At the Central Library
Central Library, Copley Square (Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
November 8, 2013 to March 10, 2014
Monday–Thursday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday: 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Boston was the metropolis of England’s North American colonies, with the largest population and economy of any urban center through the 1750s. It was also the leading producer of printed maps, including major colonial “firsts” such as the first printed map, first city map, first battle plan, and first map engraved on copper. This exhibition brings together, for the first time in decades, a majority of these maps “made in Boston” in the century before the American Revolution. As a group they are remarkable for their idiosyncrasies of style and important contributions to geographical knowledge.
These maps reflect distinct concerns of New Englanders in general and Bostonians in particular: Pride in their fine city, the hazards of navigating the New England coast, conflict and collaboration with the native inhabitants, and the French for mastery of North America, and landownership concerns. This exhibition affords a unique perspective on the ambitions, anxieties and sense of identity that animated colonial Bostonians. To learn more and view digitized copies of the maps currently on display, visit the virtual exhibition.
Central Library, Copley Square (Rare Books Lobby)
September 30, 2013 to January 31, 2014
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
The emblem book is a Western European phenomenon that presents symbolic pictures combined with a brief motto or title and a passage of related prose or verse to deliver a moral or amusing message. Emblem books began appearing in the sixteenth century with the publication of Andreas Aliciati’s first book in 1531. Success was immediate, and these little books continued to be popular well into the nineteenth century. This exhibition of emblem books from the Boston Public Library’s collection will focus on the high points of the genre from the middle of the sixteenth century through the end of the seventeenth century. One of the volumes on display, George Wither’s A collection of emblemes, ancient and moderne (1635), has been fully digitized and is available online.