Unexpected Treasures

Tucked away in libraries across the country are unexpected archives and world-class treasures. This writer introduces us to a half-dozen interesting collections. Among them:
* The Boston Public Library has what it believes is the largest collection of fore-edge painted books in any public library.
* The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library has America’s largest collection of Arabic papyrus, parchment and paper documents, with 770 on papyrus and more than 1,300 on paper.
* The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has the nation’s largest collection of nurse romance novels, more than 400 volumes in which nurses are the central character.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Libraries-Surprising-Special-Collections.html?utm...

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Arabic language documents

"The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library has America’s largest collection of Arabic papyrus, parchment and paper documents, with 770 on papyrus and more than 1,300 on paper."

I hope that they have plans to digitize these items and post them for free online. One of the tragedies of Arabic language materials is that they are usually not open to the wider Arabic world, but held in local collections in different countries. Sharing these older Arabic language documents would be a boon to Arabic research and scholarship.

Fore Edge Painting

Funny you should mention this, Martin! We'll soon be launching a web site devoted to items from this astounding collection at http://foreedge.bpl.org. We haven't launched yet, but by mid-March 2009, you should be able to check it out.

Scot Colford
Web Services Manager
Boston Public Library
scolford@bpl.org

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