2007年10月31日 星期三

“Sweetie,” she said, “every day is Halloween in the Castro.”

2007年9月9日 星期日


Are Books Passé? Web Giants Envision the Next Chapter
Two new offerings this fall — including an electronic book reader from Amazon.com — will test if consumers are ready to leave the paper book behind.

We're asking some leading specialists in Six Sigma, Lean and Op Ex to comment on the recent Business Week article that concluded Six Sigma was passe and "wrong" for innovation-based companies (which would, of course, include pharma).

PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Phonetic PhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhoneticPhonetic Hide phonetics
adjective DISAPPROVING過ぎ去った過去
no longer fashionable:
Wines from that region were quite popular for a while, but now they're rather passé.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

Gay Enclaves Face Prospect of Being Passé

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

These are wrenching times for San Francisco’s historic gay village and others like it across the nation.

Published: October 30, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 24 — This Halloween, the Glindas, gladiators and harem boys of the Castro — along with untold numbers who plan to dress up as Senator Larry E. Craig, this year’s camp celebrity — will be celebrating behind closed doors. The city’s most popular Halloween party, in America’s largest gay neighborhood, is canceled.

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Changes in the Number of Same-Sex Unmarried Partners in the 50 Largest American Cities (From Dr. Gary J. Gates of U.C.L.A.)

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Halloween revelers in 2006. This year, San Francisco's most popular Halloween party, in America’s largest gay neighborhood, is canceled.

The once-exuberant street party, a symbol of sexual liberation since 1979 has in recent years become a Nightmare on Castro Street, drawing as many as 200,000 people, many of them costumeless outsiders, and there has been talk of moving it outside the district because of increasing violence. Last year, nine people were wounded when a gunman opened fire at the celebration.

For many in the Castro District, the cancellation is a blow that strikes at the heart of neighborhood identity, and it has brought soul-searching that goes beyond concerns about crime.

These are wrenching times for San Francisco’s historic gay village, with population shifts, booming development, and a waning sense of belonging that is also being felt in gay enclaves across the nation, from Key West, Fla., to West Hollywood, as they struggle to maintain cultural relevance in the face of gentrification.

There has been a notable shift of gravity from the Castro, with young gay men and lesbians fanning out into less-expensive neighborhoods like Mission Dolores and the Outer Sunset, and farther away to Marin and Alameda Counties, “mirroring national trends where you are seeing same-sex couples becoming less urban, even as the population become slightly more urban,” said Gary J. Gates, a demographer and senior research fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.

At the same time, cities not widely considered gay meccas have seen a sharp increase in same-sex couples. Among them: Fort Worth; El Paso; Albuquerque; Louisville, Ky.; and Virginia Beach, according to census figures and extrapolations by Dr. Gates for The New York Times. “Twenty years ago, if you were gay and lived in rural Kansas, you went to San Francisco or New York,” he said. “Now you can just go to Kansas City.”

In the Castro, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society held public meetings earlier this year to grapple with such questions as “Are Gay Neighborhoods Worth Saving?”

With nine major developments planned for Market Street, including a splashy 113-unit condominium designed by Arquitectonica, anxiety about the future is swirling. Median home prices hover around $870,000. Local institutions like Cliff’s Variety, a hardware store selling feathered boas (year-round) are not about to vanish from this storied homeland of the gay rights movement. But the prospect of half-million-dollar condos inhabited by many straight people underscores a demographic shift.

“The Castro, and to a lesser extent the West Village, was where you went to express yourself,” said Don F. Reuter, a New York author who is researching a book on the rise and fall of gay neighborhoods, or “gayborhoods.”

“Claiming physical territory was a powerful act,” Mr. Reuter said. “But the gay neighborhood is becoming a past-tense idea.”

In the Castro, the influx of baby strollers — some being pushed by straight parents, some by gay parents — is perhaps the most blatant sign of change. “The Castro has gone from a gay-ghetto mentality to a family mentality,” said Wes Freas, a broker with Zephyr Real Estate. The arrival of a Pottery Barn down the street from the birthplaces of the AIDS quilt and the Rainbow Flag is a nod to change.

Sakura Ferris, a 28-year-old mother of a toddler, moved to the Castro because she liked its new eclecticism. At the Eureka Valley Recreation Center, a parent hot spot rife with Froggie pull-toys, Ms. Ferris’s tot mingles with infants in onesies that read, “I Love My Daddies.”

