We’ve also added a new team member, Jeremy Dibbell (jbd1), the motive force behind the I See Dead People[‘s Books] group, dedicated to answering the question “What books do I share with Marie Antoinette and Tupac Shakur?” Jeremy, who works at the Massachusetts Historical Society, has become a “historical consultant” to LibraryThing. It’s an unpaid job, but signals our support for his work. If he can get some people to talk about topics like this, or needs airfare to deliver a talk on it, we’ll help out. The rest of this blog post is by Jeremy…
I am pleased to announce the LibraryThing debut of the library of John Adams, the second president of the United States. Thanks to the staff at the Boston Public Library we were able to batch-import** the books from John Adams‘ personal collection, now housed at the BPL.
I’m not quite finished enhancing the records … with notes, reviews, tags, transcriptions of Adams’ marginalia and links to digital scans of the Adams books*** … but since this week is a big one for John Adams fans we wanted to announce the catalog even if it’s not entirely operational yet. Call it the beta version.
In case you’re not up on your Adams events calendar, this coming Sunday (16 March) is the premiere of the mini-series based on David McCullough’s John Adams, with Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney starring as John and Abigail. HBO has arranged a tie-in marketing campaign with the US Postal Service which is highlighted at poweroftheletter.com: among other things, first class letters will be postmarked with a special cancellation in March containing a 1765 quote from JA: “Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.” One of my favorite Adams lines, and entirely appropriate not only for the mail, but also for our efforts here.
Beyond the virtual, there are two upcoming two physical exhibits of Adams letters and other manuscript materials. At the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston****, “John Adams: A Life in Letters” will be open to the public from 8 March through 31 (Monday through Saturday, 1-4 p.m.). And at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, “My Dearest Friend” will run from 5-30 April in the Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library.
John Adams read widely, and was famous for responding (sometimes quite sharply) to the texts as he read them (check out his “40 Most Heavily Annotated Books“). I’m really delighted that we’ve been able to work out a way (using WikiThing) to make his transcribed annotations available – they’re wonderful to read, and complement the digital scans of the books very nicely.
Plus, as an added bonus, you can compare Jefferson and Adams’ libraries (here) and see the impressive number of works our second and third presidents (also probably two of the best-read) had in common. Right now it’s at 218, but that number is sure to creep upward as more combinations are made.
Much more to do, so I’m going to get back to editing. Stop by and browse awhile when you have a chance, and stay tuned: the BPL recently announced plans to take their excellent “John Adams Unbound” exhibit on the road, so in case you missed it in Boston you may still get a chance to see the show.
*Giamatti as John Adams is growing on me. But nothing will beat his performance in Sideways. [Tim]
**Incidentally, we’ll be offering batch-importing of MARC records to all members soon. [Tim]
*** You’ll also see some books currently in the catalog published after President Adams died in 1826. Those were added by his descendants, and are in the process of being removed from his LT catalog. Records for those books will remain available through the BPL’s John Adams Library site.
**** Where I am an Assistant Reference Librarian in “real life.”