Category Archives: Collections

Information about our collections

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.

What’s in the Pot?

Cookbooks as we know them began as handwritten manuscripts of trial and error, what worked and what didn’t. The first printed cookbook appeared in 1470, but most cooks relied on their mother’s or their cook’s hard won receipts.cook1

Cookbooks can also tell us something about the society and ecomonics of the time. Where eggs and fresh milk were plenty and refrigeration a thing of the future.

In our Special Collections we have many cookbooks dating back to the 17th century. But it is in a fairly new cookbook, Famous Recipes from Old Virginia (1941) that we find some recipes from well-known cooks.

“Thos. Jefferson’s Recipe for Ice Cream

2 quarts of ‘good’ cream

½ pound sugar

6 yolks eggs

Mix yolks and sugar. Heat cream (with vanilla) until near boiling point, the pour it gently into the egg mixture. Stir well, and heat again to near boiling, stirring constantly; strain and when cool, freeze.”

Some recipes almost need translations!

“Martha Washington’s Crab Soup Recipe

Throw into boiling water fifteen crabs that are alive and kicking. When done pick meat up fine. Have ready a broth made of two quarts of water in which you have boiled until done one pound of middling meat, to this add crab meat. Heat two cups of rich milk and stir in well beaten yolks of two eggs. Pour into boiling crab soup, but do not let it come to a boil any more. Cook five minutes. Season with salt and hot pepper and serve from hot tureen.”

The Washington Wedding Cake with its pound and a half of butter, 10 cups of flour, pound and a half of sugar and 18 eggs, is shocking, and then you get to the part about baking for three and a half to four hours! Ah, the good old days!


The Marguerite Roberts Collection

Amid the books, maps, and journals collected the Galvin Rare Book Room, there are also a number of manuscript collections. You won’t find these in the catalog yet, but they will be there soon. One such collection is that of Dr. Marguerite Roberts, long time English professor, and Dean of Westhampton College. Dr. Roberts was a well-known Thomas Hardy scholar and spent much of her professional life researching and studying the author and his works.

Primarily interested in his theatrical works, her master’s thesis was an in depth study of his play in verse, The Dynasts. Hardy himself described this work as “an epic-drama of the war with Napoleon, in three parts, nineteen acts and one hundred and thirty scenes”. She also studied

Mrs. Hardy's Letters to Dr. Roberts

Mrs. Hardy’s Letters to Dr. Roberts

his stage version of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and wrote Tess and the Theater, followed by Hardy’s Poetic Drama and the Theater. Her last work was a study of the influence of Hardy’s second wife, Florence, on Hardy and his circle of friends and colleagues who frequented his home at Max Gate, Florence Hardy and the Max Gate Circle.

In doing her exhaustive research for these books and articles, Dr. Roberts wrote many letters to Hardy’s literary executor, actors, directors, and most notably, Mrs. Hardy herself. Interestingly, these contacts led to a lifetime of letters, holiday cards, overnight visits, and gifts.

And there is one item in the files that is not attributed to anyone, but most likely is Dr. Roberts’ watercolor of Stonehenge, which plays largely in Tess of the

Sketch of Stonehenge

Sketch of Stonehenge

D’Urbervilles, with a quote from the book on the back. A woman of many talents on a subject of endless interest.


The Heavy Hands Of Mice and Men

Many factors go into making a book rare and/or valuable.  The book’s age, how many copies still exist, who owned it, and so on.  One very common criterion is whether or not the book is a “First Edition”, the first printing of the book.  Well, it is possible to narrow this down even more.  You can have a “first printing” of a book, and a “first state” of the book.

miceA first printing is pretty obvious.  It is the first printing of the book.  But a particularly popular book may have many printings.  A first state printing, means that at some time during this first printing, a change was made somewhere in the book–an error corrected, something omitted added, and so on.

Such was the case with John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.  During the first printing of this controversial classic, a line describing Lennie was changed in the first chapter.  It originally read “His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely and only moved because the heavy hands were pendula.”  Whether it was the obscure word or questionable spelling, it was decided to mice2remove the last nine words and reset the page.  There is also a problem with a page number later that was fixed. However 2, 500 uncorrected pages had already run through and were subsequently bound and sold; the first state of the first printing.

When rare book dealers talk about Of Mice and Men, they are quick to note whether their copy contains the “pendula” line and the dot between the two eights on page 88.  It adds considerably to the value and scarcity of the book.  The copy in the Galvin Rare Book Room is a first state printing in excellent condition, part of the Mark Lutz Collection.  Lennie would be so proud.

