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Two Timely Treasures


What does a ballot from the first post-apartheid election in South Africa have in common with the first Russian-language edition of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital? For starters, they are both in NYPL’s collection of rare items—and each celebrates an important anniversary this week.

May 5th is the birthday of Karl Marx, who would have turned a whopping 195 this year. And on May 10th, 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa, having received the most votes in the country’s first truly democratic election.

These two historic items were placed side by side in NYPL’s “Celebrating 100 Years” exhibition in 2011. Watch this video to hear Thomas Mellins, curator of the centennial exhibition, reveal even more connections and illuminating facts about these treasures.

Das Kapital and a South African Ballot
May 14, 2011

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