Author Archives: Lynda Kachurek

New Additions ~ Maritime Collections

Another Spring Semester comes to a close here on campus.  This week is the last week of classes, then finals, and the thrill of graduation weekend and summer.  This semester has brought many changes to Rare Books & Special Collections, including the opening of the new Reading Room and Classroom Annex space.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the newly remodeled spaces yet, please drop by the next time you are on campus for a tour!

In addition to new spaces, there have also been many new additions to both the rare book and the manuscript collections in Boatwright Library.  The last blog post talked about the new World War II correspondence collection, but I wanted to share also the wonderful new additions to the maritime and naval collections that have been added this spring.

Three new first editions have been added to the rare book collection, which already houses an impressive set of travel and maritime-related works.  The first new addition is a 1977 2-volume first edition of George Forster’s A Voyage Round the World, In his Britannic Majesty’s Sloop, Resolution, commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years 1772, 3, 4, and 5.  This set adds to our materials on both sea-faring voyages and exploration literature by adding another version of Cook’s sailings.

The second new first edition account is a 1779 first edition of A Voyage to New Guinea, and the Moluccas, from Balambangan: including an account of Magindano, Sooloo, and other islands; and illustrated with thirty copperplates. Performed in the Tartar galley, belonging to the Honourable East India company, during the years 1774, 1775, and 1776 to which is added, a Vocabulary of the Magindano Tongue.  This account was written by one of the most experienced ship captains and documents social and cultural life as well as maps, panoramas, coastal charts, genealogy, and a English to Magindano and Papua vocabulary.

The third new addition to the rare book maritime collection is the 1802 first edition travel account of a woman traveler through the Crimea and Black Sea regions.  The book is written in the form of letters by Maria Guthrie, and translated and edited by her husband, Matthew Guthrie.  Her letters document her varied encounters during her travels, including a whirling dervish ceremony and a letter concerning Jews in the Crimean region.

Three new manuscript maritime collections have also been added to the Boatwright Library archival materials.  The largest of the three documents the work of U.S. Naval Commander Horace Elmer, who had an illustrious naval career including heading the department of seamanship at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1883 to 1886.  His last service included organizing and commanding the Mosquito Fleet, including the inner coast defense of the Atlantic and Gulf States during the Spanish-American War.  The archival collection includes journals from his time at the naval academy and a number of ship’s logs which include precise technical sketches including the engines of the U.S.S. Monitor. There are also several scrapbooks including one from his daughter, Edith Elmer Wood, which contains images of family, the Naval Academy, and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Two smaller manuscript items have been added as well. The first item is the journal of Edward Reavely, Quartermaster First Class serving on the U.S.S. Chester in 1917.  As a destroyer, the Chester was active during World War I as an escort between Gibraltar and Britain.  The second item is the private journal of Edward Paul Duffy, a printer on board the U.S. flagship Trenton, written in 1881.  While on board, Duffy printed the twice-monthly Trenton Herald and served as a special correspondent to the Baltimore Sun.  His journal documents his print work, the weather, and trips off the ship as well.

Each of these new additions bring new stories of explorations, travel, and sea voyages just waiting to be discovered.

Other People’s Mail

Working with archival material allows the researcher opportunities to learn about different places and other times.  Photographs of long-vanished buildings or reports of events long over are reminders of things no longer present.  But perhaps the most immediate, and occasionally the most poignant, way to immerse yourself into a different world is through reading other people’s mail.

Stacks of World War II letters

World War II Correspondence

Archival collections often contain a variety of correspondence, including business communications, official statements, organizational announcements, and academic inquiries.  For many researchers, however, it is personal correspondence that best brings the past to life.  When reading mail sent years or even centuries ago, one can’t help but try to fill in the gaps, to hunt for clues in deciphering the stories behind the penned or penciled words, seeking the individuals who wrote or received the letters.  Recently, the Rare Books & Special Collections division of Boatwright Memorial Library purchased a collection of more than 700 letters, the majority of them written during World War II.  The collection is a compilation of several different sets of correspondence.  Although connected by the time period, these different sets offer a view into the lives of many individuals, each with their own story to tell.

For example, one set of about 100 letters written on U.S. Navy letterhead share the story of a young couple named Paul and Charlotte.  Paul wrote almost daily between March and July 1944, and through his letters, readers come to know a bit about life in the Navy, the challenges of planning a wedding via correspondence, and enough of a hint about Charlotte’s world to spark curiosity.  A bit of research uncovered that Charlotte and her family were Jewish immigrants to the United States, having left Germany in 1934.

