Special Collections & Archives Blog

During September 2013...

Featured Collection: David Needham Gore Papers

Thursday, September 26, 2013 2:42 pm

This Featured Collection post was written by Paige Horton, student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

The David Needham Gore Papers (MS192) is a small, but worthwhile collection housed amongst hundreds of larger collections in Personal Collections & Manuscripts. We should all know by now not to judge a book by its cover or a collection by its size. Small, but mighty the David Needham Gore Papers house biographical information, sermons, personal correspondence, and Cape Fear Baptist Association Notes that speak to his work as a missionary. This collection offers a unique view into the late 19th century in North Carolina.

David Needham Gore was not only a Wake Forest College graduate but he was also a much loved and highly successful North Carolina pastor. Born in 1835 in Columbus, North Carolina, Gore dedicated his time to serving his community through his church. According to Baptist Biography Data Form, housed in Folder 1, Gore was a pastor at County Line Baptist Church in Turkey Creek, Louisiana and also a missionary to Ogbomosho, Nigeria, in West Africa for several years. He was also the first pastor of the Piney Forest Baptist Church after it organized in 1869. Gore was pastor for two periods: 1869-1875 and then again from 1877-1879. He also led in the organization of the Sunday school for the church in 1871. Reverend Gore was “greatly loved and respected by the members of the church.”

The great debate about this collection comes in the form of the Civil War. In his biological information there is a reference to Gore being Captain to the 18th Regiment in 1861. When our librarians researched this they found no mention of a David Needham Gore who served from North Carolina in the Confederate Army. In his Biography data it also says that he served as chaplain and that was also found to be inconclusive. What we do know about Gore comes from his biography information but also the rest of the collection including sermon notes, the personal correspondence, and the Association notes.

The entirety of his personal correspondence is addressed to one Miss Mary Rockwell of Whiteville, North Carolina. The correspondence, dated from 1879 to 1881, is well preserved and offers an exciting look into the everyday life of a 19th century pastor. The Association notes also hold interesting bits and pieces about Gore as a pastor. He was an Itinerant for the Southern portion of the Cape Fear Baptist Association in 1860; while he was Itinerant, he “traveled for 56 days, preached 93 sermons, received 65 persons, and baptized 46…[and his] traveling expenses [were] but $1.80.” Maybe the most surprising fact out of all of that is that he only spent $1.80 for 56 days of travel! The Association notes hold many more pieces like this in which Gore’s missionary work is detailed out.

The collection is full of interesting and surprising details just like the ones listed above. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with the Special Collections to view the collection.

What Are You Working On?

Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:56 am

photo (2)

Our student assistant Katie Paige has worked in Special Collections since she started at Wake Forest and her dedication is greatly appreciated. Today, Katie is working on pulling material for our collaborative digitization project “Religion in North Carolina.” Project partners include The Divinity School Library at Duke University and The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. You can read more about it on the project blog and see the finished products in the Internet Archive Religion in North Carolina site.

Some recent statistics show our contribution is well worth the effort:

For the period January-August 2013, WFU added 1132 items to the collection, and there have been 16,391 downloads of our items. Total downloads for the whole project thus far are 77,088.

Thank you to Katie and all of our hard working student assistants!

Four New Finding Aids Published

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:39 pm

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce the completion of four new finding aids!

From the University Archives:

From Personal Collections and Manuscripts:

We will continue working hard to make our collection searchable online and to provide access to researchers.

Death of a Naturalist, by Seamus Heaney (1966)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 3:39 pm

ZSR's copy of the first edition of Death of a Naturalist

ZSR’s copy of the first edition of Death of a Naturalist

When poet Seamus Heaney died last month at age 74, obituaries hailed him as the greatest Irish poet since William Butler Yeats. The New York Times noted that Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995,

was renowned for work that powerfully evoked the beauty and blood that together have come to define the modern Irish condition. The author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, as well as critical essays and works for the stage, he repeatedly explored the strife and uncertainties that have afflicted his homeland, while managing simultaneously to steer clear of polemic.

Heaney was born in Northern Ireland in 1939. The eldest child of a Catholic farming family, he showed his intellectual gifts early and was sent to boarding school and then to Queen’s University in Belfast, where he took an English degree and began writing poetry.

1965 pamphlet published by Queen's University, Belfast

1965 pamphlet published by Queen’s University, Belfast

By 1965 Heaney had published poems in a number of magazines and newspapers. He submitted a manuscript for a book of poetry to Liam Miller, proprietor of the Dolmen Press in Dublin. Miller and his wife Josephine had founded the Dolmen Press in 1951 with the express purpose of publishing and encouraging Irish poets and artists, so it was a natural outlet for the young poet’s first publication. However, while Miller still had his manuscript under consideration, Heaney received an inquiry from an editor the London publishing firm Faber & Faber.

Title page from the first edition of Death of a Naturalist

Title page from the first edition of Death of a Naturalist

Heaney asked Miller to return his manuscript. As Clare Hutton observes in her introduction to The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Volume V, Heaney was influenced by the “cultural prestige” of the firm associated with T.S. Eliot, combined with the fact that “Faber was in a much more stable position than Dolmen, which, like many small Irish publishing houses, ran on a precarious financial basis.” So Heaney’s first volume of poetry, Death of a Naturalist, was published by Faber & Faber in 1966.

