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|The Declaration of Independence. (7th floor) Thomas Jefferson American, (1743-1826) July 4, 1776||
Through the generosity of The Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Inc., this pivotal document is on permanent display in the Declaration of Independence Room of the Central Library. It is one of about 25 extant broadside copies printed at John Dunlap's print shop in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. The Declaration grew out of long-standing grievances that the North American colonists held against Great Britain.
In June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to compose the
proclamation. Thomas Jefferson drafted the text, which the committee then edited.
A limited number of copies were then printed for distribution. Dallas is privileged
to have the only copy in the western United States and one of only a few that are
in good condition. It is sometimes referred to as the "lost copy" since it
was re-discovered in 1968 during the closing of Leary's Book Store in Philadelphia,
where it may have languished in storage for more than 100 years.
|Shakespeare's First Folio (7th floor) William Shakespeare English, (1564-1616) 1623 Gift of the Dallas Shakespeare Club||
Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies was printed in 1623. It is frequently referred to as the "First Folio" due to the type and size of the volume. This important work marks the first complete printing of Shakespeare's plays and was donated to the library by the Dallas Shakespeare Club in 1986. The generous gift, commemorating the club's centenary, also provided for a special room to be created for housing and public display of the volume. It is one of 250 copies remaining of the 1,200 first editions printed following Shakespeare's death.
These plays were never printed during the author's lifetime, since it was
felt that access to printed copies might reduce the number of people who would
pay to see them performed. However, following his death, John Hemenge and Henry
Condell became concerned when some plays began to be published in corrupted
versions while others seemed in danger of being lost completely. These gentlemen,
who were members of his acting company and co-investors in the Globe Theater,
relied mainly on promptbook scripts and their own intimate knowledge of the
work to compile this first, definitive collection of all 36 plays.
|The McDermott Collection of Navajo Blankets (8th floor) Created between about 1870 and 1895 Gift of the McDermott Foundation in memory of Eugene McDermott.||
This collection of 24 blankets demonstrates the remarkable diversity of the 240-year-old art of Navajo hand-woven textiles. Produced for both personal use and trade, nearly every major example of this art is represented in the library's collection: a third Phase Chiefs blanket, a Moki serape, Eye-dazzler, Terraced, and Slave blankets, Germantown saddle throws, and children's blankets. The variety of dramatic patterns-bold, geometric, and linear-appeals to 20th Century sensibility. The hand spun yarns, vegetable-dyed colors, and brightly hued aniline dyes yield infinitely varied textures and incredibly rich, yet subtle, colors, which are impossible to achieve in mechanically produced textiles.
|Textured Screen (1st floor Concourse) Harry Bertoia American, (1915-1978) 1955 Brass, copper and nickel.||
The monumental screen gracefully spans the entrance to the Library, featuring a rhythmic interplay of textured metal components in which positive and negative space playoff one another. Set in a webbed framework of vertical bars, the varied shapes jut in different directions, giving the appearance of fluttering movement. The screen typifies Bertoia's light and lacy, yet geometric, sculptural style. He was a prolific artist known for his incorporation of sound with sculpture. Born in 1915 in San Lorenzo, Udine, Italy, Bertoia immigrated to the United States where he studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He died in1978 and was buried on his farm in Barto, Pennsylvania.
|Square Forms with Circles (1st floor Concourse) Barbara Hepworth British, (1903-1975) Undated Bronze Gift of Lillian Clark.||
This piece is composed of five squares superimposed onto a rectangular supporting column. The mottled, rough texture of the blue-green bronze not only reminds us of the colors of nature but also relieves the harshness of the square forms. Neither static nor monotonous, this piece has extraordinary rhythm and life, and it is one of Hepworth's most successful attempts to blend the forces of nature and art. Hepworth was a key figure in the study and development of abstract art in Britain. She won the Grand Prix in the 1959 Sao Paulo Biennial and became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1965, a testament to the respect and acceptance of her peers. Hepworth's work is included in prominent collections throughout the world.
Star Quartets, I-IV (2nd floor landing) Robert Rauschenberg
American, (1925- )
Serigraphs on mirror-coated Plexiglas.
