Thursday, December 13, 2012

the ultimate ivory tower

Today, while in Boston, I walked around Harvard and Harvard Yard. What a beautiful, peaceful place. While wandering around campus, I crossed the Charles river, empty of sculls and other boats. Harvard yard reminded me of Oxford, with brick buildings, courtyards and quiet walks. So what did I do there? I did research of course while looking at the R.G. Dun credit records of a variety of printing and publishing companies in Chicago and Philadelphia in the late 19th century. It was an opportunity to revisit some of the characters I met while working on my dissertation. Ironically, many of the companies I looked at barely made it into my carefully crafted chapters. So today I read credit reports. Sound boring? Well, imagine learning about how businesses grew, found investors, and even purchased equipment. The credit reporters came around every few months. Today researchers can study how companies rise and fall, wonderful lessons to apply to life today.

Tomorrow I explore the Freedom Trail in historic downtown Boston.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A brain teaser

One of the book collectors / rare book dealers posted Rhymed Rebuses today 
You might enjoy trying your hand at these pictorial letters and codes. They remind me of the picture letters I saw at the Morgan Library exhibit of Beatrix Potter Letters . While Potter's letters aren't secret codes, they are the forerunners of her famous books about Peter Rabbit and friends. I really enjoyed looking at the letters and books, and all the toys that she created. Yes, Beatrix Potter created toys, games, and more to promote her creations. She was a real business woman, licensing her ideas and copyrighting her books in the UK and the USA.  Unfortunately they didn't have a catalog of the exhibition which would have been a great souvenir. Nevertheless, the museum gift shop has lots of memorabilia and books for the curious visitor to take home.

Just in case you think I've been hanging around Brooklyn not doing much, in the same week I went to the Morgan, I was at the Met (my previous post) and the Brooklyn Museum (the anti-penultimate post). Last week I was at the Library Company in Philadelphia and saw a lovely exhibition about the Pennsylvania RR company and its stations in Philadelphia  . At the same time, I've been looking at more incunabula bibles. I'll post some pictures later this week.

I'm off to Boston for a few days to soak up more east coast culture.