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July 22, 2015

'Ragtime' author E.L. Doctorow dies in New York at 84

E.L. Doctorow, author of the bestselling Ragtime and more than a dozen other novels and short story collections, died on July 21 in New York City. The William Kennedy Papers at the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives contain nearly twenty years of correspondence between the two award-winning authors. In this April 27, 1978 letter, Doctorow provides critical feedback of Kennedy's third published novel Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, the second in his Albany Cycle of novels. Doctorow refers to Albany as "Kennedy's Yoknapatawpha," the fictional county William Faulkner created and utilized as the setting for the majority of his novels. Doctorow also predicts great literary achievement for Kennedy in "another book, or possibly two," accurately anticipating the success of Kennedy's 1983 novel Ironweed.

The Kennedy Papers contain correspondence sent to Kennedy from fellow authors, journalists, politicians, and members of the film industry, especially his mentor Saul Bellow and Hunter S. Thompson. Also included is correspondence from Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Frank McCourt, Doris Grumbach, John Updike, Russell Banks, and more.

Listen to audio from a 1990 New York State Writers Institute reading by E.L. Doctorow.

January 3, 2007

New Collections

Below are a few collections recently acquired by the Grenander Department. Complete lists of the Department's collections are available here.

Bridge Line Historical Society (MSS-129) - The Bridge Line Historical Society (BLHS) was founded in 1990 to document the history of the Delaware & Hudson Railway. The collection includes the BLHS's newsletter, The Bulletin, as well as maps, drawings, publications, and related material. The Grenander Department has only just begun to receive records from the BLHS and expects to steadily receive additional material from the organization in the months and years to come.

Business and Professional Women's Club of Schenectady (APAP-218) - The records of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Schenectady joins the records of the Albany and New York State organizations already held by the Grenander Department. The collection includes meeting minutes, news clippings, publications, programs, scrapbooks detailing the club's activities and accomplishments, and photographs from its organization in 1927 through 2006.

David Coplon (APAP-288) - The collection includes material from the Schenectady chapter of Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE); local anti-Vietnam war organizations; Church and Laity United, Schenectady; and groups advocating for Middle East peace. Much of the material dates from the 1970s.

Robert Gross (APAP-291) - The records were created during Gross' work with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP), Journey of Hope, Lighting the Torch of Conscience, and other activities in opposition to the death penalty. The NCADP leads and coordinates the movement to end state killing in the United States. Its 120 member organizations include civil and human rights groups, legal advocacy and public interest groups, and virtually every major church or religious denomination in the country. Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing is an organization that is led by murder victims' family members. It conducts public education speaking tours and addresses alternatives to the death penalty. The collection includes: NCADP state files, programs, and organizations; Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing administrative files, videotapes, photographs, and press packets related to speaking tours; and material from the Lighting the Torch of Conscience march in 1990.

Geof Huth (MSS-137) - The collection includes artworks produced by Geof Huth (including poetry, fiction, essays, aphorisms, visual poems, dramatic works, and comics), biographical records, extensive correspondence, records of his various micropresses, weblogs, audiovisual recordings of sound poems and presentations given at professional conferences, and a large collection of small and micropress publications focused on visual and experimental poetry. Huth's reflections on donating his papers, including the finding aid he wrote for his collection, are here. After a bit of editing, the Grenander Department will make the finding aid available from here.

Women's Building, Inc. (APAP-292) - The Women's Building, Inc. is the women's community center of the Capital Region located at 79 Central Avenue in Albany, New York and operated by the Holding Our Own foundation. The Women's Building's mission is to create an environment where differences are respected, leadership is shared, all women's strengths are recognized, all women's growth is supported, and a diversity of age, race, education, income, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, religion, and social background is seen as enriching. The organization's goals are to: provide a resource center and clearinghouse for information of interest to women; a multi-purpose space for cultural, informational, and recreational events of interest to women and children including meeting rooms, office rental for women's organizations, services, commercial, and professional enterprises, and a performance area; and to enhance a sense of community among women throughout the Capital Region. The collection includes records such as meeting minutes, grant applications, material related to the Women's Building's capital campaign, publications, program material, and other administrative material.

December 12, 2006

New Finding Aids

Finding aids recently added to the Department of Special Collections and Archives' Website are briefly described below. Be sure to visit the finding aid for additional information about the collection.

Duncan Blanchard
The papers of Atmospheric Sciences Research Center scientist and professor Duncan Blanchard include manuscripts and correspondence.

William Kennedy
The inventory for the papers of William Kennedy continues to be updated with the most recent additions including the series for Kennedy's O Albany! and Charlie Malarkey books.

National Organization for Women--Albany (N.Y.) Chapter
The collection includes correspondence, minutes, by-laws, financial reports, subject files on women's issues, and printed materials pertaining to NOW with particular strength in documenting the Albany and New York State chapters. The records of this women's organization pertain to sexual discrimination in education and employment, reproductive rights, gay and lesbian rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other gender-related issues.

Alexander Semmler
The inventory for the papers of composer Alexander Semmler is also now available online. Semmler was active in radio and film, serving as staff conductor and pianist fo rthe CBS Orchestra and as composer and conductor for films released by RKO Pathe. Semmler's compositions include opus numbers as well as numerous songs and other short works. These include works for orchestra, string and chamber orchestra, chamber groups of all sorts, piano, organ, and voice.