Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 73: The Kelmscott Chaucer

Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: now newly imprinted. Hammersmith [Eng.] : William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1896.

425 copies on paper; 13 on vellum. This copy on paper. One of 48 copies bound in white pigskin over wooden boards by the Doves Bindery.

"When I began to think about the next owner of my books, I checked with the University of Minnesota to see whether its collection included a Kelmscott Chaucer. I knew another Minnesota book collector…had one—not bound in pigskin, as mine was, but in heavy board binding. I never told him I had a pigskin-bound copy, because I wanted to spare him the jealousy. I thought he intended to give his Chaucer to the university, but it went instead to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. So, a few years ago, I surprised Austin McLean, then the university's curator of special collections, with a personal visit. I laid the Kelmscott Chaucer on his desk."

This volume is one of the most treasured gifts from Governor Andersen to the University.

University of Minnesota Libraries, Rare Books Flat/v 822C39 IM83b

"A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life" is on display through August 15 in the Exhibit Gallery, Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.

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