Puzzle enthusiast and author Jerry Slocum has donated his immense puzzle collection to IU’s Lilly Library. The collection includes more than 30,000 mechanical puzzles and nearly 4,000 puzzle-related books.
Beginning Wednesday, 400 pieces from the donated puzzle collection, including hands-on examples, will be on display in a newly refurbished area of the Lilly Library that will be named the Jerry Slocum Puzzle Room, said Jillian Hinchliffe, Lilly Library curatorial assistant.
Visitors to the Lilly Library will be able to test their wits by trying to reassemble or disentangle replicas of puzzles that have entertained for centuries, according to a press release.
Mechanical puzzles are hand-held objects that must be manipulated to achieve a specific goal, such as a Rubik’s cube or a Tangram. The puzzles soon to be on display will be mostly put-together, take-apart and interlocking puzzles.
“Slocum, who developed a mechanical puzzle classification system adopted worldwide, identifies 10 types of mechanical puzzles, ranging from put-together puzzles to dexterity and disentanglement puzzles,” according to a press release. See also Classification of Puzzles.
In the days before the exhibit opens to the public, the Lilly Library will be hosting a conference to celebrate the gift, Hinchliffe said. IU alumnus Will Shortz is slated to speak at an invitation-only reception expected to attract more than 100 puzzle enthusiasts from around the world. Shortz is the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, NPR Puzzlemaster and served as inspiration for the recent documentary “Wordplay”. See also previous post about the great Wordplay contest.
Slocum began solving and collecting mechanical puzzles during his early childhood. His collection is now considered the largest in the world. He is the author of several puzzle books, including 1986’s award-winning “Puzzles Old and New” and 1996’s best-selling “The Puzzle Arcade.” In 2002, Slocum was curator of the “Puzzles using Mathematics” exhibit at IU.
Slocum is also president of the Slocum Puzzle Foundation, an organization that aims to educate the public about the history, development and use of puzzles in cultures throughout the world. The Foundation also supports educational use of puzzles.
“This gift culminates a long relationship with Jerry Slocum, and we are honored he chose the Indiana University Libraries to house and display his collection,” said Pat Steele, interim dean of University Libraries, in a press release. “The collection is an excellent resource for teaching and learning, in part because it’s so engaging. The more challenging and complex the puzzles, the more they fascinate and instruct.”
Via idsnews. Happy Puzzling!