Over the past several months, the Phillips Library has shared in the excitement of discovering the stories of the Ropes family in preparation for the reopening of the Ropes Mansion on May 23rd—after the recent restoration of the interior. Here, I’ll share some highlights uncovered during the cataloging of the Ropes family book collection.
Copyright Peabody Essex Museum. Photo Catherine Robertson.
One of the great pleasures of being a librarian in a rare-book setting is seeing the treasures the library owns. The texts are important, and they are helpful to scholars throughout the world (thanks to our online catalog), and many of the things in the collection are simply beautiful. One element of their beauty is the papers used in their production. And one material that has been around for more than 300 years is marbled paper.
Phillips Library copy of Oration on the Life and Character of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette bound in red leather with decorative gold tooling.
Two printed copies of the John Quincy Adams speech Oration on the Life and Character of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette reside here at the Phillips Library. I thought one copy in particular, printed in Washington by Gales and Seaton in 1835, was absolutely worth sharing in honor of Adams on the 167th anniversary of his passing. Adams spoke to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, and our copy at the library includes a presentation inscription from Adams to the Essex Historical Society. If you know your PEM history, then you know that the Essex Historical Society joined with the Essex County Natural History Society to form the Essex Institute, which the merged with the Peabody Museum of Salem to become the Peabody Essex Museum as we know it today.