In May 2000, the University of Virginia Library received 447 rare books, manuscripts, and maps from the estate of Paul Mellon, well-known philanthropist but also an enthusiastic (and well-heeled) collector of books, especially Americana and original documents of American history. The Library has created the first full-scale public exhibition of these works and created a companion Website to showcase some of the highlights of this extraordinary collection. The online exhibit consists of digital images, mostly of letters, accompanied by explanatory paragraphs. The items are arranged in five chronological sections, from Exploring the New World to Slavery and Civil War. Also included are a number of Flash-driven interactive features, including maps and an online version of the Myriopticon (available via the Slavery and Civil War section), which is modeled after the mid-nineteenth-century stagings of larger-than-life moving panoramic scenes. Anyone interested in either American history or book collecting will certainly want to pay a visit.
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