Pequot Library hosts rare books exhibition

RareBooksPhillis-WheatleyPequot Library continues to share its rare and historic books with the community in its next exhibition from their Special Collections, Pages from Pequot: Connections — Black Poets & Writers American Visionaries 1700s — Present. The exhibition runs through April 12. These events are free and open to the public.

First selectman Michael Tetreau kicks off the exhibition with a guest appearance as an honorary page turner Friday, Feb. 20, at 10:45 a.m. The public is invited to enjoy a private tour of the exhibition and see the historic books up close and personal. Join First Selectman Tetreau and your neighbors for Coffee & Croissant Donuts. “Page Turnings & Poetry Readings” will be held on three additional Fridays at 10:45, with guest page turners to be announced: March 6; March 20; and April 10.

Connections: Black Poets & Writers showcases poetry and prose by 11 American visionaries. This exhibition makes connections between the past and the present, the reader and the material on display, and the writers themselves. Collectively, through centuries, these writers explore themes of freedom, identity, Christianity, appreciation of God, nature, autonomy, injustice, color, love, race, and voice.

1773_signed_by_phillis_wheaThe oldest item in this exhibition is Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773, signed by the author, Phillis Wheatley. Wheatley was the first African-American female published poet. She was born in modern day Senegal or Gambia. At eight years old, she was brought on a slave ship to Boston, where John and Susanna Wheatley purchased her. The Wheatleys, a progressive family, quickly appreciated Phillis’ intelligence and curiosity for learning, and educated her in theology, Latin, and Greek. Phillis was inspired by Greek and Latin poetry, philosophers, and 18th century English poets. In 1773 Phillis Wheatley published her first and only book of poetry. It is in its original binding-medium brown sheep hair over paste boards and letter-pressed text with frontispiece engraving printed in black ink on medium-weight cream laid paper. Other authors include Jupiter Hammon, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Countee Cullen, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Also on exhibit are signed first editions on loan by Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Langston Hughes. Included is material on loan by local libraries, university libraries, and Llew Almeida, plus related work by local students Annabel Barry and Elizabeth Van Winkle. There will be a Wine & Cheese Reception on Saturday, March 14, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. It will feature an evening of poetry including an exhibition tour, “Page Turnings” of historic books, and a poetry reading.

Visit to learn more about this vibrant library, educational, arts and cultural institution. All classes and programs are open to everyone. For information, call 203-259-0346, ext. 15. Follow Pequot Library on Facebook and Twitter. Pequot Library Brings Culture to Life!

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