Columbia Library columns (v.27(1977Nov-1978May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.27,no.2(1978:Feb): Page 33  

The John Masefield Centenary



"^HE Centenary of the birth of John Masefield, the English
poet from rural Herefordshire who became his country's
Poet Laureate, is being celebrated at Columbia with an
exhibition in Low Library Rotunda of first editions, autograph
letters, manuscripts, drawings and portraits. Having published
poetry for well over sixty years, Masefield became widely re¬
spected during his lifetime both in England and in America as a
writer of ballads, sonnets and narrative poems. However, his
voluminous writings, which were notable over a broader literary
range, included novels, historical works, plays and literary criti¬
cism. The more than one hundred books and several hundred es¬
says and reviews that he published, along with his enthusiastic
espousal of literary causes, are ample evidence of a commitment to
the literary life. Thus, although Masefield is now largely remem¬
bered as Poet Laureate, he is also honored in the centenary exhibi¬
tion at Columbia as a man of letters.

^^'ith the exception of two original portraits of Masefield-the
Sir John Lavery oil painting lent by Dr. Corliss Lamont and
the William Strang chalk drawing lent by Dr. Dallas Pratt—and
the warrant of appointment as Poet Laureate, also lent by Dr.
Lamont, the items in the exhibition have been drawn from the ex¬
tensive Masefield holdings in the Rare Book and .Manuscript Li¬
brary. The foundation of the Columbia Collection dates from the
1944 gift by Frederick Coykendall, chairman of the University's
board of trustees, of 170 volumes by and about the poet. This far-
reaching benefaction was followed over the next three decades by
individual donations from Solton and Julia Engel, Eleanor Langley
Fletcher, George M. Jaffin, George Milne and Mary Louisa Sutliff,
and by acquisitions supported by the Charles ^^'. Mixer Fund and
the Friends Endowed Fund.

  v.27,no.2(1978:Feb): Page 33