Leaves of an Hour: About this Site

Exhibition Title      Titles on Exhibit     Background Image      Acknowledgements

Exhibition Title:

The title for the exhibition is taken from a quote from Isaac D'Israeli in Amenities of Literature, vol. 2, p. 375, New York, 1841. Writing about the Richards Legacy of 1818, which included "two or three hundred bound volumes of pamphlets, some of them very ancient rare and curious," Charles Coffin Jewett said in his 1843 Catalog:

"There are in the Library more than thirty-five hundred pamphlets, bound in volumes. Some of these are perhaps worthless, but as a whole, they are of the greatest importance. 'Pamphlets,' says D'Israeli 'those leaves of an hour, and volumes of a season, and even of a week, slight and evanescent things as they appear, and scorned at by opposite parties, while each cherishes its own, are in truth the records of the public mind, the secret history of a people, which does not always appear, in the more open narrative.

It is part of the debt which every public Institution owes to the community, to cherish with peculiar care, these fleeting records of their age. They may not be of immediate use, but in future years some of them will be eagerly sought."

It is noteworthy, in terms of future directions for collecting at Brown University Library, that relatively early in its history, the Library recognized the value to future scholarship of collections of ephemera, and made provision for their retention and access. These collections, together with the developing collections of literature, notably the Harris Collection, provided the basis for the collecting patterns and practices of the twentieth century at Brown University Library.

Titles on Exhibit:

All items on exhibition at the John Hay Library June 27 - July 31, 2001, are indicated in this online exhibition by an asterisk: *

Background Image:
The background image for this site is taken from the title of Walt Whitman's manuscript review of John C. Stockbridge's The Anthony memorial : a catalogue of the Harris Collection of American Poetry (Providence: 1886).


This exhibition is drawn from a very wide variety of collections at the John Hay Library. Consequently, every staff member in Special Collections contributed valuably to this exhibition by identifying and paging materials, researching photographs, finding citations and text, assisting in mounting the physical exhibition, and providing matting and conservation assistance, to name only a few of the ways in which people cheerfully gave assistance. They have my most fervent thanks.

Rosemary L. Cullen
Head Special Collections Librarian
The John Hay Library
July, 2001

Early Literary Collections:
The Williams Table & the 1973 Catalog
Early 19th Century Collections:
The 1826 Catalog
Mid 19th Century Collections:
Charles Coffin Jewett & the Catalogue of 1843
The Harris Collection:
The Original Collectors
The Harris Collection &
Late 19th Century Literary Collecting
The Harris Collection:
Harry Lyman Koopman
The Harris Collection:
S. Foster Damon
Contemporary Collecting:
Building on the Past
Leaves of an Hour

Last Updated: Friday, 10-Aug-2001 10:38:06 EDT.
© 2001, Brown University Library. All rights reserved.

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