Large audience attends lecture on Eldridge Johnson and the Lewis Carroll Alice manuscript
August A. Imholtz, Jr. presents on Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, December 1, 2015.
Noted Lewis Carroll scholar and collector August A. Imholtz, Jr. explained the little-known Delaware connection to the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the original version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, during a lecture on Tuesday, December 1. A crowd of 86 University of Delaware faculty, staff, students, and community members filled the UD Library Class of 1941 Lecture Room to capacity for the highly anticipated talk.
While Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass remain treasured pieces of children’s literature, few know that the manuscript for the first Alice story has an American—and indeed a Delaware—connection. When Alice Liddell Hargreaves, Carroll’s inspiration for his stories, sold the manuscript for Alice’s Adventures Under Ground at auction in 1928, it was purchased by the famous Philadelphia book dealer Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, who in turn sold it to native Delawarean Eldridge Johnson, co-founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company. After Johnson died in 1945, Rosenbach again purchased the manuscript and, with the help of many wealthy Americans including Walt Disney and Nelson Rockefeller, donated the book to the British Library as a token of American appreciation for British valiance during the Second World War. Imholtz’s talk traced the fascinating history of the manuscript and its circuitous path to the United States and back to Great Britain.
August A. Imholtz, Jr. shows a picture of Eldridge Johnson, December 1, 2015.
August A. Imholtz, Jr. was the Government Documents Vice President of Readex, a digital publishing company. A former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, he is also a past president of the Baltimore Bibliophiles, a member of the American Library Association’s Rare and Endangered Government Publications Committee, and a member of the Lewis Carroll Societies of Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. He has written or edited several books and published more than 100 articles on Greek and Latin philology, Lewis Carroll, and other subjects. He has lectured at Cambridge University, the Smithsonian Institution, Princeton University, the Foreign Language Library in Moscow, and other institutions.
To view a digitized version of the Alice’s Adventures Under Ground manuscript, click the following link: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/alice/accessible/introduction.html.
This talk was associated with “‘We are all Mad’: The 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” an exhibition (November 20–December 18) in the Guenschel Case, located in the University of Delaware Morris Library’s Information Room. The display includes a copy of the facsimile of the Alice manuscript Eldridge Johnson had printed in Vienna in 1936. Another exhibition, titled “Beyond the Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll Materials in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection,” is on display in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection (Room 115A, Morris Library) until December 18th. Viewing of the exhibition is by appointment only. Please call Mark Samuels Lasner at 302-831-3250 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a viewing.