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Liberty & the American Revolution

on display in the Firestone Library

“Liberty and the American Revolution,” celebrates 50 years of book collecting by Sid Lapidus ’59, as well as the 50th reunion of his class.  The exhibition features 157 important books, pamphlets, and prints exemplary of the major themes of Lapidus’s collecting: the intellectual origins of the American Revolution, the Revolution itself, the early years of the Republic, the spread of democratic ideas in the Atlantic world, and the concomitant effort to abolish the slave trade in both Great Britain and the United States. These items, presented as gifts to the Library on the occasion of the exhibition, were selected from more than 2,500 books in the Lapidus collection because each offers a distinctive voice in telling the story of expanding liberty. The books range in date from the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth. Their authors vary widely: young and old, male and female, black and white, learned and self-taught. Yet, through them all, one can hear these voices returning to themes still very much with us today, such as the characteristics of a just society and respect for the equality of fellow human beings.