The Lloyd Library and Museum proudly announces a new online exhibit.
The Magic and Myth of Alchemy (http://www.lloydlibrary.org/exhibits/alchemy/index.html) was created in honor of the International Year of Chemistry, an event celebrated by chemists and chemistry associations throughout 2011. While the Lloyd does not hold the most ancient treatises from Asia or the Middle East, the Lloyd holds a wealth of materials from the Early Modern and later periods, along with translations and later editions of some of the earlier volumes. A quick search in the Lloyd's online catalog yields approximately 140 titles pertaining to that topic in some fashion, dating from 1544 to 2010. The collection includes the works of Paracelsus, Maier, Glauber, Hermes Trismegistus, and that alchemist made even more famous through a mention in the Harry Potter (tm) series, Nicholas Flamel.
The alchemical works have been used for a variety of reasons, from the inspiration for creating artwork to study by university students pursuing the topic academically. But, you might ask yourself, why would a primarily medicinal botany library have such a sizeable collection of
alchemical volumes? First, the collection is not only eclectic, but also consists of many topics related to natural science and its history,including chemistry. Another reason for the alchemical resources relates directly back to the library's founders and their many
interests. John Uri Lloyd, in particular, did a great deal of chemical research, taught chemistry, and invented his own cold still. His interest in chemistry and alchemy even extended to his fiction. The first novel John Uri Lloyd wrote, Etidorhpa, included references to alchemical themes; and, upon examining many of these resources, one can find notes written by him in the margins of several indicating his use of these books while writing that novel.