Day 13: Magna Carta and Maughan Library

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A few of us elected to see the Magna Carta exhibit at the British Library. I mean, it is a piece of parchment that’s 800 years old… that’s pretty cool.

Exhibit at the British Library (via K. Emmons)
Exhibit at the British Library (via K. Emmons)

Photos were not allowed inside the exhibit… but guess who does have photos that you can view from the comfort of your home?! THE BRITISH LIBRARY! There’ll you’ll be able to cruise through the photos and read all about how the Magna Carta influenced today’s laws.

A run down in Kelsey terms: King John, 1199-1216, was basically a sucky monarch. He killed people, lied to people, thought he was above the law… the whole nine yards. The Magna Carta was drafted in 1215 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to make peace between King John and some upset (read “rebel”) nobility. It promised church rights, protection from illegal imprisonment, swift justice, limited payments to the Crown, etc. It’s been modified and reviewed several times in the last 800 years, but was the basis for many modern day laws including the American constitution! (source Wikipedia) Yay!

My favorite tidbit from the exhibition? To entice the US into participating in WWII, England offered the Magna Carta (then stranded in New York after a World’s Fair exhibition) to America as a gift…. *cough* bribe. Check out an NPR article here.

I had a lot of time on my hands after viewing the exhibit, so I popped in the Edgar Wallace pub just off the Strand for lunch. It’s a great, traditional pub with good food and drink.

The LIS class visited the Maughan Library at King’s College as well as the Foyle Special Collections Library there later in the afternoon.

Maughan Library (via K. Emmons)
Maughan Library (via K. Emmons)

The librarians were kind enough to bring out several of their treasures for our viewing pleasure!

Foyle Special Collections (via K. Emmons)
Foyle Special Collections (via K. Emmons)

Get ready for a stream of old book images!!

Herbal and Animal encyclopedia of sorts (via K. Emmons)
Herbal and Animal encyclopedia of sorts (via K. Emmons)

Here is a book published in 1491 detailing plants and animals found in the known world… it’s the last published before the discovery of the Americas.

History of Bethlem
History of Bethlem “Bedlam” Hospital (via K. Emmons)

Above is a short history of Bethlem Hospital… better known as Bedlam.

Benjamin Franklin signed copy (via K. Emmons)
Benjamin Franklin signed copy (via K. Emmons)

You’ll see Benjamin Franklin’s signature on The Charters of the Province of Pensilvania…

Common Sense by Thomas Paine (via K. Emmons)
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (via K. Emmons)

Here is a bound copy of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense…

Image of smallpox vaccination (via K. Emmons)
Image of smallpox inoculation (via K. Emmons)

Above is an impression made of smallpox inoculation…

Allen Ginsberg signed copy (via K. Emmons)
Allen Ginsberg signed copy (via K. Emmons)

Allen Ginsberg was a lecture at King’s College and this a signed copy of his poetry…

Nazi propaganda (via K. Emmons)
Nazi propaganda (via K. Emmons)

And lastly, this is Nazi propaganda. The Nazis had a Jewish artist create scenes of an idyllic concentration camp to show the Red Cross how “well” everyone was being treated. I found this image of a butchery most haunting…

King’s College has some great material and I hope to be in contact with them soon about my research paper! It’s an academic library that was around during World War II. They had to have been affected by the war, especially since they were located in downtown London. Bombings definitely took place in this area. How were they affected? Did they lose any materials? Were materials sent elsewhere? Did the library remain open during the War? How did being a university library affect them financially during the war? Did alumni help rebuild the collections if necessary?

On to Day 14!

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