Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?).
Iliad [Book 2.433-452]. Papyrus fragment, Greek: Ist Century BCE-early Ist
Century CE. RBML, Col. inv. 517b, P. Col. VIII 196
Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?).
Odyssey [Book 12.384-390]. Papyrus fragment, Greek: IIIrd Century-IInd Century BCE. RBML, Col. inv. 201c1, P. Col. VIII 200
The Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses Columbia's extraordinary
collection of 2000 papyrus fragments. The fragment to the right from the
Odyssey is Columbia's earliest Homeric fragment, dating from between the
third century to the second century BCE.
Most papyrus finds are non-literary texts, but among the literary pieces,
Homer is the most frequently represented author. Fragments of the Odyssey
are much less common than those of the Iliad, being outnumbered four to
(Iliad) Purchased from M. Nahman through H. I. Bell, 1930 ; (Odyssey) Purchased from Dr. Askren through H. I. Bell, 1924
La Mort le roi Artu. Manuscript on palimpsested parchment and paper, 94 leaves,. Northeastern Italy, 14th century. RBML, Western MS 24
This Arthurian romance is an amalgam of contradictions, proof of the divide
between today's world and the world that produced the manuscript. Its
19th-century owner was the famous bibliophile, Baron Horace Landau, a
representative of the Rothschild banking house in various cities across Europe.
It must have been Landau who had the book bound by one of the foremost
Florentine binders, G. Berti, in a sumptuous purple morocco binding with inlays
of gilt-patterned green morocco at the corners, and gilt dentelle on the
turn-ins. Clearly, the codex was highly valued by its aristocratic owner. But in
its day, the book was a casual way to pass the time: a fairy tale, in the
vernacular, partially copied on cheap second-hand parchment (the underlying text
seems to be a notarial register from the province of Vicenza), and partially
copied on poorly sized paper; even the effort to provide good penwork initials
petered out after the first four gatherings. The book provoked confusion in
today's scholars, as well: it was registered as French in origin, according to
the too-simple logic that its language declared its place of birth.
Bequest of Prof. Roger Sherman Loomis, 1968
Homer (fl. 9th or 8th century BCE?).
Ilias; Ulyssea; Batrachomyomachia; Hymni xxxii. Venice: Aldus and Andreae Asulanus, 1517. RBML, Plimpton Collection
The two volumes of this heavily annotated copy of Homer's works in Greek
belonged to Philip Melancthon, the chief figure in the Lutheran Reformation
after Martin Luther. Melancthon used it in his lectures to his pupils in 1518 in
Wittenberg and presented it to Martin Luther, who may also have made some of the
annotations. Melancthon began teaching at the University of Wittenberg in 1518,
and it was there that he met Luther and formed with him a warm personal
relationship, which, but for the years 1522-1527, lasted until Luther's death.
Melancthon taught Greek and Latin literature and was a popular lecturer,
frequently drawing more students than the much admired Luther.
Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936
Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599).
Colin Clouts Come Home Again. London: Printed for William Ponsonbie, 1595. RBML, Samuels Collection
This pristine copy of Edmund Spenser's allegorical poem Colin Clouts
Come Home Again, once owned by the poet Frederick Locker-Lampson, came
to Columbia with the library of Jack Harris Samuels. Samuels received his
Masters in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia in 1940, and from then
until his sudden death in 1966 amassed a library of nearly three thousand first
editions covering over four centuries of English and American literature.
Bequest of Mollie Harris Samuels, from the Library of Jack Harris Samuels, 1970
Valerius Maximus (fl. 20 CE).
