Published: October 24, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. – Boston College’s John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections has unveiled a special exhibit of $35 million worth of rare books and illuminated manuscripts dating as far back as the Fifth Century. For many of the materials, this will be their first and perhaps only visit to the United States, according to exhibit organizers.
Titled “The Art of the Book from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance: A Journey through 1,000 Years,” the exhibit will run through November 19.
On display are 70 beautifully illuminated manuscripts, miniatures and single leaves ranging from the Fifth to the Sixteenth Centuries, plus some 30 printed books from the “cradle era” of printing, including a single leaf from a Gutenberg Bible dating to circa 1455.
Among the exhibits is a Fourteenth Century French manuscript history of the ancient world through the reign of Julius Caesar that is valued at $6 million.
The show also represents an unusual collaborative effort among private collectors, antiquarian book and manuscript sellers and the Burns Library. A 256-page illustrated catalogue has been published in conjunction with the show.
The Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College was named in memory of the Honorable John J. Burns, a distinguished alumnus of the class of 1921 who was the university’s first “Friend of the Library” and one of its principal benefactors. It was dedicated in 1986, and today is home to more than 150,000 volumes, 15 million manuscripts and impressive holdings of artifacts, maps, paintings, photographs, ephemera and architectural records.
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