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The Lilly Library, located on the campus of Indiana Universitymarker in Bloomington, Indianamarker, is one of the largest rare book and manuscript libraries in the United States.

History

The Lilly Library was founded in 1960 with the collection of Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., owner of Lilly Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolismarker. J. K. Lilly was a collector most of his life. From the mid-1920s until his death, he devoted a great deal of his leisure time to building his collections of books and manuscripts, works of art, coins, stamps, military miniatures, firearms and edged weapons, and nautical models. J. K. Lilly's collections of books and manuscripts, totaling more than 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts, together with more than fifty oil paintings and 300 prints, were given by the collector to Indiana University between 1954 and 1957. These materials form the foundation of the rare book and manuscript collections of the Lilly Library.

The extent to which J.K. Lilly realized his collecting goals, were summed up succinctly by Frederick B. Adams, Jr., at the dedication of the Lilly Library on October 3, 1960: "Mr. Lilly's books cover so many fields that it is difficult to believe that any one man's enthusiasm could encompass them all. It is equally astounding that he was able to acquire so many books of such scarcity and quality in the short space of 30 years. Money alone isn't the answer; diligence, courage, and imagination were also essential. The famous books in English and American literature, the books most influential in American life, the great works in the history of science and ideas--all these are among the 20,000 Lilly books in this building."

The library now contains approximately 400,000 rare books, 6.5 million manuscripts, and 100,000 pieces of sheet music.

Collection

Yale University's copy of the Dunlap broadside [754706]


The library's holdings are particularly strong in British and American history and literature, Latin Americana, medicine and science, food and drink, children's literature, fine printing and binding, popular music, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, and early printing. Notable items in the library's collections include the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed collection of Shakespeare's works, Audubon's Birds of America, one of 25 extant copies of the "First Printing of the Declaration of Independence" (also known as the "Dunlap Broadside") that was printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, George Washington's letter accepting the presidency of the United States, Abraham Lincoln's desk from his law office, a leaf from the famous Abraham Lincoln "Sum Book" ca. 1824-1826, Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son, the manuscripts of Robert Burns's "Auld Lang Syne", J. M. Synge's "The Playboy of the Western World", and J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan", and typescripts of many of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. The library also owns the papers of Hollywood directors Orson Welles and John Ford, the poets Sylvia Plath and Ezra Pound, and authors Edith Wharton and Upton Sinclair. In 2006, the library received a collection of 30,000 mechanical puzzles from Jerry Slocum. The collection will be on permanent display.

Special permission is not required to use the collections, and the library has several exhibition galleries which are open to the public.

References



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