A Few Well Selected Books

Building Collections, Curricula & Community at Haverford College

A Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections Online Exhibition

Exhibit at Sharpless Gallery, Magill Library

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Exhibition, Sharpless Gallery, Autumn 2007 Sharpless Gallery, Magill Library Exhibit Case Bookcase featuring books from the original collection that remain in the circulating collection Haverford's first gradebook Urn holding ashes of book by William Paley Web Kiosk Listening Kiosk
This website is based upon an exhibition that took place at the Magill Library, Haverford College, October 6, 2007-January 31, 2008.
The exhibit was housed in Sharpless Gallery, site of most of the exhibitions mounted by the Quaker and Special Collections Department.
It featured works from the original library collection representing the three areas of the early curriculum: Classical Languages, English Literature and Moral Philosophy, and Mathematics and the Sciences.
The exhibit included browsing bookshelf of titles from the 1836 collection.
Among the artifacts displayed from the College Archives was Haverford's first gradebook. Here, an instructor has made a deduction from a student's grade points for "having a copy of Shakespeare."
This urn contains the ashes of a work of the Christian author William Paley. In the 1870s and 1880s sophomores celebrated the end of the school year by giving their most hated textbook an elaborate funeral.
Guests were invited to browse the digital version of Haverford's first catalog, which you can see at right.
Current Haverford faculty offered their own perspectives on the works included in the early collection in a series of recorded commentaries. These commentaries are available online through iTunes.
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Haverford's first library catalog was a slender 40-page book printed just three years after the first students arrived in 1833. The 770 titles included in this nascent collection give clues to the kind of intellectual life the school's Quaker founders sought to encourage in these young men. In the years that followed, the collection has expanded under many other influences; faculty, alumni, community groups, other libraries, and, most especially, students have all played a role in building Haverford's collections. This exhibition tells the story of the first "few well-chosen books" and honors those who have been responsible for growing this corpus into today's wide-ranging collections.

Library Catalog, 1836

pdf version, linked with records in Haverford's current online catalog, Tripod (Click image to view):

Haverford's Library Catalog, 1836. Click to see entire document in pdf format.