Massachusetts Historical Society


Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America


Denise Gigante

This is a hybrid event. FREE for MHS Members. $10 per person fee (in person). No charge for virtual attendees or Card to Culture participants (EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare).The in-person reception starts at 5:30 and the program will begin at 6:00.

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Charles Lamb’s library—sixty scruffy old books singed with smoke, stripped of illustrations, and bescribbled by the essayist and his literary friends—caused a sensation when it sold in New York in 1848. The transatlantic book world watched as the relics of a man revered as the patron saint of book collectors were dispersed. In Book Madness, Denise Gigante follows those books through the stories of the bibliophiles who shaped intellectual life in America, and brings to life a lost world of letters at a time when Americans were busy assembling the country’s major public, university, and society libraries. Her story includes "The Literary Leather Dresser," as the bibliophile Thomas Dowse was known, and her talk will reveal the story behind The Dowse Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Hybrid Event

The in-person reception starts at 5:30 and the program will begin at 6:00.

Masks are optional for this program.

The virtual program begins at 6:00 PM and will be hosted on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive a confirmation message with attendance information.

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