Facta et dicta memorabilia. Manuscript in Castilian, on paper, 292 leaves. Spain, middle of the 15th century. RBML, Lodge MS 13
Rarely in recounting the story of a medieval translation are we allowed a
glimpse of its people and its movements, such as we have here. Valerius Maximus
composed a gossipy, moralizing book, full of instructive examples, arranged by a
particular vice or virtue, such as Anger, Cruelty, Bravery, Gratitude. His Latin
was translated twice into Catalan, and, at the end of the fourteenth century,
one of the Catalan translations was turned to Castilian. The Catalan writer's
name is well knownAntoní de Canals, but only the present manuscript and one in
Seville contain the name of the man who brought the text from Catalan to
Castilian: Juan Alfonso de Zamora, a Castilian emissary to the court of Aragon
in Barcelona. In the early 1420s Juan Alfonso dispatched his newly finished work
to Don Fernando Díaz, archdeacon of Niebla and Algeciras, who apparently
corrected the language, but also seems to have been responsible for adding a
gloss. The Archdeacon's glossbased on the Latin commentary of one Brother
Lucassometimes is written out separately from the text), and sometimes is
incorporated into the text. This copy of the Facta et dicta memorabilia
is bound with bevelled wooden boards in contemporary blind stamped brown
morocco; there are remains of green cloth on the fore edge strap closing to a
clasp on the lower board; the spine, however, is repaired.
Purchased with funds bequeathed by Gonzalez Lodge, 1958
John Milton (1608-1674).
Letterbook. Manuscript, 54 leaves, after 1659. RBML
This letterbook comprises a series of transcripts of 156 Letters of State
by Milton, mainly in Latin, but including ten in English known from no other
source. There are also other writings by him, including a draft entitled
"Proposal of certain expedients for ye preventing of a civill war now feard, and
ye settling of a firm government," as well as treatises, apparently by other
authors, probably used by Milton in his official work as Latin secretary to
Cromwell. The "Proposal" was unknown until the letterbook was purchased for
Columbia by Nicholas Murray Butler in 1921. The transcripts of letters are
almost certainly in the hand of the amanuensis who signed the Paradise
Lost contract; Milton had been blind since 1652. The manuscript belonged to
the great English collector, Sir Thomas Phillipps, as well as to Bernard
Gardiner, Warden of All Soul's College and keeper of the Archives of Oxford
University who, in 1703, kept his accounts and other records in the back of the volume.
Phyllis Wheatley (1753-1784).
Poems on various subjects, religious and moral. London: Printed; Philadelphia: Re-printed, Joseph Crukshank, 1786. RBML
This is the first American edition of the first book of poems by an
African-American and the first substantial work by an African-American to be
published in this country. Although the English edition is common, there are
only seven known copies of the American edition.
Purchased on the Charles W. Mixer Fund, 1983
Hornbook mould, 18th century?. Wood, England? RBML, Plimpton Hornbook No. 6
George Arthur Plimpton (1855-1936) used a hornbook image on his bookplate,
and he collected hornbooks, such as this one that could have been used to make
such delightful things as gingerbread hornbooks. It was the perfect emblem for
his collecting interests. Education through books was also his profession, he
having joined the text book publishing firm of Ginn & Company in 1881,
and serving as its chairman from 1914 until 1931.
Gift of George Arthur Plimpton, 1936
Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830).
Portait of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Oil on canvas mounted on composition board, (29.8 x 25.4 cm.) Office of Art Properties
Sir Thomas Lawrence was one of the finest portrait painters of his
generation in Europe and the last English inheritor of the legacy of van Dyck.
The dress and accessories of Lawrence's sitters were chosen, as were his
settings, with particular regard to the age and concerns of the sitter. Lawrence
himself dictated the colour and texture of the material and he responded to the
challenge of depicting it with an enthusiasm rarely found among earlier English
portrait painters, such as Reynolds, who delegated such chores to drapery
painters. In this portrait of Lord Byron (1788-1824), the poet is shown in his
dashing youth, capable of swimming the Hellespont (today the Dardanelles), as he
did in 1810.
The painting is one of more than sixty portraits of English authors given
to Columbia by Dr. Calvin H. Plimpton, who had been president of Amherst College
and of the American University of Beirut. The collection had been assembled by
his father, George Arthur Plimpton, the noted publisher of text books. Both
father and son delighted in quizzing visitors about the identity of the sitters.
