UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Moving Forward, Looking Back / Collection speaks volumes about library

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moving Forward, Looking Back / Collection speaks volumes about library

In 1939, a young woman fresh out of high school took her first job at a Manhattan temp agency and was promptly sent to do some clerical work at a small bookstore. Dorothy Klatt soon realized that this was no ordinary bookstore, and the owners, Phil and Fanny Duschnes, soon realized that Dorothy was no ordinary secretary. They offered her a job, and she accepted. Philip C. Duschnes Rare Books & First Editions, with Dorothy as its only employee, built an international reputation over the next half-century until finally closing its doors. Because Dorothy was my mother, I more or less grew up in the book store, and eventually worked there part-time, filing correspondence and packing books for shipping. I thus earned the right to handle anything in the store -- a major privilege, considering that many of the books and manuscripts were rare and beautiful treasures, destined for serious bibliophiles and major libraries. Thanks to my mom, and the kindness of Phil and Fanny Duschnes, my family had a unique and rarified experience with books. And that's what makes the riches of our own Pequot Library so extraordinary for me, and, as I will explain, so elusive. Most of us know the Pequot Library as a standard lending and reference library, children's library, reading room, meeting place, lecture and concert venue, and exhibition space.
And just about everyone knows about the Pequot Library Summer Book Sale, an annual fundraising event that draws thousands of people from all over the world (by the way, the 52nd annual book sale is July 27 to 31). Some of us have discovered the Pequot's glorious Tiffany windows inconspicuously tucked away at the end of the stacks. But I'm guessing that only a few are aware of its special collections: 30,000 rare books and manuscripts that make up one of the most important collections in New England, if not the country. The focus is on New England and American history, but there are important holdings in genealogy, art and architecture, and great literature. The collection also includes private press books produced in very limited editions that elevate printing to the highest levels of art and craftsmanship. READ MORE: http://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/opinion/article/Moving-Forward-Looking-Back-Collection-speaks-3715263.php

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