The largest set of correspondence in the collection are the approximately 250 letters written by George Orlikowski to his girlfriend, and later his wife, Mary Zyla Orlikowski, which cover the time between July 1942 and March 1945.  In addition to learning much about both of their lives, many of the envelopes and stationary are humorous by themselves.

World War II letter

Letter from George to Mary with code for salutations

In one letter written in December 1944, George offers a secret code to Mary so that she can know where he is at in the Pacific after he sails without the censor catching on to them; he indicated he would change which salutation he uses in his letters to her to identify his location. Even after more than 70 years, the letters still carry the scent of his cigarette smoke.

Perhaps the most intriguing series of correspondence in this collection are the variety of letters sent to Dorothy “Dot” Raynham, a female college student, by a variety of soldiers between 1942 and 1944. With at least fourteen different men writing her from nearly all branches of the military, these letters offer glimpses of military life as well as life on the home front for at least one college student and her family.  Whether it is a bomber pilot wistfully recalling their dance to a Glenn Miller tune or a sailor encouraging her in her schoolwork, the range of correspondents suggests there may be an interesting story about this particular moment in her life.

Reading other people’s mail in the archives offers a glimpse into the past, one way to bring history alive, for researchers of all types, including University of Richmond students.  This collection has already been utilized in several classes, including a Weekend College session doing hands-on history and a first-year seminar exploring a life in letters.  Materials from this collection as well as correspondence from other collections is currently on exhibit on the first floor of Boatwright Library through the end of April.

New Spaces!

Construction is finished, and we are so pleased with our brand new spaces.  During the past six months, our space on Level B1 of Boatwright Memorial Library has slowly been taking shape.  We’ve watched with eager anticipation as the new reading room and the new classroom were created.

new reading room

New reading room

Our new reading room space is designed for research use.  The glassed-in room showcases the beautiful hardwood floor and the new custom shelving.  With the new room come new procedures, too, as now all materials will be brought to the researcher.  Although we will miss having researchers in the actual rare book room, the new spaces allow for much better environmental controls for the collection.

The new classroom is equally beautiful.  It has flexible table designs to accommodate seminar-style or lecture-style classes or to allow for exploring large oversized documents like Japanese scrolls.  The large monitor provides much-needed internet access as well as display options, increasing the possibilities for classroom instruction in the space.  The first few classes we’ve held there this semester have given the space rave reviews, and we look forward to hosting many more in the years ahead.

new classroom

The new classroom space

We hope you’ll come visit our new spaces in person!  For Spring Semester 2017, the reading room is open Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.

Civil rights leader donates permanent collection to Boatwright Library

Wyatt Tee Walker, a distinguished theologian and civil rights leader, has gifted his personal collection to the University of Richmond Boatwright Memorial Library. The collection includes hundreds of historical pieces, including papers, recorded sermons and memorabilia.

Walker, who lives in Virginia, served as chief of staff to Martin Luther King Jr., executive director of the Southern Leadership Conference and special assistant for Urban Affairs to Nelson Rockefeller. He is a specialist in sacred music, cultural historian and prolific author. Walker is pastor emeritus of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.

Significant items in this historical collection include photographs Walker took of King while they were jailed in Birmingham in 1967; numerous letters to King and others regarding civil rights issues; and journals, drawings, diagrams and notes kept by Walker’s wife Theresa, who was also active in the civil rights movement. The collection also includes books, records, awards and clothing.

“We are justly proud that we were on the right side of history and can share our experiences with the general public through this partnership with the University of Richmond,” said Walker.

“We are honored that Dr. Walker has entrusted Boatwright Memorial Library with the care of this amazing collection,” said Lynda Kachurek, head of rare books and special collections. “We expect civil rights and other historians from all over the country and world to be interested in this scholarship, as well as our faculty, staff, students and the general public.”

This special collection will be the largest under the care of Boatwright Library. It will be housed in the Galvin Rare Books Room. The collection will be catalogued and processed and is expected to be available for research beginning in late 2016.

“This collection documents a critical moment in American history,” said University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher. “It will help generations of students and scholars better understand the men and women who led the Civil Rights Movement and their work for social justice. We are so grateful for Dr. Walker’s generosity and for the opportunity to bring this collection to the University library.”


