Boston Public Library

At the Central Library

JD_Messiah_88A2840The Handel and Haydn Society: Bringing Music to Life for 200 Years

Central Library in Copley Square (Cheverus Room)
March 24 to September 5, 2015
Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Friday–Saturday:9 a.m.–5 p.m.,
Sunday: 1–5 p.m.

Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society is America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization. The Bicentennial Exhibition draws from Handel and Haydn’s extensive archivesincluding materials housed at Boston Public Libraryand wide community to tell the story of its 200 years. Its musical legacy embodies the cultural heritage and development of the city and the nation.


Literary Landscapes: Maps from Fiction

lit_lands_totemCentral Library in Copley Square (Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
February 2 to October 25, 2015
Monday–Thursday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday–Saturday:10 a.m.–5 p.m.,
Sunday: 1–5 p.m.

Maps of imaginary places have accompanied literature for centuries. Visualizing the fanciful worlds described in works of fiction sets the stage for events taking place in a story and often provides insight into the characters themselves.

In this exhibition of forty items, visitors will discover maps from a variety of fictional genres, learn how authors create imaginary worlds, and appreciate why descriptive geography is essential to the story. People and creatures—even those who exist only in tales—are related to place, and maps of their imaginary worlds allow readers to be transported into the geography of fantasy. View the online exhibition to learn more.


Poe LetterPurloined Letters: Literary Correspondence and its Unintended Recipients

Central Library, Copley Square (Special Collections Lobby)
October 17, 2014 to April 24, 2015
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

What happens when a letter reaches an unintended recipient? For writer Edgar Allan Poe, the letter has been purloined: diverted from its original destination and “stolen” by an unexpected reader. This exhibition features an array of rare and important purloined letters from the Boston Public Library’s collection, including handwritten missives from such notable figures as the incarcerated Oscar Wilde, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s sister Elizabeth, and mural artist Edwin Austin Abbey. It also showcases writers who composed experimental works in epistolary modes—including Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula—and explores prefaces and letters to the reader in early printed books such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.

This exhibition is a collaboration between graduate students and faculty of the Department of English, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the BPL’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Department.