The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.
Billie Holiday, American jazz singer and songwriter, died 54 years ago this week on July 17, 1959. Her career included performances with Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Artie Shaw. Her most famous recordings include “Strange Fruit,” “Gloomy Sunday,” and “Lover Man.” Despite her successes, Holiday’s life was unfortunately marked by drug addiction, drinking, and abusive relationships. The above prescription for Ritonic, an experimental drug marketed to patients “who are losing their drive, alertness, vitality, and zest for living,” was found among the materials in the Billie Holiday Collection. Holiday died from liver and heart disease 5 months after receiving the prescription.