Happy New Year, Addenda, and News about the Blog

Thank you to everyone who has read, linked to, or reported on the blog and wishing you all the best for 2017.

The idea for this blog originated several years ago when I first returned to Cambridge to take up my position as librarian for the Robbins Library of Philosophy at Harvard. In fact, the blog’s initial post was something that had been rattling around in my head from the day, nearly 4 years ago, that I walked into the Harvard Book Store and discovered how diminished the philosophy section had become in the years since I had last entered the store. When I finally got around to sitting down and writing that post, the sentences and ideas emerged largely fully-formed. Rereading it, however, I feel compelled to add that although philosophy may be literally losing ground at the Harvard Book Store, it luxuriates amply a few blocks away at Raven Used Books. The owner of that store has a very good eye for philosophical titles and has had the good fortune of acquiring some impressive personal libraries, including some books from the office of one of our emeritus professors. If you are ever in Cambridge, I urge you to check them out (note: I receive nothing for promoting them other than the personal satisfaction of helping a store I love).

But to return to my original point: the idea for the blog has been with me for a while, so I have a backlog of things that I plan to write about in the coming year. I hope that you will find them, at minimum, diverting, and I welcome feedback on what you like or don’t like about the blog. In the coming weeks, you can expect to see posts on, for example, the last known writing of Josiah Royce; sketches and snark by George Santayana; C.S. Peirce’s annotations to his 1730 copy of Pierre Bayle’s Dictionnaire Historique et Critique; the role of archives and material artifacts in the promotion and debunking of the myth of the inscription on Emerson Hall; Pascal’s death mask; and much more. I am also excited to announce that one of my philosophical heroes, Stanley Cavell, has graciously allowed me to write about some marginalia contained in his personal library. Stay tuned!