BEST. DAY. EVER.
One of them anyway! I was in Chicago to teach a day-long course at the Special Libraries Association Conference so I decided to arrive a day early and spend the afternoon at the Newberry. I had hoped to see their girdle book, but it was in conservation. Instead, I got to handle one of Henry VIII’s personal books (complete with his autograph and notes!) and an extant vade mecum, albeit in parts. This library is cognizant of the fact that you can’t really do much damage to these book pages and so you get to put your hands right on them! Only water and pencils are allowed, and various pillows and props are provided, but no gloves are needed. They also have a drawer in their card catalog that contains a grad student’s work towards indexing the bindings, as opposed to just the texts. That is very handy for someone researching bookbinding! [Since then the British Library has created an Binding Database which is SO USEFUL and such a rabbit hole!]
As I spent the day geeking out, taking pictures, making notes and just being in awe, a glorious thunderstorm rolled in. Dark clouds, thunder and lightning, big glass pane windows in the research room… sigh. Perfect.
See the album on Google Photos.