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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Magna Carta is Coming!

Magna Carta. London: Robert Redman, 1539
Next year is a remarkable anniversary for Magna Carta, one of the great documents and symbols of individual rights, and the rule of law, in the world. The “Great Charter” turns 800 in 2015, and will be commemorated throughout England, America and beyond, for its enduring witness to traditions of fundamental law and constitutional rights. Great celebrations are already underway in England and here in America at the Library of Congress, which has been loaned the Lincoln Cathedral copy of Magna Carta, one of four surviving originals of King John’s charter.
At the Law Library we will also host a year-long exhibition devoted to the history and influence of Magna Carta, seen through the wonderful rare books collection at the Riesenfeld Center. At the heart of the exhibit will be the Library’s set of fourteen Magna Cartas printed before 1600, including several associated with notable figures – one that inspired and was owned by great abolitionist Granville Sharp, and one produced by the first woman to print books in England, Elizabeth Pickering.

Stay tuned for more: we will blog about Magna Carta during the year and digitize the exhibit as well. In the meantime, here are some resources for events and exhibits in England and the US, including the Library of Congress exhibition. A final story is on a newly (re)discovered, possibly eye-witness account of Magna Carta, which comes to light just in time for the anniversary: 

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections

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