Ringling happened to own a German-to-English pocket dictionary, as one of his closest friends was German. I was charmed to find this chubby little book in the midst of so many tall and sophisticated tomes of art and literature. In an archive that is so well preserved and treated with such respect and maturity, this dictionary is a deserved reminder of the humanity behind the art collector. Just because his friend (and probably a fair number if his friends) was German, John Ringling decided to keep this dictionary– whether it was actually used for its purpose or just to represent a goal Ringling hoped he would maybe one day pursue (if he had time– who ever actually learns a language after buying a pocket dictionary?), it only gives further evidence of his character and actions as a human being, not just a rich art collector.
(Another fun thing to note: in the margin of the title page, a blue ball point pen was used at one time to write that the book was to be sold for $5.00. I wonder how the writer would feel if he knew where this book is now?)
– Rachel Ceciro