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Illustration from 15th-century German translation of Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus

On July 10 an exhibition of rare books and manuscripts titled Literae Humaniores in the University of Pennsylvania Library(including a 15th-century German translation of Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus, above, and an 18th-century copy of Cicero’s Cato Major, printed and sold by Benjamin Franklin, below) will open at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and run through October 15. The opening celebration will include remarks by the Hon. Stephen Brauer, the United States Ambassador to Belgium, as well as administrators from Penn’s library system and from Leuven, the oldest university in the Low Countries. It marks the 75th anniversary of the reopening of the Central Library, which had been destroyed in World War I and was rebuilt with contributions from American donors, including Penn.

In 1999 the KU Leuven Library mounted a major exhibition of books and manuscripts at Penn, titled Books in Leuven, Leuven in Books

“In the turmoil of the present, it seems not only fitting but necessary to remind ourselves of the deeper connections between Old World and New and to underscore the common patrimony of both,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, director of the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The Penn Library, he adds, is “proud to be able to share with our European friends and colleagues a selection of books and manuscripts from an institution in which the traditions of Humanism have remained alive and well.”

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