The Women's Center, Barnard College, pamphlet, 1971, page 6

Download: Transcript

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 View All

Show transcript

          The Overbury Collection 

As with any academic pro-
gram, the sine qua non in
the field of Women's Studies
is a research library. In ad-
dition to offering a wide
spectrum of books by and
about Women, the Barnard
library houses the Over-
bury Collection, which in-
cludes among its nineteen
hundred volumes unique editions of books by Ameri-
can women writers and nearly a thousand related
manuscripts and letters. The bequest of the late Bertha
Van Riper Overbury of the Class of 1896, the Collection
ranges from a second American edition of the poems
of Anne Bradstreet, America's earliest female poet, to
first editions of such present-day authors as Pulitzer-
prize-winning novelist Jean Stafford, who delivered the
first annual Spring Lectures at the College in 1971.

Among the manuscripts are a portion of Hannah
Adams’ History of the Jews, published in 18l2, two
chapters of Louisa May Alcott's handwritten draft of
Jack and Jill, several sonnets by Edna St. Vincent
Millay, and two pages from Edith Wharton's French
Ways and Their Meaning. Autographed letters by these
same authors also exist in the Overbury Collection, as
do letters by such celebrated women of the Colonial
and Federal periods as Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis
Warren, and one former slave, Phyllis Wheatley, who
was born in Africa and brought to Boston in 1761.

Two particularly rare items from the nineteenth
century are letters written by Margaret Fuller and
Emily Dickinson. Notable items from the twentieth
century include several letters written by Gertrude
Stein and Mrs. Overbury's personal correspondence
with Pearl Buck, the only American woman ever to win
the Nobel Prize.

Of particular value to
students are the bound
volumes of nineteenth cen-
tury periodicals that Mrs.
Overbury was encouraged
to collect by Librarian
Emeritus Esther Greene and
Professor of English Eleanor
Tilton. These include a
complete set of The Dial, which was edited by Margaret
Fuller from 1840-44.

The Overbury Collection offers students a history of
American women both as writers and as women. As
such, it represents an important measure of the quality
of American civilization. The Center not only aims to
increase the size and scope of the Overbury Collection
of American women writers, but also to seek out dis-
tinguished collections on
women of other nations and
civilizations.

Iola Haverstick
Trustee

The Barnard library
has the nucleus of or
distinguished collection
about women which we
are seeking to expand.

4