It is rare that a collection would become available today that could add so much to the scholarly record about arguably the most ubiquitous of the moderns, Ezra Pound. The Ransom Center recently acquired such a collection from Marcella Spann Booth, one of Pound's close friends and collaborators late in his life. Fresh out of graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin, where she had received her doctorate in English, Marcella Spann visited Pound in St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. They quickly became friends, and Spann returned to the hospital regularly to see Pound, corresponded with him, collaborated with him on literary projects, and traveled to Italy with him when he was released from the hospital.
The collection includes more than 700 journal-like letters Pound wrote to Spann, documenting his daily life at St. Elizabeths in remarkable detail. There are manuscripts and proof materials for Cantos, Thrones, and Confucius to Cummings, the poetry anthology Pound co-edited with Spann. There are dozens of photographs, Pound's walking stick, a lock of his baby hair, two chess sets used regularly by Pound and Spann, and other personal items, including a scrapbook documenting Pound's release from St. Elizabeths Hospital, his voyage to Italy, and his homecoming. This untapped collection will be a remarkable resource for scholars of twentieth-century literature.
Other recent acquisitions include:
- A collection of John Le Carré books compiled by the late literary scholar Matthew Bruccoli
- A collection of books, autograph letters, and other materials related to American poet Archibald MacLeish, donated to the Center by Roy Winnick
- A large gift of imprints of the Nonesuch Press, one of the most important English fine presses of the early twentieth century, donated by University of Texas at Austin Professor Emeritus of Linguistics John G. Bordie. This donation, together with an earlier gift by Bordie, represents a nearly complete collection of the press's books.