To hold in your hands a book from another time, to feel its worn leather cover and to gently turn its soft, handmade pages, is a sensuous pleasure that few in this digital age experience. As a research editor for this magazine, Ive had the opportunity to take part in what can only be called the ceremony of the rare volume. Theres the quiet reverence of the temperature-controlled chamber, the muted light, and the silk-wrapped paperweight to hold open the books pages. Its also the ceremony of preservation, a guarantee to generations to come. Indeed, its both a privilege and a pleasure to have at my disposal the magnificent collections of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Here are housed one and a half million volumes, of which 40,000 are rare and valuable, all of them reflecting the diversity of subject matter to match the vast activities and disciplines of scholars at the Smithsonian. Now the public, too, can experience some 100 treasures from these collections May 16 through August 4 at the Grolier Club, at 47 East 60th Street in New York City, and on-line at www.sil.si.edu. The show, Voyages: A Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition, will next travel to the National Museum of American History in May 2002. On these pages we share a selection of the shows splendors.