Designing Romeo and Juliet

Oliver Messel

Oliver Messel

In 1936, MGM created a lavish production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet starring Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard. To design the sets and costumes, the studio called on English artist and premier stage designer Oliver Messel.  He was well down for his masks for Diaghilev’s ballet, and for several revues and musicals in London, and Tony award winning designs for Broadway.  He worked on several movies, other than Romeo and Juliet, earning an Academy Award Nomination for Suddenly Last Summer in 1959.

Dust jacket design.

Dust jacket design.

After the film came out, the New York times selected it as one of the “Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.”  Later in 1936, a book containing the complete play was published, illustrated with Messel’s costume and set designs.  The Galvin Rare Book Room has a copy signed by Mr. Messel. (Part of the Mark Lutz  Collection.) There are gorgeously drawn costume designs, and ethereal set designs, many in color, right alongside the bard’s lovely poetry.  Worth stopping by to take a look.


The Real Haunts of Virginia

vghostsIt wouldn’t be October without a few ghosts and ghouls creeping around, and various “haunted houses” popping up in shopping malls to frighten us. Not surprisingly, Virginia claims quite a few legitimately haunted houses, and woods, according to Marguerite du Pont Lee. In her book, Virginia Ghosts (Galvin Rare Book Room F 227 .L48), she relates eye witness accounts such as the ghost of Aquia Church, in Stafford County.  A woman was murdered in the church, sometime in the early 1800’s, and her body was hidden in the belfry. Her ghost has been reported by many, walking the aisles of the church at midnight.

On Leigh Street in Downtown Richmond, stands the Hawes homestead. Many reports tell of a small lady dressed in gray gliding along the second floor hall only to disappear through a closed

Aquia Church, Stafford County.

Aquia Church, Stafford County.

door. And Matthews County contains the Old House haunted woods where from as early as 1798 there have been reports of the ghosts of pirates, murdered royalists, and officers and men of British General Cornwallis’s army, seen roaming through the trees.

Mrs. Lee signed her book, dedicating it to the Marion Garnett Ryland Virginiana Collection in 1932. Underneath her inscription she wrote:

            Spirits from brighter stars draw near

            When camps are lit, and fires burn clear.

            With gentle touch, and loving look

            Bless them for me, my little book.

Come down to the Rare Book Room and take a look and Virginia Ghosts, and some of our other chilling reads. If you dare.

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

Leaves of Grass First Edition

IMG_1403The Galvin Rare Book Room has a copy of the 1855 first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. We were duly proud of this copy and used it in a display some months ago. A resident Whitman scholar, Rob Nelson, director of the Digital Scholarship Lab, saw it and was amazed that we owned one of the 158 known copies still extent. Sometime later, an antiquarian book seller’s catalog listed a copy for sale in excess of $170,000, making our book possibly the most monetarily valuable book in our collection and worth a little extra study.

This edition has been widely studied, especially by Ed Folsom of the University of Iowa. In the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review in 2006, he printed a Census of the 1855 Leaves of Grass. He had collected information from all the known owners of the book looking for information about the various anomalies that make this edition so fascinating. He received answers from owners (including Boatwright) as to which binding they owned, the frontispiece picture, typos contained and changes made.

Leaves of Grass was a self-published work, and Whitman, himself a trained printer, set much of the type. It was printed at his friend Andrew Rome’s print shop in between runs of legal forms. Scholars believe this is the reason the book is so large—the paper on hand and the press were all set for legal forms. Also, Whitman proofread as the pages came off the press, so typos in one book of the same edition, do not appear in others. His miscalculations on how many pages his book would be, caused spacing to change and titles of poems to be dropped as printing First Page.continued.

There are some famous anomalies to look for that are quite interesting. During the printing process, Whitman completely changed a line of “Song of Myself” from “The night is for you and me and all” to “The day and night are for you and me and all.” The earlier “night” version appears in 44 of the 158 copies, including Boatwright’s copy. While this difference was intentional, there are others that were not. The last line of “Song of Myself” either has a period or it doesn’t. (Boatwright’s copy does not.) Most scholars believe this is a press error, but some think Whitman was making a statement about open-endedness. Another glaring typo occurs in the final triplicate of the poem, “Failing to fetch me me at first keep encouraged.”

Cover PageAnd then there is the most controversial of all, the frontispiece drawing. It is an engraving of a daguerreotype of Whitman, full body, wearing working clothes. There is an enhancement to the portrait that appears in all copies of the very first binding of the book (there are three different bindings of lesser and lesser value). The enhancement is known as the bulge, darker shading at the right of the crotch. Many of the second binding copies do not have this. Boatwright’s copy does, which helps place our copy in the earliest run of the book in June of 1855.

Whitman, the bookmaker, turns out to be almost as fascinating as Whitman, the poet. And, books as objects are equally fascinating.

+Folsom, Ed. “The Census of the 1855 Leaves of Grass: A Preliminary Report.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 24.2 (2006): n. Web. 13 March 2014.          

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.