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May 22, 2012

Rare book featured in learning center’s annual gallery reception

LOGANSPORT — To untrained eyes, “A Portrait of Oscar Wilde” looks like a world atlas with a purple cover and a matching box.

But the rare book, currently on loan to The Learning Center south of Logansport, is one of only a few known facsimile editions of a set of Oscar Wilde’s manuscripts and jottings.

It will be the featured piece in an upcoming reception at The Learning Center, along with 25 to 30 other exemplars of rare books.

The June 9 reception will kick off a summer gallery showing titled “Rare, unique and deluxe books: An introduction to book collecting.”

The show will run through July 7. Those interested in attending the show, open during the center’s normal Monday through Saturday hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., should call 574-753-5783 for an appointment and directions to the center.

Besides holding an annual educational event, the center also hosts

10 to 25 students and researchers per week.

“Portrait” is scheduled to remain at the center for six weeks. Then it will go to one location on the West Coast and another on the East Coast before its owner, Pamela Ferland, sells it.

Charles Ferland, Pamela’s husband and fellow book collector from Danielson, Conn., admits the couple won’t keep the book because they “can’t afford to. The insurance will be quite high.”

Neither he nor Sam Combs, director of the educational library and digital archive on the old Anoka Road south of Logansport, would disclose the book’s value.

Despite never having met Combs in person, Charles described him as a trusted friend. The Ferlands have donated rare books to Combs’ learning center in the past, but they weren’t as valuable as this one.

This time, the Ferlands shipped the book to Combs only to discover exactly what it was.

Combs spent about a month doing “provenance” work on “Portrait”

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