Watched over by the famous Library Lions, the main branch of the NYC library system has been one of my favorite spots for years. I've been there more times than I can count. As a college student, back in the days of card catalogues, I spent hours in the general research room.
Every trip back to NY brings me to the library. The surroundings, the tourists, and the lions are familiar, but each experience is different. I never go in with any specific exhibit in mind, but there is always something that piques my interest.
A family edition of Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language from 1841, which includes annotations by Webster including the definition for the adverb "wordily;”
A 1906 menu from the Thirteen Club, which represented the English spelling reform movement.
Dr. Seuss’s Spelling Bees: The Oldest and Newest Rage, published during his time as a commercial illustrator;
The Freedman's Spelling Book, which was modeled after antebellum primers, contains material specifically for former slaves;
An 1821 textbook that promises to lead children “gradually from spelling to reading in a very short time;”
The Spelling Match Song: I Couldn’t Spell That Word Because I Love You!, a vaudeville song sheet from the turn of the 19th Century;
A set of ivory spelling disks, similar to those used by the son of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley;
A Is For Apple Pie, a Victorian picture book about the alphabet features amusing and animated depictions of Victorian children at play—all of them in quest of the titular “apple pie.”
You'll never guess who I met outside the library. Flat Stanley was having his picture taken. It was a little too windy for Stanley so I offered to help. Stanley and I took a picture by the Library Lions. The lady taking the photo will send it to her 7 year old niece in California.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
New York, NY, 10018