Day 3 in Rare Books & Special Collections

May 20, 2014 1:45-4:45pm

All three hours of my time in the Rare Books and Special Collections room was spent on the Gresham Correspondence Collection. I was amazed at how fast those three hours went by! I found letters written to Mr. Gresham from poets May Sarton & Muriel Rukeyser. May Sarton was the guest speaker in May, 1960 for The Poetry Society of Virginia, which Mr. Gresham was the President. Letters from Muriel Rukeyser and a corresponding newspaper clipping unveiled that Ms. Rukeyser was going to speak in Richmond, but I could not figure out if that was for the Poetry Society. The newspaper clipping was titled “Muriel Rukeyser Slated to Speak” and was in the May 13, 1959 Richmond Times Dispatch. The newspaper clipping was a rather odd size – too long and oddly shaped – to fit into any of the protection sleeves. Lynda told me to cut the newspaper clipping, photocopy it, and throw the original away! I had read about this very thing in the Processing Manual, but I was shocked when I was told to do that! According to Lynda, it is rare for a person to cut an historical document; with that said I feel a little honored to have been allowed to make the cut. And making that cut scared me! I was so nervous that I was going to slice directly through an entire sentence! Thankfully, it all went well!

I also ran across a couple of neat autographs: Pearl S. Buck and Art Buchwald! May Sarton, who was a poet, had sent Gresham – and 800 other person’s on her Christmas card list – a poem entitled “The House in Winter”, which appeared in The New Yorker on January 4, 1964, but Ms. Sarton had personally mailed this poem to Mr. Gresham and 800 others the month before. While the rest of the world read this poem, I thought it was kind of neat that she mailed this to her closest friends and loved ones before it’s world debut.

More to come this Thursday…Stay tuned!


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