Friday, 31 January 2014

American Art

 Browsing through the American items in the Official Publications Collection, I am amazed at how many wonderful art books are held in this collection, although the book “The Charters of Freedom “A New World is at Hand”” is not from the obvious galleries such as the National Gallery of Art or the Smithsonian Institute, it is a lovely book with beautiful pictures in it. 
This book is based on an exhibition in the National Archives Rotund for the Charters of Freedom, the exhibition opened on September 17, 2003.
But what are the Charters of Freedom? They are the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, these have guaranteed the rights and freedom of Americans for over 200 years.
The book gives glimpses of the story on how the Charters were created, plus the course of history in the United States and around the world.  The Declaration was announced to the world on July 4, 1776, and stated that the thirteen British colonies in North America were leaving Great Britain to form a separate nation, ”the Declaration articulates the highest ideals of the Revolution, beliefs in liberty, equality, and the right to self-determination.”  The Constitution drafted in 1787 was the practical scheme of the government to promote the welfare of all its citizens and the Bill of Rights in 1791 went on to explicitly protect the freedom of speech, of the press, of religion and of assembly among many other freedoms.
The book is full of wonderful pictures and snippets of information about these three documents.  I particularly love the pictures of the two murals that grace the curved walls of the Rotunda.
You can find the book at shelfmark F1/SE.4/220