Summer Reading is a series that asks Haverford’s librarians and library staff for book recommendations that will enlighten, entertain, and educate you during this vacation season. Take these titles to the beach, on a plane, or just enjoy them indoors with the fan on.
This week: Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts & Head of Quaker and Special Collections Sarah Horowitz suggests three books, highlighting the importance of archives and a historical record.
First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory by Gary Nash:
A study not only of Philadelphia history, but also how Philadelphia has preserved and commemorated its own history. As well as an excellent way to learn more about the city Haverford is associated with, it’s also an important look at why we remember and memorialize certain aspects of our history rather than others.
Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America by Peter Silver:
A fascinating historical study about Native American and colonial relations, and how that shaped the early U.S., particularly Pennsylvania. Silver argues that it was partly through setting themselves against Native Americans that colonists came to see themselves part of a single group, rather than simply an ethnic or religious affiliation. As a bonus, part of the research Silver did was in manuscripts held in Quaker and Special Collections.
Possession by A.S. Byatt:
A fantastic novel about poetry, literature, whether we can ever know the whole story of the past, and the importance of documents and archives in that regard. The writing is lyrical and beautiful, and the story is presented in a variety of forms, from traditional narrative to newly-discovered letters and manuscripts.
Photo by Patrick Montero.