Columbia Library columns (v.15(1965Nov-1966May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.15,no.1(1965:Nov): Page 29  

The Return of

Alice's Adventures Under Ground


MY STOR"\' begins with the mea.'
stitutional for the Librarian of
measles, it certainly is undignifi

;asles. If it is not uncon-
of Congress to have the
ainly is undignified. Be that as it may,
I came down early in 1946 with this annoying affliction, which
earlier—when I was i 3—had put me to bed with Ivanhoe. Daily
I recei\'ed a few papers from my office on essential matters, and
The New York Times. On March 14 that remarkable source of
current knowledge carried, on the first page of its second section,
advance publicity about the Eldridge Johnson sale which would
be held on April 3 at the Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York.
The touching news item related how the aged widow, who long
ago had been the inspiration for the little girl of Alice's Adven¬
tures Under Ground, had been brought to part, some 18 years
earlier, with the prized and famous manuscript which she orig¬
inally had found in her Christmas stocking. It contained the story
which the mathematics professor made up and told to her two
sisters and herself on a picnic on that American Independence
anniversary in 1862. The newspaper calmly set forth that the
British Museum, although yearning to acquire the great item for
the people of Britain, had felt unable to bid more tiian :£i 2,500 at
Sotheby's auction sale of April 3, 1928. That had not been
enough, and Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach had purchased the manu¬
script and six Dodgson letters for £15,400.

The newspaper account w as accompanied 1)\' a facsimile page
from the manuscript, with a draw ing of .\lice by Lewis Carroll,
which clearly siiow ed that Tenniel's inspiration for his famous
illustrations in the printed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  v.15,no.1(1965:Nov): Page 29