5 – 6PM
Thursday, May 3, 2012
National Trust Libraries with Park Purcell
A SCOPA Forum
Location is wheelchair accessible
The libraries of the British National Trust (in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) together form one of the greatest repositories of early printed books in Europe, and they are almost certainly the largest collection of historyic libraries in the hands of a single institution anywhere in the world. For decades these libraries were almost entirely invisible and inaccessible, but over the last ten years the Trust has been engaged in a huge program to get their catalogs online, to open up the collection for research, and to investigate the cultural significance of books which have often remained for hundreds of years in the places where they were once collected and read. This illustrated presentation will give an overview of the libra5ries—many but not all in country houses, a summary of current projects, and some thoughts on the research value of 300,000 books divided among more than 150 separate locations.
Mark Purcell has been Libraries Curator to the National Trust since 1999. He originally read History at Oriel College, Oxford, trained at University College, London, and has published extensively on the history of books and libraries in early modern Britain and Ireland.