25 October 2012
Lions and Pink Slips
I am in Philadelphia at the moment, spending four weeks at The Library Company thanks to a short-term fellowship. While I'm here, I'll try and post the occasional update, partly about Philadelphia and the U.S. (it is election month, after all) and also about some of the research I'm doing on the production and consumption of early American newspapers.
There are a number of Fellows here at the same time, and the Library has a very sensible tradition of a regular seminar in which we present our programme of work. I heard about a fascinating project to follow how the image of Confucius was spread and shaped in the Antebellum period, and spent twenty minutes talking through my own project. However, I couldn't help but have my attention drawn to something that was starting me in the face in the bookshelf on the left: a golden lion's face.
This was the famous 'Lion's Mouth' suggestion box, introduced by Benjamin Franklin as one of the founders of the Library in about 1750. You can see a picture of it here. The text reads,
To deposit in the
TITLES OF SUCH BOOKS
As they may wish to have
I am rather jealous of this. At the British Library, we welcome suggestions for acquistions (from Gentlewomen as well as Gentlemen), but by the far more prosaic method of an email to [email protected] or via the Reading Rooms' 'pink slips' as they are known. I hereby start a campaign for the St Pancras equivalent of the Lion's Mouth. But what creature would be suitable for our own reading room?
Suggestions below, or Tweet them to @_Americas.