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Indiana University Bloomington

Exhibitions & Events: Current exhibitions

It is the role of the Lilly Library to stimulate the intellectual curiosity of both the dedicated researcher and the casual visitor. In order to achieve this, the Library promotes a wide range of activities including exhibitions and special events such as poetry readings, musical performances and receptions, as well as lectures, tours, and class presentations.

View this information on the main IU Libraries website.

Main Gallery

Sam Loyd: Puzzle King
October 12, 2015 - December 20, 2015

In the world of mathematical and logic puzzles, the greatest and most ingenious inventor of all time -- and the one with the most lasting influence -- is Sam Loyd. Born on January 30, 1841, in Philadelphia, Loyd showed an early aptitude for designing chess problems. By his late teens he was recognized as one of the most brilliant creators of chess problems in the country.

Loyd's career in puzzles proper started around 1868, when he invented the classic Trick Donkeys. This consisted of a card cut into three pieces -- two of them with donkeys and a third piece with a pair of jockeys. The object was to place the jockeys on the donkeys so the jockeys appear to be riding. The puzzle looks maddeningly simple, but almost no one ever does it without seeing the solution. The puzzle was printed in the form of a trade card, an early form of advertising, and distributed by the millions. It is said to have made Loyd wealthy.

The Trick Donkeys was succeeded by the Pony Puzzle, the Puzzled Neighbors, the Historical Puzzle, the Wonderful 31 Game, and scores of others, many of them printed by Loyd himself in a print shop he ran behind his home in Elizabeth, N.J.

In the 1890s, as trade cards declined as an advertising medium and mass-circulation newspapers and magazines appeared, Loyd turned his attention to print media. His original puzzles were published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York Journal, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Record-Herald, and dozens of other publications across the country. His most widely-read column ran monthly in the Woman’s Home Companion from 1904 until his death in 1911.

In this exhibition, "Sam Loyd: Puzzle King," we show the breadth of Loyd's career, from his early chess work and advertising puzzle cards to his later publications in newspapers and magazines. All serve as prime examples of American (and human) ingenuity.

The exhibition features numerous items on loan from the collection of Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Editor and IU alum. The Lilly Library will host a public lecture by Will Shortz, follwed by a reception, on Thursday, November 5, 5:30 PM. Also on display in the Lilly Library Slocum Puzzle Room is an exhibition on other puzzles of the nineteenth century.

Curator: Andrew Rhoda

Lincoln Room

Max Eastman's Century: A Lilly Library Themester Exhibition
September 9 - November 21, 2015

The Max Eastman collection, comprising more than 80 boxes and counting, is one of the most significant holdings in the Lilly Library. It is also one of the most frequently consulted ones. Max Eastman (1883-1969) was one of the most powerful and influential political activists and writers of the first half of the twentieth century. Since Eastman’s influence extended far beyond national boundaries—his brother-in-law was Nicolai Krylenko, Chief of the Red Army and Stalin's prosecutor, as well as the creator of Soviet chess—the collection offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand radical networks and in the first half of the twentieth century and beyond. The exhibition will feature items from Eastman’s extensive correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, journals, iconic issues of The Masses and The Liberator, as well as artifacts related to his equally influential sister, Crystal Eastman (1821-1928), a lawyer and activist in her own right and the initiator of the first Workers' Compensation Law in the United States.

Curator: Christoph Irmscher

Slocum Puzzle Room

Rational Amusements: Nineteenth-Century Puzzles
October 12, 2015 - December 20, 2015

During the nineteenth century, people began to find themselves with more leisure time, and puzzles were one way that they entertained themselves and also exercised their intellects. This exhibition features the different types of amusements that were available during this time period. Learn more about the items in this exhibition on the Lilly Library blog.

Curator: Andrew Rhoda

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Last updated: 23 November 2015

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