Tag: History

For Keeps! – Atlanta’s Best Kept Literary Secret!

I haven’t been to Atlanta yet, but after coming across For Keeps!, I may be planning a visit soon! This quaint, little store located a few blocks from The Martin Luther King Jr Church, may seem unassuming from a distance, but it holds quite some significance.

 

image via new york times

 

Rosa Duffy, the 29 year-old artist and owner of For Keeps!, has run this store for rare and classic black books since 2018 and hopes to maintain it with enough effort and diligence so it can eventually become a neighborhood treasure. But regardless of what its future may look like, Duffy hopes to maintain the book store’s reputation as a rare place in her hometown that honors and preserves black history.

 

image via wabe 90.1 fm

 

Her picturesque store harbors not only hard-to-find and classic books by African and African American literary legends like Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Ralph Ellison, Octavia Butler and others, but also carries album covers, unique artifacts and even copies of the iconic black magazine, Jet. Some of the items here are from her personal collection, many of which were swiped from her family members, probably while they weren’t looking.

 

 

The aspect of opening a space dedicated solely to rare black books came to Duffy while she was a student at the New School in New York. As an avid dweller of the city’s bookstores, like Mercer Street Books and Records, the Strand, the Alabaster Bookshop and East Village Books, she eventually gathered up the courage to open her own sanctuary.

 

image via librarything

Duffy’s infectious enthusiasm about books is extremely admirable. Finding a rare book by one of her favorite artists, Carrie Mae Weems, made her ecstatic, as did a copy of Ceasar D. Coleman’s Beyond Blackness to Destiny, which was published in 1969.

 

 

She admits that initially there were concerns that mixing passion with business may cause issues, but has been pleasantly surprised because so far, it’s been fantastic! And when asked, why Atlanta, Duffy quickly replied, “Atlanta was the only place to do it. It’s home and I wanted it to represent the vastness of blackness and allow people to read about their history in a welcoming space.” — which is exactly why For Keeps! is for keeps!

Featured image via the Atlantic Voice

 


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Enter the World of Secret Libraries

Everyone knows about the libraries that burned, but what about the ones that were hidden? In desert caves and the basements of ancient cities, these libraries were sealed, sometimes for centuries, to protect books from censorship and cataclysm. But don’t worry, not all is lost – some secret libraries are uncovered, and some you can still visit, with the proper credentials

 

 

Dunhuang Cave Library

Mogao Grottoes

Image via Thought Co

In a series of sacred caves at the northern edge of the Gobi desert in western China, a hidden treasure trove of manuscripts from between the fourth and eleventh centuries. After being sealed for a thousand years, they were found. It took ten more years for what remained the tens of thousands of manuscripts to be collected by the Chinese government, according to the BBC. Though much was lost, the bright side is that you can view many of these documents from anywhere in the world, thanks to the efforts of The International Dunhuang Project. Happy reading!

 

Family History of the Silk Road

Image result for haaretz an afghan cave"
Image via Haaretz

 

An Afghan cave along the silk road held thousands of documents dating to the 11th century, written by a family who lived on the silk road. Written in many languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, according to RT. They aren’t the first to be found – the Ben Daniel family, merchants from northern Afghanistan, left caches and records elsewhere on the silk road, as well – an earlier discovery was made in Egypt. The papers are expected to be sold to an appropriate institution, but nothing is confirmed.

 

Bodleian Library

Image result for travel with mei and kersten bodleian library"

Image via Travel with Mei and Kersten

 

Actually a series of thirteen libraries spread over Oxford, some more than 400 years old. These libraries are still very much active, but you’ll have to apply, as access is restricted to the most intensive research purposes, both private and institutional. Don’t be too heartbroken, though, if you’re on the wrong side of the pond – you can apply for digital access through their website if you need their collection. I’m going to have to start research on a relevant topic, just for access. And also fly across the world.

 

 

Featured image via Bodleian Libraries Blogs

Quiz – What’s Your Period Drama Trope?

Based on this comic by Emily’s Cartoons.

Featured Image via GraziaDaily

The New Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria was maybe the greatest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Located in Alexandria, Egypt, right on the Mediterranean, the library was burned by Julius Caesar in 48AD, and centuries worth of written wisdom were lost.

If you’re as upset about this fact as the rest of the internet, it’s probably too soon, but I come bearing good news: though we’ll probably never know exactly the magnitude of what we lost, there is now another library on the site of the burned one.

Image via Ancient World Magazine

 

The Maktabat El-Iskandarīyah (or… Library of Alexandria, in English) opened in 2002, and can hold up to eight million books, though it holds only about 100,000 now. This is equivalent to what scholars believe the Great Library, held in its day. Experts estimate the library won’t be full for another eighty years. The new Library of Alexandria is also home to seven specialized libraries, four museums, two extensive permanent collections, and access to the Internet Archive, a massive digital library.

Image via Pinterest

 

The ancient library was important not only in itself, as one of the most prestigious libraries of its age, but in that it was a model for other libraries which proliferated throughout the area in major cities and even in smaller ones. The new library, though modern, is both a memorial to the one that burned, and proof that knowledge is still valued as it was then. The library houses books in Classical Arabic, English, and French.

Featured image via Travel and Leisure