LibraryThing Podcast 3, which follows on the heels of the wildly successful*—if somewhat incoherent—LibraryThing Podcast 2, is an interview with Jeremy Dibbell, who runs the Legacy Library/I see Dead People’s Books project.
The (somewhat meandering) conversation explores the Legacy Library project, 18th century book tastes, the top-shared Legacy Library book (Jeremy guessed wrong a few times), what your books are saying about you, and related topics.
Here’s the direct link to the MP3: http://www.librarything.com/podcast/003.mp3
The Murder Part. Jeremy came to Portland to present at the New England Historical Association. His topic was the rediscovery/reconstruction of an important 18th-century library. The library belonged to George Wythe (LibraryThing Library, Wikipedia), a prominent Virginia politician/jurist and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Wythe, a slaveholder who ended his life an abolitionist, was poisoned by his grandnephew for the inheritance (the grandnephew had a serious gambling problem). The murderer got away because the testimony of free blacks was ruled inadmissible, but Wythe lived long enough to disinherit him.
In his will, Wythe gave his extensive book collection to Thomas Jefferson (LibraryThing library), a longtime friend and former student. Jefferson received some 338 titles, of which he gave away 183 to relatives and acquaintances, and kept 155. Only a few dozen of these were known until now.
Jefferson’s inventory of Wythe’s library was recently identified by Jeremy and Endrina Tay, Associate Foundation Librarian for Technical Services at Monticello. See Jeremy’s post for more on Wythe’s library. Wythe’s LibraryThing catalog, based on Jeremy and Endrina’s work, is the first reconstruction of Wythe’s full library.
*Actually, I have no idea how many people listened.