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Posts Tagged ‘Duke University’

Virginia Woolf’s writing desk, known for its interesting history, is in the online and physical exhibit of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, titled “Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work.”

Carefully assembled over 45 years by noted bibliophile, activist and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection includes more than 8,600 rare books and thousands of manuscripts, journals, ephemera and artifacts, including Woolf’s desk.

Baskin Unger acquired the desk from Colin Franklin, and it became one of “the most iconic items” in her collection, which is described as one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history. The desk now in Duke University’s possession is apparently Woolf’s original stand-up desk with its legs shortened to suit Olivia Bell.

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University acquired Unger’s collection around 2015, catalogued it, and has now launched an exhibition at Duke that will travel to New York’s Grolier Club from December 11, 2019, through February 8, 2020.

 

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Virginia Woolf’s desks — from her stand-up version to her writing board — generate a lot of interest. A March 3 lecture by Leslie Hankins titled “Virginia Woolf: Writing Surfaces and Writing Depths” will answer all questions.

It will be held March 3, from 4-5 p.m. at Duke University, where one of Woolf’s desks is on display. Read more below and via a link on the Events page.

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Remember the Virginia Woolf desk acquired by Duke University that we wrote about last week? Additional details about the desk, which Woolf designed and her nephew Quentin Bell painted, have come to us from Caroline Zoob, author of Virginia Woolf’s Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House

Zoob, who lived at Monk’s House for a decade as a tenant of the National Trust, said she had never seen the desk. So she wrote Naomi Nelson of Duke, asking if the desk Duke had acquired — one Zoob described as “slopey” — had ever been at Monk’s House.

Nelson quoted from a letter dated Jan. 5, 1981, from Bell to Colin Franklin, to whom Bell sold the desk in 1980:

The history of it as far as I can remember is this: it remained in my aunt’s possession until about 1929, having been taken first to Asheham and then to Monks House at Rodmell. There in some kind of general turnout and spring clean, Virginia decided to throw it out. I think she had for many years abandoned the habit of writing in an upright position and certainly I never saw her doing anything of the kind, so that this tall desk, usually, I think, used by office workers of the last century and requiring the writer to stand or to sit on a very high stool, was going free. I was offered it and accepted it, and it came to Charleston.

According to Nelson, Bell’s letter “goes on to describe painting the design on the top and reveals that his wife [Olivia] shortened the legs (‘long before the current revival of interest in Virginia Woolf.’)”

Lisa Baskin Unger acquired the desk from Franklin, and it became one of “the most iconic items” in her collection, which is described as one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history. So the Virginia Woolf desk now in Duke’s possession is apparently Woolf’s original stand-up desk with its legs shortened to suit Olivia Bell.

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University recently acquired Unger’s collection and is now in the process of cataloguing it. The Baskin Collection also holds a collection of letters to Aileen Pippett, author of The Moth and the Star, the first full-length biography of Woolf. Pippett’s correspondents include Vanessa Bell.

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Frank Stasio

Frank Stasio

Tune in to National Public Radio at noon EST on Jan. 29 to hear Christopher Reed, Craufurd Goodwin and Mark Hussey discuss the Bloomsbury in American Collections exhibit at the Nasher Gallery of Duke University.

The three will appear on  a WUNC program called “The State of  Things,” hosted by Frank Stasio, which broadcasts live from Chapel Hill, N.C.

Click here to listen, or turn your radio dial to 91.5-FM if you are within range of their signal.

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kew-gardensDuke University Library has published a small collection of Bloomsbury Group-related materials in Manuscripts and Woodcuts: Visions and Designs from Bloomsbury.

The materials feature a handwritten, manuscript draft of Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey and a collection of woodcut illustrations by Robert Fry, as well as letters and book covers, according to Duke’s Digital Collections Blog.

The effort accompanies a Duke University Libraries exhibit on the Bloomsbury Group entitled “‘How Full of Life Those Days Seemed’: New Approaches to Art, Literature, Sexuality, and Society in Bloomsbury.”

The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration at Duke, Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury. Read more on Blogging Woolf.

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duke-in-depthThe pen is mightier than the brush when it comes to pointing people in the direction of Bloomsbury. And Virginia Woolf is one of the movement’s most recognizable proponents.

At least that is what Cornell curator Nancy Green says as she discusses the exhibit of Bloomsbury works that opens Dec. 18 at Duke University’s Nasher Museum in Durham, N.C. It runs through April 5.

The exhibit, called “A Room of Their Own,” marks the 100-year-anniversary of the Bloomsbury group’s founding. It is jointly curated by the museums at Duke and Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and includes many art objects from private collections that have never been on public display.

Roger Fry’s Head of a Model, 1913, is among them, along with furniture, books and works on paper that date from 1910 to the 1970s.

A preview and holiday party for museum members and the Duke community will be held Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., and a Curators Panel Discussion is set for Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.

For more details about Duke’s “Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury,” which includes 12 months of campus-wide programming that celebrates the exhibit, click here.

You can also read a story in the Courier-Journal about the Bloomsbury paintings three Louisville, Kentucky, collections have loaned the exhibit.

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