Dr. Plimpton remarked that having a "visual impression...of these
authors...increases our enjoyment and even understanding of their writings."
Gift of Dr. Calvin H. Plimpton, and his mother Anne Hastings Plimpton, to the
George A. Plimpton Collection (RBML)
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851).
Frankenstein, or, the modern Prometheus. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818. RBML, Samuels Collection
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was the daughter of William Godwin, a political
theorist, novelist and publisher, and Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A
Vindication of the Rights of Women. In 1814, she and Percy Bysshe
Shelley, who was already married, fell in love and fled to Europe. During the
summer of 1816, while visiting Lord Byron at his villa on Lake Geneva, Byron
challenged each of his guests to write a ghost story. In response, Mary began
writing what became Frankenstein, in rivalry with Byron's fragmentary
"Vampyre." In December of that year, Mary and Percy were married, two weeks
after his first wife committed suicide by drowning. Rescuers had taken Harriet
Shelley's body to the receiving station of the London Society, where various
methods, including artificial respiration and electric shock, were tried, but to
Frankenstein was inspired by the science of the day, including the work of
the Italian physician Luigi Galvani, who investigated the electrical properties
of living and dead matter. As Mary Shelley wrote of her talks with Byron and
Percy Shelley, "Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated; galvanism had given token
of such things."
Bequest of Mollie Harris Samuels, from the Library of Jack Harris Samuels, 1970
Alexandra Vereshchagina (1810-1873).
Autograph album. Mixed media, ca. 1830. RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Lermontov Collection
A set of three Russian salon albums filled with autograph poems and
original drawings, some of which can be attributed to the famous poet Mikhail
Iurievich Lermontov, author of a well-known novel, A Hero of Our Time.
According to the Russian tradition those albums were passed on from one
generation to another. Two of these albums belonged to the Vereshchagin family,
Lermontov's closest friends during his Moscow years. The third album belonged to
Varvara Lopukhina, a portrait of whom is included in this volume. Apparently,
Lermontov met Varvara Lopukhina around 1827 and fell in love with her.
Unfortunately, she didn't share his feelings. Hurt by her "betrayal" (she
married Mr. Bakhmeteff in 1835), he later portrayed her in Princess
Ligovskaia and other novels as a weak and deceitful lady.
Purchased from the von Hugel Family, 1935
William Pratt (1822-1893).
Daguerreotype portrait of Edgar Allan Poe. Daguerreotype photograph, (10 x 7.5 cm.) Richmond, Virginia: Pratt's Gallery, September 1849. RBML
William Pratt opened the Virginia Sky Light Daguerrean Gallery in Richmond
in 1846, seven years after the daguerreotype was introduced into the United
States. As Pratt related the history of this portrait to the St. Louis writer
Thomas Dimmock, Poe had never fulfilled a promise he had once made to pose for
Pratt until writer and photographer encountered one another on the street in
front of the latter's shop in mid-September 1849. Poe, arguing that he was not
suitably dressed, was coaxed upstairs and photographed. The image shows a man,
as disheveled as he claimed to be, with a haggard face which betrays the steep
decline in his emotional and physical condition; Poe died in Baltimore three
weeks later. The enterprising Pratt held a patent on a daguerreotype coloring
process, used to impart the faint flesh tone to Poe's face and hand.
Bequest of Mrs. Alexander McMillen Welch (Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch), 1951
Contract between Herman Melville and Harper & Brothers for "The
Whale," [Moby Dick]. Manuscript, 2 pages, signed by Allan Melville for Herman Melville, New
York, September 12, 1851. RBML, Harper & Brothers Papers
The records of Harper & Brothers, dating from 1817 to 1929, along
with the pre-1974 records of its successor, Harper & Row, came to
Columbia in 1975. Included in the archive are contracts, ledger books, copyright
records, correspondence and publishing records of some 240 American and British
authors. Also in the gift was Harper & Brothers own archive of 2,700 of
their publications. In addition to this contract for "The Whale," the Harper
& Brothers Papers also contains contracts for Herman Melville's
Mardi, Omoo, Pierre Redburn, Typee, and White-jacket. Mardi, Omoo
and Typee are signed by Melville; the others are signed by his
brother Allan Melville.
