Boston and Beyond

Somewhere in the stacks or shadows of the Boston Public Library there has to be a teacher lurking, because another of their exhibits we saw a few weeks back, “Boston and Beyond,” breaks set with a lead Madeline Hunter would be proud of.  When a child walks through the doors he sees colorful pieces of original cartography — from fiction.  Narnia, Oz, the Hundred Acre Wood, Neverland, and Fairyland are all there.  Then, gradually, the course changes to maps and globes with actual locations (though I would still insist Oz is real).  A glassed-in area holds atlases to take off the shelf and read.








Along the perimeter of the exhibit room are cubbies with corresponding blue chairs which small people may stop off at — to read, to put together puzzles, to twirl a globe.  And, too, there is an invitation to join a map club just for them.  At a window near pop-up landscapes and fairy books, one may look out at an enchanting courtyard.  All work together for an afternoon of exploring Boston and Beyond.







We Are One…Aren’t We?

There is no better venue than the Boston Public Library for an exhibition called “We Are One,” showcasing priceless artifacts from America’s beginnings.  I count myself privileged to have spent a recent afternoon browsing there.

From top: compass, surveyor’s chain, and document by a young George Washington.  Below: list of ships in the British fleet, model of the Agamemnon (Lord Nelson’s favorite ship), detail of scrimshaw on a power horn.

Teapots of the era were small in comparison to their modern counterparts.

Cartoon depicting the death of the Stamp Act.

Above: a colonial family.  Below: poignant portraits of two people instrumental in shaping the history of our country.

Hendrick the Great (1692-1755), chief of the Mohawks, in British uniform (engraving made from the work of a British court painter). “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row,” or “Tiyonaga,” ruled over six of his people’s nations, negotiating peace with England using the principles of the Iriquois government.  He was killed in a skirmish with the French and Canadian Indians just before the Battle of Lake George, while the little girl pictured next was running around free in Africa.

Phillis Wheatley (1853-1884) was an extraordinary poet, educated by the Boston couple who bought her.  She was seven years old when captured and removed from her family and homeland.

From one the eulogies she wrote, for a general in the army:

But how presumptuous shall we hope to find

Divine acceptance with the Almighty mind

While yet a deed ungenerous they disgrace

And hold in bondage Afric: blameless race

Let virtue reign and then accord our prayers

Be victory ours and generous freedom theirs.

(With appreciation for the scholarship of Dee Albrinck, Hebron, Kentucky; and Ted Green, Webster University, via