Historic pieces on display in library’s Special Collections

Cassandra Beck

Manuscripts and books by Charles Darwin and illustrations by two Ohio natural scientists are on display at the University Library’s Special Collections and Archives.

“The Nature of Natural Science” collection includes Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Science,” considered the most influential scientific works of the 19th century. Soon after printing began, a typo was discovered, so the press had to be stopped and the typo was fixed. Kent’s copy was printed before the error was caught, making it a very rare first edition.

The exhibit also includes illustrations from two amateur artists from Ohio, George J. Streator and Raymond C. Rush. Both Streator and Rush’s works have been published in various amateur and professional scientific journals.

“These materials on exhibit are from our own collection here at Kent State,” said Kathleen Siebert Medicus, Special Collections cataloger.

Generally, Special Collections and Archives has two large exhibits per year in addition to smaller ones throughout the year. The library has a sample display of the current exhibit in a case on the first floor to attract people up to the 12th floor.

“Kent State has a relatively long history of this,” Medicus said of the collections. “There was a rare and special collection in the old library in Rockwell Hall in the 1940s. Our department also includes the University Archives, which documents the history of Kent State University.”

Medicus said it is important to inform people about what is available here on campus because it can be critical to student success and development as scholars and researchers.

The only cost to the University Library was designing and printing posters, flyers, exhibit labels and hosting a lecture and reception. Assistant history professor Matthew Crawford will lecture at 4 p.m. April 4 in Room 1018. He will discuss early scientific books and the exhibit itself.

The collection is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 1 – 5 p.m.

Contact Cassandra Beck at [email protected].