Penn Libraries

June Kislak Center Exhibition Celebrates 100 Years of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the Carol and Erwin Welsch Collection

PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 16, 2014— A century after its appearance, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. WelschAlfred Prufrock continues to inspire new presentations of the work across many different artistic genres. In the spirit of joining that inspired chorus, the Penn Libraries are happy to announce their June 2015 exhibition “Let Us Go Then, You and I: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Publication of T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.’” The free, public exhibition features selections from the Carol and Erwin Welsch T.S. Eliot Collection and is located on the sixth floor of Van-Pelt Dietrich Library Center, next to the Class of 1978 Pavilion.

Carol and Erwin (FA’58) Welsch shared a life-long passion for Eliot’s verse, meticulously assembling the entire body of published work of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. According to Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, David McKnight, Erwin’s interest in Eliot began in a Modern poetry course he took at Penn. Erwin was enthralled by Eliot’s “rhythmic, jarring-yet-masterful poetry.” The Welsches spent fifty years amassing this collection, a challenging and expensive pursuit that produced a precious gift for the Penn Libraries.

Notable items in the Welsch Collection include:

  • Lytton Strachey’s copy of Prufrock and other Observations
  • Eliot’s fourth book Ara Vos Pres (An edition that once belonged to Eliot’s brother, Henry Ware Eliot and bears the signature of the American poet, Yvor Winters)
  • Publisher and editor of Poetry and Drama Harold Munro’s annotated copy of Eliot’s Poems 1909-1925

Prufrock Feat

Beyond the important achievement of collecting Eliot firsts, Carol and Erwin expanded the scope of their Eliot collection to include enough ephemera and secondary sources to delight both the serious scholar and casual observer.

Members of the Penn community can access the Welsch collection at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts.

About the Penn Libraries
The Penn Libraries serve the world-class faculty and students of Penn’s 12 schools. The Libraries’ collections comprise more than 7 million volumes, over 100,000 journals, some 2 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Through our collaborative relationships, we supplement Penn’s great local collections with physical access to the Center for Research Libraries (approximately 5 million items), the combined holdings of the Ivies (more than 70 million volumes), and exclusive electronic access to some 2 million public domain titles in the HathiTrust. Today, the Libraries play an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination and are noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design.  To learn more about the Penn Libraries, visit http://www.library.upenn.edu.

About the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

The Kislak Center is a vibrant space that brings together people, technology and unique content.  Located on the top floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, it was redesigned in 2013 to allow several different groups to interact with objects of study simultaneously, increasing the use of primary resources in the University’s curriculum and access to the Libraries’ resources for the larger scholarly community.  Today the Kislak Center encompasses the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Furness Memorial Shakespeare Library, the Edgar Fahs Smith Memorial Collection and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. To learn more about the Kislak Center, visit http://www.library.upenn.edu/kislak.

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