Friday, April 4th, 2008

What Books Do You Share with Hemingway?

Some updates from the Legacy Libraries front: yesterday saw the completion of the largest LT-Legacy catalog to date, that of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s library (compiled by Dr. James D. Brasch and Dr. Joseph Sigman of McMaster University, and provided online [PDF] through Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library) included more than 7,000 titles (7,411 to be exact). A small team of dedicated Thingambrarians has been entering them since 4 January: many thanks to nperrin, who initiated the project; spookykitten (who added about 2,450 books); christiguc (2,350); Rullakartiina (1,350); and jjlong (1,200). Amazing work for a three-month period!

You can read more about the Hemingway effort at this talk thread; they’re looking for tagging assistance and offer some suggestions for where to read more about Hemingway and his books. It’s a fascinating and very wide-ranging collection, so if you have some time to browse through it, do.

Much removed from Hemingway’s library (so far removed, in fact, that they share no books at all) is the library of British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829), the man responsible for the creation of the Smithsonian Institution. His books were included in the bequest he made to the United States, and they now reside in the vault of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History (digital gateway). There are currently 113 titles in the catalog; a few more will follow (I’m told that eight more books from Smithson’s library were recently found in the Library of Congress and are now making their way back to the Smithsonian).

I worked with the Smithsonian’s Martin Kalfatovic and Suzanne Pilsk on this project, and Martin has a post up on the SI blog about the addition of Smithson’s library. As one might expect, most of the books in Smithson’s collection are scientific tracts, but the catalog also includes some cookbooks, travel accounts, reference works, &c.

Hemingway and Smithson have been added to the “Overlap with Legacy Libraries” section of your stats page (introduced here).

We’ve also been continuing to enhance John Adams’ LT catalog since its unveiling; through the wonderful assistance of Boston Public Library staff we’ve been able to make transcriptions of much of John Adams’ fascinating marginalia widely available for the first time (see what he thought, for example, of Mary Wollstonecraft’s An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution) – his copy of the book contains more than 10,000 words written in the margins! I’ve also been adding comments from JA’s diary and other writings about specific authors or works; that’s going to be an ongoing process, but it’s at least underway.

You can keep track of progress on the various Legacy projects by clicking here.

[Update: Thingamabrarian spookykitten reports that the cataloging of F. Scott Fitzgerald's library (322 books now held at Princeton) has also been completed. So you can now satisfy your curiosity and see how many books Fitzgerald and Hemingway share.]

Labels: dead people, john adams, legacies, special libraries

One Comments:

  1. […] Some updates from the Legacy Libraries front: yesterday saw the completion of the largest LT-Legacy catalog to date, that of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway's library (compiled by Dr. James D. Brasch and Dr.  […]

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