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What Now: Collecting for the Library in the 21st Century, Part 2

Aug. 7, 2021Nov. 1, 2021
Library, West Hall

Gallery Guide (pdf)

“What Now: Collecting for the Library in the 21st Century” is a two-part exhibition that illuminates The Huntington’s ongoing role in documenting the human experience in support of research and education. Part of The Huntington’s 2019–20 Centennial Celebration, the exhibition’s first installment opened in Fall 2019; the second part, which was to open in Spring 2020, opens Aug. 7 and runs until Nov. 1, 2021. The words “what now” have never been more relevant, and the eclectic assemblage of some 50 items acquired in the 21st century resonates with issues and themes of the past year, including racial justice, wellness, immigration, and the environment. Materials range from a typescript essay by Loren Miller on the Scottsboro Nine to a landscape study for a mural at the Ventura Community Hospital; and from Octavia Butler’s notes on a dusty, barren stretch seen from a Greyhound bus to a map of Hawaii for Japanese immigrants. Other intriguing items on view include a rare Mathew Brady photograph of Lincoln’s pall bearers; a drawing of the brain of “the most eccentric American,” George F. Train; and an early draft of writer Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Together the objects demonstrate, in unexpected ways, the rich texture and diversity of the Library today.

Exhibition Videos

Forgotten Pallbearers of Abraham Lincoln

Olga Tsapina, curator of American historical manuscripts at The Huntington, discusses the importance of a little-known photograph from renowned Civil War photographer Mathew Brady's studio that reveals the forgotten pallbearers of Abraham Lincoln.

Certificate of Identity

From 1909 to 1928, the U.S. government required all Chinese people with legal status in the country to obtain certificates of identity. Li Wei Yang, curator of Pacific Rim Collections, explains how this document can help us understand our current immigration enforcement debates.

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General admission includes entrance to the gardens and select galleries


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