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English & American Literature Collections


Author collections (some with manuscript materials)

In addition to these named collections, other collections in the Department include first editions of major English and American authors, editions published during their lifetime, as well as works published before 1801. Please note: In the case of many of these authors, circulating copies of works are also often available in the general stacks. Check MadCat and the card catalog on the 2nd floor. The Short Title Catalog (STC) for English works published 1475-1640, including numerous works held in the Department, is available on microfilm in 443 Memorial Library.

General Collections

American gift-books & annuals.
A collection of some 400 volumes, initiated by the late Professor Cairns and still being enlarged. Mostly items are located in Memorial Library stacks with call no. AY (LC classification) or Y .95... (Cutter Classification). A few are in Special Collections, some available in microform in 443 Memorial Library. See the card and MadCat computer catalogs under the subject "Gift-books."

Armed Services Editions Collection U.
One hundred and twenty-seven examples of compact paperbacks distributed to American troops in World War II; mostly popular American fiction. Gift of Wm. Schuette.

British Amateur Journalism Collection ZB.
Some 8500 titles dating from about 1912 to the early 1970s, collected by Ralph A.L. Breed.

Cairns Collection of Pre-1920 American Women Authors
The Cairns Collection contains published works by over 1450 American women authors who published before 1920, manuscripts and other materials, and a comprehensive reference collection. For nine authors among the 1450 -- Louisa May Alcott, Anne Bradstreet, Kate Chopin, Emily Dickinson, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Margaret Fuller, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Harriet Beecher Stowe -- Special Collections is trying to collect all variant editions. For more information, see the Cairns Collection description.

Little Magazines (Sukov) Collection
Experimental English-language literary magazines, beginning about 1900, non-commercial and avant-garde in nature, associated with many literary and artistic movements, and featuring distinguished writers (and those who later achieved distinction). With some 5800 journals, 1200 received on current subscription, the collection is one of the most extensive of its kind in the U.S. The original collection was assembled by Dr. Marvin Sukov and acquired by the University of Wisconsin in 1959; new titles are added every year. Most titles are cataloged on MadCat. For more information, see the Little Magazines collection description, search MadCat for the subject "Little magazines," or contact the Department of Special Collections.

Twentieth Century Collection
Works by prominent writers in the English language. These items are cataloged partly on MadCat.
Finding tips.

Cruikshank Collection
Works illustrated by noted English illustrator George Cruikshank (1792-1878) or Isaac Robert Cruikshank (1789-1850). A shelf-list is available in the Department (CA8900-CA9017), plus 50 additional titles listed in the Department's author/title card catalog.

English Grammar (Benjamin David Berry) Collection
English grammars (17th-20th century) acquired in 1923. The collection includes titles not typically not found in U.S. research institutions. The material is divided between Special Collections and the general stacks.

Manuscripts Collection
Supplements the Twentieth Century Collection and other printed works in the Department's holdings. Authors include, among others, Felicia Hemans, Mary Russel Mitford, Laura Riding, Mary Imlay Taylor, Delmore Schwartz, and Rebecca West. See also Author Collections below.


Author Collections

Felix Pollak Collection
Little magazines containing poetry by Pollak (1909-1987), other writings, and books and manuscripts of distinguished modern literary figures and their correspondence with Pollak.

Carl Rakosi Collection Manuscripts collection F.
Letters, manuscripts, work sheets, clippings, poetry readings, and miscellaneous items by poet Carl Rakosi, born 1903 in Berlin (as Callman Rawley), educated in Hungary and at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Other published materials are located in the Twentieth Century Collection.

Kenneth Fearing Collection Manuscripts collection B.
Manuscripts, personal letters and business correspondence. Other published materials are housed in the Twentieth Century Collection.

D.M. Thomas Collection Manuscripts--D.M.Thomas, MS-229.
Manuscripts of poetry, notebooks, and a manuscript copy of The White Hotel. Published materials by Thomas (born in Britain in 1935) are available in the Twentieth Century Collection.

Thornton Wilder Collection. Manuscripts--Thornton Wilder, MS-150.
Sixty letters (1946-1975) from Wilder to an aspiring writer, Sally Higginson. The Department also holds many of Wilder's published works in the Twentieth Century Collection.

Zona Gale Collection. Manuscripts--Zona Gale, MS-226.
Letters and manuscripts by Zona Gale (1874-1938), a writer from Portage, Wisconsin. Additional items are in the Library of the State Historical Society, searchable on ARCAT

O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) Collection
This collection includes first editions plus several items of Porteriana and a signed document. Gift of Norman Bassett in 1958. Shelf-list available in the Department card catalog (SC1222047-1222069, one item in the safe).

Mark Twain Collection
Two collections from Messrs. George H. Brownell and Norman Bassett, containing some 370 items, with many ephemeral materials by and about Twain (1835-1910), also many first periodical appearances and first editions.

John Milton Collection
Fine edition by Milton, plus works by contemporary European poets and miscellaneous works on subjects of interest to Milton. Donated by the late Professor Merritt Y. Hughes and Grace Hughes. Shelf list available in the Department's card catalog (CA4873-CA5009).

Wordsworth (Arthur Beatty) Collection
Nearly 100 titles donated by Beatty, a professor of English at Madison, with many others located in the general stacks. Shelf-list available in the Department's card catalog (SC 1213952-1214141).

Norman Bassett Collection
Works by Dickens, Bellamy, Cooper, James Joyce. Also works by or about Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), other published works are available in the Twentieth Century Collection. Shelf-list available in the Department's card catalog (SC 1219748-1219757).

William Stanley Marshall Collection
First or early editions of literature, poetry, and travel by Byron, Longfellow, Thomas Jefferson, Holmes, Whittier, etc. Acquired about 1950 from Marshall, professor of zoology. An additional sixty titles were later donated by the family. Shelf-list available in the Department's card catalog (SC 971912-972206).

Ruth Coons Wallerstein Collection
Library of Professor Wallerstein of the English department. First and early editions of Elzevier, Jansen, Plantin, and other famous publishing houses as well as literary classics of the seventeenth century. Acquired in 1958. Shelf-list available in the Department's card catalog (SC 1084076-1084175).

Jonathan Swift Collection
Some one hundred items acquired in 1962 from the estate of Dr. Herman Teerink, including eighteenth century editions, first editions, and editions with commentaries.

L. Frank Baum / Oz Collection Collection W.
Some forty editions of the Wizard of Oz.

Thornton Burgess Collection Collection T.
About one hundred titles, many inscribed. Formerly in the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) on campus.


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Last updated October 28, 2007