Patron Recap 2015

2015 reading room visits by location.

2015 proved to be an exciting and innovative year in the Phillips Library reading room.  The above map is a representation of at least one in-person visit from 195 cities worldwide.  Researchers came from down the street to down under, researching topics ranging from the historical, to the literary, to the scientific.  In our second full year open in our Peabody location we continue to be utilized by the scholarly and public community alike. Read more

Collected Alchemy

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Alchemy of the Soul, Elixir for the Spirits, Peabody Essex Museum, 2015. Photo: Peter Vanderwarker.

With Alchemy of the Soul, Elixir for the Sprits, we breathe the scents, we hear the echoes, we see visions of Cuba past and present.  In the commissioned works, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons  re-imagines Cuba’s sugar mills and rum distilleries, tracing the painful history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and offering a new cosmology for the future. The multimedia installation provokes questions relevant to us all: How do we experience the effects of history as individuals and as cultural communities? Read more


Logbook of the Elizabeth Leavitt, traveling to Havana from Boston, 1858.

When my fellow librarians and I became aware of this month’s theme for PEM/PM, we knew right away that the Phillips Library collections needed to be a part of it.  “Agridulce,” or “Bittersweet” in Spanish, is a perfect descriptor of the contentious sugar, slave, and rum trade prevalent in the Caribbean in the 17th through 19th centuries.  We have decided to bring a selection of materials from our collections which, as a whole, demonstrate the more bitter side of international trade through Salem. Read more