Today I had the opportunity to visit the current exhibit in the Audubon room of the Hatcher Graduate Library, A History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James. As a bibliophile, I loved seeing the ancient papyrus manuscripts dating back almost to the very beginning of Christianity, as well as the illuminated medieval manuscripts. The history of the Bible is a fascinating microcosm for the evolution of the written word. One of the highlights of the exhibit for me was a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, which was printed in the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type. I also enjoyed seeing the progression of the language in the English Bibles on display from Middle English into Early Modern English in the 15th century. Another interesting piece in the exhibit is a 1611 King James Bible, which had such an impact on the Christian world that it is still considered the standard translation of the Bible by many Protestant churches today. The exhibit will be open everyday until the end of March and is located inside the Library Gallery, which is just off the North Lobby of the Hatcher Library.
Naturalists and artists may also be interested in another codex on display in the Audubon room. It is John James Audubon's famous Double Elephant Folio, Birds of America. It contains hand colored, life sizes engravings of many American birds and is now worth more than $8 million, although when it was purchased new, as the first book in U of M's collection (before the University opened), it cost $970. If you want a closer look at some of the illustrations, check out The Audubon Society baby elephant folio.