The Castro remains a top tourist destination for gay and lesbian visitors. But Joe D’Alessandro, president and C.E.O. of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and a gay parent who lives in the Castro, predicted that eventually the neighborhood would go the way of North Beach, “still a historic Italian neighborhood though Italians don’t necessarily live there anymore.”

The Castro became a center for gay liberation in the late 1960s and early 1970s in a declining Irish Catholic and Scandinavian neighborhood. At its helm was Harvey Milk, the first openly gay city supervisor in San Francisco whose slaying in 1978 by a disgruntled former supervisor, Dan White, galvanized the community and set off riots when White was convicted of manslaughter instead of murder.

Decimated during the AIDS epidemic of 1990-1995, the neighborhood rebounded in the boom economy of the late 1990s. But the social forces that gave rise to the Castro and other gay neighborhoods like the West Village and West Hollywood may be becoming passé.

While the state’s Eighth Congressional District, which includes the Castro, saw an increase of about 20 percent in the number of same-sex couples from 2002 to 2006, surrounding districts had a 38 percent increase in same-sex couples, according to Dr. Gates.

In West Hollywood, another traditional gay haven, the graying of the population and the high cost of real estate have resulted in once-gay watering holes like the Spike and the I Candy Lounge going hetero. A new kind of gentrification is under way in which young gay waiters and school teachers move instead to Hollywood and other surrounding neighborhoods. “We often clamored for equality where gay and straight could coexist,” said Mayor John Duran of West Hollywood, who is gay. “But we weren’t prepared to give up our subculture to negotiate that exchange.”

While the Castro has been the center of a movement, it is also home to “an important political constituency,” said Elizabeth A. Armstrong, an associate sociology professor at Indiana University and the author of “Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco 1950-1994”

“When people were angry about Dan White they were able to assemble quickly, spilling out of the bars,” Professor Armstrong said. “Physical location mattered.”

The Castro still has the city’s largest progressive Democratic organization, the Harvey Milk Club. A survey of registered voters earlier this year by David Binder, a San Francisco political analyst, found that 33 percent of the Eighth District identified themselves as gay or lesbian, compared with 13 percent citywide.

The Castro’s activist legacy continues to exert a strong emotional pull: the corner of 18th and Castro Streets, where Harvey Milk; Diana, Princess of Wales; and Matthew Shepard were mourned and where gay marriage was fleetingly celebrated, is for many a mythic homeland.

Amanda Rankin, a 40-year-old tourist from Hamilton, Ontario, was taking a “Cruisin’ the Castro” walking tour with three lesbian friends the other day.

“In America there still seems to be a lot of sexual repression left over from Puritanism and the pilgrims,” Ms. Rankin said. “Then there’s San Francisco.”

But its legacy has not prevented the neighborhood from harsh urban realities. As San Francisco real estate skyrocketed in the 1990s, the Castro had the city’s highest concentration of evictions, as speculators “flipped” buildings, many of them housing people with disabilities and AIDS, to convert to market-rate apartments, said Brian Basinger, the founder of the AIDS Housing Alliance.

Even before Halloween, the Castro was grappling with violence and crime. Allegations of racial profiling at the Badlands, the neighborhood’s most popular bar, led to a widespread boycott in 2005 and intervention by the city’s Human Rights Commission.

The highly publicized rape of a man in the Castro in September 2006 led to the formation of Castro on Patrol, a whistle-wielding citizens’ street brigade. In that attack, Mark Welch was raped five blocks from a store he managed on Castro Street. He said in that he later learned there had been two previous similar rapes in the neighborhood, but that had not been widely reported.

He said it took months for it to surface on a sex-crimes Web site maintained by the authorities. There are signs that the dispersing of gay people beyond the Castro vortex and the rise of the Internet are also contributing to a declining sense of community. An annual survey by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Community Initiative indicated that in 2007 only 36 percent of men under 29 said there was a gay community in the city with which they could identify.

Doug Sebesta, the group’s executive director and a medical sociologist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said, “I’ve had therapists who have told me they are asking their clients to go back to bars as a way of social interaction.”

The Internet is not a replacement for a neighborhood where people are involved in issues beyond themselves, said John Newsome, an African-American who co-founded the group And Castro For All after the Badlands incident. “There are a lot of really lonely gay people sitting in front of a computer,” he said.