Link to original press release

Happy Birthday, Alice B. Toklas

Alice B. Toklas was born on April 30, 1877, in San Francisco, California.  Known best as the longtime companion of Gertrude Stein, Toklas was also an author in her own right. Toklas and Stein conducted one of the most famous literary salons in Paris, where they hosted an exceptional array of authors, including Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Not limited to the literary arts, cultural icons such as Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, and Paul Robeson also visited their salon.

Stein and Toklas toured the United States for six months in 1934 and 1935, with Stein presenting more than 70 lectures.  In early February 1935, the two women, accompanied by Carl Van Vechten, came to Richmond.  After lecturing in Charlottesville, the group arrived by car in Richmond on February 5, 1935, and were hosted to a dinner at the home of famed Richmond author, Ellen Glasgow.  Fellow Richmond author James Branch Cabell attended, as did Mark Lutz, Hunter Stagg, and Van Vechten.  After a night at the Jefferson Hotel, Stein spoke the following day at the Cannon Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Richmond, and also visited the sites of one of her favorite authors, Edgar Allen Poe.  The Poe Foundation hosted an afternoon tea.

Letters by Alice B. Toklas

Letters from Alice B. Toklas to Mark Lutz, MS-1

The Carl Van Vechten – Mark Lutz Collection, housed in the Galvin Rare Book Room here at the University of Richmond, contains many materials documenting the long relationship between Stein, Toklas, Lutz, and Van Vechten.  A noted photographer, Van Vechten took numerous photographs of the two women, especially documenting their American tour.  The collection contains photographic prints made by Van Vechten as well as literary and cultural materials from both Stein and Toklas.  The letters from Toklas to Lutz, for example, solidify making the arrangements for their visit to Richmond.

Toklas died in Paris on March 7, 1967, at the age of 89.

The Little Prince & His Pilot

little prince sketch

You’ll be bothered from time to time by storms, fog, snow. When you are, think of those who went through it before you, and say to yourself, ‘What they could do, I can do.’

~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry,
Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939


When I find a piece of history untouched for years (or even decades), a book with a sentimental inscription, a long-ago letter to a loved one far away — these moments are just a few of the special ones which cross my path on a regular basis.  Sometimes it is working with a researcher, especially one searching out bits and pieces of their family history, who makes a discovery about an ancestor previously unknown to them.  Sometimes it happens when I’m teaching.  I’ll see a student learn that the things they have to do sometimes become something they want to do instead.  Or, even more fun, when I work with someone who claims to have no interest in history, and watch them connect with a diary entry of a college student from the 1880s, a newspaper clipping from their hometown from the 1910s, or a photograph of some person or event that speaks to them across the years.  Moments like that are the unexpected joys, the ones that brighten a gray or cold day with sunshine from the inside.

Sometimes there are moments when I reconnect with a piece of my own past. I remember reading The Little Prince as a child and dreaming of flying free, exploring strange planets, and meeting a fox all my very own.  I’ve made a habit of re-reading it every few years, and each time I do, I come away feeling as though I’ve learned something different every time. The Little Prince was first published on this day in 1943, so let’s take a moment to celebrate that character and the pilot who created him.

When I first learned that the author of The Little Prince was a pilot, and that in many ways he was indeed much like the little prince of his book, I was charmed. And I knew I wanted to explore both the prince and the pilot.  Born into an old French noble family, Saint-Exupéry trained as a pilot in the early 1920s, a career which took him far and wide.  Eventually, he flew routes across North Africa, working on the air mail (Aéropostale) route between Toulouse and Dakar.  He was stationed at Cape Juby airfield, in South Morocco, inside the Sahara Desert for a number of years before directing the Aéropostale in Argentina.  During World War II, he flew reconnaissance flights, and, in fact, was on one such flight when he disappeared in 1944.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, pilot

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, pilot

Doing this research gave me the opportunity to delve into his other writing.  Many of these books are centered on his experiences as a pilot, including his first major work in 1931, Vol de nuit (Night Flight).  In 1935, he and his navigator were nearing the end of a long flight when they crashed in the Libyan portion of the Sahara Desert.  His memoir of survival, Wind, Sand and Stars, harbors echos of his future story of a little prince.  Other works included Flight to Arras, which dealt with a troubling reconnaissance mission, and the posthumously published work, The Wisdom of the Sands.

