Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Amazing Surprise

Recently Assistant Library Director Alix Quan and I were in the library vault searching for historic supporting documentation for a recent digitization project. As Alix explored the shelves below where she was working, she found two volumes titled "Resolves and Orders Directing the Treasurer."

Obviously old, she pulled the first volume off of the shelf, only to discover that it covered the years 1787-1789, a period in which John Hancock was Governor. As we thumbed through the pages we realized that many resolves were signed by Governor Hancock, including the one on page 135, pictured at left. These resolves granted the treasurer permission to pay out state funds and each needed to be acknowledged by the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the Governor and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Working in Special Collections I sometimes take for granted the fact that I get to handle and care for so many amazing artifacts of our past, and am often unfazed by anything published after 1730. But standing in the vault holding a book that John Hancock held over 220 years ago, I'm pretty awestruck.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian