Saturday, May 09, 2020

Bookstore Founder Sylvia Beach's Digital Archive

In Paris, during the 1920s and 30s, Sylvia Beach's bookstore was the center of English (and French) literary life.  When she died, Princeton University collected all her personal items from her apartment above the store and added them to their special collections library.   Princeton has just announced that some of this material (and presumably more to come) is now available digitally.
Visitors can search the website for a library member, such as Hemingway, to see which books he borrowed and the dates he withdrew them and returned them. Clicking “cards” reveals images of the handwritten notes kept by the store’s clerks who recorded his loans. Hemingway was a library member, on and off, from 1921 to 1938 and borrowed more than 90 books, including P.T. Barnum’s Barnum’s Own Story, which he kept for a few weeks in the fall of 1927, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which he kept for just eight days in September 1929. He borrowed Bull Fighting by Tom Jones in 1926. One also can view his purchases — he bought a copy of his novel A Farewell to Arms at the store — and the addresses where he lived in Paris. 
Fans of an author can use the website to “read the books they read and see who else read those books,” said Joshua Kotin, an associate professor of English at Princeton and the project’s director. “We hope this will be a resource for scholars and nonscholars.”
Hat tip Gary Price

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