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Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History

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This new online exhibit from the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program investigates "the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries." Curated by a team of librarians, archivists, and other Harvard University staff, this collection features a number of interesting items that illustrate the history of education and print culture, including early textbooks and books annotated by famous authors. Visitors may want to start by peaking at the collection highlights section. Highlighted works include a text from 1878 entitled A Fonetic Furst Reader by T.R. Vickroy; a copy of the The Life of Samuel Johnson, LLD., annotated by Hester Lynch Piozzi; and a 1697 "commonplace book" authored by John Hancock. Commonplace books were scrap-book type manuscripts that featured "short quotes, longer passages and transcriptions, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, and legal formulas." From here, visitors can explore additional items, which are arranged into three sections: Learning to read, featuring textbooks and books pertaining to the "science of reading"; Reading collectively, which includes items that illuminate the history of libraries and book clubs; and Reading on one's own, which contains several commonplace books as well as annotated texts.
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GEM Subject
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2018-06-08
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2018/0608

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