The New York Times recently ran this story on rare book collections that are more accessible than one might first think. I love touring libraries and rare book collections when I get the chance during a trip. Some of these locations are not far from home.
One example: The Linda Hall Library, located in Kansas City. For those who enjoy the history of science, as I do, their special collections includes copy of The Starry Messenger, “the revelatory book in which Galileo detailed his astronomical observations made with his own â€œspyglassâ€ â€” the instrument that would later be known as the telescope.
From the Times story: â€œTreat it with care,â€ Mr. Bradley (director of science special collections) said as he gently handed me the libraryâ€™s first edition, one of the more than 500 initially printed in Latin as â€œSidereus Nuncius.â€ The library paid $38,000 for the book in 1988 â€” at the time the costliest book the library had ever bought. But itâ€™s hardly the only jewel in a collection of 500,000 books, journals and pamphlets that make this private library among the largest science libraries in the world. Also in its stacks are Isaac Newtonâ€™s â€œPrincipia,â€ the 1687 book that presented his laws of gravity, and Copernicusâ€™s 1543 â€œOn the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres,â€ among other noteworthy works.
Here are some of the other museums that are highlighted in this Cultured Traveler piece:
The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (2520 Cimarron Street, Los Angeles; 323-731-8529; www.humnet.ucla.edu) is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
The Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology (5109 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Mo.; 816-363-4600; www.lindahall.org). Hours vary.
The Library Company of Philadelphia (1314 Locust Street; 215-546-3181; www.librarycompany.org) is open 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on weekdays.
The New York Academy of Medicine Library (1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street; 212-822-7321; www.nyam.org) is open by appointment 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.
The Rosenbach Museum and Library (2008-2010 DeLancey Place, Philadelphia; 215-732-1600; www.rosenbach.org). Hours vary.