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Books from the libraries of the Presidents of the United States, manuscript texts used in Harvard classes in the early eighteenth century, special editions of "Alice in Wonderland," and material relative to eight plays of Shakspere, form a major part of the first exhibit of the season at Widener Library.
The Library, located in the heart of the Yard, maintains exhibits changed at regular intervals throughout the year, in the basement, and first and second floor hallways. Also displays are shown in the Widener room, the Theatre room and fourth floor hall, as well as the Poetry Room, also on the fourth floor.
On the first floor, Freshmen and others will find the eight plays of Shakspere sharing space with books from the personal libraries of the Presidents. Playbills, photographs, and old editions of Hamlet, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and others are to be seen, together with pictures of famous actors who have portrayed the leading roles.
In the Presidents' collection are books owned and signed by Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hoover and Coolidge, as well as others. Lincoln's Shakspere volumes, and a signed letter from the 16th President are shown. The only book from the library of Andrew Johnson is the text of his impeachment trial proceedings, together with a ticket of admission to the trial. Herbert Hoover's own copy of "American Individualism" of which he was the author is likewise displayed. The books are, for the most part, the gift of Henry S. Howe '69.
The second floor hallway, just in front of the Reading Room is devoted to a display of early texts used in the class rooms, and other material relative to the early years of the College. Some of the eighteenth century student's comments make amusing, if familiar, reading to librarians who spend a good part of their time erasing similar comments. One particularly dull book has been inscribed by "Read 3 chapters a day and 2 days of ye weeks read 4 and you may read it in over a month."
In the basement many of the various unusual and foreign editions of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" are shown, while the Theatre Collection features a display titled "Scenic Designs by Modern Artists."
The Harry Elkins Widener Room located between the first and second floors, regularly has on exhibit various rare books from the private Widener collection, including first folios of Shakspere and other items.
Arrangements have been made for specially conducted tours of Widener Library tomorrow afternoon and on Monday and Tuesday at hours to be announced. Groups of 15 will be formed by signing up in advance, beginning at 11 o'clock tomorrow morning, in the Union.
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