University of Rochester

EVENT: Exhibit Traces Development of Robin Hood as a Popular Hero

September 19, 2006

A collection of contemporary and earlier memorabilia illustrating the Robin Hood legend is on display through Jan. 10, 2007, in the Rossell Hope Robbins Library in Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester's River Campus.

"Robin Hood: Development of a Popular Hero" includes books, comics, films, toys, and other objects in a rough history of the impressive breadth of the outlaw's appearances in literary and popular culture. Robin's debut in literature—which does not depict him in a heroic light—is dated back to 1377 but few strictly medieval documents featuring Robin survive. The more popular legend of Robin Hood, one that is known by most children today, portrays Robin as a noble outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

The exhibit displays about 50 items from the private collections of Adjunct Curator of the Rossell Hope Robbins Library Alan Lupack and Professor of English Thomas Hahn. The five display cases represent different stages in Robin Hood's development. The first case houses a map depicting some locations associated with Robin and two authentic texts from the 18th and 19th centuries and serves as an introduction to Robin Hood. The last case features objects like Robin Hood-themed toys and gadgets and is labeled "Robin Hood Everywhere."

The remaining cases show Robin Hood's impact on the performing arts, including films ranging from 1957's The Adventures of Robin Hood to Walt Disney's 1973 animated movie Robin Hood and John Irvin's 1991 film of the same title. Also, a number of plays, operas, and songs throughout history have featured the outlaw. On display is the score of Reginald DeKoven's opera Robin Hood, or, Maid Marion: A Comic Opera in Three Acts. The popular work, composed in 1890, dominated the American stage through 1944.

The "Robin Hood: Development of a Popular Hero" exhibit is free and open to the public. The Robbins Library is located on the fourth floor of Rush Rhees Library. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The library will be closed Dec. 23, 2006, through Jan. 1, 2007. For more information, contact the Robbins Library at (585) 275-0110.