Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Have a Humor Collection . . . T H I S . . . B I G !!!

The San Francisco Public Library, Special Collections Department, sent me two catalogs of the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor for Christmas! 

"More than any other time in history, this age of ours is fraught with tensions and threats of peril, but there is still one human characteristic that continues to stabilize our emotions and lessen our fears. That precious quality is our sense of humor..."  William R. Holman, City Librarian, Catalog Introduction (1962). 

Lin Yutang (1895 - 1976), Chinese writer and inventor, said about men and ideas that "only he who handles his ideas lightly is a master of his ideas, and only he who is master of ideas is not enslaved by them." 

The Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor is housed in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the San Francisco Public Library. There you will encounter over 20,000  volumes and 160 periodical titles, in addition to rarities such as the Facetiae of Poggio, Joe Miller joke books, and my favorite, the works of Nasreddin Hoca

The Schmulowitz Collection houses a historical treasure trove of true human thinking. When people are joking, more truth in how they perceive the world comes out. While there have been a number of ill-bred jokesters throughout history, in this collection you'll encounter the sheer brilliance behind the greatest of all human inventions - our sense of humor. 

Here's what the experts had to say:

"A great book. But what do I know?" 

"This book got me out of my cave." 

"An excellent book! Well, relatively." 
Albert Einstein

"It made me chuckle." 
Mona Lisa

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