What was most interesting to me, however, was trying to reconcile the adventurous and somewhat undisciplined pilot, an aviation pioneer in many respects, with the lyrical, charming, and even sentimental, writer.  The two worlds don’t usually mix.  But he did, and he did it well at that. Reading his detailed story of surviving the crash in the desert brought home the crash of the little prince.  And learning of the pilot’s mysterious disappearance (although somewhat less mysterious now) helped understand the departure of the Little Prince.  As Saint-Exupéry himself wrote, “flying and writing are one and the same for me.”

It seems both brought him some bit of joy. Doing this research brought moments of joy to my world – the chance to re-read a favorite book, and the opportunity to bring a bit of it to life in the story of its author. Stop by the Galvin Rare Book Room to see our 1943 French edition of The Little Prince and our beautiful 1942 numbered and signed edition of Flight to Arras, as pictured below.

Kitty Hawk

Still I must have known,
Something in me told me,
Flight would first be flown….
Off these sands of time.

~ Robert Frost, “Kitty Hawk”

Kitty Hawk cover

Kitty Hawk, by Robert Frost

On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers achieved success in their desire to fly. The Wright Flyer was the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled sustained flight with a pilot aboard. Having moved to Richmond from Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright Brothers, I was delighted to discover “Kitty Hawk” by Robert Frost tucked away in our rare book collection.

This little gem of a book was published as one in a series of Christmas keepsake booklets produced by the publishing firm of Henry Holt and Company. Using Frost’s poem, “Christmas Trees,” in 1934, Holt began an annual custom of sending Robert Frost Christmas booklets. With the exception of the war years of 1939-1944, the Frost/Holt holiday booklet tradition lasted from 1937 until 1962. Although sometimes they used poems which had been previously published, Frost frequently created a new piece especially for the occasion. In 1956, Frost and Holt decided to use a previously unpublished work, “Kitty Hawk,” for the booklet.

Four distinct versions of the poem are known to exist. The first one, at only 128 lines, was published as the 1956 holiday booklet. In November 1957, Frost published a much longer version, at 432 lines. The third version, which incorporated lines from each of the previous versions, appeared in the March 21, 1959, The Saturday Review. The final version, wedding old and new material, was added to his 1962 work, In The Clearing.

Frost was only 29 years old when the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, and his interest in flying appeared periodically in his work, often referring to the brothers as “the Columbuses of the air.” In his 1936 book, A Further Range, one poem was titled, “The Wrights’ Biplane.” Frost and Orville Wright were friends until Wright’s death in 1948.

The poem itself actually documents an earlier visit to Kitty Hawk made by Frost in 1894, which is listed inside as a subtitle on the piece. Kitty Hawk Frost described the poem in a 1959 interview published, along with the poem, in the 1959 The Saturday Review:

I’ve been gathering together the poems for the book. The main one is “Kitty Hawk,” which is a longish poem in two parts. Part One is a sort of personal story, an adventure of my boyhood. I was down there once when I was about 19. Alone, just wandering. Then I was invited back sixty years later. That return after so long a time suggested the poem to me. I used my own story of the place to take off into the story of the airplane. I make a figure of speech of it: How I might have taken off from my experience of Kitty Hawk and written an immortal poem, but how, instead, the Wright brothers took off from there to commit an immortality….

With Frost’s charming poem and woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi, the Holt booklet is simply charming. “Kitty Hawk” is housed in the Galvin Rare Book Room, and we hope you’ll come and explore this unexpected and beautiful piece.

On This Day ~ December 12: A New King

The highest of distinctions is service to others. ~ King George VI

Accession proclamation King George VI

Proclamation of Accession to the Throne of King George VI [Special Collections, DA584 .P6 1936]

On December 12, 1936, the official proclamation of a new King of England, George VI, was announced formally.  His story is a well-known one, most recently the subject of the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, which dramatized the events that made him king as well as the personal obstacles he faced.

Born on December 14, 1895, the second son of King George V, young Albert never expected to become king.  Early in 1936, when his father passed away, Albert’s brother, Edward, ascended the British throne as King Edward VIII.  In less than a year, however, Edward abdicated the throne on December 10, to marry Wallis Simpson, leaving the crown to his younger brother.  Edward’s radio broadcast the following day led to the official proclamation of the new king on December 12.

The coronation of King George VI took place on May 12, 1937, and he went on to lead Britain during the years of World War II and beyond, until his death in February 1952.

Our holdings include the official proclamation, pictured above, as well as two copies of the official souvenir program of the 1937 coronation [Galvin Rare Book Room, DA584 .K52].

