Celebrating our 2 Millionth Volume Year

Back to Special Collections

Back to Exhibits Page

The Two Millionth Volume and Commemorative Volumes, Spring 2001


In the Spring of 2001, the University Libraries celebrated the acquisition of its Two Millionth Volume, by acquiring a number of significant titles to add to the Libraries' Department of Special Collections. Eleanor Roosevelt's first book, It's Up To the Women, has been chosen as the Libraries' official Two Millionth Volume. When her husband was stricken with polio in 1921, Mrs. Roosevelt became active in the women's division of the New York State Democratic Committee in order to keep his interest in politics alive. In becoming his spokesperson, she discovered her own interest in improving the political and social conditions of the underprivileged. In this, her first book, Mrs. Roosevelt sought to rouse women to political and social action. It embodies the activist spirit which Mrs. Roosevelt brought to the role of First Lady and is significant in the evolution of the role of women in politics. This first edition, in the original dust jacket, is an exciting complement to the research collections in the University Libraries' Archives of Public Affairs and Policy which document New York State public policy issues in the twentieth century.

Six other titles have been purchased by the University Libraries as part of the Year of the Two Millionth Volume. Another book by Eleanor Roosevelt, It Seems To Me, is a 1954 compilation of questions and answers originally published in women's magazines for which Mrs. Roosevelt wrote a monthly column. The material covers twenty-four subjects such as education, women, religion, foreign policy, children, and little-known information about the Roosevelts. Coming from one of the most remarkable women of that period in our history, readers looked to it for guidance, reassurance, and inspiration in their lives. It should be noted that the Complete Presidential Press Conferences of Franklin D. Roosevelt was the title selected as the University Libraries' One Millionth Volume, therefore increasing the suitability of Mrs. Roosevelt's works during this Year of the Two Millionth Volume.

Travels into North America; Containing Its Natural History, and a Circumstantial Account of Its Plantations and Agriculture in General, With the Civil, Ecclesiastical and Commercial State of the Country, the Manners of the Inhabitants, and Several Curious and Important Remarks on Various Subjects, by Peter Kalm, is one of the most important and reliable 18th century accounts of American natural history, social organization and political climate. Kalm was a student of Carl Linnaeus, the Father of Taxonomy, whose system for naming, ranking and classifying organisms is still in use today. Originally published in Swedish in 1753-61, this 1770-71 English first edition describes Peter Kalm's travels throughout the northeastern American colonies as he studied American plants and gathered seeds and plants for Dr. Linnaeus' important work. This three volume set will complement the programs in biology, history, anthropology.

Wade & Croome's Panorama of the Hudson River from New York to Albany is an unusually interesting 1847 black and white strip map designed as a traveler's guide to the Hudson River. Contained within an 11 x 16cm. red cloth volume decorated in gilt, the engraved, pictorial map unfolds to 382 x 16cm., nearly 14 feet long. It shows a view of both shorelines of the Hudson River exactly as they were seen from shipboard in 1844 with many buildings, lighthouses, hills, islands, ships in the river, creek names, boat houses and Revolutionary War chains that spanned the river. It is a unique example of mid-nineteenth century U.S. cartography with the addition of local interest. The map is accompanied by a 38-page descriptive pamphlet.

Anatole Claudin's Histoire de l'Imprimerie en France au Xve et au XVIe Siecle, is an original four-volume edition which was published on the occasion of the Exposition Universelle Internationale in 1900. The work aimed to trace the beginning and development of the art of printing in France during the 15th and 16th centuries. The principal ateliers are discussed, in chronological order, with numerous examples of their publications. The volumes are beautifully printed, with specially designed type and the finest paper, and contain numerous wood and metal cuts, illuminations and reproductions of title pages with colored, decorative initial letters. Claudin died before completing the fourth volume of what was considered by his successor, Paul Lacombe, to be the "most beautiful monument to have been erected to the glory of French typography."

The 1930 Chicago Lakeside Press edition of Herman Melville's Moby Dick, limited to 1000 copies, has a dual significance for the Albany area and New York State. Melville, born in New York City in 1819, frequently visited his mother's family in Albany during vacations, and, after his father moved the family to Albany in 1830, Melville first attended and then taught at local schools. In 1840 he began a series of travels which became the basis of many of his writings. This three-volume folio edition was designed and illustrated by Rockwell Kent. Kent combined his love of painting with years of travel experiences in Maine, Newfoundland, Alaska and Greenland. The 280 images for Moby Dick which he created from first-hand knowledge of the sea are considered to be a masterpiece and a landmark of 20th century book illustration. From 1927 until his death in 1971, Kent lived on a 200-acre farm in Ausable Forks, NY and continued to be a prolific artist and a major figure in the cultural history of the Adirondacks.

Internationally acclaimed kinetic sculptor, George W. Rickey, a resident of East Chatham, NY, relies on gravity, equilibrium, and momentum, but never a motor, to move his exquisitely engineered stainless steel forms. As the author of Constructivism: Origins and Evolution (1967), he followed the development of Constructivism from its Russian origins in 1913, its spread throughout Europe, and through its later manifestations in the United States, providing an understanding of this important twentieth-century art movement. This first edition of Rickey's work contains over 350 illustrations, biographies of established artists and outstanding contemporaries from that period, an exhaustive bibliography on constructivism, and a chronology detailing the movement. Mr. Rickey's sculpture is displayed in public places, museums, and private collections throughout the world.


Annotations by Mary Osielski, Special Collections Librarian
Exhibit by Dorothy Christiansen, Head
HTML by Brian Keough, Curator of Manuscripts
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives, University at Albany, SUNY
Comments to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives Staff

Valid HTML 4.01!