Roger Mudd Donates Major Southern Literary Collection to Washington and Lee Universit

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Roger Mudd, an acclaimed television journalist and alumnus of Washington and Lee University, has donated his extensive collection of 20th-century Southern writers to the Washington and Lee University Leyburn Library. The collection, some 1,500 volumes in total, will be transferred in installments. Mudd, W&L class of 1950, presented the first 100 volumes at a program sponsored by The Friends of the Library on Oct. 21 during W&L's 2006 Presidential Inauguration Weekend.

The total collection comprises first issue or first editions of the complete works of almost 200 writers, including William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Robert Penn Warren and Ellen Glasgow. His initial gift consisted of the complete works of Faulkner, Glasgow and Erskine Caldwell.

Mudd dates his love of books to when he was eight years old. He was inspired to begin his collection as an undergraduate by the late W&L Professor of American Studies Marshall Fishwick (1949-1962). "It was Marshall Fishwick who really got me started and convinced me book collecting was a hobby worth pursuing," he said. Mudd made the donation to his alma mater in memory of Professor Fishwick, who passed away in May 2006 after a distinguished career at W&L and Virginia Tech University. Fishwick is regarded by many as the originator of the discipline of popular culture.

"We are delighted that Roger Mudd has seen his way to make this important donation to W&L's library," says University Librarian Merrily E. Taylor. "A complete collection of this magnitude is rare, and we are very fortunate to be able to make it available to W&L students and faculty, as well as the public. We are also honored to preserve this fine collection for use for generations to come."

Mudd, who said he had run out of space and has now stopped collecting, adds, "Not collecting does not mean that I have lost my fascination with books, their welcoming warmth, their heft, their permanence, the brilliance of their creation from the first little hints and scribbles to the final shiny product with its distinctive fragrance.

"Above all, giving my Southern collection to my alma mater means that those thousand friends I got to know over the years, those friends who lived in our home and slept on our shelves will get to stay together as a family in a splendid new home, with proper climate and protection, where I know they will give as much pleasure and joy to those who love books and love Leyburn Library as they gave to me."

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