About Our tools of learning : George Arthur Plimpton's Gifts to Columbia University

George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936) was a publisher, author, and book collector, born in Walpole, Massachusetts. He assembled a remarkable collection of manuscripts and books illuminating the history of education. Describing his sixty years of collecting in the preface to his first book, The Education of Shakespeare, Plimpton wrote: "It has been my privilege to get together the manuscripts and books which are more or less responsible for our present civilization, because they are the books from which the youth of many centuries have received their education." The collection was given to Columbia in 1936. Drawn exclusively from the Plimpton Collection, the exhibition includes manuscripts and books from medieval times through the early 20th century, including many of the manuscripts and books that were used to illustrate Plimpton's The Education of Shakespeare and The Education of Chaucer, and David Eugene Smith's Rara Arithmetica. Additional sections of the exhibition deal with handwriting and education for women, two of Plimpton's particular interests.

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