Smithsonian Libraries 50th Anniversary Lecture - Book Marks: Mysteries in the Margins

Monday, April 23rd, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Q?rius Theater, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center
National Museum of Natural History, Ground Floor

Free and open to the public. RSVP here:

Our libraries hold many treasures that are unique in all the world, but few are as heavily annotated as the Cullman’s 1491 edition of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia (here on BHL). Throughout the margins and between the lines of text, multiple readers have added commentary, notes, and even corrections, collectively known as marginalia. But why is there so much of it, and what does it all mean? And why didn’t their teachers scold them for writing in their book in the first place? Alexandra K. Newman, from the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Natural History Library, will describe her research on the extensive marginalia in this early printed book.