DeGolyer Library dedicates Lao She collection
A collection of work by one of 20th-century China's most accomplished writers was dedicated October 28 at the DeGolyer Library. Asian studies scholars gathered for the dedication and a symposium on the Britt Towery/Lao She collection, which includes more than 250 books, pamphlets, and periodicals containing works by and about Lao She.
Shu Qing Chun, better known by his pen name Lao She, was born into a Manchu family in Beijing in 1899. Some describe Lao She as the Mark Twain of China, while others compare him to Charles Dickens. Lao She considered himself a "teller of tales."
His stories and novels are filled with social satire and have been translated into numerous other languages. Among Lao She's best-known work is his novel Rickshaw Boy. He died in 1966 in Peking at the hands of the Red Guards during China's cultural revolution.
Britt E. Towery Jr., former director of Asian Studies at Baylor University, devoted 30 years of his life to missionary work in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In China he discovered the writings of Lao She and collected them. Through his contribution, the DeGolyer Library now houses one of North America's largest collections on the works of Lao She.
The Towery/Lao She collection is available for scholarly research and is used by students taking courses in the Asian Studies program in Dedman College.
History graduate processes Stanley Marcus archives
At first glance the windowless basement room housing book and manuscript collections for the DeGolyer Library appears isolated. But not to Alex Lorch, who has spent the past year and a half delving into more than 400 gray boxes of the Stanley Marcus collection. Stanley Marcus, the legendary Neiman-Marcus executive and renowned Dallas civic leader, donated his papers to the DeGolyer Library in 1993. In these papers, Lorch has found an array of national events, international spectacle, local Dallas history, and colorful characters from the past half century.
Lorch completed his Master's degree in history at SMU in May 1999 with a thesis on Marcus' support of civil liberties and civil rights. He is responsible for processing the Stanley Marcus archives comprising correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, and art posters.
Alex Lorch spends his days processing boxes of papers belonging to legendary Neiman-Marcus executive Stanley Marcus, who donated his archives to the DeGolyer Library.
Jackie Kennedy, Roger Staubach, Lyndon Johnson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Christian Dior, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Mamie Eisenhower, and Coco Chanel are among those who corresponded with Marcus during his tenure as Neiman-Marcus president, CEO, and chairman of the board emeritus.
The correspondence spans from 1950 to the present and documents Marcus' business and civic affairs. Topics range from the anti-communist movement in Dallas to the Neiman-Marcus Fortnights to the civil rights movement. The overall scope of Marcus' papers will provide researchers with information on various fields, including the fashion industry, business history, Dallas and U.S. history, civil rights, and the arts.
The first step in processing the collection is preservation, Lorch says. Staples are removed from acidic onion-skin Neiman-Marcus letterhead and correspondence is filed in categorized acid-free paper folders. Photographs are protected in plastic sheeting.
Lorch is creating a database of the contents in the thousands of folders the collection comprises. Before the collection is opened to researchers, he will produce a guide and index.
After spending months immersed in Marcus' papers, Lorch has developed an admiration for the man many call "Mr. Dallas."
"One of the things I admire is his concept of quality," Lorch says. "I've taken on that sense of quality while working on his papers. Everything he did was very well done, not half done at all."