Library Exhibition Hall
The Huntington Library is one of the world's great independent research libraries, with more than nine million items spanning the 11th to 21st centuries. Only a small portion of the vast collection is on display at any one time, two permanent rotating exhibitions in the Main Exhibition Hall and the Dibner Hall of the History of Science, and temporary themed exhibitions in the smaller West Hall.
The Ellesmere Chaucer is a beautiful and elaborately decorated manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Created between 1400 and 1405, it contains what is believed to be a portrait of Chaucer as well as miniature paintings of twenty-three of the fictional pilgrims who tell stories in order to enliven the journey from London to Canterbury.
In his landmark work, Audubon set out to identify and meticulously portray all 435 bird species found in the United States and its territories. The large format, known as a "double elephant folio" due to its enormous format, was chosen so that he could render the birds life-size.
Johann Gutenberg's Bible was the first substantial book printed with movable type in the West. The Huntington copy is one of twelve surviving copies printed on vellum, and one of three such copies in the United States. An additional thirty-six copies printed on paper also survive.
White Fang, written in little more than three months, told the story of a part-wolf, part-dog, and its domestication during the Klondike gold rush at the end of the nineteenth century. As in his earlier novel, The Call of the Wild, London used a canine protagonist to explore such universal themes as morality, redemption, and the nature of civilization.
In 2006, The Huntington acquired a unique collection of nearly 400 light bulbs. Originally amassed by Dr. Samuel Hibben of the Westinghouse Electric Company in the 1920's, and then obtained by Bern Dibner in 1965, these bulbs tell an incredible story of persistence and creativity that spans several continents and over 100 years.
Published in 1623, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's works contains thirty-six plays, eighteen of them printed for the first time. This "authorized version," prepared by his friends and colleagues from "true originall copies," is the most reliable early source of Shakespeare's texts.
Arguably the most influential book in the history of physics and mathematics, Newton's 1687 Principia formulated new laws of motion, a mathematical description of gravity, and a derivation of the laws of planetary motion. The Huntington holds eight copies of the first edition, two of which were annotated by Newton himself.
Among the most significant American works of nonfiction, Henry David Thoreau's Walden espoused the virtue of simplicity, posed thoughtful and probing questions about the nature of ethical living, and provided environmental inspiration to the world. The Huntington holds multiple manuscript drafts of this work in Thoreau's hand.