Gift of Mrs. James D. Heldt
The Star Quarters represents the heavens viewed during the four seasons. The imagination of the artist juxtaposes quasi-astronomical imagery with contemporary commercial and journalistic images. Panel I features Pisces, the fish; Aries, the ram; Cygnus, the swan; Pegasus, the winged horse; Centaurus, the mythological half-horse, half-man. Panel II shows Scorpius, the scorpion and Draco, the dragon (portrayed as an alligator). Panel III features Cancer, the crab; Leo, the lion; and Gemini, the twins (portrayed by Diane Arbus' famous photograph of twins). Panel IV shows Taurus, the bull (portrayed in this panel by a bison).
The 20th Century images include astronauts, a motorcyclist, a technological measuring device, a newsprint photograph of the young Mohammed Ali, and a photograph of an Edward Weston-like nude. Bridging the gap between the ancient science of astronomy and the modern age are things of nature found throughout time: a corn stalk, a bee, a turtle, dogs, and snakes. Both the brightly colored and the black images, composed in a rhythmic zigzag movement from left to right, are silk-screened on both sides of mirror-coated Plexiglas, thus incorporating the viewer's reflected image to create a multi-dimensional collage. Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and ranks among the major figures of 20th Century art.
Scene on the Brazos (7th floor)
Charles Franklin "Frank" Reaugh
Oil on canvas
Gift of the artist
The "Dean of Texas Artists," Frank Reaugh (pronounced "ray"), came to Texas with his parents in 1876. As his family made the trek from Jacksonville, Illinois to Terrell, Texas, Reaugh passed the time by sketching the sights. While formally trained at St. Louis School of Fine Arts and Academie Julian in Paris, Reaugh found his artistic expression through the landscapes and animals of the Southwest-especially the Texas longhorn. Thus, the "Painter of the Longhorn" was born.
Reaugh was a firm believer in making art available for public viewing. Shortly after he settled in Oak Cliff in 1890, he worked with civic and cultural leaders to create forums for the 13 public display of art. When the Carnegie Library was built in 1901, Reaugh thought this institution made a perfect venue for public art. He convinced library officials to create an Art Room in the new public library. The Art Room was to display works from various artists in a variety of media, with the expressed purpose of making art accessible and free to the public. He started the art collection by donating his painting, Scene on the Brazos.
|Manderley doll house (2nd floor) Julius Richard Guest American, (d. 1984) Undated Gift of Charlene Guest of Dollhouse Museum of the Southwest, (now American Museum of Miniature Arts)||
Julius Richard Guest painstakingly designed and handcrafted this wooden dollhouse expressly for his wife. The house measures over 5-1/2 feet in length and is 3 feet tall. Eleven large rooms make up the three-story design. Special features include a drawing room, music room, billiard room, and library. The kitchen has an old-fashioned sink, Roper range, GE refrigerator, and May tag washing machine, each an exact replica of the original. The doll house was a gift of Charlene Guest through the Dollhouse Museum of the Southwest, known today as the American Museum of Miniature Arts, which has most of its collection on display at the Hall of State at Fair Park.
|Viking Ship Drakkar (2nd floor) Undated Gift of Texas Instruments, Inc. in memory of J. Erik Jonsson||
Known for their fearsome appearance as "dragon boats," Drakkar boats were powered by oarsmen and could swiftly deliver as many as several hundred warriors to a battlefield along the coast or riverbank. In the last days of the Viking Age, three hundred of these longships were in the Viking fleet. The average length of a Drakkar was about 100 feet. The longship was very sturdy but flexible enough to withstand the waves of stormy seas and light enough to be dragged overland between lakes or rivers. Drakkars are often pictured with shields hanging from the gunwales.
The shields protected the warriors against arrows and spears during sea battles. There were sleeping quarters below decks. This hand-crafted, scale model of the 8th Century vessel was donated by Texas Instruments, Inc., and reflects the Scandinavian roots of the Library's namesake, J. Erik Jonsson, who was one of the company's founders and in whose memory the item was donated.
San Ildefonso Pueblo ceramic pot with serpent design (8th floor) Maria Martinez
Native American (1884-1980)
c. 1924-34 Clay and slip
Gift of Margaret Scruggs Caruth
Created by the most famous of the 20th Century potters at New Mexico's San Ildefonso Pueblo, this item represents the black-on-black style of pottery coveted by collectors today. The matte and highly polished decorated surfaces are achieved by polishing the unfired pot to a high sheen, then painting on the designs with the same clay. During firing, the pot oxidizes to a glossy finish with matte designs. Maria Martinez's excellent craftsmanship was recognized early in her career, when a trader encouraged her to sign her pieces, a practice unique at that time.