Day 2 in Rare Books & Special Collections

May 15, 2014  1:45-4:45pm

Lynda showed me one of the archive storage rooms today. This is a room that houses boxes of various papers that were donated to the library, but the most amazing and intimidating of these papers is a mountain of 370 boxes of Congressional papers from Congressman Satterwhite – also a University of Richmond graduate. 370 BOXES of papers! Part of me – perhaps the newbie in me – wanted to dive right in, but another part of me was completely intimidated! Where exactly does one even begin when faced with 370 BOXES of Congressional papers?! It amazes me to see these documents that are waiting for attention to be given to them, and who knows what kinds of interesting and/or rare items one could find! This is the part about archives that excites me!

I also began working on a box of correspondence today. The Gresham Correspondence Collection is what I will be working on for the next 6 weeks. I wasn’t able to spend a great deal of time on the collection today, but I did run across a 1959 typed letter that was signed by W.H. Auden. I didn’t know who that was, but in his letter to Gresham, Auden mentioned that he was going to be writing a book that winter. I immediately wondered who this man was if he was writing a book. I looked him up and discovered that he was an English poet. This wasn’t a huge find, perhaps not even a very interesting one in the eyes of a great many, but being able to pick up the letter and aid in its continued survival by placing it in an acid free sleeve and folder, and research and discover this man I knew nothing about, was an amazing feeling! I can’t wait to uncover what else lays within the Gresham Correspondence Collection next Tuesday!

After I put the Gresham Correspondence Collection away, I was taken upstairs to the Special Collections room – which is also the Book Arts and Binding area – by Betty. Someone recently donated their book binding equipment and machines to University of Richmond Boatwright Memorial Library and it seems the hope is to eventually have a class on the history of books, including book binding and book arts. Sounds like a fantastic class! Betty showed me the Special Collections side of the room as well, which houses many older books and journals. I love seeing old books; there’s something about the curved spine of a thick, leather bound book that makes me feel calm, but also makes me want to pick it up and get that good book smell.

What will I discover on Tuesday when I tackle the Gresham Correspondence Collection? What archive methods will I learn? Stay tuned…



One response to “Day 2 in Rare Books & Special Collections

  1. Wonderful!!! I am so glad you are interested and finding such interesting things. Lynda showed me an amazing handwritten journal today, just a found item on the shelf…so I look forward to hearing more about your finds and the collections. Great writing and descriptions of your day!

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