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Library Business Is Not as Usual

December 13, 1985

The day Miv Schaaf's column appeared, my telephone started to ring before 7 a.m. ("Oh, to Be in London During the Year 1600," about the Francis Bacon Library, Nov. 20).

The phone was ringing as I unlocked the library door. I spent most of the day on the phone, specifying the exact nature of the materials on exhibit and their extent; describing the library and its holdings; verifying the hours, dates and public nature of the exhibit; answering questions on Elizabethan London, on English history, on "why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings"; giving directions to Claremont from Malibu, Torrance and Thousand Oaks. I had to promise a Mr. Ben Bacon to put him in touch with other Bacon descendants in Southern California. The rest of my time was spent in answering questions and undertaking small research projects (including one on a Transylvanian Countess Redey who might have married an English prince in the 16th, or was it the 17th, Century) for visitors from Palm Desert, Irvine, Redondo Beach, England and Hungary.

At 4 p.m. there were so many people in the rare book room that our trustees had to hold their bimonthly meeting in the workroom. At 5:30, an hour after closing, we finally shooed everyone out, and after a shot of Laphroig, walked out on the ringing phone.

When I got home, the phone was ringing. All my friends and acquaintances, and all of their sisters and their cousins and their aunts, called to congratulate me. I swallowed approximately three mouthfuls of cold stew and lukewarm salad between calls. Some of these people I had not heard from in months. My best friend of 21 years asked for my autograph. At 9:30 I unplugged the phone.

Seriously, we are all extremely grateful for what you have done for the library. Schaaf's column was absolutely wonderful, and the entire staff, the board of trustees and all the people who have come or called agree with me. You have done much more than drastically increase attendance at this one exhibit. You have really helped to raise our profile in the community, to make Southern California aware of the resource it has in the Bacon Library.

JACQUELINE BELLOWS

Claremont

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