Which is why the cancellation of the Halloween party by the city has provoked such a sense of loss. Many residents say that their night has been taken away. “It’s proof that whatever sense of safety we have is incredibly tenuous, “ Mr. Newsome said.

The city is shutting down public transportation to the Castro on Halloween and has begun a Web site, homeforhalloween.com, that lists “fun” alternatives, including a Halloween blood drive and a “Monster Bash” — in San Mateo.

On a recent Saturday, Sister Roma, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an activist coterie of drag queens, sashayed down Castro Street in heavy eye shadow and a gold lamé top. Though she looked well prepared for Halloween, she said she planned to be in hiding that night.

She wasn’t feeling too deprived, however.

“Sweetie,” she said, “every day is Halloween in the Castro.”

2007年10月30日 星期二

Why They Called It the Manhattan Project

Why They Called It the Manhattan Project

Librado Romero/The New York Times

The Pupin Physics Laboratories at Columbia housed the early atom experiments. A plaque there proclaims it a Registered National Historic Landmark, but there is no mention of ties to the bomb.

Published: October 30, 2007

By nature, code names and cover stories are meant to give no indication of the secrets concealed. “Magic” was the name for intelligence gleaned from Japanese ciphers in World War II, and “Overlord” stood for the Allied plan to invade Europe.

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Proud in a Vague Sort of Way (October 30, 2007)

From the Archives (October 29, 2007)

Officials in 1945 at the test site in New Mexico.


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Many people assume that the same holds true for the Manhattan Project, in which thousands of experts gathered in the mountains of New Mexico to make the world’s first atom bomb.

Robert S. Norris, a historian of the atomic age, wants to shatter that myth.

In “The Manhattan Project” (Black Dog & Leventhal), published last month, Dr. Norris writes about the Manhattan Project’s Manhattan locations. He says the borough had at least 10 sites, all but one still standing. They include warehouses that held uranium, laboratories that split the atom, and the project’s first headquarters — a skyscraper hidden in plain sight right across from City Hall.

“It was supersecret,” Dr. Norris said in an interview. “At least 5,000 people were coming and going to work, knowing only enough to get the job done.”

Manhattan was central, according to Dr. Norris, because it had everything: lots of military units, piers for the import of precious ores, top physicists who had fled Europe and ranks of workers eager to aid the war effort. It even had spies who managed to steal some of the project’s top secrets.

“The story is so rich,” Dr. Norris enthused. “There’s layer upon layer of good stuff, interesting characters.”

Still, more than six decades after the project’s start, the Manhattan side of the atom bomb story seems to be a well-preserved secret.

Dr. Norris recently visited Manhattan at the request of The New York Times for a daylong tour of the Manhattan Project’s roots. Only one site he visited displayed a public sign noting its role in the epochal events. And most people who encountered his entourage, which included a photographer and videographer, knew little or nothing of the atomic labors in Manhattan.

“That’s amazing,” Alexandra Ghitelman said after learning that the buildings she had just passed on inline skates once held tons of uranium destined for atomic weapons. “That’s unbelievable.”

While shock tended to be the main reaction, some people hinted at feelings of pride. More than one person said they knew someone who had worked on the secret project, which formally got under way in August 1942 and three years later culminated in the atomic bombing of Japan. In all, it employed more than 130,000 people.

Dr. Norris is also the author of “Racing for the Bomb” (Steerforth, 2002), a biography of Gen. Leslie R. Groves, the project’s military leader. As his protagonist had done during the war, Dr. Norris works in Washington. At the Natural Resources Defense Council, he studies and writes about the nation’s atomic facilities.

Dr. Norris began his day of exploration by taking the train to New York from Washington, coming into Pennsylvania Station just as General Groves had done dozens of times during the war to visit project sites.

“Groves didn’t want the job,” Dr. Norris remarked outside the station. “But his foot hit the accelerator and he didn’t let up for 1,000 days.”

For tour assistance, Dr. Norris brought along his own books as well as printouts from “The Traveler’s Guide to Nuclear Weapons,” a CD by James M. Maroncelli and Timothy L. Karpin that features little-known history of the nation’s atom endeavors.

We headed north to the childhood home of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the eccentric genius whom General Groves hired to run the project’s scientific side as well as its sprawling New Mexico laboratory. Last year, a biography of Oppenheimer, “American Prometheus” (Knopf, 2005), won the Pulitzer Prize.

