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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Give the Girl Some Culture 

This afternoon, Celeste became the youngest person ever admitted into the vault at the Folger Shakespeare Library ... and, while it looked for a moment like she was going to try to chew on one of the library’s copies of the First Folio, she behaved herself quite well.

A while ago, Evelin's mother won at a charity auction a tour of the library guided by the head librarian, so M--- and R--- flew in this morning and Evelin's sister, M---, drove down last night and we all, Celeste included, went for the tour.

We've seen a few exhibits at the library and one performance, but this tour gave us a look at a lot of the behind-the-scenes spaces and a lot of the art that's spread throughout the facility, including the earliest known sieve portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (painted by Plimpton in 1579).

The coolest part (apart from talking with the librarian about the collection and the library) was the rare book vault. In addition to tons of Shakespeare — including 79 First Folios, about one-third of the copies known to be in existence — we got to see William Caxton's 1477 printing of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the first quarto of Titus Andronicus, Elizabeth I's personal red velvet-bound copy of the Bishop's Bible, a prayer book inscribed by Anne of Cleves to Henry VIII, and a 17th Century seven-language phrasebook (Flemish, English, German, Latin, French, Spanish and Italian).

Celeste did get a little restless and noisy while we were in the book vault, but otherwise she was very, very well behaved and really paid attention during some parts of the tour.

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