Sunday, June 14, 2015

Links & Reviews

- James Billington, Librarian of Congress since 1987, will retire effective 1 January 2016. The NYTimes piece on the announcement includes a range of critiques of Billington, from Robert Darnton, Paul Courant, and others. The Washington Post story on Billington's retirement was posted in the paper's style blog; it notes that reaction to Billington's announcement inside the library was "almost gleeful" but also includes praise from David Rubenstein and several members of Congress.

- On Friday the NYTimes wrote about several of the possible candidates to replace Billington (though Amy Ryan's inclusion in the list, given her recent resignation, seems a bit strange). The piece notes that we are likely months away from a nomination.

- Kevin Mac Donnell asked publicly via the Exlibris list on Saturday whether Billington's retirement is connected to the controversy over a book published last fall, Mark Twain's America, which was found to be largely plagiarized from other sources (and about which a lawsuit is pending).

- Jeffrey Rudman, chair of the Boston Public Library's board of trustees, has resigned effective 3 July.

- Six Harper Lee letters failed to sell at auction on Friday, with bidding stalling out at $90,000.

- Issues of the New-York Historical Society Quarterly from 1917 through 1984 are now available online via the New York Heritage digital collection.

- The Beinecke Library has digitized its collection of Jonathan Edwards manuscripts.

- Molly Hardy has a wrap-up post about last week's Digital Antiquarian Conference at Workshop at the AAS, and attendee Carl Robert Keyes wrote up the conference and workshop for The Junto.

- David Seaman, currently associate librarian for information management at Dartmouth College, has been selected as the University librarian and dean of the Syracuse University Libraries.

- Greg Eow, currently the Charles Warren Bibliographer for American History at Harvard, has been appointed the new Associate Director for Collections in the MIT Libraries.

- The NYTimes covers scholar Grigory Kessel's efforts to digitally reunite the dispersed leaves of the oldest known manuscript of Galen's "Simple Drugs," overwritten in the eleventh century and known now as the Syriac Galen Palimpsest.

- David Whitesell writes at Notes from Under Grounds about UVA's recent acquisition of a papyrus fragment, and about the difficult ethical considerations that accompany this purchase.

- Over at the Cambridge University Library Special Collections blog, Liam Sims writes about M.R. James' books and his library, noting that Cambridge recently acquired a copy of James' Wailing Well.


- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's The Story of Alice; reviews by Michael Wood in the NYTimes and Michael Dirda in the WaPo.

- William Marvel's Autocrat; review by Harold Holzer in the WSJ.

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