Gift of Harper & Row, 1975, 1989, 1990
Walt Whitman (1819-1892).
Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, New York: 1855. RBML
The Moncure D. Conway copy of the first edition, first issue, of Leaves
of Grass is autographed by Whitman on the title-page. Laid into the
volume is the holograph letter from Whitman to Conway, July 21, 1870, stating
that "a verbatim copy of Emerson's note" is being sent. The note referred to,
copied entirely in Whitman's handwriting, also accompanies the volume; it is
Emerson's well-known letter of July 21, 1855, in which he praises Leaves of
Grass in the highest terms and greets Whitman "at the beginning of a great
career." Moncure D. Conway (1832-1907), a Virginian by birth, gave up the
ministry because of his anti-slavery pronouncements. He did his most important
work as an editor in Boston, where he conducted The Dial and The Commonwealth.
Gift of Solton and Julia Engel, 1957
Stephen Crane (1871-1900).
Maggie, a Girl of the Streets, a story of New York, by Johnston Smith. New York: 1893. RBML
Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, on November 1, 1871, as the
14th child of a Methodist minister. He started to write stories at the age of
eight and at sixteen he was writing articles for the New York Tribune.
Crane studied at Lafayette College and Syracuse University. After his mother's
death in 1890 - his father had died earlier - Crane moved to New York, where he
lived a bohemian life, and worked as a free-lance writer and journalist. While
supporting himself by his writings, he lived among the poor in the Bowery slums
to research his first novel.
Crane's first novel, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, is the tale of a
pretty, young slum girl driven to brutal excesses by poverty and loneliness.
Crane had to print the book at his own expense, borrowing the money from his
brother. The novel's sordid subject, its air of relentless objectivity, and its
sense of fatalism have led some historians to claim it as the first American
naturalistic novel, a claim supported somewhat by Crane's statement that he
intended it "to show that environment is a tremendous thing in the world and
frequently shapes lives regardless." The novel is original in its conception,
and remarkable in both the brilliance of its method and the vitality of its
language. Stephen Crane died of tuberculosis at the age of 28.
Gift of the heirs of Wilbur F. Crane and from the libraries of Jonathan Townley
Crane and Wilbur Crane
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935).
The Yellow Wall Paper. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1899. Barnard College, Overbury Collection
Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wall-Paper" as an article that
first appeared in the New England Magazine in January, 1892, and was
reprinted in this separate edition seven years later. It tells a largely
autobiographical story of a woman who has a nervous breakdown after childbirth,
is confined by her physician and husband in order that she have complete rest,
is driven mad by hallucinations of a woman imprisoned behind the wallpaper in
her room, and who frees herself by tearing down the paper.
After attending the International Socialist and Labor Congress in England
in 1896 as one of the few female speakers, Gilman returned to the United States
and published Women and Economics, reviewed by the Nation as "the most
significant utterance on the subject since Mill's Subjection of Women."
Her argument did not blame men, but pointed to a gradual change in society from
a time when the sexes were equal to a time when women had become economic
slaves. Despite recognition of her theories in the early years of the
20th century, she was largely forgotten until Women and
Economics was republished in 1966, placing her in the line of important
people in the history of women's rights.
Bequest of Bertha Van Riper Overbury, 1963
Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967).
Notes and rough drafts. Autograph manuscript, 77 pages, 1906. RBML, Siegfried Sassoon Papers
Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Edmund Blunden were the surviving
British poets of World War I, among the much longer list of those, such as
Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, who were killed. In addition to
the manuscript drafts and typescripts of two volumes of Sassoon's autobiography,
The Old Century and Seven More Years (1938) and The Weald of
Youth (1942), Columbia owns thirteen volumes of his early notebooks. These
contain drafts of over two hundred poems for the period 1894 until 1909, from
age eight to twenty-two. This volume contains four of the poems that appeared in
his first book, Poems, 1906.
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).
Tender Buttons, Objects, Food, Rooms. New York: Claire Marie, 1914. Barnard College, Overbury Collection
Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein's fragmented rendering of familiar objects
recreated in the cubist mode, was her first independently published work,
following her self-published Three Lives (1909) and Portrait of Mabel
Dodge at the Villa Curonia (1912). Carl Van Vechten, Stein's loyal
supporter from the time of their first meeting in 1913 until his death in 1964,
had recommended that she offer Tender Buttons to his friend Donald Evans.
He had just started his own press, named for Claire-Marie Burke, and issued the
following in an advertising brochure: "Claire Marie believes there are in
America seven hundred civilized people. Claire Marie publishes books for
civilized people only. Claire Marie's aim, it follows from the premises, is not
even secondarily commercial."
Bequest of Bertha Van Riper Overbury, 1963
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941).
Two Stories. London: The Hogarth Press, 1917. RBML
Virginia Woolf, novelist, critic, and essayist was born on January 25,
1882, the daughter of Julie Duckworth and Sir Leslie Stephen. In 1912 she
married political theorist Leonard Woolf. Her first novel The Voyage Out
was well received. Throughout her life she had suffered from deep depression
and debilitating headaches. In 1913 she attempted suicide. Partly for
therapeutic reasons she and Leonard Woolf bought a hand press and taught
themselves typesetting. From this they set up The Hogarth Press in 1917, which
was run from their home, Hogarth House, in Richmond, south west London. The
first publication was Two Stories with a story from each of them, The
Mark on the Wall by Virginia and Three Jews by Leonard. The
Hogarth Press published work by other modern writers including Katherine
Mansfield, T. S. Eliot, Maxim Gorky, Christopher Isherwood, Robert Graves, and
E. M. Forster. Virginia Woolf is considered to be among the most important
Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971) and Frederic Dannay (1905-1982).
The Roman Hat Mystery: A Problem in Deduction. Typescript, carbon, with autograph manuscript notes in pencil by Frederic
Dannay, 292 pages,  RBML, Frederick Dannay Papers
"Ellery Queen" was "born" in 1928 when the two Brooklyn-born cousins,
Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, themselves both born in 1905, decided to
enter a mystery-novel contest sponsored by McClures magazine. The rules
required that entries be submitted under a pseudonym and the cousins, believing
that readers would remember an author if the name also appeared throughout the
book, chose Ellery Queen because it seemed unusual and memorable to them. Dannay
and Lee were familiar with choosing pseudonyms; they had each changed their
names, from Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky, as young men. Just before Dannay
and Lee were awarded first prize for their submission, McClures went
bankrupt, but the story, The Roman Hat Mystery, was published in 1929 by
the Frederick A. Stokes Company, thus launching the career of Ellery Queen. The
creation of a detective who was also a writer of mystery stories proved to be
extremely popular, and Ellery Queen eventually amassed a reported 120 million readers.
The typescript of The Roman Hat Mystery is inscribed on the title
page by Dannay: "This is the only carbon-copy of the original typescript of The
Roman Hat Mystery' still in existence. The original typescript, and all other
carbon copies, were destroyed.-Ellery Queen 12/22/41." It and the majority of
Columbia's Ellery Queen papers were given by Frederic Dannay's sons, Richard and
Douglas. Their gift also included the files of Ellery Queens Mystery
Magazine, containing some 4,600 manuscripts submitted to the magazine over a
period of 40 years, nearly all with Dannay's manuscript corrections.
Gift of Richard and Douglas Dannay, 1985 & 1987
Hart Crane (1899-1932).
