Generations of Books: A Tasmanian Family Library, 1816-1994
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Woolmers Estate, near the town of Longford in northern Tasmania, was the home of the original Tasmanian branch of the Archer family whose head, Thomas, first settled there in 1816. It was occupied, in turn, by six generations of Thomas Archers, the last of whom died in 1994 without issue. During that 180-year period, a library of some one thousand books accumulated, and these were dispersed throughout the house, giving the appearance of an "endogenous" family library, embodying a process of civilized cultural dialogue across the generations. Closer inspection of the books suggests, however, that the library is a more complicated "exogenous" entity than this, assembled in part from the remains of another family library, perhaps to produce an effect of dynastic cultural distinction in the last two Archer generations.
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