Celebrating 100 Years at the New York Public Library

An exhibit that ranges from a Gutenberg Bible to Kerouac’s Zig-Zags.

One hundred years ago, The New York Public Library opened its landmark building, now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, dedicated to preserving its varied collections and making them accessible to the public. Over time, the Library has radically expanded its holdings, but its founding goals are as central today as they were in 1911. Library curators past and present have been guided by the philosophy that all knowledge is worth preserving. This major exhibition of more than 250 thought-provoking items from NYPL’s vast collections celebrates how the Library has encouraged millions of individuals to gain access to a universe of information during the past 100 years. The first Gutenberg Bible acquired in the Americas is included, as are dance cards, dime novels, and John Coltrane’s handwritten score of Lover Man. Organized into four thematic sections—Observation, Contemplation, Society, and Creativity—the exhibition highlights the collections’ scope and their value as symbols of our collective memory. Indeed, Celebrating 100 Years also documents changes in the way information has been recorded and shared over time, beginning with samples from the Library’s collection of Sumerian cuneiform tablets (ca. 2300 BCE) and culminating in selections from the Library’s 740,000-item Digital Gallery

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