The Bridge. Typescript with autograph corrections, 99 pages, ca. April-September 1929. RBML, Hart Crane Papers
Hart Crane began work on The Bridge, his most ambitious work, in the
early 1920s. Obsessed by what he called America's postwar vertigo, he envisioned
the work as an epic "synthesis of America and its structural identity." The
Bridge was first published by Harry and Caresse Crosby at their Black Sun
Press in Paris in 1930. This working typescript for their edition contains notes
and corrections in the hands of the Crosbys, as well as that of the author.
Among its nearly two thousand items, the Hart Crane Collection contains two
complete typescript versions of the poem and the extant drafts of the individual
pieces which make up the larger work, as well as the letters of agreement with
Horace Liveright for the American publication of both White
Buildings and The Bridge.
Purchased on the Frederic Bancroft Fund
Alexei Remizov (1877-1957).
Deed (Gramota). Ink and gouache on paper, (20 x 26 cm.) Paris, April 24, 1932. RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Nikolai Vasilievich Zaretskii Papers
Russian modernist writer, Alexei Mikhailovich Remizov, did not belong to
any particular movement. During his long and prolific literary career
(1902-1957) he always experimented with old and often forgotten Russian words
and expressions trying to revitalize the language. As a true Modernist, Remizov
cultivated paradox and myth in life and writing. In 1908 he created a secret
literary society "The Great Free Order of the Apes" (with its acronym
Obezvelvolpal) ruled by the King Asyka. Remizov himself was a permanent Scribe
of the Order and later invented its own Charter and personally designed hundreds
of Deeds (Gramotas). In his designs he often used the Glagolitic letters
(Old Slavonic alphabet). His literary game, started as a pure joke, later became
a favorite entertainment for many famous Russian intellectuals such as Ivan
Bunin, Nikolai Berdiaev, Vasilii Rozanov, Lev Shestov, Alexei Tolstoy and
Purchased from Nikolai Vasilievich Zaretskii, 1954-1957
Portrait of Bennett Cerf. Charcoal on paper, (38 x 33.5 cm.) RBML, Bennett Cerf Papers
Bennett Cerf was born in 1898 in Manhattan and graduated from Columbia
University with a degree in journalism. In 1925 he acquired the Modern Library
with Donald Klopfer, providing the foundation for Random House Publishing. "I've
got the name for our publishing operation. We just said we would publish a few
books on the side at random. Let's call it Random House." Two years later the
Random House colophon made its debut. Cerf was part of the vanguard of young New
York publishers who revolutionized the business in the 1920s and 30s. He died in 1971.
Gift of Phyllis Cerf Wagner and the Cerf Foundation, 1975-1984
James Joyce (1882-1941).
Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Co., 1930. RBML, Book Arts Collection
This copy of the eleventh printing of James Joyce's Ulysses was
imported by Random House and seized as pornographic by United States Customs in
New York on May 8, 1933. The District Attorney marked the objectionable
passages, such as the heavily marked pages in the Ithaca episode, to prepare the
government's case for use in the now famous court proceedings. In his decision,
made on December 6, 1933, Judge John M. Woolsey recognized that the intent of
the work was not pornographic, and that the test for obscenity could not be the
presence of isolated obscene passages, but the effect of the work in its
entirety. The result of the decision was to permit Random House to publish
Ulysses, on January 25, 1934, without legal risks; and the long range
consequence was the eventual publication in the United States of other
controversial works by authors such as D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller.
Gift of Bennett Cerf, 1935
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977).
Untitled Poem, Album. Paris, February 1937. RBML, Bakhmeteff Archive, Sergei Viktorovich Potresov Papers
This autograph album covers the years 1906-1913 and 1917-1948,
respectively, and has entries by Konstantin Balmont, Ivan Bilibin, Ivan Bunin,
Vladimir Nabokov, and Maximilian Voloshin among others. It has been assumed that
the initiator and keeper of the album was Sergei Potresov, Russian émigré writer
and critic who used the pseudonym of Sergei Iablonovskii. Most of the epigrams,
poems, drawings, and designs in the album are on white standard pages. Some
drawings and other entries have been glued onto the pages of the album.
