Playfair Book Launch – March 22

Join the University Libraries on Thursday, March 22 for the George Mason University Press book launch for Playfair: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World. The event will take place in the Fenwick Library Main Reading room, from 2 – 3:30 p.m.

William Playfair may be the most famous person you have never heard of. Best known today as the inventor of “statistical graphics”—the line, bar, and pie charts we all use today—Playfair was also a pioneer in strategic analysis, and a secret agent who carried out espionage and subversion against France on behalf of Great Britain.

This is the first book to uncover the full, true account of this remarkable, colorful man—undeniably brilliant, hopelessly flawed, and fundamentally important. Its pages reveal the astounding inventions and adventures of this larger-than-life swashbuckler, rogue, genius, and patriot.

“In addition to being a draftsman, inventor, company promoter, land speculator, economist, patriotic pamphleteer and bank-note counterfeiter, Playfair was a secret agent and international conspirator… He was adept at ducking and weaving from the truth, covering his tracks, mystifying his motives, and protecting his sources. Mr. Berkowitz’s Playfair is above all a work of ingenious detection and reconstruction.” —The Wall Street Journal

Books will be available for purchase at the event, and refreshments will be provided. The event is co-sponsored by the University Bookstore.

About the Author: Bruce Berkowitz is the author of several books and articles about national security, history, and international relations.

About GMU Press: The George Mason University Press supports the academic mission of George Mason University by publishing peer-reviewed, scholarly works of distinction, written by authors from a wide range of intellectual perspectives, for a diverse, worldwide readership. GMU Press publishes in a variety of disciplines with special focus on the history, politics, and culture of Northern Virginia and the wider District of Columbia metropolitan area, as well as other topics such as public policy, international affairs, and higher education.

Libraries hosts German Embassy Exhibition, Opening reception March 19

On March 19, all are invited to join the Libraries in the Fenwick Main Reading Room (on the second floor of Fenwick Library) to mark the opening of a new exhibition of posters related to the integration of immigrants and refugees into German society.

From 3 to 3:45pm, Christian Heusermann, Chief of Staff to the German Ambassador, will talk about the subject matter of the posters. A reception, sponsored by Mason’s Modern and Classical Languages, will follow in Fenwick Gallery.

The exhibition, on display in Fenwick Gallery from March 19 through April 6, was arranged in conjunction with the Modern and Classical Languages department and the German Embassy.

The posters, on loan from the German Embassy, provide a nice complement to the East German poster collections housed in the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. The collections feature posters from 1943-2009 on topics ranging from political to performing arts to culture and science to film and art exhibitions.

About the Exhibition: Immigration has shaped Germany since World War II. In the wake of the refugee crisis, the number of migrants in Germany and Europe increased significantly. By the end of 2016, Germany was home to 10 million people with non-German citizenship. Migrants now make up a slightly bigger share of the population in Germany than in the United States. In response to the influx of refugees, the German government, local authorities, and civil society intensified their efforts to integrate the immigrants and to provide opportunities that strengthen the country’s workforce. Refugees fill the need for skilled workers but lack of language skills and training slow down the integration process. Facing this enormous integration challenge, the government is combating the root causes for flight in the refugees’ home countries, and has taken additional measures to address security concerns in Germany. This exhibition provides facts about immigration in Germany as well as stories about immigrants and refugees who came to Germany and made a positive difference.

About the Fenwick Gallery: Fenwick Gallery is part of the University Libraries and is located in Fenwick Library on Mason’s Fairfax campus. The Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting high quality works by students, faculty, staff, and other emerging and experienced artists. The gallery is open during Library business hours; see and for more information about hours and exhibitions.

About the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC): SCRC supports the research and teaching missions of the University by collecting, preserving and providing access to archival and rare book collections relevant to academic programs. SCRC librarians and archivists are dedicated to providing a secure and welcoming environment for researchers and encourage use of SCRC’s rare and primary source research materials. For more information about visiting SCRC and the collections housed there, see

SCRC Exhibit Reception on 2/19

Special Collections Research Center is hosting an exhibit reception for its current display, From Tintypes to .TIFFs – Life through the Lens, on Monday, February 19, 2-4 p.m., 2400 Fenwick Library.  Professor Vanessa Schulman of the History and Art History department will provide remarks about the exhibit, and refershments are provided by Argo Tea.

For more information, contact Liz Beckman,, 703-993-5282


Mason Libraries are here for YOU

Are you taking advantage of the Mason Libraries’ numerous resources and activities? Don’t forget:

Need a break from studying and research? Like to read? Consider joining the Mason Libraries Book Club, or attending one of our upcoming special events:

  • Musical Rarities and Curiosities, Friday, November 3, 2pm Special Collections Research Center (Fenwick Library, Room 2400): Join Steven Gerber, Music Librarian, for an informal inspection of a dozen musical rarities acquired for Special Collections in the last year or two. These range from a 19th-century psalm setting in manuscript by Francesco Basili and costume designs for opera characters to the printed program of an 1850 Jenny Lind concert, a leaf from a medieval choir book, and limited-edition songs from Irving Berlin’s musical Top Hat.
  • Advances in Science 1586-1999: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Exhibition Reception, Tuesday, November 7, 3pm – 5pm, Special Collections Research Center (Fenwick Library, Room 2400): Visit SCRC to hear remarks about our current exhibit and enjoy refreshments generously provided by Argo Tea Café.
  • Music in the Lobby: Up Close + Classical, Wednesday, November 15, 1pm – 1:45pm: Join us in the Fenwick Lobby to hear the Mason Student Strings group perform selections by Bach and Dvorak. Refreshments generously provided by Argo Tea Café.
  • Mason Author Series: Patricia Donahue, Thursday, November 16, 3pm – 4:30pm, Fenwick Main Reading Room: Communities are the sum of myriad types of participation—positive, negative, formal, informal, direct, and indirect. Join us for a discussion with Patricia Donahue on her recent book, Participation, Community, and Public Policy in a Virginia Suburb, which challenges conventional wisdom about participation in modern American communities through the story of Northern Virginia’s Pimmit Hills.

Check out the Libraries calendar for more workshops and happenings, and visit our website to learn more about our resources and services!