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The Folger Shakespeare Library has revealed details of Imprints in Time, its inaugural show in the new special exhibitions gallery added to the Folger during its recent four-year, $80.5m renovation.

Drawn entirely from the collection of rare books and manuscripts collectors Stuart and Mimi Rose, more than 50 works will go on display when the library reopens on June 21 including:

  • an Egyptian Book of the Dead from the first century BCE
  • a first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus (1543) which first proposed the heliocentric view of our planetary system
  • a first edition of the most notorious banned book of the 17th century, Galileo Galilei’s Dialogo which defended Copernicus’ view of the solar system and was inscribed by Galileo himself
  • a first trade edition of Winnie-the-Pooh inscribed by author A. A. Milne to his son
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s page proofs, corrected in his hand, for The Lord of the Rings
  • an advance press copy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech
  • a section of the Apollo 11 flight plan that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had with them on the Moon

“We wanted to recreate the feeling of being in Stuart and Mimi’s library for this exhibition,” said Greg Prickman, the Eric Weinmann Librarian and Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Folger who curated the exhibition. “To stand in Stuart and Mimi Rose’s private library is electric. An immense range of time periods and topics are all around you, and each object you encounter feels more incredible than the last. So as a part of transferring that experience to the Folger, we wanted to enable each visitor to choose their own path. Each work showcased offers visitors the opportunity to connect with people and places across many eras of human history.”

The gallery walls will be decorated with bespoke wallpaper illustrating some of the authors on view in the exhibition.

Stuart Rose served on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Board of Governors for 10 years and a staunch advocate for adding as much space as possible in which to display the Folger’s vast collection of early modern European materials. In recognition of his support for the renovation project, the hall in which the special exhibitions gallery is located bears his name. In addition to the gallery for special exhibitions, the Rose Hall includes a gallery for smaller, focused exhibitions and a gallery where signature objects from the Folger’s collection can be viewed.

“Stuart maintains that books and manuscripts need to be seen and experienced in order to be enjoyed,” said Folger Director Michael Witmore. “He understood what showcasing the Folger’s collection would mean for public access, and through his generosity, everyone who passes through the Folger’s doors will be able to see a range of items from the Folger’s collection. And in these first months we are open, visitors will also be able to take in the magnificent items in the collection that Stuart and Mimi built.”

Imprints in Time is on view at the Folger through January 5, 2025. Following it will be Power Players, an exhibition that will show how becoming influential in Tudor England was a competitive sport. ... ecial-exhibitions-gallery