The Athenaeum is not noted for its inclination to radical, left wing politics so the gathering of sixty Proprietors and their guests in the Library might have seemed like the start of a revolution. Instead however they had gathered to listen to a tour de force when Andrew, one of our professional cataloguers held his audience enthralled as he sketched in the situation which led to the collapse of the great power of Tsarist Russia in 1917, and the triumph of the various radical factions who wished to introduce a new order into that vast empire.
He went on to demonstrate how the story could be followed from the collections of the Library and i to help researchers circulated a finely produced leaflet that listed over forty source books that illustrated not only attitudes in 1917 and subsequently, but also how those attitudes changed in the inter-war years.
This initiative came from Andrew himself, strongly supported by Nikki Hubberstey, our archivist , who believed that many Proprietors find it difficult to make use of the wealth of the Library’ collections and are pleased to receive some guidance as to what riches lie on the shelves.
The session in the library was followed by an informal high tea in the Dining Room where the conversation was brisk and food ideal for the occasion.
Thanks to the Library team, to the caterers and to the office staff who helped in the production of the leaflet. The success of the event and the large number attending, indicates that a programme of similar events might prove very successful; the next evening is already being planned!
David Brazendale, Library Chairman.