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Showing posts from June, 2012

John Kennedy Toole Archive Sold at Sotheby's

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A few months ago I posted about a purported lost manuscript of John Kennedy Toole, the late author of A Confederacy of Dunces. Since that time a small archive of Toole manuscript material did come to light and went under the hammer at Sotheby's. It included an autograph letter signed by Toole, a first edition of Dunces and children's books from his own library.

I happened to be on the phone with a representative from Sotheby's on June 15 when this lot was auctioned in their New York rooms and, despite the fanfare surrounded it and the estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, it sold for the low estimate of $10,000.


The 1963 letter, while on the surface appearing slightly mundane, bears traces of Ignatius J. Reilly.
Toole writes, "Unfortunately I did not see you during the holidays – although I doubt whether this greatly affected your Christmas either way. I had no access to an automobile. The prospect of traveling via Greyhound stopped me in the planning stage…"
Are t…

London's Historic Women's Library Threatened

The UNESCO-recognized Women's Library in London is facing the loss of funding as London Metropolitan University seeks to divorce itself from the storied institution in an effort to trim its budget.

Founded in 1926 in a converted pub and counting Virginia Woolf among its members, the library is the repository for archives relating to the fight for suffrage as well as other women's issues such as health and reproduction, education, employment, and equal pay. The vast collection of books (including a first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Women), pamphlets and periodicals, are joined by objects and ephemera such as campaign banners, photographs, posters, and textiles.

After suffering bomb damage during the Blitz, the library relocated several times and became affiliated with London Metropolitan University. The National Lottery funded a new building in 1998, which was lauded by the Royal Institute of British Architects. In 2011, the library was recogniz…