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