February 1
April 21


The World of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Complimentary exhibit buttons! 

This exhibit explores the scientific and literary environment in which Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first conceived and written. Begun 200 years ago in 1816, and revised several times during Shelley’s lifetime, Frankenstein reflects contemporary developments in the natural sciences and in literary views of the natural world. At the same time, it raises piercing questions about what it means to be human when the “unnatural” also becomes possible. Illustrating these themes are rare works from Schaffer Library’s Special Collections as well as early scientific instruments from the Union College Permanent Collection.

Exhibit Acknowledgements

Mary Shelley's Bio

Exhibit Intro

Exhibit Panels

The essential – and sensational – struggle between Victor Frankenstein and his “unnatural” Creature remains at the core of most of these adaptations. But less familiar are many of the era-specific debates and opportunities that inform Frankenstein’s experiment and his Creature’s development, as Shelley first imagined them. 

Selected images from the exhibition: 

Closing Reception:

April 15th @ 12:55 to 1:45 p.m.

Andrew Burkett will be giving a talk and refreshments will be served in the Lally Reading Room! Click here for full event information. 


When you visit the exhibit in the Lally Reading room (Available while supplies last).

Exhibit Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement for their support of this exhibit is made to the staff of Schaffer Library and its Special Collections and Archives, the Union College Permanent Collection, and the Union College Department of Chemistry. Additional thanks are extended to the following individuals for their particular contributions: Andrew Burkett (concept); Jennifer Goodwin (graphic design); Kristin Fox, India Spartz, Marlaine DesChamps, Emily Pastore, Julie Lohnes, and Sarah Mottalini (collections and logistical support); Frank Rapant and Rebecca Fried (digital reproduction and printing); Frances Maloy (financial support). With sincere gratitude – Annette LeClair, Curator.