The Laurel Chain Tradition at Mount Holyoke College

I just returned from my daughter’s graduation from Mount Holyoke College. Mary Lyon founded the college in 1837 to promote female scholarship. Emily Dickinson studied there for a time. In the Laurel Chain tradition, the alumnae and graduating class process in a parade to Mary Lyon’s grave. The seniors carry a chain of Mountain Laurel and wrap it around the iron fence which surrounds the grave. It is a a sight to behold. Truly beautiful and terribly moving…

Books and the Inevitable Decay

bodleianseldongallery
Presumably - the place readers can no longer go. Sigh.

In spite of all my ramblings about BUYING books, I do enjoy libraries. Apparently one of the more well know libraries in the world, The Bodleian, is in danger of crumbling:

And as I take steps into the past I’ve never taken before, I now find there are steps from the past I’ll never be able to take again. Specifically the steps on the ladders in the Bodleian. Which are now, it was reported at the weekend, too dangerous to scale under health and safety regulations.”

Mr. Gove does make the safety crew seem a bit draconian. Surely they will move the books downstairs? Or, send special baskets up to professional balcony dwellers to send back down like Emily Dickinson did out of  her bedroom window? They DO seem to have a plan. I was so horrified by Mr. Gove’s suggestion that the books were permanently off limits, I had to check – here is a link to the new “scheme” – I love that – scheme. It feels like a plot. Perfect for a library.

Anyway – ultimately, he makes the perfect point,

“One of the joys of reading English Literature is that you need not go to the Bod to commune with Jane Austen. You just need to pop by Oxfam and you can get Pride and Prejudice for less than the price of a jar of instant coffee.”

So true.