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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection. A particularly sumptuous volume from the collection of Gérard Nordmann is today’s Santo Domingo Collection feature. This 1938 publication of Poèmes inédits (Unpublished poems) by Pierre Louÿs was limited to 109 numbered copies; this is copy 5. Louÿs [...]

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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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This past spring, Houghton Library collaborated with the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst and the North Bennet Street School in Boston to create exact reproductions of the writing desk and bureau originally in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom in the Homestead. Since 1950, the two iconic pieces have been part of the Emily Dickinson Collection at the [...]

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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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Song of the Bell(s)

While we don’t usually acquire multiple copies of the same book, we broke that rule with two recent accessions. Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) published Das Lied von der Glocke (“The Song of the Bell”) in 1798.  It remains one of the most well-known German poems, and has been translated into many languages. In 1873, the Dryden [...]

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Edmond Jabès

Modern Books & Manuscripts has recently acquired a collection of works by Egyptian-French poet Edmond Jabès (1912-1991). Born to a Jewish family of Italian nationality in Cairo, Jabès published his first book of poetry, Illusions Sentimentales, at the age of eighteen.  During the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Jabès published books of poetry along with poems [...]

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A poet in love

In 1818, poet John Keats (1795-1821) met Fanny Brawne (1800-1865), his neighbor in Hampstead.  Keats was immediately intrigued by Brawne’s intelligence and beauty.  The two fell in love, despite the obstacles of Keats’s health and poor finances.  They exchanged frequent letters, and Brawne inspired some of Keats’s most well-known poetry. Houghton is currently exhibiting items [...]

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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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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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Coleridge takes a memo

While best known as a Romantic poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) held government posts in the British government of Malta from April 1804 to September 1805.  The location was chosen in part to aid the poet’s poor health. From April 1804 to September 1805, Coleridge served in Malta as Secretary to the Governor, Sir Alexander [...]

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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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Pocket pick

This ballad, titled “The Chapter on Pockets,” focuses on an essential item that many of us probably take for granted – the portable, convenient, and discreet pocket. Crudely printed, rife with spelling errors, and displaying a woodcut of a young woman walking in the countryside, the ballad references such disparate figures as Eve and Lawrence [...]

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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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Faust pas

In an 1820 letter to his son, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated that English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was hard at work translating Goethe’s closet drama Faust. Coleridge and his friends, however, openly expressed dislike for the German poet, and in 1834, Coleridge wrote, “I need not tell you that I never put pen to [...]

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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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Idyllic proofs

Alfred Tennyson first published his poem “Sea Dreams. An Idyll” in Macmillan’s Magazine in its January 1860 issue (for which he was paid between £250 and £300, an enormous sum for a single poem). We recently acquired the page proofs for this printing of the poem, with numerous manuscript annotations by Tennyson. (click on the [...]

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Ėlektropoėma

Mikhail Gerasimov (1889-1939) was one of the most popular Russian writers of the early twentieth century. A member of the working class, Gerasimov joined the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party in 1907, and published work extensively in Bolshevik journals. (He became disillusioned with the Party and left it in 1921.) He was also a leader in [...]

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Animal Kingdom

Benedict von Wagemann (1763-1837), a physician in Ehingen, Germany, published Die konstitutionelle Monarchie der Thiere in 1823. The work describes, in rhyming verse, a council of animals who meet to discuss their current political situation. The animals rebel against their king, design a constitution, and elect representatives to govern themselves. The engraved frontispiece depicts this [...]

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