From the dust jacket of Death of a Naturalist

From the dust jacket of Death of a Naturalist

But the inscription in Liam Miller’s copy of Death of a Naturalist (now in ZSR Library’s Special Collections) suggests that he and Heaney remained on friendly terms.

ZSR's copy of Death of a Naturalist is inscribed by Seamus Heaney to Liam Miller

ZSR’s copy of Death of a Naturalist is inscribed by Seamus Heaney to Liam Miller

Death of a Naturalist was generally well received by the critics. Christopher Ricks wrote in the New Statesman (27 May 1966) that

Literary gentlemen who remain unstirred by Seamus Heaney’s poems will simply be announcing that they are unable to give up the habit of disillusionment with recent poetry. The power and precision of his best poems are a delight, and as a first collection Death of a Naturalist is outstanding.

The reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement (June 1966) called the collection “substantial and impressive” but took Heaney to task for the “rather glib or incongruous imagery stuck on in what seems to be an attempt to hit the required sophistication.” Meanwhile in the New York Times (26 March 1967) John Unterecker was a bit dismissive, calling the poetry “urbane, accomplished, [and] predictable,” but allowing that

Other poems, however, tougher than the norm and more powerful, build out of Heaney’s memories of his rural childhood a poetry that is a little like that Theodore Roethke might have written had he had an Irish upbringing rather than an American one.

Unterecker also devoted quite a bit of space to a discussion of the “odd, persistent set of rat references” in the collection. In this he may have been a kindred spirit of the unnamed reviewer, noted in Heaney’s own annotated copy of the book, who described the title poem as “a long, disappointing poem about frogs.”

heaney8

Faber & Faber published Heaney’s next collection, Door Into the Dark, in 1969.

Liam Miller's copy of Heaney's second published book of poetry

Liam Miller’s copy of Heaney’s second published book of poetry

Seamus Heaney went on to publish many collections of poetry, as well as essays, translations, and dramatic works. But at his death, many of the remembrances quoted “Digging,” the very first poem in Heaney’s first published collection. In it Heaney describes his father’s and grandfather’s work on the family farm and concludes

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

The “squat pen” responsible for Death of a Naturalist would go on to compose some of the most iconic Irish poetry of the 20th century.

"Digging" is the first poem in Death of a Naturalist

“Digging” is the first poem in Death of a Naturalist

All of the images in this article are from Seamus Heaney titles originally owned by Liam Miller. ZSR Library’s Special Collections acquired Miller’s library and the Dolmen Press archives in 1986.

Louis MacNeice in Special Collections

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:12 pm

macneice

Louis MacNeice, Blind Fireworks (London: Victor Gollancz, 1929)

Wake Forest University Press has recently released the American edition of Louis MacNeice‘s Collected Poems.  MacNeice’s poetry is experiencing something a renaissance, after spending several decades in the shadow of  W. H. Auden. As New York Times poetry critic David Orr observed in his review of this new collected edition,

[MacNeice's] reputation has been steadily rising for 20 years in Britain and Ireland, in part because of vigorous support from Irish writers like Edna Longley, Paul Muldoon and Derek Mahon. MacNeice’s “Collected Poems” has finally been published in the United States, where readers will now have a chance to approach this under­estimated writer on his own terms.

ZSR Special Collections holds a large collection of MacNeice first editions, including Blind Fireworks (pictured above), his first published volume of poetry. MacNeice was newly graduated from Merton College, Oxford when Blind Fireworks appeared. In his foreword the young poet explains that

I have always admired the Chinese because they invented gunpowder only to make fireworks with it. I have called this collection Blind Fireworks because they are artificial and yet random; because they go quickly through their antics against an important background, and fall and go out quickly.

MacNeice’s future career proved anything but a flash in the pan: he went on to publish over 50 volumes of poetry, plays, and criticism. ZSR Special Collections’ Louis MacNeice collection is a part of our extensive holdings in 20th century English and Irish poetry.


Categories
ABCs of Special Collections
Collection News
Digital Projects
Exhibits
General
News & Events
Preservation
Rare Book of the Month
University Archives
What Are You Working On?
Tags
a day in the life of a librarian American Indians American Revolution archives Arthur Conan Doyle Baptist book history book repair workshops botany Charles Dickens Christmas detective fiction Documentary Film Elizabeth Blackwell Gerald Johnson Harold Hayes herbal illustrations Ireland James Joyce John Charles McNeill John White Laurence Stallings LIB260 May Angelou medieval manuscripts Pickwick Papers poetry preservation mold programs Rare Book of the Month Rare Books Roanoke Rockwell Kent Shakespeare Sherlock Holmes Special Collections Strand Magazine Theodor deBry Thomas Hariot Travel Narratives Venice W.J. Cash wake forest Writers' Lives
Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
December 2009
November 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
October 2008
September 2008
July 2008
April 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
Subscribe
Entries
Comments

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.