Any bibliophile may recognize the photo below as an internet favorite. The shelves filled with books and the walkways lined with piles of stories are any reader’s dream. But do you know the real story behind the photo? No, this isn’t a quirky bookstore hidden down an alleyway in Europe. This is the at-home library of the late Richard Macksey.
Macksey was a professor at Johns Hopkins University, creating one of the first interdisciplinary academic departments in the US. He organized conferences that included French theorists and initiated the first courses at Johns Hopkins regarding African American and women’s literature. His library, which has since been deconstructed, was built in the garage of his Baltimore home.
According to Macksey’s son, the room included upwards of 50,000 titles of books, magazines, and research. Macksey even owned first editions and other valuable works, making his collection even more impressive than it already was. After his death in 2019, parts of his library were donated to a special collections room on the Johns Hopkins campus. You can read more about what librarians and conservationists discovered in the famed at-home library here.
Many have posted the iconic photo of Macksey’s library to social medical because it emits warmth and comfort. Booklovers express their jealousy regarding the walls of stories and the reading chair surrounded by endless adventures. Even though it is three years since his passing, Macksey lives on through his library. A place that was once a private oasis has become a public illustration for our admiration of the professor. We could only be so lucky to leave behind such a legacy.
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FEATURED IMAGE VIA NEW YORK TIMES