88435/bc386j734
  Southeast corner of the Exhibition Room. Visible are hinged panels on stands displaying prints by Rowlandson and Cruikshank. In the case adjacent is the Wordsworth Collection, assembled by Mrs. Cynthia Morgan St. John, and on display in hope that a donor would purchase it for the Library. In 1925, Cornell University acquired the St. John Wordsworth collection.
For larger image, see: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/2n49t216v

  The Hutton Alcove near full build-out; more masks added to the foundation collection.
For larger image, see: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/w0892b62x

  Exhibition room repurposed to reader space starting in the late 1920s. Rare books and other objects moved into the Treasure Room on the second floor of Pyne.
For larger image, see: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/6t053g57v

Recent Comments

  • Susan Naquin: Such a fine photograph of this Qing dynasty statue is read more
  • AR Cee: Offering the Paris Exposition book, art lithos and story..." 1878 read more
  • Andy Ramus: Hi, I stumbled across this blog by chance while searching read more
  • katrina: June 9, 2013 I beleive I have # 324 read more
  • Katherine: Do you know where I could get a copy of read more
  • book lover: What an interesting article--thank you! We had no idea that read more
  • Sanda Jackson: Hi Does Princeton now own the copy right to read more
  • Bill Roberts: I'm not sure about that. I suggest these marginalia do read more
  • Bob Burgess: Does anyone know if photos exist of the British Exhibitors, read more
  • Jane Bradbury: I am very interested to see this material at Princeton. read more