From The Hub:
There was always a bit of an impractical spirit behind the George Peabody Library, founded as it was amid the turmoil of America’s Civil War.
“Building this library of 50,000 books in a decade, in the middle of the Civil War, was kind of crazy,” acknowledges curator Earle Havens of the library’s starting goal in 1861—when Union troops held Baltimore under martial law.
But the zeal the Peabody founders committed to this mission, Havens suggests, is exactly what distinguishes the public research library as a “unique phenomenon of American intellectual life.”
For the new exhibition, Bibliomania: 150 Years of Collecting Rare Books at the George Peabody Library, curators plumbed the depths of the collection to find memorable artifacts and manuscripts dating back as early as the 14th century.