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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection. This 1882 volume of Poe’s poetry and essays, accompanied by biographical information and commentary on the poems, is a fine example of the publishers’ cloth bindings of its period. In response to broadening literacy and therefore increasing demand, [...]

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection. Today’s feature is Etidorhpa, or The end of the earth, a fantastical novel by pharmacologist John Uri Lloyd, written in the hollow-earth mold of Jules Verne’s Journey to the center of the earth. The title is, as observant [...]

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Virtually Dickinson

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the Emily Dickinson Archive, http://edickinson.org, an open-access site that brings together nearly all of Emily Dickinson’s extant poetry manuscripts. A collaborative effort across many institutions, the resource provides readers with images of manuscripts held in multiple libraries and archives, and also offers an array of transcriptions [...]

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“Charles Olson, 1910-1970: a Centennial Selection from the Ralph Maud Collection,” on exhibit in Houghton Library’s Chaucer case (on the ground floor) since November 3, will be extended through February 7.  The exhibition celebrates both the centennial of the birth of this influential American poet, and the 2009 gift to the Houghton of the Ralph [...]

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The book portion of the John Updike Archive is now cataloged and available for research use. The 1,635 volumes establish Updike as his own greatest collector. For example, the collection includes roughly ninety editions and printings of Rabbit, Run, including those in translation. Many of these volumes bear Updike’s annotations, which not only correct typographical [...]

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On June 24, 1910, Thomas Stearns Eliot graduated from Harvard College in an all-white, all-male class one-tenth today’s size.  A new small exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the graduation of Harvard’s most famous poet, and includes Eliot’s transcript, a copy of the letter placing him on academic probation his freshman year, his student paper [...]

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The John Updike Archive, a vast collection of manuscripts, correspondence, books, photographs, artwork and other papers, has been acquired by Houghton Library. The Archive forms the definitive collection of Updike material, said Leslie Morris, Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at Houghton Library, and will make the library the center for studies on the author’s [...]

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We’ve just received a new addition to our collection of association copies, an 1897 edition of Benito Pérez Galdós’s realist novel, Doña Perfecta, owned and annotated by American intellectual Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Pound probably acquired the work in 1905, and annotated the text with numerous notes and translations.  In a letter written to Iris Barry, [...]

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In 1861, President Lincoln  signed a bill making the United States Sanitary Commission into a government agency. Organized by thousands of women volunteers across the country, the commission succeeded in raising almost twenty five million dollars  during the course of the Civil War, and worked to cut the disease rate of the Union Army in [...]

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The career of John Updike (1932-2009), Harvard ’54, is well known: more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, short stories, and criticism; two Pulitzer Prizes; four National Book Awards; and a host of other honors. He is, indisputably, one of America’s pre-eminent men of letters. To honor his many contributions to his alma mater, Houghton [...]

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By examining a reader’s annotations in the margins of a book, it can be possible to obtain insight into what might have influenced that reader’s own writing.   We recently acquired both a copy of J.W. Mackail’s Latin Literature owned and annotated by T.S. Eliot, as well as Allen Ginsberg’s copy of T.S. Eliot’s Collected [...]

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We are pleased to announce a new online exhibition, “Public Poet, Private Man: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at 200,” based on the 2007 exhibition curated by Christoph Irmscher. This exhibition seeks to represent Longfellow as he really was: not as the bogeyman of modernists wanting to exorcize the ghosts of their Victorian past, but as a [...]

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A Kerouac Pun

This broadside, printed with Jack Kerouac’s poem “A Pun for Al Gelpi,” was printed on a handpress here at Harvard by The Lowell-Adams House Printers in 1966. The poem, addressed to Lowell House resident tutor Al Gelpi, refers to a shared joke between Kerouac and Gelpi, explained in this negative print of the poem’s typescript: [...]

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Poems by Mary Custis Vezey

This first edition of Mary Custis Vezey’s first collection of poems contains work in Russian and English, as well as translations of Aleksandr Blok and Nikolai Gumilev into English and of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sarah Teasdale, and George Santayana into Russian. Bilingual poet Mary Custis Vezey (sometimes spelled Mariia Vizi, 1904-1994) was born in [...]

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“The Wind begun to rock the Grass,” by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is one of the most textually interesting in her corpus.She revised it over a period of nearly twenty years, and five versions survive: four in autograph, and one transcript of a lost autograph original.That “lost” original has now been recovered, and has found a [...]

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James Gould Cozzens

We recently acquired a comprehensive collection of material by and relating to American novelist and almost-Harvard-graduate James Gould Cozzens (1903-1978). The collection includes a selection of Cozzens’s correspondence, manuscript drafts, photographs, and diaries, including the diary he kept while a Harvard student, and while he was working on his first novel, Confusion. With this collection [...]

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Mailer at Harvard

Norman Mailer (1923-2007; Harvard class of 1943) leapt onto the literary stage in 1948 with the publication of his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, a partly autobiographical work based on his experiences during World War II. While he entered Harvard intending to major in engineering, he soon turned whole-heartedly to literature, joining the [...]

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In 1950, in Key West, playwright Tennessee Williams finished a second draft of “The Rose Tattoo,” a play he had begun the year before in Rome. Williams called this draft the “kitchen sink” draft, reasoning that “I have thrown into it every dramatic element I could think of. Perhaps all of them will work. Perhaps [...]

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