“One of the most famous scientists of the 20th century,” Dr. Norris noted, got his start “walking these streets” and attending the nearby Ethical Culture School.

Oppenheimer and his parents lived at 155 Riverside Drive, an elegant apartment building at West 88th Street. The superintendent, Joe Gugulski, said the family lived on the 11th floor, overlooking the Hudson River.

“One of my tenants read the book,” Mr. Gugulski told us. “So I looked it up.” To his knowledge, Mr. Gugulski added, no other atomic tourists had visited the building.

The Oppenheimers decorated their apartment with original artwork by Picasso, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and Cézanne, according to “American Prometheus.” His mother encouraged young Robert to paint.

By the late 1930s and early 1940s, blocks away at Columbia University, scientists were laboring to split the atom and release its titanic energies. We made our way across campus — with difficulty because of protests over the visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, which is widely suspected of harboring its own bomb program.

Dr. Norris noted that the Manhattan Project led to “many of our problems today.”

The Pupin Physics Laboratories housed the early atom experiments, Dr. Norris said. But the tall building, topped by observatory domes, has no plaque in its foyer describing its nuclear ties.

Passing students and pedestrians answered “no” and “kind of” when asked if they knew of the atom breakthroughs at Pupin Hall. Dr. Norris said the Manhattan Project, at its peak, employed 700 people at Columbia. At one point, the football team was recruited to move tons of uranium. That work, he said, eventually led to the world’s first nuclear reactor.

After lunch, we headed to West 20th Street just off the West Side Highway. The block, on the fringe of Chelsea, bristled with new galleries, and Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. On its north side, three tall buildings once made up the Baker and Williams Warehouses, which held tons of uranium.

Two women taking a cigarette break said they had no idea of their building’s atomic past. “It’s horrible,” said one.

Dr. Norris’s “Traveler’s Guide” fact sheet said the federal government in the late 1980s and early 1990s cleaned the buildings of residual uranium. Workers removed more than a dozen drums of radioactive waste, according to the Department of Energy in Washington. “Radiological surveys show that the site now meets applicable requirements for unrestricted use,” a federal document said in 1995.

We moved to Manhattan’s southern tip and worked our way up Broadway along the route known as the Canyon of Heroes, the scene of many ticker-tape parades amid the skyscrapers.

At 25 Broadway, we visited a minor but important site — the Cunard Building. Edgar Sengier, a Belgian with an office here, had his company mine about 1,200 tons of high-grade uranium ore and store it on Staten Island in the shadow of the Bayonne Bridge. Though a civilian, he knew of the atomic possibilities and feared the invading Germans might confiscate his mines.

Dr. Norris said General Groves, on his first day in charge, sent an assistant to buy all that uranium for a dollar a pound — or $2.5 million. “The Manhattan Project was off to a flying start,” he said, adding that the Belgian entrepreneur in time supplied two-thirds of all the project’s uranium.

We walked past St. Paul’s Chapel and proceeded to the soaring grandeur of the Woolworth Building, once the world’s tallest, at 233 Broadway.

A major site, it housed a front company that devised one of the project’s main ways of concentrating uranium’s rare isotope — a secret of bomb making. On the 11th, 12th and 14th floors, the company drew on the nation’s scientific best and brightest, including teams from Columbia.

Dr. Norris said the front company’s 3,700 employees included Klaus Fuchs, a Soviet spy. “He was a substantial physicist in his own right,” Dr. Norris said. “He contributed to the American atom bomb, the Soviet atom bomb and the British atom bomb.”

So how did the Manhattan Project get its name, and why was Manhattan chosen as its first headquarters?

Dr. Norris said the answer lay at our next stop, 270 Broadway. There, at Chambers Street, on the southwest corner, we found a nondescript building overlooking City Hall Park.

It was here, Dr. Norris said, that the Army Corps of Engineers had its North Atlantic Division, which built ports and airfields. When the Corps got the responsibility of making the atom bomb, it put the headquarters in the same building, on the 18th floor.

“That way he didn’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Dr. Norris said of General Groves. “He used what he had at his fingertips — the entire Corps of Engineers infrastructure.”

Dr. Norris added that the Corps at that time included “extraordinary people, the best and brightest of West Point.”

