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Exhibit of writer Jack London’s papers opens at Merrill-Cazier Library

October 8th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Aimee Cobabe, Misty Inglet and Heidi Smith

LOGAN—An exhibit of Jack London materials opens this week in the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University.

The exhibit officially opens on Friday with a gallery talk led by Clint Pumphrey, manuscript curator at USU. “I will be talking about the exhibit and where the information comes from,” he said. “It is open to the public and there will also be attendees from the Jack London Symposium.”

The exhibit coincides with the conference of the Jack London Society meeting at the library Thursday through Saturday. This is the first year the conference has been held outside of California.

“This has been in the works for almost two years,” said Brad Cole, associate library dean and director of special collections and archives.The society usually meets every two years near London’s ranch near Sonoma.”

USU holds the world’s second-largest collection of Jack London’s work. The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., is the only collection larger.

“We have an excellent program to advertise our collection,” Cole said. “The exhibit will highlight the collection for the society and it brings a lot of attention to the university.”

“We wanted to create an exhibit that appealed to a variety of people,” Pumphrey said. “The exhibit will highlight our collection, how it got here and the most important documents of Jack London.”

Jack London originals are on display in USU Special Collections and Archives. “Hopefully the exhibit gets students to come down and check out the collection,” Cole said.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about special collections, but anyone can come and look at the Jack London collection,” Pumphrey said.

“This is really the first exhibit I have stopped to look at,” said Amanda Bingham, a USU literature student. “It is just interesting to know more about Jack London.”

USU obtained the collection through King Hendricks, a former USU English professor and Jack London scholar.

“Hendricks had a close relationship with Irving Shepard who was executor of London’s literary estate,” Pumphrey said. “In 1963 Hendricks approached Shepard about allowing USU to purchase London’s first edition novels. Shepard agreed and USU purchased the collection. Shepard later donated three more rounds of material. This all completed our fantastic collection.”


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