Shell collecting comes naturally to most Floridians. The state is blessed with an abundance of strikingly beautiful specimens that are all too easily accessible and available to those who visit any of its hundreds of miles of white sandy beaches. Most people are casual collectors; they are usually satisfied with acquiring a few uncommon shells that end up on coffee tables or in glass containers on desks or tables.

Wayne Harland, on the other hand, is a man possessed; not only with shells but also with shell books. He is a native of the District of Columbia and holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He and his wife, Donna, are avid scuba divers and have travelled all over the world indulging their respective hobbies of shell collecting and underwater photography.

In a relatively short period of time, the Harlands have amassed a collection of antiquarian seashell books few individuals are able to consult and view outside of the rare book libraries of museums and research institutions. The oldest volume in the collection dates from 1684, but the real focus is on 18th and 19th century titles containing hand-colored plates.

The Bienes Center is pleased to have the opportunity to exhibit these rare and exquisite books and shells. Thanks and appreciation are extended to Wayne Harland for all of the hard work involved in selecting the exhibited titles and for his advice on proper shell installation techniques and equipment. Special thanks also go to Margaret Bing for her help in researching and mounting the exhibition and to Earl Chesler for his helpful suggestions and comments.

James A. Findlay
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts

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