Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Muse: Moore at The Rosenbach

If you're in Philadelphia at the end of the week and find yourself with a block of free time, head to The Rosenbach Museum & Library in Rittenhouse Square for a "hands-on" tour about poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972). The museum, the repository of the important Marianne Moore Collection, is offering "Marianne Moore, Modernist Poet", between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 31. Attendees will be able to examine Moore's letters and clippings, as well as some of the objects she liked to have at hand.

According to information on the Rosenbach Website, the Marianne Moore Collection includes not only the poet's manuscripts and papers but also her personal library, photographs, and the contents of her Greenwich Village living room, which is installed permanently on the third floor and is shown to visitors as part of the regular tour of the Rosenbach house. The room's contents comprise more than 2,500 objects, from furniture, to animal figurines, to postage stamps. Moore bequeathed her personal belongings to the Rosenbach, which in the late 1960s purchased the bulk of her manuscripts and correspondence.

Among highlights in the Moore collection are a letter Moore wrote in her senior year at Bryn Mawr in which she describes to her family an outing to see the pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski; a letter to Moore from Ezra Pound, indicating Pound's interest in publishing a collection of Moore's poems (Pound cautions, "You will never sell more than five hundred copies, as your work demands mental attention."); and a typescript of Moore's poem "A Graveyeard in the Middle of the Sea" (an image is in the online Gallery section of the main page of Marianne Moore Collection).

A 16-page introduction to the collection followed by a summary of its contents, from poetry and prose manuscripts to notebooks, to financial records, to artworks, is available online.

On Delancey Place, the Rosenbach, which is open Tuesday through Sunday (hours are listed here), is  home to a remarkable collection of nearly 400,000 rare books, manuscripts (some no more than a page), and fine and decorative art objects. Among its other collections are Bram Stoker's notes and outlines for Dracula; original drawings and books by William Blake; manuscripts for two-thirds of Joseph Conrad's literary works, including Lord Jim and Nicholas Nickleby; more than 600 Lewis Carroll letters; the manuscript and typescript of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood; and more than 10,000 original drawings, preliminary sketches, manuscripts, books, photographs, and prints of Maurice Sendak.

(I was privileged to visit the Rosenbach last Thursday; it's a gem in a beautiful section of the city. To see up close so many rare and beautiful books and manuscripts is an honor. Our guide was extremely well-informed and his enthusiasm for the library's holdings was infectious. The Sendak illustrations now on view are delightful.)

Generally, program events are free with museum admission

The Rosenbach is designated a National Literary Landmark by Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), formerly Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) and Friends of Libraries, USA (FOLUSA), which merged in 2009.

The Rosenbach on FaceBook and Twitter

The Rosenbach Blog Rosenblog

Also of Interest

"Moore Adventures in Wonderland" at The Rosenbach (2009-2010)

Marianne Moore's "A Graveyard"

Marianne Moore, The Art of Poetry No. 4, Interview at The Paris Review, 1961

Marianne Moore at The Library of Congress


Louise Gallagher said...

Wish I was in Philly! I'd definitely schedule the time to go. Sounds fascinating!

Hope you had a good trip.

Maureen said...

I did have a good trip! I had come across mention of the Rosenbach by chance before I left and it turned out to be a gem. The rare books in the collections are astonishing. I loved seeing the Sendak. I also visited the Barnes (a bit overwhelming), the Mutter (a medical science museum; fascinating), Brandywine River Museum (Wyeths), and the magical light installations by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens.

Emilie Parker said...

Hello All,

This is Emilie Parker. I'm the Director of Education at the Rosenbach. Thanks to Maureen for writing such a lovely post about us! We cordially invite one and all to come visit us very soon.

I also wanted to let everyone know that we've switched up the Hands-On Tour schedule so that we'll be offering a tour on Charles Dickens instead of Marianne Moore this coming Friday, August 31 at 3 pm. Here's a description of that tour: "In this tour we’ll look at the original portrayals of Oliver Twist, Scrooge, and other memorable characters. Through manuscripts, letters, and other documents we’ll follow their creator’s progress from ambitious unknown to international celebrity."

The next Marianne Moore Hands-On Tour will offered on Sunday, September 23 at 3:00pm.