[Milton-L] Wickenheiser collection moves to South Carolina

John Ulreich jcu at email.arizona.edu
Fri Aug 25 11:47:37 EDT 2006

Congratulations, Roy.
John Ulreich

At 06:35 AM 8/25/2006, you wrote:

>      The University of South Carolina's Thomas 
> Cooper Library is displaying its newest major 
> treasure, the Robert J. Wickenheiser Collection 
> of the seventeenth-century English poet and 
> prose writer John Milton (1608-1674).  The 
> first exhibition from the collection, acquired 
> with leading support from William L. Richter 
> and the William L,. Richter Family Foundation, 
> opens on Thursday September 21, with a lecture 
> by the distinguished Milton scholar John T. 
> Shawcross at 4PM.  The exhibition in the 
> library's mezzanine exhibit gallery is open 
> regular library hours from September 21 through November 1.
>      The Wickenheiser Collection, acquired over 
> a 35-year span,  has more than 6,000 
> volumes.  Its holdings of first and other 
> seventeenth-century editions of Milton's own 
> writings put USC  among  the top ten Milton 
> collections in North America.  Its special 
> focus on illustrated editions make it perhaps 
> the most comprehensive collection ever of 
> Milton illustration, from the first illustrated 
> edition of Paradise Lost (1688) through all the 
> major illustrators that follow, with original 
> drawings by several of the artists, 
> particularly John Martin (1789-1854) and 
> Gustave Doré (1832-1883).  The collection's 
> 18th, 19th, and 20th-century Milton editions 
> preserve a comprehensive record of Milton's 
> continuing impact, while holdings of Milton 
> biography, scholarship, and criticism document 
> knowledge of Milton's writings and influence.
>      "The Wickenheiser Collection brings the 
> library its first major seventeenth-century 
> research collection, to join our earlier 
> acquisition of great collections in succeeding 
> centuries," said Paul Willis, Dean of 
> Libraries.  "It is a collection that will draw 
> faculty and scholars to South Carolina, to the 
> continuing benefit of the academic community here."
>      "The breadth of Milton's own interests 
> make this a collection that will stimulate an 
> equally broad range of research projects, 
> across a variety of disciplines, both  by 
> established researchers and by students at the 
> graduate and undergraduate level," said Dr. 
> Patrick Scott, Director of Special Collections.
>      Prof. Roy Flannagan, Founding Editor of 
> the Milton Quarterly and editor of the Houghton 
> Mifflin Riverside edition of Milton, 
> USC-Beaufort, commented: "Being in the same 
> rooms as Dr. Wickenheiser's collection is like 
> being in a Paradise for a scholar of seventeenth-century English literature.."
>      John Milton (1608-1674), author of the 
> epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), is the most 
> important English-language poet of the 
> seventeenth century.   He was active in 
> politics, as author of the first major text on 
> the freedom of the press, Areopagitica (1644) 
> and as Latin secretary to Britain's 
> revolutionary government in the late 1640's and 
> 1650's.  He was also deeply involved in the 
> same religious debates as the Pilgrim Fathers, 
> and a pioneer in his writings on education and 
> on marriage law.  For centuries after it was 
> written, his poetry drew responses from poets, 
> learned scholars, ordinary readers, musicians, 
> artists and illustrators.  Milton was as 
> influential in America as in Europe, and the 
> Wickenheiser Collection includes not only the 
> first American editions of Milton's poetry, but 
> also rare printings of political pamphlets 
> influential in debates on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
>      Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser started 
> collecting Milton and other seventeenth-century 
> poets as a graduate student student at the 
> University of Minnesota in the late 1960's.  As 
> a young professor at Princeton in the early 
> seventies, he began focusing on the history of 
> Milton illustration, and with his wife Pat and 
> the late Robert H. Taylor, past president of 
> the Grolier Club, he visited and established 
> friendships with many of the best-known 
> antiquarian bookdealers on both sides of the 
> Atlantic.  Since retiring, Dr. Wickenheiser has 
> completed a full-scale illustrated catalogue of 
> the collection, scheduled for publication by 
> the University of South Carolina Press for the 
> 400th anniversary of the poet's birth in 2008.
>      The Robert J. Wickenheiser Collection has 
> been purchased for the University with the 
> leading support of Mr. William L. Richter and 
> the William L. Richter Family Foundation.  Mr. 
> Richter is President of Richter Investment 
> Corporation and Senior Managing Director of 
> Cerberus Capital Management.  In recognition 
> and appreciation of this generous gift, the 
> University's Board of Trustees has approved 
> naming a room in the library's new Special Collections library.
>   "Dr. Robert Wickenheiser is the uncontested 
> premier collector of Milton and Miltonianas in 
> the world . . . There is, to the best of my 
> knowledge, no other privately-held collection 
> in the world that even remotely begins to 
> approach the Wickenheiser Milton Collection in 
> scope, range, or importance. . . . the purchase 
> of this collection would immediately catapult 
> the purchaser into world-class status."
>   G. W. Stuart, Jr., Ravenstree Books
>   " . . . one of the major collections of 
> materials related to John Milton, editions and 
> studies and artworks, in the world . . . 
> indicating the breadth and nature of Milton's 
> position in the literary, political, religious, 
> and sociological world over the nearly three 
> and a half centuries since his death."
>   John T. Shawcross, Emeritus, U Kentucky
>   " . . . a magnificent collection, in mint 
> condition, preserved under ideal circumstances, 
> broad in scope, and unique in some of its items 
> . . . . what has to be one of the best private 
> collections of Milton and Miltoniana in existence."
>   John Mulryan, St. Bonaventure University
>   "Dr. Wickenheiser's collection is . . . a 
> paradise for a scholar of seventeenth-century English literature."
>   Roy Flannagan, Emeritus, Ohio University; 
> Scholar-in-Residence, University of South Carolina, Beaufort
>   " . . . breathtaking in its reach--Milton is 
> here but also Miltoniana, the latter in 
> abundance.  This is a collection that, unlike 
> any other I have seen, represents Milton on an 
> international scene and as an important token of his culture."
>   Joseph Wittreich, Graduate College, CUNY
>Patrick Scott
>Director of Special Collections,
>Thomas Cooper Library,
>& Professor of English,
>University of South Carolina,
>Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
>Tel: 803-777-1275
>Fax: 803-777-4661, attn Dr Scott
>E-mail: scottp at gwm.sc.edu
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John C. Ulreich
Professor of English
& Affiliate Faculty in Religious Studies;
Chair, Dean's Advisory Committee, COH;
Faculty Senator for College of Humanities
P.O. Box 210067
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721-0067
(520) 621-5424
jcu at email.arizona.edu

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