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The Newberry Library Bulletin
Second Series, No. 2 (December 1948)
Sherwood Anderson Memorial
First and Only Printing
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1887 with a bequeath from Chicago railroad tycoon (and former president of the Chicago Historical Society) Walter Loomis Newberry, in his hopes of starting the city's very first public library, the Newberry Library wasn't actually incorporated until thirteen years after the start of the official Chicago Public Library system; so it was decided by the Newberry Trust to instead devote the library to scholarly collection of rare ephemera, while still making the institution free and open to the public, unlike most research libraries which only allow professional historians and academes to enter. As such, then, the non-circulating Newberry doesn't house a 'general stacks' per se, but rather a pleasingly idiosyncratic hodgepodge of world-renown yet highly specific collections (including ones covering the European Renaissance, American Indians and railroad history, as well as a rare copy of Shakespeare's First Folio and Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Federalist Papers); and one of their earliest missions was to become one of the largest repositories on the planet for the personal papers of famous Midwestern literary figures. So the library was thrilled in 1947 to receive one of the largest collections in existence of material by Sherwood Anderson, a conceptually experimental proto-Modernist author who was beloved in Chicago and personal friends with several of the Newberry's board and staff, the entire thing donated en-masse directly by his widow, and under the supervision of popular and expansive head librarian Stanley Pargellis, the man responsible for many of the outreach programs that today make the library so adored by the Chicago public; and in just its second year, yet another of Pargellis' innovations, the Smithsonian-Magazine-like Newberry Library Bulletin, did an entire special memorial issue to mark the public opening of these papers.
Making up pages 29 to 82 of that year's annual compendium (or 53 pages to this volume altogether, plus head- and end-pages), it consists of three personal essays by Anderson acquaintances that cover three eras of his life: first a look by George H. Daugherty at Sherwood's twenties, when he famously quit his highly successful career as an ad man and also left his wife, to instead pursue an artistic lifestyle after a nervous breakdown; then some thoughts by Waldo Frank about Sherwood's forties, when he was the celebrated author of such hits as Winesburg, Ohio (BONUS: read CCLaP's review of Winesburg, Ohio) and considered by his peers one of the most important writers Early Modernism was destined to put out; and then a reminiscence by Roger Sergel of Sherwood in his sixties, once he had been eclipsed by such later Modernist stars as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and John Steinbeck (all of whom ironically listed him as an influence), fallen back into obscurity merely a few decades after his height. Then the Bulletin is rounded out with a critical look at Anderson's work by Norman Holmes Pearson, a break-down of the collection's highlights, and a scholarly bibliography of every magazine article Anderson ever published. Insightful, tender, full of 1948 predictions about how Anderson was destined by our own times to be known as one of the greatest literary masters of the entire 20th century (alas, they were wrong, which is what makes this memorial even more bittersweetly delightful), in its excellent condition this is a must-have for any fan of Anderson, the Newberry, Chicago history or the history of the Midwestern arts.
CONDITION: Like New. See the provenance below for more.
PROVENANCE: Stored in a sealed box in the Newberry basement since literally its publication, it was removed for the first time in summer 2011 for Columbia College's annual Printers Ball. Acquired by CCLaP on that same day.
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