Moments in History
The acceptance of Magna Carta by King John in 1215 is a great moment in British history, and its surviving reissues are great historical documents. Such manuscripts record turning points in public and political life.
There are other, more private items that capture the finer details and moods of historical events. Testaments, letters, draft speeches and keepsakes trace changing attitudes and prejudices. Intimate notes, confidential memoranda, poems, and personal possessions describe emotional upheavals in time of war. Field notes trace the early stages of inventions that will eventually change the pattern of everyday life. Tangible and immediate, these survivals come to light infrequently and haphazardly, and grow in significance as the moments they depict recede into history.
Similarly, mass-produced paperback books can be illuminating in ways which could not have been anticipated. Thousands of such books are acquired by the Bodleian year by year, under the terms of copyright deposit.
Printed or manuscript, these books and documents are the time capsules to inspire the students of the future.