White, Blue, And Brimstone: New World Literature And The American
Millennium" Exhibition To Open In U.Va. Library Nov. 19
Nov. 15, 1999 -- How
often have American "prophets" predicted the end of the
world? Puritan preacher Cotton Mather did so in 1697, 1716 and 1736.
Apocalyptic thinker William Miller saw the end coming in 1843 and
again in 1844. More recently, writer Hal Lindsay predicted the end
of the world in 1988. Is the Y2K bug the latest in these predictions
of the end of the world?
White, Blue, and Brimstone: New World Literature and the American
Millennium," an exhibition opening Nov. 19 and running through
April 28 in the McGregor Room of Alderman Library, explores American
views of the apocalypse. Rare books, manuscripts, and engravings
illustrate apocalyptic and millennialist movements in American history.
The exhibition will survey the entire range of national writings
from the 17th century to the present day, including early colonial
sermons and histories of New England, Bibles from the 16th
through 19th centuries, as well as missionary tracts
for indigenous Americans, broadsides from obscure religious cults,
tabloids and popular literature, and tracts from contemporary millennial
apocalypse and the millennium have long been a subject of American
thought, and thus expressed through early writings to present-day
novels, according to Heather Moore, head of public services for
the librarys Special Collections department.
in the exhibition are original sermons and letters from American
theorists and preachers such as Cotton Mather. Mather delivered
fiery sermons on topics of sin and described the end of the world
as a great cataclysmic battle between good and evil.
Eliot "Indian" Bible, one of the earliest pieces on display,
dates back to 1663 and is the first complete Bible printed in America.
John Eliot translated the Old and New Testaments into the language
of Algonquian in hopes of converting the Native Americans so that
they could be reconciled with Christ at the end of time.
Jefferson was familiar with apocalyptic theorists such as Emanuel
Swedenborg, Alexander Smyth, and the Shakers. On display is Jeffersons
own copy of "Notes on the State of Virginia," the only
book he ever wrote and which is said to contain apocalyptic metaphors.
20th century includes its share of millennialist groups
preparing for the end of the world. These views can be seen in items
on display such as the best-selling book, "The Late Great Planet
Earth" by Hal Lindsay, who predicted the world would end in
view the end of the world as seen through American literature and
history. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Special
Collections is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday,
and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
more information about the exhibition, contact Heather Moore at
(804) 924-4966 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Norris, (804) 924-4254