In time, the office at 270 Broadway ran not only atom research and materials acquisition but also the building of whole nuclear cities in Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington State.

The first proposed name for the project, Dr. Norris said, was the Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials. But General Groves feared that would draw undo attention.

Instead, General Groves called for the bureaucratically dull approach of adopting the standard Corps procedure for naming new regional organizations. That method simply noted the unit’s geographical area, as in the Pittsburgh Engineer District.

So the top-secret endeavor to build the atom bomb got the most boring of cover names: the Manhattan Engineer District, in time shortened to the Manhattan Project. Unlike other Corps districts, however, it had no territorial limits. “He was nuts about not attracting attention,” Dr. Norris said.

Manhattan’s role shrank as secretive outposts for the endeavor sprouted across the country and quickly grew into major enterprises. By the late summer of 1943, little more than a year after its establishment, the headquarters of the Manhattan Project moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Despite this dispersal, Dr. Norris said, scientists and businesses in Manhattan, including The New York Times, continued to aid the atomic project.

In April 1945, General Groves traveled to the newspaper’s offices on West 43rd Street. He asked that a science writer, William L. Laurence, be allowed to go on leave to report on a major wartime story involving science.

As early as 1940, before wartime secrecy, Mr. Laurence had reported on the atomic breakthroughs at Pupin Hall.

Now, Dr. Norris said, Mr. Laurence went to work for the Manhattan Project and became the only reporter to witness the Trinity test in the New Mexican desert in July 1945, and, shortly thereafter, the nuclear bombing of Japan.

The atomic age, Mr. Laurence wrote in the first article of a series, began in the New Mexico desert before dawn in a burst of flame that illuminated “earth and sky for a brief span that seemed eternal.”

In Manhattan, the one location that has memorialized its atomic connection had nothing to do with making or witnessing the bomb, but rather with managing to survive its fury.

The spot is on Riverside Drive between 105th and 106th Streets. There, in a residential neighborhood, in front of the New York Buddhist Church, is a tall statue of a Japanese Buddhist monk, Shinran Shonin, who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries. In peasant hat and sandals, holding a wooden staff, the saint peers down on the sidewalk.

The statue survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, standing a little more than a mile from ground zero. It was brought to New York in 1955. The plaque calls the statue “a testimonial to the atomic bomb devastation and a symbol of lasting hope for world peace.”

The statue stands a few blocks from Columbia University, where much of the bomb program began.

“I wonder how many New Yorkers know about it,” Dr. Norris said of the statue, “and know the history.”

2007年10月21日 星期日


中文翻譯因為音符可以有意義 所以有如 "美利堅" (可能是日本先如此翻) "義大利" "英吉利"等多為美言


━━ n. ハンガリー.


 ━━ a., n. ハンガリーの; ハンガリー人[語](の).



葛洛夫Grove 在二○○一年出版了《橫渡生命湖 Swimming Across》這本少年時代的回憶錄, 讓 許多人大感驚訝。他逐漸放手不管英特爾的日常營運之後,終於有時間訴說自己早年從出生至二十歲時逃到美國的經過,敘述了匈牙利的葛洛夫(原名Andras Istvan Grof)如何變成美國人(後改名Andrew Stephen Grove)。

他自力更生的奮鬥歷程,繼富蘭克林之後,成為美國人的典範。只是《橫渡生命湖》雖然解答了許多問題,卻也提出了更多的問題。不過至少有一件 事可以確定:葛洛夫自一九五六年逃離匈牙利後,至今還沒有回去過,而且永遠不會回去。



Anna Amalia Library Reopens

literature | 19.10.2007

Germany's Historic Anna Amalia Library Reopens After Fire

The restoration of Germany's Dutchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar has been completed three years after it was damaged by fire. The library, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reopens to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The 2004 blaze destroyed 37 paintings and 50,000 books, all of them hundreds of years old. It also revived Germany's trauma over the loss of irreplaceable archives and libraries to bombs during World War II.

The fire was caused by an electrical malfunction.

When the library reopens Wednesday, it will have 60,000 of its original volumes, said director Michael Knoche. Thousands more are still being repaired. Restoration work is expected to continue until 2015.

Goethe's literary treasures

Book with singed edgesBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Fire destroyed 50,000 historic books

The restoration has cost 12.8 million euros ($18.2 million) as workers have painstakingly restored not only the books, but the building itself, including the library's famous Rococo room. The reading room is a lofty gilded gallery with busts of poets, paintings and bookcases set against white walls.

