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Acquired Tastes: Two Hundred Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenaeum (Hardback)
  • Acquired Tastes: Two Hundred Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenaeum (Hardback)

Acquired Tastes: Two Hundred Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenaeum (Hardback)

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Hardback 384 Pages / Published: 01/02/2007
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This book celebrates the 200th anniversary of the historic Boston Athenaeum, one of this country's earliest and most prestigious repositories of books, paintings, sculpture, engravings, maps, photographs, manuscripts, decorative arts, and other artifacts of history and design. "Acquired Tastes" is the first in-depth, scholarly study of the Boston Athenaeum's collections and the manner in which they were gathered from the early nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. These topics are expanded and brought into sharper focus in fully-illustrated catalogue entries on a wide variety of objects that represent the breadth of the Athenaeum's holdings. From its founding in 1807, the Boston Athenaeum's primary mission has been to provide collections that stimulate study, discussion, and debate on all topics of interest to the enquiring mind. In the Enlightenment of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - the historic period that saw the founding of the Boston Athenaeum and similar organizations - it was believed that intellectual endeavors more easily germinated and thrived in an atmosphere that was spacious, comfortable, quiet, and aesthetically pleasing. Here, books and manuscripts could be preserved, logically organized, and made accessible, and utilitarian objects could be logically grouped with didactic ones for comparison and discussion. In this setting, too, fine examples of paintings, sculpture, drawings, and engravings fulfilled their traditional purposes of education and inspiration and - together with those from the world of science - stimulated imaginations, improved morals, and refined aesthetic tastes. Celebrate the Boston Athenaeum's 2007 bi-centennial with this lavish tribute, published in conjunction with one of the most ambitious Athenaeum exhibitions ever mounted.

Publisher: Boston Athenaeum Library
ISBN: 9780934552738
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 2499 g
Dimensions: 305 x 235 x 34 mm

"A new exhibit of books at the Boston Athenaeum travels to the ends of the earth, across thousands of years, and into the darkest recesses of the human psyche. One volume contains hangings from Egyptian shrines and inscribed mummy wrappings dating to 1500 BC. An otherwise nondescript memoir was written by a thief in Boston in the 1800s who stipulated in his will that his reminiscences be bound in his own skin. The exhibit which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Athenaeum, one of the oldest independent libraries in the nation also features books from the libraries of George Washington and Henry Knox, his war secretary . . . Due to their delicate condition, books will be rotated in and out of the exhibit, which ends July 13. Acquired Tastes: 200 Years of Collecting for the Boston Athenaeum is the exhibit's companion volume." Jan Gardner, Boston Globe
." . . A 17th-century map of the coast of New England; a copy of Thomas Paine's Common Sense from the library of George Washington; a textbook for Native American children written in the Dakota language; a printed version of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln; a panoramic photograph of Boston in ruins after the great fire of 1872: These and dozens more artifacts document a conflicted and sometimes tragic real world from which the Athenaeum's art has provided over the years a refuge of transcendental refinement." Ken Johnson, Boston Globe
"More than 100 items representing the holdings of the Boston Athenaeum are grouped by form (books and maps, paintings, sculpture, prints and photographs, and decorative arts and artifacts) and pictured, each accompanied by a detailed history." Maine Antique Digest
"The goal of this catalogue . . . has been to demonstrate how a collection of many collections evolves through the work of generations of donors, curators, librarians, and trustees all working together for a common task . . . all [libraries] have need to educate even their closest friends and supporters on the intricate relationship between all objects carefully collected . . . and why art has a purpose and indeed a birthright in such a setting. A good starting point in that process would be to peruse this volume . . . " Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America

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