Nabokov's untitled poem was written in 1935 in Berlin and was first
published in Paris in 1952. Right above his entry Nabokov wrote "My dear Sergei
Viktorovich, I can't recall any of my poems about Blok, so I decided to include
my favorite poem."
Purchased from Maria A. Berman, 1960
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971).
Ceramic cup, saucer, plate from the "Moby Dick" pattern. Ceramic dinnerware set. Vernon Kilns, Los Angeles, 1939. RBML, Rockwell Kent Collection
Kent produced three patterns for dinnerware manufacture between 1938 and
1940. The "Moby Dick" pattern uses designs of whaling ships and whales different
from the Kent drawings in the famous edition of the Melville novel published in
1930. It was issued in a twelve-piece set.
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Alfred C. Berol, Dan Burne Jones, Corliss Lamont,
and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, 1971
Cornell Woolrich (1903-1968).
Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Typed manuscript, carbon, with autograph corrections, 372 pages, ca. 1945. RBML, Cornell Woolrich Papers
Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was born in New York City on 4 December
1903, the son of Genaro Hopley-Woolrich, a civil engineer and Claire Attalie
Tarler. After his parents divorced, Woolrich spent his early years with his
father traveling through Mexico and Central America, before moving back to New
York City at the age of twelve to live with his mother. He attended Columbia
University intermittently between 1921 and 1926 but never graduated.
Of all his major novels,
Night Has a Thousand Eyes
, published in 1945 under the new pseudonym George Hopley, is the one most
dominated by death and fate, and in it Woolrich depicts the terror that is
generated by knowing the exact moment and nature of one's death. By the mid
1940s Woolrich was regarded as the premier American suspense writer. After a
stroke rendered him unconscious, he died on 25 September 1968, less than two and
a half months short of his sixty-fifth birthday. He left his estate of some
$850,000 to Columbia University to establish a scholarship fund for journalism
in his mother's memory. He also left his papers and his copyrights to the
Columbia University Libraries.
Bequest of Cornell Woolrich, 1968
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917 - 2000).
Annie Allen. New York: Harper, 1949. RBML, Pulitzer Prize Papers
Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.
This is the copy that was sent to the Pulitzer Prize Committee. She was awarded
the 1950 poetry prize for this book, a verse narrative pairing the mythic
imagery of a young woman's hopes and dreams with the realities of her life as a
Gift of the Pulitzer Prize Committee, 1950
Ralph Ellison (1914-1994).
Working notes and outline for Invisible Man. Typed manuscript, 9 pages, 1952. RBML, Random House Papers
Invisible Man is one of the great novels of American literature and
perhaps the most profound sociological exploration of African-American culture
ever written in novel form. In this hand-corrected typescript submitted to
Random House, Ellison discusses the concept of invisibility as applied to the
novel as follows: "First a couple of underlying assumptions: "Invisibility", as
our rather strange character comes in the end to conceive it, springs from two
basic facts of American life: From the conditioning which often makes the white
American interpret cultural, physical, or psychological differences as signs of
racial inferiority" and "the great formlessness of Negro life wherein all values
are in flux." In these working notes Ellison discusses the predicament of the
Negro in American life, a person who must act logically in a predicament which
is not logical. Life for the Negro in the world and word of Ellison is either
tragic, absurd, or both.
Gift of Random House, Inc., 1970
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961).
