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Exhibit A: Law Library Blog

Dee J. Kelly Law Library Hosts Bryan Garner’s Taming the Tongue Exhibit

by Professor Malikah Hall on 2022-04-04T08:00:00-05:00 | Comments


The Dee J. Kelly Law Library proudly presents Taming the Tongue In the Heyday of English Grammar (1711-1851), an exhibition from the collection of Bryan A. Garner, on display in the Reading Room and Special Collections Room through May 7, 2022.


A request from a high school teacher to name the parts of speech piqued Bryan A. Garner’s interest in English grammar and uncovered the complexities involved in answering the seemingly unassuming question. Mr. Garner, a noted legal scholar and leading authority on grammar and usage, recounted:

I decided to look further into the question. I went to the college library and consulted all the English grammars I could find. The answer to this simple question—the parts of speech—had wildly varying answers from different grammarians, ranging from 2 to 33. Given my newfound familiarity with grammars, I started acquiring them wherever I could find them in bookshops and library sales. I’d become a collector—and a writer. (Collector’s Statement, Grolier Club Online Exhibitions)


This exhibition, which debuted in March 2021 at New York City’s renowned Grolier Club, details the “scandalous history” of English grammar and showcases Mr. Garner’s efforts to “illuminate the personal struggles that individual writers endure as they wrestle with explaining the complexities of a language that seems intractable. These writer’s idiosyncrasies and eccentricities often surface. . . ."[1]Highlights from Mr. Garner’s collection make these primers of the period come alive in ways that their distinctive authors may have never envisioned.

Portions of the original exhibition are on display along with Mr. Garner’s accompanying catalogue, which details 100 items from his collection. 

The exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. 


[1] Bryan A. GarnerTaming the Tongue : In the Heyday of English Grammar (1711-1851) xix (2021).

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