The Jack Mooney Collection of Rhoda Broughton
"Between us of the mid-Victorian era and our eye-opening successors, there is a ‘great gulf fixed.’” So wrote Rhoda Broughton, once considered a daring young novelist, as she observed the flapper generation from the vantage point of her eightieth birthday in 1920.
Rhoda Broughton (1840-1920) became an instant best-selling author with her controversial first two novels about young women and their coming-of-age dilemmas, Not Wisely But Too Well and Cometh Up Like a Flower, both published in 1867. Her strong heroines and witty, unstuffy dialogue drew critical condemnation but also attracted a new generation of readers.However, by the second decade of the twentieth century, Broughton felt left behind by the suffragettes and flappers to whom she did not seem innovative at all, but rather old-fashioned. The library’s collection documents the huge changes in women’s attitudes and experiences during Broughton’s fifty-year writing career.
Mr. Jack Mooney, of Hilton Head, built the collection and made it available to the library through a gift-purchase agreement. He first became interested in Broughton while doing graduate work in English at Washington University in the late 1940s. He continued acquiring Broughton materials during his career as a civilian writer and editor for the U.S. Air Force, based in Montgomery, Alabama. When he began his research, many of those who had known Broughton were still alive, and included in his donation are his extensive notes and correspondence with them. The Jack Mooney Collection also includes first or early editions of Rhoda Broughton’s more than forty published books.