Greetings from Afar:
Over 250 volumes and other gifts (CDs, a dagger, an engraved silver letter) from 52 countries were given to honor the University on the 250th anniversary of the library. Many of these items are included in the exhibit, Greetings from Afar: Gifts to the Library from Around the World on the Occasion of its 250th Anniversary. The exhibit is located in the Kamin Gallery on the first floor of the Library through January 12.
The United Kingdom's Consul General recently presented 77 handcrafted volumes from The Folio Society, a literary institution in Great Britain, reflecting England's history and culture, including an 11-volume set in The History of England Series, starting with Caesar's first sighting of Dover and ending with the Second World War. The other major portion of the gift consists of a copy of each title selected for Folio's Best Books of the 20th Century. This series was based on the input of over 1,000 experts in 14 different fields. Some of the books from the UK are shown above.
The many gifts from the dozens of other countries--from Antigua & Barbuda to the Vatican--represent their cultures and histories. These items have brought Penn's collections to the five million-volume mark. Pope John Paul II gave a three-volume set of the Latin Bible, the Bible de Gutenberg and a translation of the works.
Last March, President Rodin sent pesonal letters to the government leader of every country that "registered" an online visit to the Library.
In response, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia donated two prints of the Koran from the Royal Printworks, one in Arabic and one in English and a copy of President Rodin's letter and the Saudi response written on a silver sculpture of an open book (below).
Photos by Greg Benson
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 12, November 14, 2000