Inside the Milberg Gallery: In the Company of Good Books - The Book in the Archive

The following is part of a series of inside looks at the current exhibition in Princeton University Library’s Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery in Firestone Library - “In the Company of Good Books: Shakespeare to Morrison.” 

Curated by Jennifer Garcon, Librarian for Modern and Contemporary Special Collections, Gabriel Swift, Librarian for American Collections, and Eric White, Scheide Librarian & Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections, Rare Books & Manuscripts, the exhibition celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s “First Folio” and showcases Princeton’s diverse collection of English literature and many of the writers and readers who brought life to English literature around the world.

The inner process of creating a literary masterpiece–from the initial sketch to the drafting, editing, and even publishing of the first edition–can only be revealed within the original papers of an author’s archives. Princeton University Library is the home of extensive publishing archives and the literary papers of several outstanding authors, providing essential research material for understanding their literary processes and achievements. 

This section of the exhibition highlights the working processes of three authors: the Anglo-Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849); F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), who attended Princeton University, but did not complete his junior year; and Toni Morrison (1931-2019), who joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1989 as the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities.

Illustrated face with heavily lined eyes and red painted lips over a night sky and above a brightly lit boardwalk and amusements

The most celebrated dust jacket of the century. Francis Cugat (1893-1981) “Celestial Eyes.” Original dust jacket design for “The Great Gatsby.” Gouache on board, ca. 1925. Charles Scribner III, Class of 1973.

 

Hand-drawn picture of guests, depicted as mermaids, seated around a dinner table, dated Paris, July 1928

Hand-drawn picture in a copy of “The Great Gatsby” from the library of Sylvia Beach. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.

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The exhibition is open through December 10, 2023 at the Milberg Gallery in Firestone Library. Please visit the website to view the gallery’s opening hours and for information about public tours, related programming, and how to visit.

Discover more through the companion digital exhibition.

Published November 28, 2023.

Media Contact: Stephanie Oster, Library Publicity Manager