University of Rochester

EVENT: Library Exhibits Highlight the Presidential, the Daring

December 23, 1999

The worlds of presidents and daredevils are reflected in the latest exhibitions at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library on River Campus. The displays, which continue through February 2000, are free and open to the public.

"A Sampling of Presidential Letters and Documents," currently exhibited in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections on the second floor, includes a letter from George Washington written to his future Secretary of War, Henry Knox, explaining why he is unwilling to become the first president of the United States. Other items singled out are a letter written by Abraham Lincoln to his Secretary of State William Henry Seward, and wartime correspondence from Dwight D. Eisenhower to his wife Mamie. Letters from Presidents John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are also featured.

The rare books department is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Dec. 23, 24 and 31.

In the Great Hall of Rush Rhees Library, also on the second floor, an exhibit titled "Desperadoes and Daredevils: Books and Manuscripts by and about the Notorious and Brave" captures the spirit of the infamous and famous. A note written by British doctor William Palmer, who murdered his wife, brother and best friend (and perhaps others) to pay off his gambling debts, can be seen. His trial in 1856 caused a sensation in England. Recently, the case was explored in a Masterpiece Theatre production.

Forgers, rumrunners, and gangsters are some of the other desperadoes traced in the exhibit. Among the daredevils are Sam Patch (who unsuccessfully attempted to jump over Genesee Falls in 1829), explorers Robert Peary and Richard Byrd, and early aviators Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.

This exhibit is open during regular library hours. For a schedule, call 275-7600.

Note to editors/reporters: From now until Jan. 11, library hours vary because of winter recess. After Jan. 12, hours are: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 1 a.m. Sunday.