The Beinecke

Audrey Ruan and I spent two days researching at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library. Here are some of our epiphanies. I begin with a picture of the six-story, glass-enclosed center structure with more than 180,000 rare books:

photo by Sarah Higinbotham


Audrey and I bonded over Beowulf, Phillip Sidney, and Shakespeare in 2018.


We studied the Taussig Collection for my research on early modern legal violence, marveled at a worm-eaten book, then I tried to work independently on my own project while Audrey turned to research on the intersections of medicine, pediatrics, and poetry. But I was so fascinated by what she was finding that I kept wandering over to her desk. By the time she was working on the William Carlos Williams papers, I abandoned all pretense of reading sixteenth-century secretary hand and reveled in her discoveries — especially one of Williams’ original prescription pads, on which he outlined a theory of poetry.