A.S.W. Rosenbach was the 20th century's most important dealer of rare books and manuscripts, and his stately former home houses his priceless collection of literature. The catch? Most of it is secreted away, behind glass.
Take the house tour at the top of each hour. Our guide was entertaining and showed us what he could. But in the library upstairs, out of the countless manuscripts by famous authors, the only things on display were a few handwritten pages of Ulysses, written in James Joyce's sloping hand. Don't get me wrong – that's really cool. But it was maddening to watch our guide point out all the super-famous works by super-famous authors, all locked behind glass bookcase doors. It's like going to the Louvre and being told, "Inside that cardboard tube over there is the Mona Lisa."
That's the only reason this place gets 4 stars. I'd love to visit a Rosenbach with much more work on display. But this is not a vast museum. It's just a nice old house. There's only so much space.
There is a room downstairs with rotating exhibitions – when we were there, it was Bram Stoker's notes for Dracula and Mary Shelley's manuscript for Frankenstein, very atmospherically presented. This room alone makes the house a worthwhile destination for literature buffs.
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