November 13, Paley Library Lecture Hall-Temple University Libraries celebrated 3 million volumes, a testament to the rich and growing collections available to Temple scholars, students and researchers.
At the ceremony on Thursday, the 13th, the Libraries’ Board of Visitors Chair Estelle Alexander, Dean of University Libraries Larry P. Alford, Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico, and Special Collections Department head Tom Whitehead unveiled the ceremonial book to a crowd of over nearly 200 at the celebration in Paley Library. Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Teresa Scott Soufas; Dean of the School of Communications and Theater, Concetta M. Stewart; and the head of the Theater Department, Roberta Sloan, also participated in the day’s activities.
The acquisition, Shakespeare’s The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, is “a stunning example of 20th century fine printing,” according to Alford. The book was issued by the Cranach Press in 1930, edited by J. Dover Wilson, contains illustrations by Edward Gordon Craig and was printed by Count Harry Kessler. Whitehead worked with a number of departments across Temple to acquire this fine edition, which supports so many disciplines across campus.
Festivities also featured the opening of a new exhibit on the history of fine printing curated by Whitehead. For the occasion Whitehead and Brian D. Stilwell wrote the Libraries’ first large scholarly exhibition catalog: Fine Printing and Typography of Five and One-Half Centuries.
Actors Ross Beschler, as Hamlet, and Whitney Nielson, as Ophelia, performed the famed Hamlet scene, “To Be or Not To Be,” to the delight of the crowd. The Libraries had consulted with the Theater Department on the selection of the book, which further demonstrates Temple’s strong commitment to the arts. The text of Hamlet is not just a singularly great work of theater, but the commentary and illustrations in our 3- millionth edition serve as a primary source for theater history and design.
After the ceremony, a keynote lecture was given by Harvard University’s Marjorie Garber, one of the nation’s foremost and versatile scholars. Garber’s talk A Tale of Three Hamlets focused specifically on the book of the day, the “Cranach Hamlet.” Dr. Garber’s lecture was co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Temple.
In addition to the 3 million volumes, the Libraries hold 10 million images; more than 50,000 print and online subscriptions; 35,000 linear feet of manuscripts; and a rich collection of sound and video recordings, along with growing media holdings. Thanks to all involved in making the Libraries’ 3 Millionth Volume Celebration so special.