July 6, 2011 Fitzgerald Collection of Regional Americana Donated to Library of Congress
Collection to Be Housed in Rare Book and Special Collections Division
Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
American regional writing gained increasing popularity in the years following the Great Depression and beyond. The period 1938 to 1980 was an especially fruitful one for this type of documentation of the nation’s people, history and culture, as well as America’s natural treasures – its mountains, plains, lakes, seaports, forts, trails, folkways and customs.
The Fitzgerald Collection, donated by Carol and Jean Fitzgerald, comprises books, original correspondence, documentation and copies of research materials related to the series devoted to Americana as highlighted in “Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980: A Descriptive Bibliography.” This important contribution to 20th-century American publishing history is by Carol Fitzgerald and was published in 2010 by Oak Knoll Press and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
In this illustrated and authoritative two-volume work, bibliographer and collector Fitzgerald presents full descriptions and publishing histories of 163 titles published during 1938-1980 in 13 popular book series, such as American Folkways, The American Lakes Series, The American Trails Series and Regions of America. She also includes historical sketches of the series’ publishers, as well as biographies of the 19 editors and the 237 writers who contributed to the various series.
Erskine Caldwell, A.B. Guthrie Jr., Henry G. Alsburg and Carl Carmer are among the 19 distinguished editors. The 237 authors of individual volumes include noted writers such as Cleveland Amory, Gertrude Atherton, Bruce Catton, Thomas D. Clark, Richard H. Dillon, Marjorie Stoneman, John Dos Passos, Erle Stanley Gardner, Josephine Herbst, Stetson Kennedy, David Lavender, Meridel Le Sueur, Oscar Lewis, Mari Sandoz, Irving Stone and Wallace Stegner.
“Carol Fitzgerald’s donation represents a remarkable contribution to the collections of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division,” said Mark Dimunation, the division’s chief.
Fitzgerald is also the author of the 2001 work “The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography,” published by the Center for the Book and Oak Knoll Press. To mark the Center for the Book’s 25th anniversary in 2003, Carol and Jean Fitzgerald donated their “Rivers of America” archives to the Library of Congress. The collection, comprising more than 400 first editions and related correspondence, audio and video archives, and original art, is also available to the public in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.