A Visit To A Time Machine
Just back from a trip to New York City, where I used one amazing Time Machine (The New York Public Library Manuscript and Archives) to visit another Time Machine — The world’s first Time Capsule. My father and I have been working for years on a book about the Time Capsule (our second one, actually) and it is very near completion. The problem is that there is always one more archive to visit, one more set of papers to go through. The New York Public Library houses the archives and records of The 1939-1940 World’s Fair. This massive collections houses everything from the design records of the buildings to the arrest records of the rowdier visitors. I found some terrific material there, and it will take my father and I a while to get through it all.
Just by the way, you can also download Biblion: The Boundless Library Launch Issue from NYPL, which is all about the New York World’s Fair — and includes a big section on the Time Capsule.
Every member of the staff at the New York Public Library was cheerful, helpful, and courteous, and made my visit a real pleasure. There is something about sitting down to read a document that might contain the answer to a puzzle you’ve been seeking, that likely has not been examined for decades, that has been waiting patiently just for you, that is a real, if quiet (voices down in the archive room!) thrill.
While in New York, I also paid a visit to the actual Time Capsule itself. Now there is a haunted spot. I stood there and imagined the 1939-1940 Fair and the 1964-1965 Fair taking place right where I was. I visited the second Fair when I was a kid, and went to the Time Capsule exhibit while I was there. I have been there before, but I have studied the Time Capsule so intensely over the years that, this time, I could see those past moments far more clearly. And if that’s not a Time Machine, what is?
All best —