[Local events] Last few days: Treasures of the John Wilson Special Collection

David Abel passages at rdrop.com
Tue Aug 15 15:40:36 PDT 2006

This week is your last chance to see this exhibit of extraordinary 
treasures from the Wilson Room at the Central Library, a hidden treasure 
in the middle of downtown Portland.

It's worth multiple trips just to see the Double Elephant Folio edition 
of Audobon's Birds of America, but there's loads of other wonderful 


"Treasures of the John Wilson Special Collections"

on exhibit through August 20, 2006

The John Wilson Special Collections is the repository of Multnomah County
Library's rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, and other fine
materials. The library has been collecting important historical materials
since it was founded in 1864. The origins of the rare book collection began
in earnest in 1899 with the bequest of 8000 books by local merchant John
Wilson, including some of the finest antiquarian books still in the
collection. The collection has grown to 10,000 volumes, thanks largely to
gifts from the community of books and funds devoted to maintaining the

The exhibition will feature masterworks drawn from six core collections,
which includes some of the finest books ever published. On exhibit will be:

 * The Birds of America (1827-38) by John James Audubon (a page will be 
turned daily)
 * Pierre Joseph Redouté's Les roses (1817-24)
 * Atlas Major (1662), by Joan Blaeu
 * Beatrix Potter's first book, A Happy Pair (1890), one of a dozen in 
public collections worldwide
 * original engravings and etchings by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt 
Harmenszoon van Rijn
 * original early photographs of Portland by Carleton Watkins and Minor 
 * manuscripts from the 13th century
 * the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) and other incunabula (books printed 
before 1501)
 * William Morris's remarkable Kelmscott Press The Works of Geoffrey 
Chaucer (1896)
 * important early maps and documents of Oregon
  * original correspondence and important first editions by Charles 
Dickens and D. H. Lawrence
 * highlights of the Native American literature collection
 * innovative contemporary artist's books
 * and many more spectacular materials.

Jim Carmin
John Wilson Special Collections Librarian
Multnomah County Library
Room 2M-C
801 SW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
503-988-6287 (phone)
503-988-5226 (fax)
jimc at multcolib.org

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