Serendipity, Timing and the Birth of a Horology Library


“In 2019 we signed the lease on this room and got prepared to start moving the books in early 2020, and then Covid hit,” Mr. Manousos said. “That kind of slowed everything down, but we finally had five truckloads of books delivered here over two years.”

To honor Mr. Mueller-Maerki, the society named him the librarian emeritus — although Ms. Navarro, now the society’s deputy director, said that he still comes to the library several times a month and has helped the staff with a number of tasks. “The library would not have been possible without his contribution,” she said.

Mr. Manousos said the library, which is named for the 16th-century Swiss clockmaker Jost Bürgi, furthers the society’s mission “to advance the art and science of horology.

“We want to promote horological research and provide a place for people to come if they want to read or learn,” he added.

The library is open to the public on weekdays, although the society encourages researchers to make appointments through its website,

To simplify such research, the library is being reorganized. “Right now, the books are in alphabetical order, but I’m excited to have them officially cataloged according to Library of Congress specifications,” Ms. Marraccini, the society’s librarian, said. “Instead of being alphabetical, it’ll be by subject. And books that are on similar topics, like decorative arts or engineering, will be near each other.”

“We also have a lot of periodicals in matching bound volumes,” she said. So if, for example, someone wants to see an article from 1959 in the horological publication Deutsche Uhrmacher-Zeitung, she said, “we’ll have it. There’s a lot of stuff here that probably doesn’t exist anywhere else.”

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