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January 31, 2000
"The Story of a Novelist": Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), A Centennial Exhibition
PRINCETON, N.J. -- To honor the centennial of the birth of the writer Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), the Princeton University Library has mounted an exhibition, "The Story of a Novelist," which will open to the public in the Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts on the second floor of the Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library on February 7.
Since its publication in 1929, Wolfes Look Homeward, Angel, about growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, has delighted young people. The first of his four major novels (which include Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock and You Cant Go Home Again), Look Homeward, Angel has never gone out of print. Wolfe, a native of the North Carolina mountain town of Asheville, studied playwriting at Harvard and taught at New York University before devoting himself full-time to his craft. He died young, before he could prove the potential that the great publishing house of Charles Scribners Sons saw in his work. Their senior editor Maxwell Perkins considered him among their greatest discoveries along with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The Alexander D. Wainwright Collection of Thomas Wolfe, given to the Princeton University Library in 1998, is a comprehensive collection of Wolfes published work, as well as printed material about him and visuals inspired by him. Together with original correspondence between Wolfe and his editors in the Archives of Charles Scribners Sons, the Wainwright Wolfe Collection forms the basis for the centennial Wolfe exhibition.
NOTE: Several images from the exhibit are available to be downloaded from the Web at the following URL: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pictures/s-z/wolfe. One, a sketch of Wolfe by Douglas Gorsline, is available courtesy of the late Alexander D. Wainwright '39. The other, a manuscript page from an early draft of Wolfe's 1936 essay about the creative process, The Story of a Novel, is reproduced from the original in the Wainwright Wolfe Collection in the Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the Princeton University Library.