Monday, January 17, 2011

A fascinating obituary for E. Gene Smith, "The man who put Tibetan literature back together"

Reading obituaries is seldom fascinating but this rises to that level, especially for anyone who loves books. Published in the Economist this obituary for E. Gene Smith, a librarian and unique book collector, is worth reading.

Gene Smith spent is professional life from the early 1960's until his passing in late 2010 saving Tibetan literature by collecting over 12,000 books scattered in the aftermath of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China. A wise collector, Smith, while employed by the Library of Congress as their "book man" in Tibet, searched far and wide to acquire his collection, secure copies of rare titles and eventually create a digital library now being used by Monks and scholars throughout the world. This is perhaps the most ingenious collector's story I have stubmled upon and a great example of the importance of saving rare books and digitizing them for dissemination. Smith founded the Tibetan Resource Center (site does not work with IE only Firefox, Safari, or Chrome)where you can access digital copies of the rescued works of Tibetan literature.

No comments:

Post a Comment