When I was an undergraduate student in physics at the University of Akron, I had a job as a page at the univer-sity library. Since I had served as a page at the Firestone branch of the Akron Public Library located across from the main gate of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, my campus position was both familiar and invigorating. In the summer when things went slack, we had time to inventory and reorganize the stacks. It was in the base-ment stacks that I found leather-bound volumes of the 15th and 16th centuries—books that I am sure now reside in special climate-controlled vaults. With leather under my ﬁngernails I examined shelf after shelf. On the last pages of volumes that bound London newsweeklies were tabulations of the deaths in the city that year. The num-bers, as I remember them now, were in the thousands; they probably included only tradesmen and nobility. They were fascinating as real and immediate connections to a remote past.