UNC-Chapel Hill Celebrates Rooms of Wonder

Peggy Myers, Director of Library Development; Florence Fearrington, UNC-Chapel Hill alumna; Sarah Michalak, Associate Provost and University Librarian

On January 9th, enthusiastic Chapel Hill alumni and friends met  at the Grolier Club in New York City to enjoy the marvelous exhibition Rooms of Wonder: From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599-1899. Curated by our gracious hostess for the evening, Florence Fearrington (UNC A.B. 1958), the show is a wondrous assemblage of books that document the cabinets of curiosities formed mainly by Europeans, as well as their descendant phenomena, which include the first natural history museums in Europe and the U.S.A.


Cuneiform tablets from the Rare Book Collection’s Cabinet of Curiosities

De rigueur for every cabinet of curiosities were a crocodile and a mummy, although cabinets might also include minerals and gems, shells, relics, tools, or other man-made objects. The UNC Rare Book Collection has a “Curiosities Cabinet,” which includes representative non-codex examples in the history of the book, such as these cuneiform tablets.

The show, which continues through February 2, has received much favorable notice in the book world and the press, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.


Young UNC alumni now resident in N.Y.C. enjoyed the exhibition immensely and bore witness to Chapel Hill’s bibliophilic spirit in their new hometown. It was a grand night, and we are grateful to alumna and collector Florence Fearrington for making it all possible.