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“John Adams Unbound” traveling exhibition comes to Loutit District Library | Arts & Culture

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“John Adams Unbound” traveling exhibition comes to Loutit District Library
“John Adams Unbound” traveling exhibition comes to Loutit District Library

GRAND HAVEN, Michigan -- John Adams Unbound, a traveling exhibition opening at the Loutit District Library (LDL) on June 27 at 9:00 a.m., explores the personal library of John Adams, a collection of 3,500 books willed by Adams to the people of Massachusetts and deposited in the Boston Public Library in 1894. This remarkable collection of books provides first-hand insight into how John Adams shaped American history and how he was shaped through his lifelong dedication to reading and books.

"We are pleased to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said John Martin, director of LDL. "John Adams’s dedication to self-education and intellectual reflection will be an inspiration to our library’s customers and to our community."

Adams’s engagement with books was active and argumentative, as evidenced by the meticulous and personal commentary he crammed into the margins of the works he read. Seeing the numerous notations in his own hand is like listening in on his personal conversations with writers such as Cicero, William Blackstone, Thomas Paine, and others across oceans and across centuries. As Adams the lawyer prepares in 1770 to defend British soldiers on trial after the Boston Massacre, for example, he references Cicero’s views on self defense contained in Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

Through photo-reproductions of many of Adams’s books, as well as personal objects, graphics, maps and portraits, exhibition viewers will witness one of our founding fathers wrestling with intellectual and political ideas at every stage in his long life – as a boy, university student, Boston lawyer, revolutionary, diplomat, President and citizen of the early American republic. The exhibition is also an extraordinary case study in the power of reading, which reveals the role of books and libraries in the health and prosperity of a democracy.

The John Adams Unbound traveling exhibition was organized by the Boston Public Library and the America Library Association and made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based upon the gallery exhibition of the same name mounted by the Boston Public Library in 2006, the first public display of Adams’s complete 3,500-book collection.  

The library is sponsoring thirteen free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition. Contact 616-842-5560, ext. 214 or visit www.loutitlibrary.org for more information. "

Loutit District Library is located at 407 Columbus Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan. The library serves 35,510 residents from the City of Grand Haven, the City of Ferrysburg, Grand Haven Charter Township, Robinson Township and that part of Port Sheldon Township in the Grand Haven Area Public Schools District. For more information, visit www.loutitlibrary.org.