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U.Va. Library Receives Original Washington Irving Manuscript

May 29, 2002-- The University of Virginia Library’s Special Collections treasury of manuscripts and rare books has grown with the donation of an original Washington Irving manuscript.

The bound manuscript notebook containing Irving’s notes and drafts on his eventual publication The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus was given to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library by U.Va. Professor Emeritus Vera Granlund and her husband, Dr. John Granlund, a direct descendant of Ebenezer Irving, Washington Irving’s brother. On May 8, Vera Granlund and her granddaughter, Kristin Granlund, a U.Va. student, presented the manuscript to University Librarian Karin Wittenborg and Michael Plunkett, director of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. In addition to the manuscript, they presented a book on the history of the Irving family and two letters, one from Irving to Mrs. Sanders Irving and the other from Ebenezer Irving to Washington Irving. The gift was made in memory of Kristin’s father, the Granlund’s son, John.

"We are grateful to the Granlunds for presenting us with this remarkable piece of literary history. Because of their generosity, this manuscript will now be widely known and available for study and research by scholars around the world," said Wittenborg.

The Columbus manuscript joins other Irving materials already in Special Collections as part of the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. The collection contains several hundred Irving letters dating from 1804 (probably the earliest Washington Irving letters to survive) to 1859, the year of his death. Also included are manuscripts of Salmagundi, the only surviving portions of A History of New York, The Sketch Book, Bracebridge Hall, The Crayon Miscellany, Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus, about half of Astoria, notes for a portion of the final manuscript of The Life of George Washington and The Vindication of Christmas, as well as four unpublished manuscripts and two notebooks.

"This manuscript greatly enriches our Washington Irving collection," said Plunkett. "It complements our previous copies of The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus that Irving had annotated with copious notes and editing changes. Researchers can now trace from start to end the author’s intent with this piece."

Best known today for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Irving was a popular 19th century American writer. Born in New York City in 1783, Irving spent considerable time abroad, where he often drew inspiration for his writing. While in Spain he wrote The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828).

The manuscript is cataloged in VIRGO, the Library’s online catalog, and available for research in Special Collections.

The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library houses the University’s many outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts. The primary focus of these collections is American history and literature, in particular, the Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History and the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Among the treasures in Special Collections are Thomas Jefferson’s papers and his architectural drawings of the University of Virginia; the Paul Mellon Collection of Americana; and the largest single collection of William Faulkner editions, manuscripts and personal papers.

To learn more about the resources found in Special Collections, visit the Web site www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol or call (434) 924-3025.

Contact: Melissa Norris, (434) 924-4254

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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