Cambridge University Library turns 600 years old this year, apparently making it older than both the British Library and the Vatican Library. The library started in 1416 as collections of manuscripts in wooden chests, though the chests themselves were rather grand. To mark its passage into its seventh century, the library is putting on an exhibition. The library highlights writing examples that capture 4,000 years of human thought and show how the written word has played a pivotal role in shaping society. They even somehow include Twitter.
From the University of Cambridge website:
The new exhibition puts on display Newton’s own annotated copy of Principia Mathematica, Darwin’s papers on evolution, 3,000-year-old Chinese oracle bones, a cuneiform tablet from 2,000BC, and the earliest reliable text for 20 of Shakespeare’s plays.
If like me, you won’t be able to make it anywhere near Cambridge in the foreseeable future, you can read about the exhibition on their website, and peruse it in a great online version of the exhibition.
There’s also a video:
I’ve often thought of buying a beat up, letterpress printing press and producing hand-crafted, limited edition books. The idea of scribbling on old bone fragments or clay tablets never occurred to me before… need to give that one some thought.