ZWEIG COLLECTION AT REED LIBRARY HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION: A SEQUEL
A busy decade of procuring Stefan Zweig related material, organizing, processing and making it available for public use culminated in a successful international conference in March 1981 at the College at Fredonia. This well-timed event opened Reed Library to eager researchers, introduced them to the Stefan Zweig Collection and closed a progress-filled period. The conference brought about global interest and requests from different parts of the world for copies of letters in the Manuscript Correspondence Archive.
The following decade focused on the continuity of building the printed collection and the broadening of public access. This decade also witnessed major changes in the staff that had for years worked closely with the Stefan Zweig Collection. The changing of the guard process started in April 1981 with the demise of Robert Rie, who not only was an ardent supporter of any issue relating to the Zweigs, but was virtually responsible for bringing this internationally significant collection to Fredonia. Then, in 1985, Joanne Schweik resigned to pursue freelance writing. She established rapport with many a researcher, provided exemplary service to them, and coordinated the processing of Zweig related manuscripts.
Yet another major staff change took place in December 1986 with the retirement of John P. Saulitis, under whose protective guidance the Collection developed and flourished. This was closely followed by the departure of Yvonne Wilensky in November 1987 who, not only cataloged all Zweig related monographic material, but oversaw other operations and therefore was familiar with the evolution and contents of the Collection.
Susan Besemer, who became the new Director of Library Services in March 1987, with commendable foresight, recognized the importance of this unique special collection and pledged to continue the established high-caliber service. In this spirit she delegated the vital post of curatorship to the sole European on the staff who, in addition to having some background in continental literature and maintenance of special materials, also had a limited knowledge of the German language. The balance of the decade was spent in adding recent purchases and finding a way for providing continuous public service.
On the threshold of the 1990s the importance of the uninterrupted flow of services came to full realization with the Europe-based planning of an international conference in honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Death of Stefan and Lotte Zweig. It also meant a totally unanticipated rush of inquiries for an immense number of copies of letters written to Stefan Zweig, and often for material that is not even held by Reed Library. As expected, support was lent to the organizers of a large exhibit that was to open in conjunction with the Internationaler Stefan Zweig Kongress in Salzburg, February 18-23, 1992. Reed Library was represented at this conference where old connections were rekindled and new ones were established.
The sudden, if not overwhelming, interest in the Stefan Zweig Collection prompted the need for a detailed inventory of related holdings in Reed Library. The inventory was to consist of all lists that were so laboriously prepared over the previous years, as well as to include the book collection. Although the flexibility of the newly installed on-line catalog was to make the listing of books simple, it still proved to be a most tedious and time-consuming undertaking. The labor intensive preparation of the inventory became well justified at the conference in Salzburg where a number of Zweig scholars expressed interest in it. The numerous university students, many of whom were contemplating Zweig related topics for their dissertations particularly welcomed the idea of an inventory.
There is no doubt that the new generation will be the true beneficiary of the Inventory. At the same time, it is also to serve as an homage to recognized scholars, many of whom so tirelessly and generously have given their time and expertise and donated much of the accumulated material that will be appreciated by young scholars for years to come. Therefore, the Inventory of the Stefan Zweig Collection in Reed Library is dedicated to Zweig scholars of the past, present and future.
Curator (retired), Zweig Collection