WILLIAM KURRELMEYER CURATORSHIP OF RARE BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS
Established in 1992 by the estate of Carrie May Kurrelmeyer Zintl in memory of her father

Image Credit: Ferdinand Hamburger Jr. Archives, Johns Hopkins University, Milton S. Eisenhower Library WILLIAM KURRELMEYER, A&S 1896, 1899 (PhD), who joined the Hopkins faculty in 1900 and remained for more than 40 years, molded the German program, and made Hopkins an international center for German scholarship. Dr. Kurrelmeyer's fields of study included the history of aesthetics, lyric poetry, narrative theory, and the periods of Romanticism and the Enlightenment. Much of his scholarship concentrated on the works of Goethe, Kleist, and Nietzsche. A discriminating book collector, he acquired nearly 25,000 volumes, which he eventually donated to the Eisenhower Library.

 

His daughter, CARRIE MAY KURRELMEYER ZINTL, A&S 1929 (PhD), was a scholar of classics and languages. A professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins, she was professor emeritus of German at Loyola College at the time of her death in 1992. In addition to creating the Kurrelmeyer Chair, her estate endowed a fund in her name in the Department of History to support library acquisitions, fellowships, and the William Kurrelmeyer Curatorship of Special Collections in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, since renamed the William Kurrelmeyer Curatorship of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

 

EARLE HAVENS, the William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, is an authority on early books and manuscripts, from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. His scholarly publications and curatorial work focus on the history of the book and their impact upon European culture from the era before Gutenberg, to the printing revolution of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He holds a dual-degree PhD in history and Renaissance studies at Yale University.

As the William Kurrelmeyer Curator in the Sheridan Libraries, Dr. Havens oversees the early rare book and manuscript collections of the Milton S. Eisenhower, the George Peabody Library, and the John Work Garrett Library at the Evergreen Museum and Library. These rare collections span nearly five millennia of human history, from ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian papyri to early maps of the New World, a first folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays, 18th-century Imperial Chinese woodblock prints, and a complete set of Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-38). The latest prized addition to these collections -- a bequest gift from Dr. Elliott Hinkes, A&S ’64, Med ’67, and his wife Eileen -- includes seminal works of scientific discovery ranging from a first edition of Newton’s Principia to original copies of Watson’s and Crick’s original articles outlining the nature and structure of DNA.

Dr. Havens is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins, offering dozens of class sessions to undergraduates and graduate students every semester, each taught directly from these original objects in the libraries’ collections. He and Walter Stephens, the Charles S. Singleton Professor of Italian, are currently leading a graduate seminar entitled, “The Renaissance Dialogue with the Past: Humanism in Europe, 1300-1600,” which convenes weekly around the collection of Renaissance books at Hopkins' magnificent George Peabody Library.

Dr. Havens has curated and co-curated over a dozen major rare book and manuscript exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including “John Adams Unbound,” an exhibit of books with marginal manuscript annotations from the personal library of the second president of the United States. In fall 2011, his latest exhibition, “Eureka! Milestones from the Dr. Elliott and Eileen Hinkes Collection of Rare Books in the History of Scientific Discovery,” was displayed at the George Peabody Library. His most recent scholarly research focuses on international networks of illicit printers, book smugglers, and scribes working within the Roman Catholic dissident underground in sixteenth-century England and Europe.