New Materials in Rare Books & Special Collections

Rare Books & Special Collections has acquired a number of new additions this fall, both from generous donors and from purchases, to continue building our rare book and archival collections. Many of these items will be featured in upcoming posts, but we are so excited to have these wonderful items, we thought we’d offer some highlights from our eclectic new additions:

1) The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible (currently on display in the Silent Study Area through mid-December) – This edition of the King James version of the Holy Bible illustrated by Barry Moser, the foremost American master of wood engravings, is the first such illustrated Bible since Gustave Dorè’s edition of the Le Saint Bible in 1865. Volume one contains the five books of Moses, the historical books and the books of poetry. Volume two contains the books of prophecy and the New Testament. Both measure 16 x 11.5 inches and are laid into its own full linen tray case. The beauty of this Bible does not rest on the illustrations alone. It is also a singular typographic achievement and an example of some of the finest printing of our time. The papers were made, some by hand, especially for this project and the exquisitely crafted vellum bindings are a marvel of craftsmanship. (Gift of Bruce and Suzie Kovner).

2) The Library of Julio Santo Domingo: The LSD Archive (currently on display in the Silent Study Area through mid-December) – This two-volume set was privately printed in a limited edition of 500 copies to commemorate the LSD Library, Julio Santo Domingo’s comprehensive collection of rare books, ephemera, manuscripts, art, and other materials focused on altered states of consciousness and related subjects. This 900-page set, finely bound and housed in handmade boxes, is lavishly illustrated with items chosen from the collection, representing literature and graphic arts on topics such as the occult, youth culture, rock music, and drug culture. (Gift of the family of Julio Santo Domingo).

3) New photographic materials include a handheld stereoscope with 14 St. Louis World’s Fair stereo cards and 21 stereoviews of destinations such as Jerusalem, Cairo, Italian catacombs, Kyoto, Tokyo, and the Swiss Alps. Also added were 2 cased ambrotypes of a bookbinder/author and his book.

Opening pages of our new Mother Goose book

Opening pages of our new Mother Goose book

4) Historic children’s literature additions include 5 early American titles dating between 1820 and 1850: Grandpapa Pease’s New Mother Goose (ca. 1848) contains beautiful hand-colored illustrations. The Little Esop (1845) measures just 3 3/16” x 2 ¾” and is a miniature book bound in purple cloth with gold gilded edges.   Other titles include Henry and his Garden (ca. 1830), Rhymes by our Good Old Nurse (ca. 1835), and History of Beasts (ca. 1848). We are also anxiously awaiting a new gift, a 3-volume set of miniature children’s books (2×2”) published in London in 1742-1743, which should arrive in early December.

our 1906 C&P Platen Press

Our 1906 C&P Platen Press

5) Book Arts materials:  As we work on creating our Book Arts studio, donors continue to delight us with special gifts.  This fall we were privileged to receive a 1906 Chandler & Price Platen Printing Press along with letterpress printing type in 108 fonts, the corresponding type cases and cabinetry, type forms, engravings and cuts, along with tools and other equipment.  In a separate donation, we also received an extensive set of tools, projects, and related materials to help us begin supplying our studio.

6) Cutters: There is nothing I hate more than Myself, a limited edition artists’ book exploring words, photographs, and art about the practice of self-harm (gift of the author).

7) University scrapbooks: In the past few months, we have received several scrapbooks documenting Westhampton and Richmond College and the lives of alums, including students who attended in the early 1900s, the 1940s and the 1950s. Along with the scrapbooks, we’ve also received some letter sweaters and even a UR boater hat!

The generosity of our donors continues to amaze us with each new addition.  Our collections are certainly strengthened through their kindness.  We hope that if you are around campus, you’ll drop by Rare Books & Special Collections to explore our materials, new and old!

Happy Halloween!

Rare Boo Room sign

Our front door, modified for Halloween!


The Galvin Rare Book Room was transformed Wednesday night into a festival of thrills and chills!  Spooky music and dimmed lights enticed some brave souls into the room to explore skeletons, witches, and things that skitter in the dark!

Enjoy some of Angie White’s great pictures of our evening of fun.

A long-lost reader?

A long-lost reader?

A motion-activated owl captured a few in his eerie gaze.

A motion-activated owl captured a few in his eerie gaze.

A Dickens of a good time!

A Dickens of a good time!







We’ll keep the lights out for you……… and hope to see  scare you next year!