Our new catalog is here!


We’ve just received the first copies of our latest exhibition catalog, Beyond Domesticity, U.S. Women Writers, 1770-1915. The exhibition, mounted earlier this year, was curated by English faculty members Katherine Adams and Cynthia Davis, with assistance from Sarah Conlon from McKissick Museum and me. Here are couple of teaser images from it. We’re going to mount the entire catalog as a downloadable .pdf file shortly, and also bring up a website for the exhibition with the complete exhibit text and a greater number of images that couldn’t fit into the catalog proper. If you’d like a paper copy, please get in touch with me.


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Rediscovering Audubon’s Birds of America Prospectus

The Birds of America Prospectus

After recently reading about a prospectus for Audubon’s Birds of America that was discovered bound into a copy of his Ornithological Biography, I looked into our holdings to see if we had a copy.

The Ornithological Biography is a 5-volume text that was meant to accompany the double elephant folio plates of the Birds of America. It contains complete descriptions of the characteristics, markings, diet, and habits of each species, along with Audubon’s notes and narrative descriptions of how and where he observed and obtained his specimens. The Ornithological Biography was published in 5 volumes in Edinburgh between 1831 and 1839, and a Philadelphia edition also appeared at this time. We have both editions of the work, along with a manuscript of Audubon’s description of the California Partridge. And bound into the back of the first volume of both editions is a 16-page prospectus for the Birds of America proper!

The Prospectus is dated 1831 and outlines the scope of the project, its progress to date, including excerpts from favorable reviews, and also includes the current list of subscribers. This was printed just before the University of South Carolina became a subscriber to the project later that year. Ultimately, about 180 complete sets of the Birds of America were produced, and most are now in institutional collections.

List of plates, in order, from the first volume

The Prospectus itself exists in two editions: Edinburgh and Philadelphia, in different settings of type, and fortunately we have copies of each bound into our respective copies of the Ornithological Biography. It seems to be quite rare; there is only one holding library for each edition of the Prospectus listed on WorldCat, though I would suspect that numerous other copies of the Ornithological Biography in institutional collections will also have copies of the Prospectus bound into them.

The Philadelphia (left) and Edinburgh editions of the Prospectus, as bound into the Ornithological Biography

For more information on Audubon and our copy of the Birds of America, see our “Audubon and Others” online exhibit here. There is also a short essay on the acquisition of our set here.



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Cold Mountain screenplay archive

We’ve just purchased this small collection of scripts and film production memos relating to the 2002 filming of Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain.

Frazier received his Ph.D. in English here at USC before his writing career took off, and Cold Mountain, as a sleeper best-seller, has an interesting publication history. This collection both supplements our existing Frazier collections and might also have some research value to Film and Media Studies students.

Shooting schedule in South Carolina

At least four drafts of the shooting screenplay, with revisions, are present, along with production notes, shooting schedules, and some production email printouts that document how the project evolved at its final, shooting, stage.

List of late changes to one version of the script


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Two (not unrelated) anniversaries this month

It’s certainly worth noting that June 14 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best selling novel of the 19th century and remains critical to anyone interested in 19th century America.

Our copy of the first edition, in two volumes

June is also the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, a different, but also unavoidable cultural reference point. We own two copies of the first edition of the work, along with a 1939 film tie-in large format paperback and the program to the 1939 Atlanta Film Festival where it had its premiere.

A fine copy, in jacket

Our second copy belonged to John Shaw Billings, the editor of Life and our first major benefactor. He notes inside his copy that his wife, Frederica, went to school with Margaret Mitchell, and has also pasted two clippings inside.



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