Creativity

Human imagination is given no more powerful expression than through the arts, celebrating who we were, are, and will become … and the connections are forged across virtually all cultural and societal divides.

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Observation | Contemplation | Creativity | Society

Society

From Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence to a Ku Klux Klan robe, the Library’s collections guarantee that we cannot retreat from the realities — noble and ignoble — of the past.

In honor of NYPL's 100th bday, we've uploaded a screenshot of 20x200 artist Tatsuro Kiuchi's In the Library. Every time we glimpse it, we can't help but be reminded of our beloved metropolitan library branches. Borrowing from the East Village to Chelsea to the Lower East Side to Midtown—Team 20x200 just can't get enough of NYPL!

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Society

From Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence to a Ku Klux Klan robe, the Library’s collections guarantee that we cannot retreat from the realities — noble and ignoble — of the past.

Whenever I step into this library I feel at home. The same way I did back in 1976 to today. The grand entrance. The beautiful wooden shelves. The beautiful staircase leading down to what used to be the children's area. The warm, cozy view at night when it's dark outside and the replica gas lamps beckon you to a safe place full of wonder within the shelves.

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Creativity

Human imagination is given no more powerful expression than through the arts, celebrating who we were, are, and will become … and the connections are forged across virtually all cultural and societal divides.

Hong Xiuquan believed himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ and, acting on visions of god enlisting him to slay demons, started a war to create a "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace" (in Chinese -- Taiping Tianguo). The ensuing Taiping Rebellion was one of the most cataclysmic wars in history. Scholars suggest that 20,000,000 people may have died during the war, which raged in southern China from 1850 to 1864.
This image is the title page of a book of essays explaining why Hong chose "Jinling" (modern-day Nanjing) to be his capital. It is testimony to the inexhaustible ways people can see in a cityscape the possibility of utopia.

I am a scholar of Nanjing's urban history, and finding this book in the New York Public Library collection (an English translation is available in Franz Michael's Taiping Rebellion: Documents) gave me a sense of the utopian visions of the founders of the New York Public Library, and helped me understand the marvels of New York's real and imagined urban landscape. We daily walk through poetry, history, and imaginative possibility in our own infinite city. The New York Public Library helps show us what is already here. It connects us to cataclysms, to grand designs, to more varied cosmologies than are dreamt of in our philosophies. It is the most powerful telescope our city has ever created.

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Creativity

Human imagination is given no more powerful expression than through the arts, celebrating who we were, are, and will become … and the connections are forged across virtually all cultural and societal divides.

<p>The Doll's Casket. London: John Marshall, ca. 1815–20.</p>

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Contemplation

The inward gaze in the pursuit of spiritual meaning is a hallmark of civilization.

Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe.

William Heath. La Finale. Etching, hand colored. London: Published by Thomas McLean, 26, Haymarket, ca. 1829.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

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Observation

Observations of the natural world raise the questions: What do we see? What do we actually know?

This was MY library in Brooklyn. The old Rugby branch on Utica Ave. I was allowed an adult card at the age of 10. All the librarians there were wonderful. Many a summer was spent inside their cool tables, reading.

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Society

From Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence to a Ku Klux Klan robe, the Library’s collections guarantee that we cannot retreat from the realities — noble and ignoble — of the past.

When one thinks of plumbing images of excrement come to mind, but plumbing is far from something gross. Civilization would not have been able to advance to our current point without this sophisticated system.

487453
Hopper Traps, Plain, Painted or Porcelain-Lined Iron, from Catalogue 'G,' Illustrating the Plumbing and Sanitary Department of the J.L. Mott Iron Works, 1888

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Contemplation

The inward gaze in the pursuit of spiritual meaning is a hallmark of civilization.

Ria, a student at Bard High School and Early College in Manhattan

This is a collage of Jesus hammering a stake into Cardinal O'Connor's neck. It is surprising to find a piece of art that could have been considered highly offensive to some in a library. This clearly makes a bold statement. Another fairly offensive image, Ted Shawn is depicted doing a satire of &ldquo;Oriental dance&rdquo; in this image. Still, this image gets a person's attention.

1577365
Let me demonstrate, from ACT UP New York records Manuscripts and Archives Division

DEN_0562V
Ted Shawn in a satire on Oriental dance in a college play which he wrote, 1911 The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Jerome Robbins Dance Division

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Society

From Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence to a Ku Klux Klan robe, the Library’s collections guarantee that we cannot retreat from the realities — noble and ignoble — of the past.

Katherine, a student at Bard High School and Early College in Manhattan

Tattoos have been around since the Neolithic time, but it is surprising that the New York Public Library would collect pictures and books about tattooing because they are usually viewed in a negative light. So it is no surprise why tattoos have recently attracted many people and why the NYPL has a lot of material on tattoos and the way that they have been used throughout history.

418057
Tattooed German Stowaway Deported May, 1911
From Ellis Island Portraits 1905-1920

Manuscripts and Archives Division
The Mammoth Book of Tatoos, by Lal Hardy, 2009

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Denise S. Szabo

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Jessica Rohan

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl