Sunday, 31 October 2010

Philosopher William James lectures at our college in 1908

Leaving work one day in September, two nice academics from a neighbouring college turned up, told me they were hosting the William James Conference, and were using our Library the following evening for a drinks reception. Could I find any artefacts in our stacks connected with William James that I could display for the conference guests to look at as they sipped their wine?

I enjoy a challenge. So I spent the next day searching, finding, selecting, arranging, and annotating exhibits, to arrange in the display cases. A postcard from William James to our college principal; a minute book showing an account of his lectures there and the fact that student attendees had dipped during Eights Week, a picture of our students at the time, all sober suited, watch chains, and bewhiskered.

This was an excellent opportunity to explore the archives, deal with an enquiry, and produce visible memorabilia. I attended the drinks reception too, sipped wine, chatted to interesting people, and enjoyed the murmurs of approval over the artefacts. Later came emails of appreciation from the academics concerned, and a generous donation to our Library.

No comments:

Post a Comment