Autograph letter, signed to Daniel Longwell, 3 pages,. San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, July 6, 1952. RBML, Daniel Longwell Papers
Daniel Longwell (1899 - 1968) began his distinguished career as an editor
at Doubleday, supervising the publication of books by Edna Ferber, Ellen Glasgow
and other writers. In 1934, he joined the staff of Time, Inc., becoming one of
the founding editors of Life magazine, and serving as chairman of its
board of editors from 1946 until his retirement in 1954. In this letter, written
from the Finca Vigia, his beloved house in Cuba, Hemingway tells Longwell how
important it is for him to have The Old Man and the Sea published in
Life where people who could not afford to buy the book would be able to
read it, adding, "That makes me much happier than to have a Nobel prize." The
work appeared in the issue of September 1, 1952. Hemingway would receive the
Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, "for his mastery of the art of narrative,
most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the
influence that he has exerted on contemporary style."
Gift of Mrs. Daniel Longwell, 1969
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997).
Howl (for Carl Solomon). Typescript with autograph corrections, 7 pages, January 1956. RBML, Carr Papers
Ginsberg graduated from Columbia College in 1948, traveled widely, and held
a number of jobs, ranging from floor-mopper in a cafeteria to market researcher,
before writing Howl, now recognized by many as the most significant of
the Beat Generation poems. Ginsberg enclosed this typescript in a letter to
Lucien Carr, in which he called attention to the "new style, long lines,
strophes." Howl is a violent lament of the destruction by society of the
poet's generation, and both the style and content clearly demonstrate that the
poem follows in the tradition of Walt Whitman. The first edition, preceding
Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights Books publication, was mimeographed, and
Ginsberg sent a copy to his former English professor Mark Van Doren, now in the
Rare Book and Manuscript Library's Van Doren Papers.
Dawn Powell (1896-1965).
Charts & Casts & Notes for Golden Spur. Autograph manuscript, on folder paper, March 1958. RBML, Dawn Powell Papers
The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the principle repository of the
papers of novelist and playwright Dawn Powell, the gift of Elizabeth T. Page and
the ongoing gift of Tim Page. Among the papers are drafts and working notes for
her novel The Golden Spur. These include this chart that she began in
March, 1958, showing how she kept track of characters, places, spots and
episodes for the work, such as: "Cassie Bender, gallery. Would have had a
tea-room in another age," and under "Spots:" "Hotel Le Grand. Golden Spur Cafe.
Supermarket. Wash. Sq. Park."
Born in Mount Gilead, Ohio in 1896, Dawn Powell ran away from an abusive
stepmother when she was thirteen and settled with her unconventional aunt in
nearby Shelby, Ohio. "Auntie May," a divorcée, owned a home near the railroad
depot, made lively by Powell's cousins, Auntie's lover, and passing strangers
who stopped for meals. Encouraged by her aunt to further her education, Powell
begged a scholarship to Lake Erie College for Women. There she wrote and
performed in plays and edited the Lake Erie Record, a campus quarterly,
which often contained her playful yet pessimistic stories. In 1918, Powell moved
to New York City. She married Joseph Gousha, Jr., a Pennsylvania-born poet
turned ad man, and the couple had a son, Jojo. They settled in Greenwich
Village. Powell loved her bohemian neighborhood and the Manhattan nightlife that
she spent alongside friends John Dos Passos, Edmund Wilson, E. E. Cummings, and
others from the literary scene.
Powell set her fiction in the small Ohio towns of her youth and later, most
successfully, in familiar New York neighborhoods and cafés. Though dogged by
Gousha's drinking, Jojo's probable autism, financial strain, and her own
struggles with alcohol, illness, and depression, Dawn Powell managed to write
sixteen novels, nine plays, and numerous short stories and reviews. She died in
1965. Powell's wicked sense of humor, keen ear for dialogue and human sense of
pathos pervade her barbed, shrewd fiction about mid-century Americans in
Manhattan and Ohio. Her remarkable diaries, published in 1995, were hailed by
the New York Times as "one of the outstanding literary finds of the last quarter
century." Columbia University's holdings include her personal and professional
correspondence, drafts of her plays and novels and her diaries.
Gift of Tim Page, 2002