"It has always been more than just a library," said Hellmut Seemann, head of the foundation managing the library, saying visitors regarded it as a shrine to German classicism.

A man on a ladder puts books on a shelfBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: An impressive collection

Built in 1691, the library specializes in German literature between 1750 and 1850 and houses some one million books, including many rare first-editions and the largest collection of Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Goethe, one of Germany's best-known authors, worked as a librarian at the Anna Amalia.

Weimar, a city about 250 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Berlin in the eastern German state of Thuringia, is the region's cultural center. It also served as the backdrop for the German republic, which was declared there in 1919.

Saving history

A woman reads in a book in the restored 16th century rococo-style palaceBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: German classical culture lives on in the library

On the day of the fire, as flames licked at the library's roof, people formed a human chain to save as many books as possible. They salvaged some 6,000 historical works, including a 1543 Martin Luther.

Since then, some 22,000 German firms and people donated funds to repair the Anna Amalia, or to pay to repair books or buy replacements. Library staff estimates that two of every three of the lost books can be bought from other collections or in auctions.

People stand in the library's main reading roomBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A UNESCO world heritage site

"It was the worst library fire in Germany since the War," said Jens Goebel, culture minister of Thuringia, at the start of a week of celebrations to mark the opening.

The official reopening will be presided over by German President Horst Köhler.

DW staff (th)

Wikipedia on Duchess Anna Amalia Library

The Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, Thuringia, Germany houses a major collection of German literature and historical documents. The library contains:

The reading room
The reading room
  • 1,000,000 books
  • 2,000 medieval and early modern manuscripts
  • 600 ancestral registers
  • 10,000 maps
  • 4,000 musical scripts

The research library today has approximately 850,000 volumes with collection emphasis on the German literature. Among its special collections is an important Shakespeare collection of approximately 10,000 volumes, as well as a 16th century Bible connected to Martin Luther.


The Duchess Anna Amalia Library is named for Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who arranged in 1766 for the courtly (hoefische) book collection to be moved into the library.

The main building is the Green Castle (Grünes Schloss), Anna's residence, which had been built between 1562 and 1565. The dowager Duchess had the building converted into a library in 1761. The Duchess, seeking a tutor for her son Duke Carl August, hired Christoph Martin Wieland, an important poet and noted translator of William Shakespeare. Wieland's Shakespeare volumes formed the core of the collection. From an architectural standpoint, the library is world famous for its oval Rococo hall featuring a portrait of Grand Duke Carl August.

Work on the Extension, June 2002
Work on the Extension, June 2002

One of the library's most famous patrons was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who worked there from 1797 to 1832. The library also includes the world's largest Faust collection. The Duchess's significant 13,000-volume music collection is also available in the library.

In World War II, most of the collection was housed elsewhere to preserve them from Allied bombing.

Today, the library is a public research library for literature and art history. The main focus is German literature from the Classical and the late Romantic eras.

Modern extension

In 2001, construction began on a new multiple-floor facility to house some 1,000,000 books under the "Plaza of Democracy" (Platz der Demokratie) between the Music University and the Red and Yellow Castle. In its pre-renovation state, the building had structural flaws which endangered many valuable books and the special collections.

The new development is estimated to cost €24 million and has an area of 6,300 m². The area is divided into upper and lower floors. The new building would connect the historical library building with the user areas of the reconstructed Red and Yellow Castle. The grand opening of the new complex is slated for February 2005.

The Library burning
The Library burning

Fire of 2004

The damage next morning
The damage next morning

Part of the collection was burned in a fire on September 2, 2004, which destroyed 30,000 irreplaceable volumes, with another 20,000 severely damaged. However, some 6,000 historical works were saved, including the 1534 Lutheran Bible and a collection of Alexander von Humboldt's papers, by being passed hand-over-hand out of the building. Some other books are being freeze-dried in Leipzig to save them from rotting as a result of water damage. The fire came as a particular tragedy, in part because the collection was scheduled to move to another site in late October, a little more than a month from when the tragic fire struck. In June 2005, it was announced that manuscripts that were out of the building at the time of the fire, and thus saved, included a hitherto undiscovered 1713 aria by Johann Sebastian Bach titled "Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn".

External links

Coordinates: 50°58′43″N, 11°19′56″E