Honors student Josh Alkire presents at conference in Washington, D.C.

by   |  04.13.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

Today Dr. Stephenson and I arrived in Washington, D. C. for the Posters on the Hill event sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. After checking into our hotel, I sped off to catch my student field trip to the Folger Shakespeare Library. While the outside of this library is covered in white marble like many other sites in Washington, D. C., the inside is straight out of Tudor England. After a brief look at the timber beams, leaded stained glass, and historic paintings within the great hall and reading rooms, our guide led us into a private room where several of her favorite books from the collection had been carefully set out on wedges of foam. We weren’t allowed to touch the centuries-old editions, but our guide carefully turned the pages to show us illustrations and notes that previous owners had written in the margins.

The oldest book she showed us was a copy of the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle, which is still in its original binding. This illustrated history begins at the beginning of history with God’s creation of the universe and ends at the end with Judgment Day and eternal paradise. Between the sixth and seventh ages of man, it even includes a few blank pages for the history that has not yet been written.

After leafing slowly through the pages, we took a look at an astronomy textbook, a treatise on fireworks, a scholarly edition of Aesop’s fables, and finally, a copy of the 1663 Third Folio of Shakespeare’s works. Although this library is well known for its large collection of 79 copies of the more important First Folio, our guide chose to show us this particular copy of the Third Folio because one of its previous owners had make some saucy British comments in the margins. On the title page, which lauded the inclusion of 7 new plays (6 of which were almost certainly not actually written by Shakespeare), the owner had written, “These are some ways, in some places like a play, but alas! Not Shakespeare.”

After the field trip, Dr. Stephenson and I went to the evening orientation session where we were given tips for conducting our meetings with senators and representatives tomorrow, and I was awarded a certificate for my acceptance to the event. Tomorrow will be a busy day of poster presentations and meetings with congressional representatives.