An intriguing item at the University of Leeds library demonstrates that even without our modern, advanced technology, people went to lengths in order to keep their precious books close by. This 17th-century Jacobean traveling library is a beautifully crafted wooden case created to house a miniature book collection. The library, a luxury item, was meant for the personal use of noblemen on the go. (A later example of the same kind of set was Napoleon’s traveling library, housed in an oak case for shipboard and campaign use).
According to the University of Leeds, the case was most likely commissioned by lawyer, and member of Parliament, William Hakewell in 1617 as New Year’s gift for a friend. Shaped in the form of a large book, the case houses 50 smaller books, creating a portable, traveling library. As Stella Butler, university librarian, reminds us, “It’s essentially a 17th-century e-book reader such as a Kindle.”
All images via the University of Leeds library.
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