Weiner Shaw Collection
In 1986 Richard S. Weiner '69 gave Colgate a George Bernard Shaw manuscript for Common Sense About the War. The playwright was denounced for his pacifist stance in the piece and narrowly avoided prison - just one of the colorful tales from his long and prolific career. The nearly 60 hand-written pages (Colgate has both Shaw's shorthand version and a corrected, typed manuscript) is perhaps
the centerpiece of a broad and quite remarkable collection that ranks among the best in the world.
According to Head of Special Collections and University Archivist Carl Peterson, Colgate's Shaw letters alone provide scholars with unique insight into a variety of topics at play in the first part of the 20th century. Theater history, English literary history, the history
of the Socialist movement in Great Britian, are all explored in Shaw's voluminous correspondence. But letters are only one facet
of the collection.
"One of the greatest virtues of the Weiner Shaw Collection is its breadth. Almost no part of Shaw's long and involved career is neglected," writes Peterson in the catalogue of an introductory exhibition he titled a "sampling."
Also contained in the Weiner Shaw Collection are hundreds of photographs, caricatures and works of art relating to Shaw. Among Peterson's favorite pieces is a photographic diary Shaw created during a 1904 trip to Italy.
"I admired Shaw's writing," says Weiner from his book shop in Brielle, N.J., as he recalls how the collection began. "I was intrigued by his philosophy. He made me laugh. The very first thing I bought was a small photograph signed on the back. I thought it was very exciting that this original photo had passed through Shaw's hands."
The excitement only grew as Weiner, with Colgate in mind, built a collection that would have scholarly importance but would also lend itself to exhibitions.
Weiner's views of Shaw have changed ("Many of his political views were off the wall") but his respect for the man is "tremendous."
George Bernard Shaw is a giant, and scholars flock to
Colgate to take the measure of the man. JH
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