Another announcement of a major gift to an institution in the U.K. — this time it is a transatlantic transfer.  A private collector and playwright from the United States, John Wolfson, is donating a valuable collection of early editions of Shakespeare (including a copy of the first folio) to Shakespeare’s Globe, which is planning to open its own library.


Image credit: British Library G.11631 title page


Today’s New York Times reports on the acquisition of the Savada Collection by the Syracuse University Library’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. This enormous and important collection, which was compiled by the late Morton J. Savada (former owner of the Records Revisited store in New York City), contains over 200,000 thousand rare 78-rpm recordings of popular music, as well as related printed materials. A more official press release with fuller details regarding this excellent resource (and its future availability to the public) can be found on the SUL Web site.

I scarcely had time to begin musing about what criteria may make a new archival acquisition “newsworthy” enough to rate a mention in the Times when I (suddenly) recalled one of the more curious comments I overheard at the recent ALA conference. At a discussion group meeting someone remarked that her institution had “dodged a bullet” by not having acquired the Grateful Dead Archive, indicating that it had gone instead to the University of California, Santa Cruz Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Leaving aside, for the time being, the entire question of the kind of attitude that comment reveals, I wondered inwardly, “Why didn’t I hear about it? Has it happened already? Was it in the Times?”

Well, yes, Virginia, it turns out that the NYT did run a story way back in late April (!) when the announcement of the new acquisition was first made. But it was included in the U.S. news section, which, sad to say, I rarely find the time to read these days when all the news I supposedly am interested in, “comes to me” directly via RSS feeds from the Arts section. There also was a very nice piece that came out in the San Francisco Chronicle at around the same time. So, belated props to UCSC for so cheerfully taking on the very special challenges of this unique gift. They’ve even recently started up their own blog about it.

Image credits:

(Top) Photo of Morton J. Savada in 1988 by Elias Savada. From New York Times obituary.

(Bottom) UCSC press conference photo by r.r. jones; Pictured (l-r): Nion McEvoy, Virginia Steel, George Blumenthal, Bob Weir, and Mickey Hart. From UCSC News.

\Yesterday the Library of Congress officially received personal papers from musical theater composer, Charles Strouse, and the man himself also was interviewed and honored at a special performance at the Kennedy Center during the evening. Strouse, who will be turning eighty on June 7, will publish his memoirs, Put on a Happy Face, on the first of June. The LC acquisition complements another collection held by the Music Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Many happy returns!

Image credit: All American / Fay Gage; Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog #2007683580

This morning brings news reports of another important performing arts archival acquisition. The British Library has purchased the complete archive of playwright Harold Pinter for £1.1 million. The complete text of the BL press release may be read here.

It is instructive to note the different manner in which the story has been covered in Great Britain and the United States respectively, with the Guardian being representative of the former and the New York Times of the latter. The Guardian emphasizes the heroic efforts that went into “saving” the collection for a (presumably grateful) nation, while the NYT blandly, but decisively, eliminates any such display of emotion and only includes the story in its “Arts, Briefly” section.