Tuesday, April 15, 2003

WKU buys collection on author Warren

By Scott Sisco
The Daily News

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Western Kentucky University has purchased one of the largest private collections of Robert Penn Warren materials from his bibliographer and scholar, James A. Grimshaw Jr.

The collection includes more than 1,200 items and was started 40 years ago when Grimshaw, a professor of literature and language at Texas A&M University-Commerce, became interested in Warren's works. It served as the basis for Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography.

"It's a very, very valuable collection," said Mary Ellen Miller, a Western Kentucky University professor of English and member of the Robert Penn Warren Center board. Miller would not reveal the purchase price.

As Warren's official bibliographer, Grimshaw collected all sorts of materials about Warren.

"If anyone is searching for his works and various editions of his work, this is the place to go to find out about that," said Connie Mills, special collections coordinator for WKU's Kentucky Library.

In the Grimshaw collection, for example, are copies of Warren's books in several languages.

Other schools, including Yale University, would have liked to have had the collection, Miller said. "He offered it to us first," she said. "We kind of leaped at it."

Grimshaw offered the collection with three conditions: that the collection stay together, that it be designated the James A. Grimshaw Jr. Collection to identify it in relation to the bibliographical work it represents, and that he have unlimited access to it for continued research in Warren studies.

A native of Guthrie, Ky., Warren was a poet, critic, novelist, and teacher. One of his novels, All the King's Men, won the Pulitzer Prize. He died in 1989.

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WKU buys collection on author Warren