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veritas Harvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1324 March 2005

April 4-May 31:
HGSE's Gutman Library Hosts "Growing Up Is Hard to Do"

Fifteen Harvard repositories have loaned photos, drawings, and memorabilia from their special collections for the new exhibition "Growing Up Is Hard to Do," that will be on view at HGSE's Gutman Library from April 4 through May 31. The exhibition, organized by Eva Moseley, the longtime curator of manuscripts at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library, and Marie-HÈlËne Gold, the Schlesinger's former photograph coordinator, documents the trials of growing up.

According to Moseley, the exhibition explores the lives of children "from birth through college. It is more suggestive than comprehensive. Harvard's archival resources, though varied and wide-ranging, do not document every topic, nor every historical period or ethnic group. But they are enormously rich; this display is but a very small sample. The exhibition aims to justify its title, and Yeats's view of the early years. It also aims to show that the trials suffered and inflicted by children and adolescents have long been with us, perhaps for many centuries—though the items shown date almost entirely from the 19th and 20th. To put it another way, juvenile delinquency, teen suicide, and other troubles of youth are not all the result of such recent phenomena as permissive education or the women's liberation movement."

Moseley notes that the exhibition takes its tone from a passage in a Yeats manuscript at Houghton Library ("A Reverie Over Childhood") in which the poet recalls, "One day at dinner my great-uncle William Middleton says, 'we should not make light of the troubles of children . .. .' and I feel grateful for I know that I am very unhappy and have often said to myself, 'when you grow up, never talk as grown-up people do of the happiness of childhood.'"

The exhibition includes roughly five dozen items drawn from the holdings of the Divinity School's Andover–Harvard Theological Library; the Business School's Baker Library; HCL's Fine Arts, Frances Loeb, Harvard-Yenching, and Houghton libraries; Gutman Library's Special Collections; the Harvard University Archives; Harvard Law School Library's Special Collections; Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library; and the FAS-affiliated Peabody Museum Photo Archives and Ukrainian Research Institute Reference Library.

"The hope," Moseley says, "is that this very selective sample will entice those who see it to look further in the repositories whose curators have contributed items."


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