The Special Collections and Archives department at Monroe Library is a safe place for history according to literature, correspondence, and documentation. On Loyola’s campus, there are several galleries, and many individual buildings that display art and framed history on the walls in the hallways; but on the third floor of the Monroe Library is a condensed and magical museum of information. If my introduction has not enticed you to explore the archives, maybe my “Top 5 Favorite Collections in the Archives” list will.
5. Germany’s Wild Medicinal Plants – This collection is digitized, but in order to view the actual book in its entirety, you can request to see it via the in person in Special Collections. It is a collection of antique illustrations of each wildflower and their medicinal properties. The images are beautiful.
4. The Samway Book Collection – Patrick Samway, S.J. has donated a large portion of his personal book collection to Special Collections & Archives. Made up of almost 3,000 books primarily by Southern writers, I find his particular collection of William Faulkner literature most interesting. On the shelves is at least one of every piece written by William Faulkner; but for most, there made be 6 to even 12 different editions. One title in several languages, print editions, different cover art, etc. For the right kind of person, this is an impressive and fascinating collection of Faulkner literature!
3. The Marguerite Piazza Papers – A small collection donated by the family of Ms. Piazza, I discovered it while organizing the New Orleans Opera Association exhibit. Ms. Piazza graduated from Loyola in what we called the golden Age of Opera Education. She was one of the first to graduate from the Vocal Performance department in opera studies. However, her life after Loyola was lived among the stars of Hollywood. Known for her talents as a vocalist, dancer, and actress she was stunningly beautiful and very popular. Her personal life was just as interesting. While going through her collection, it’s easy to get lost in her story (previously blogged here).
2. John Kennedy Toole Manuscript – Yes, this is one of the Toole’s manuscripts – wrapped in a beautiful archive safe box and tied with a brown piece of yarn. There is no definitive “first manuscript” for A Confederacy of Dunces. However, this manuscript was, “donated by Lyn Hill Hayward, a longtime friend of Walker Percy’s, and described by her as the manuscript given Percy by Thelma Toole”.
1. First Edition Copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel – Sylvia Plath’s posthumous Ariel was initially published in 1966. This printing is part of the Robert Giroux Collection. Giroux was vice president and partner of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc., and his book collection contains many first editions and signed copies of works by 20th century American writers.
Posted by student worker Gloria S. Cosenza