Institutional Collecting of Twentieth-Century Literature

WILLIAM MATHESON

Abstract

In 1971 I wrote an article for American Libraries, “An Approach to Special Collections,”1 about my experiences in forming a collection of twentieth-century American and English literature at Washington University in St. Louis. I continued to think about the materials appropriate for inclusion in an author collection in the position to which I was appointed in 1972, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. By 1987 my conception of the kind of author collection useful for present-day scholarship had changed as the result of reading Fredson Bowers and G. Thomas Tanselle (in particular . . .

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