What Now: Collecting for the Library in the 21st Century, Part 1

Oct. 19, 2019–Feb. 17, 2020 | This two-part exhibition explores The Huntington's role in documenting the human experience through more than 100 items from the Library collections. 
"Mechanics of Arithmetic" poster

The Diamond Litho-Publishing. Co., Minneapolis. "The Mechanics of Arithmetic" poster from the series "The New Education," 1898. Color lithograph. 42 x 27 13/16 in. Gift of Jay T. Last, 2011. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Oracle, London, ca. 1790. Fan, hand-colored engraving and wood. Rare Books Collection. Purchase, Constance Lodge Rare Book Endowment, 2012. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Oracle, London, ca. 1790. Fan, hand-colored engraving and wood. Rare Books Collection. Purchase, Constance Lodge Rare Book Endowment, 2012. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

C. C. Pierce & Co., Venice-Del Rey Oil Field, July 9, 1930. Panoramic photograph. Ernest Marquez Collection. Purchase, with Library Collectors' Council subvention, 2014. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

C. C. Pierce & Co., Venice-Del Rey Oil Field, July 9, 1930. Panoramic photograph. Ernest Marquez Collection. Purchase, with Library Collectors' Council subvention, 2014. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood in a photobooth

Photobooth pictures of Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood, March 30, 1953. Gelatin silver prints. 7 3/4 x 1 5/8 in. Gift and purchase from Don Bachardy, 2012. © Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 2019. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

You Chung Hong building

Electrical Products Corp., Neon lighting design for You Chung Hong building, Chinatown, Los Angeles, 1936-37. Pigments on paper on mounted board. 20 x 16 7/8 in. Gift of Roger S. Hong, 2006. © Courtesy of Federal Heath Sign Company, LLC, 2019. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Jane L. O'Neal print Cordyline

Jane L. O'Neal, Cordyline, in Environmental Memory Part I: Home Grown, 2001–2008, printed in 2009. Archival inkjet print, 44 x 30 in. Gift of the artist, 2014. © Jane L. O'Neal. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Book of John Mandeville

The Book of John Mandeville, England, second half of the 15th century. Bound manuscript in ink and pigments on parchment. Purchase, David Zeidberg Library Acquisitions Fund, 2018. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Edmund Kirby, Autograph letter to Eliza Brown Kirby, Mexico City, September 27, 1847. Manuscript in ink on letterhead, 10-3/4x 8-3/8 in.  Edmund Kirby Papers. Purchase, Library Collectors’ Council, 2014. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

Edmund Kirby, Autograph letter to Eliza Brown Kirby, Mexico City, September 27, 1847. Manuscript in ink on letterhead, 10-3/4x 8-3/8 in. Edmund Kirby Papers. Purchase, Library Collectors' Council, 2014. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino.

"What Now: Collecting for the Library in the 21st Century" is a two-part exhibition that invites visitors to consider the continued relevance of the role of The Huntington's library in documenting the human experience. The more than 100 items featured (about 50 in each of two consecutive installations) represent recent trends in developing The Huntington's Library collection and range from a 15th-century Middle English manuscript of one of the foundational texts of travel literature to large-scale inkjet botanical prints made in 2009 by California artist Jane O'Neal. Other highlights include 19th-century valentines, a 1942 photograph by Ansel Adams of Canyon de Chelly, the journal of a single Mexican woman who immigrated to the U.S. in 1935, notes on the topic of conflict from science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, and author Paul Theroux's journal for his classic book "The Great Railway Bazaar," among many others. All works on view have been acquired in the 21st century, and this is the first time that they have been on public display at The Huntington. Together the objects illuminate, in unexpected ways, the rich texture and diversity of the Library today.

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