Big, Puzzling, and Hairy
IU Day. All IU. All Day. Six Wonders of the Lilly Library. Images of books and artifacts on tables and and behind glass in cases.
[ Music ] >> More than 450,000 rare books, 8.5 million manuscripts, 30,000 puzzles, two locks of Edgar Allan Poe's hair, one thing is for sure, you'll never be bored exploring Indiana University's Lilly Library.
Interior of the library. Two rooms with books in glass cases.
The Lilly is home to some of the biggest names in books like the Gutenberg Bible, and a Shakespeare First Folio.
But it's also home to a big collection of very small books.
Jim Canary, Head of Conservation.
>> We have a variety of books going back several thousand years B.C., all the way up to modern books.
He holds up small books. One has a painting of a cat face across the front and back covers when opened flat.
You can see a whole selection here.
These are early eastern manuscripts.
This is Bhagavad Gita.
A long thin scroll with words and artwork.
We have Thumb Bibles.
This is a French Thumb Bible.
A tiny bible held between his thumb and finger.
Small colorful books housed in a tiny box. He flips through one of the books with text on one side and black and white illustrations on the other.
We have an infant's library here printed in London in 1820 so or something like that.
And a collection of engravings and descriptions, these were made for teaching children.
>> On the other end of the size spectrum, the Nuremberg Chronicle.
This volume is not only large, but also one of the oldest printed books in the Lilly Library.
Erika Dowell, Associate Director and Head of Public Services flips through the pages of a large book with text and colorful illustrations.
>> It was published in 1493 and it's a compendium of Bible stories, history, and geography designed to be less of a scholarly work than a fun book with lots of pictures in it.
It has over 1800 images.
Here we can see a couple focusing on the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible.
It's a great example of a book printed during the very earliest years of printing.
And it's wonderful to show students to help them understand some of the things that are little bit strange to modern people.
We can see here that only the first few pages of this volume have actually been created in color and all the rest are simply black and white.
>> Though rare books and other printed materials comprise the bulk of the Lilly's massive research ready collections, there are a few curiosities of note.
One, or actually two of those oddities are locks of hair from 19th Century American writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Rebecca Baumann, Education and Outreach Librarian.
>> So what we have here is a letter written from Edgar Allan Poe to a woman named Sarah Helen Whitman.
It's quite a passionate letter.
It was sent November 8th, 1848.
This was not too long before Poe died.
He died in 1849.
And Poe also sent to Sarah Helen Whitman this lock of his hair.
She holds up a hand written letter, then a curled lock of brown hair in a mat.
This may seem strange to people now, but it was actually very common in the 19th Century for people to send locks of hair as love tokens.
So this is the second piece and this was cut from his deathbed.
It's in a broach, which is something that people often did with these hair tokens is put them into a piece of jewelry so they could wear it.
It's sort of a wonderful way to physically connect with the past and feel closer to this literary figure that we all admire.
>> Another oldie but a goodie, the Lilly Library's Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.
Not just books.
These are works of art.
Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts. She holds a brown hard cover book with an embellished cover and colorful illustrations inside next to text.
>> Books of Hours were the most popular book of the Middle Ages for approximately 300 years.
From the 13th to the 16th Century and they were books to contain prayers and readings.
They were used for personal devotion, they could be much more modest to thinness.
They could have no images or they could be much, much more elaborate, but they were basically an item of personal devotion that often you could carry in your pocket.
>> You can see a more modern take on illustrated stories in the Lilly Library's huge collection of comics full of prized possessions that would get any collector salivating.
Two students flip through an Amazing Fantasy Spider Man comic book.
>> This "Spiderman" has actually been in our collection since the late 1970s.
It was purchased with a block of Marvel comics and we not only have the first appearance of "Spiderman", we have the first appearance of "The Incredible Hulk", "Iron Man", "Thor", "The Avengers", and many of our favorite Marvel superheroes.
>>And no visit to the Lilly would be complete without a stop in the Slocum Puzzle room.
A glass case with rows of various shaped puzzles consisting of wooden interlocking pieces.
This 30,000 piece collection consists primarily of mechanical puzzles, that is puzzles that require physical manipulation of their pieces in order to be solved.
Andrew Rhoda, Curator of Puzzles. He stands behind a table that holds two large wooden puzzles, one of a robot and one of a dog.
>> We also have a permanent exhibit of the highlights of our collection and this is Woodrow the wooden robot and his dog.
He assembles the pieces to create the dog.
Both of these puzzles are examples of "Kumiki" puzzles, also known as Japanese wooden interlocking puzzles.
We received our first donation in 2006 and we've been receiving portions of this collection since then.
>> From curiosities to classics to works of art, the treasures of the Lilly Library are as fascinating as they are varied and many have been made possible through the generosity of IU Alumni and friends, but they all have one thing in common.
Each opens the door to a larger world of exploration, discovery, and wonder.
So if you get a chance, stop in and say hello to the Gutenberg, or the Shakespeare first Folio, or even to Woodrow.
Andrew pushes Woodrow on a handcart. He raises Woodrow's arm in a wave.
Good luck to that last one though.
He can be a bit of an enigma.
IU Day. All IU. All Day. Six Wonders of the Lilly Library.
[ Music ]