Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shelby Foote's research collections to be digitized by Rhodes College

North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg National...Image by mharrsch via Flickr
The North Carolina Monument at
Gettysburg National Battlefield
I recently received information that Rhodes College has acquired the 2,350-volume book collection, 
personal papers and diaries, handwritten book drafts and maps, and memorabilia of famed novelist and Civil War historian Shelby Dade Foote Jr. (1916-2005).


Shelby Foote was born in GreenvilleMiss., in 1916 and was raised by his mother after his father died. An only child, Foote took an interest in reading. When he was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he contributed fiction pieces to the school’s literary journal. After serving in the Army in World War II, he held various jobs, including a stint as a reporter. Foote's first novel, Tournament, was published in 1949, and works that followed include Follow Me Down,  Love in a Dry Season, ShilohJordan County: A Landscape in Narrative and  September, September, which is set during the 1957 integration of Little Rock's Central High School. In 1951, what began as a Random House proposal for a short account of the Civil War turned into the more than a million and a half words of The Civil War: A Narrative that took Foote 20 years to write and carries readers from Fort Sumter to Appomatox.
In the late 1980s, writer Robert Penn Warren recommended Foote to filmmaker Ken Burns who was planning his television documentary on the war. Burns and crew interviewed Foote, and after the 11-hour series aired on PBS in 1990, Foote gained national celebrity.

As one YouTube viewer noted, it's just a pleasure to listen to this wonderful historian.



Some of the materials included in this priceless legacy include:
Shelby Foote’s Personal Library
The book collection, which includes approximately 2,350 volumes, is made up mostly of works of classic literature—everything from Greek tragedies to contemporary Southern writers—as well as works of literary interpretation, American history (particularly the history of the South and Civil War) and European history. Of particular note are the rare, signed and/or inscribed first-edition novels by Shelby Foote, William Faulkner, Walker Percy and Eudora Welty.

Shelby Foote’s Personal Papers
The papers include handwritten and typed drafts and notes for Foote’s novels, essays, short stories, screenplays, speeches, lectures and his most famous work, The Civil War: A Narrative. Correspondents include friends, associates and family members. Letters from presidents, U.S. senators, governors and other leading figures (Walker Percy, Cormac McCarthy, Allen Tate, Willie Morris, David McCullough and Ken Burns, among others) are also included. There are decades of personal diaries, memo books and calendars, along with a large collection of hand-drawn maps, photographs, magazines and other memorabilia.

Shelby Foote’s Personal Artifacts
Among the personal artifacts is a large collection of classical music (scores, LP records, cassettes and compact discs), as well as various military artifacts, sculptures, figurines, drawings, prints and posters. Also included are numerous awards and plaques that Shelby Foote received throughout his lifetime.
The Shelby Foote Collection will be housed in the 136,000-square-foot Paul Barret, Jr. Library on the Rhodes College campus.  I understand a number of items will be digitized and made available online as well!

The Civil War: A Narrative--Fort Sumter to Perryville, Vol. 1   The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian   The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 3 Red River to Appomattox   The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns

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