Regular rotating exhibits highlight different aspects of the Fine Books collection. Cases on the first floor concourse and in the seventh floor hallway are devoted to Fine Books displays, and occasional special exhibitions are mounted in the O’Hara Exhibits Hall. Information about the current exhibition is available on the Texas/Dallas exhibits page.
Declaration of Independence
Through the generosity of a group of Dallas citizens, this pivotal document is on permanent display in the Central Library's Declaration of Independence Room, whose construction was funded by the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Inc. 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
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (often called the First Folio) was printed in 1623. 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
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