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The Wall Street Journal celebrates Rosenbach Museum & Library

The Wall Street Journal highlights the Rosenbach Library & Museum, an amazing private collection of books and manuscripts located on a gorgeous, out-of-the-way street near Rittenhouse Square. Gems include the manuscript of James Joyce's Ulysses, early editions of Chaucer and a huge collection Maurice Sendak's paintings, illustrations and editions (including original drawings of Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen).

To handle scholarly materials, the Rosenbach requires not the usual white gloves demanded by other libraries but a good old-fashioned hand-washing (latex can do more damage to delicate paper than clean, oil-free hands). I couldn't resist asking to see and touch one piece that stopped my heart and brought tears to my professorial eyes. It was the manuscript whose purchase got A.S.W. Rosenbach started on the final, and greatest, chapter of his buying career. In London in 1885 Sotheby's had sold at auction the manuscripts of six letters of John Keats. Oscar Wilde, enraged by the salacious intermingling of art and commerce, wrote a protest sonnet. Thirty-five years later, at Manhattan's Anderson Galleries, Rosenbach bought the poet's penultimate letter to Fanny Brawne, his fiancée, dated July 5, 1820, before his departure for Italy, where he died of tuberculosis seven months later. The great poet was also a typical, temperamental 24-year-old young man who, finding his girlfriend flirting with his roommate, wrote to her with envy, jealousy, rage and sadness, "I will resent my heart having been made a football."
Original Source: The Wall Street Journal
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