Slavery & the Making of Early American Libraries – July 23

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Sean Moore, Ph.D.

Slavery and the Making of the American Library

Tuesday, July 23 7 PM

Little Compton Community Center

The Commons

Free & Open to the Public

Hear Professor Sean Moore speak about his extensive research into the many connections between slavery, philanthropy, and the founding of American libraries in his talk entitled “Slavery and the Making of the American LibraryEarly American Libraries: Bristish Literature, Political Thought, and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 1731 – 1814.”

Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries explores how libraries in colonial America stood at the nexus of two transatlantic trades: the book trade and the slave trade. Books were hand-made by craftsmen in this period and were therefore very expensive, meaning that those Americans made wealthy by slavery and related enterprises like sugar, rum, and shipbuilding were some of the few who could afford books imported from England. They pooled their money in founding pre-public “proprietary subscription libraries” where one would have to buy a share in a library in order to borrow a book, and those shares were so expensive that clergy and other good people could not afford them and could only be made “honorary members.” Much of Dr. Moore’s research focuses on the Redwood Library and Athenaeum of Newport.

Following the talk Dr. Moore will be signing copies of his new book by the same title. Sean Moore is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and an award-winning author. He has family ties to Little Compton and is a frequent visitor here. This event is co-sponsored by the Little Compton Historical Society and the Brownell Library. It is free and open to the public. No reservations required. Doors open at 6:30. There will be a free-will donation jar at the door.

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