By Carol West
Special to the Boca Raton Tribune
Florida Atlantic University will host “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Printing and the Mind of Man,” a prominent display to honor a landmark exhibition held in London to promote books and their role in advancing knowledge, now through Monday, Oct. 4, at the Wimberly Library, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
The Wimberly Library’s display, like the “Printing and the Mind of Man” exhibition at the British Museum and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in 1963, features some of the most influential texts that have contributed to Western Civilization since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago.
Special Collections selected 33 celebrated books from 80 titles that are included in both FAU Libraries’ prestigious Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection and the Printing and the Mind of Man exhibition catalog, to show.
One treasure, “The Anatomy of Melancholy” by Robert Burton, one of the 17th century’s most popular documents, was presented as a medical textbook. The book features a compendium of mediaeval medicine, classical legends, anecdotes, wit, philosophy and poetry. Another, “The Albert N’yanza: The Great Basin of the Nile and Explorations of the Nile Sources,” written by Samuel White Baker and published in London in 1866, is about Baker, an English explorer who helped to locate the sources of the Nile River. Among the other gems on display is the 1775 edition of “A Dictionary of the English Language” by Samuel Johnson, who singlehandedly documented English lexicography, codified the spelling of English words, included full definitions and included illustrations from authoritive writers. The work greatly influenced Noah Webster and the compliers of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Weiner collection, gifted to FAU Libraries in 2006, consists of more than 13,000 items, including first and later editions of books, manuscripts and pamphlets that were printed before 1865. Marvin Weiner wanted students to have hands-on experience and to do research with the collection.
“Mr. Weiner’s acquisition of the collection was a major act of scholarship in itself, a determined intellectual pursuit to reproduce Thomas Jefferson’s library and gather the publications that reflected the intellectual currents that helped to produce the American Revolution,” said William Miller, dean of university libraries at FAU. “To quote one scholar, the collection is ‘nothing less than the intellectual history of the origins of the American Revolution. Reaching back to classical antiquity, the collection is an extraordinary assemblage of primary sources relating to the idea of freedom in the Western tradition.’”
“Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Printing and the Mind of Man,” located in the first floor lobby atrium, is free and open to the public. The display can be viewed Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight, Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to midnight. Metered parking is available at the Wimberly Library. For more information, call561-297-2693 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.