A library is more than a repository of books—it’s a window into the society and culture of generations.
For more than 80 years, the Poetry Collection at the University at Buffalo Libraries, which serves as the library of record for 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone poetry, has been collecting the materials of extraordinary authors, creating an unparalleled resource for scholars and literature aficionados that rivals those of some of the most renowned universities in the world.
UB serves as home to the world’s largest, most comprehensive and most prestigious collection of materials by and related to James Joyce (1882-1941). He is the acclaimed Irish author of such seminal works as Finnegans Wake and Ulysses, who is widely recognized as perhaps the most influential writer of the 20th century. Philanthropy, past and present, has provided UB with the privilege of housing and developing this amazing collection.
Today, the UB James Joyce Collection offers more than 10,000 pages of Joyce’s working papers, notebooks and manuscripts—including a complete set of first editions of every book published by Joyce—as well as personal belongings ranging from canes and passports to family portraits to books from Joyce’s personal collection, many of them signed and inscribed to Joyce by such literary peers as Ernest Hemingway. All told, the materials document nearly every aspect of Joyce’s artistic life and provide unmatched glimpses into his writing process and literary relationships.
A big part of the Irish story is told through our literature. I think it’s one of the greatest treasures of Ireland that we happen to have this extraordinary literary heritage. And I’m so delighted to see that heritage being treasured here in Buffalo."
Perhaps most surprising about the Joyce collection is that it is available for public viewing. Due to copyright issues, much of the Joyce collection cannot be shared online for the public; thus, traveling to Buffalo and visiting UB is the only way students, scholars and Joyceans can interact with the materials.
Rev. Msgr. J. Patrick Keleher, better known around campus as Father Pat, the director and campus minister for the Newman Center at UB, was inspired to support the collection to help ensure it can grow and prosper as the library looks to create a new space to display these amazing materials.