The Works of William Shakespeare Illustrated

Item: Shakespeare Rare Print Collection (Joyner Rare PR2883 .S53 1900)

Staff Person: Intern Scooter Lewis

Among the books found in Special Collections, you can find rare works and materials related to writers like Shakespeare. One Shakespeare-related work in the Rare Book Collection is the Shakespeare Rare Print Collection. What’s unique about this item is that the images it contains are reproductions of prints created in 1843.

The Shakespeare Rare Print Collection (edited by Seymour Eaton) was published in 1900 by R.G. Kennedy & Co. The pages in the book aren’t bound together – it acts as a large “portfolio” that houses 12 smaller folders containing 12 prints each (except Part I which has 14). This copy, however, is missing the 12th folder and those prints have been stored in Part XI. None of the prints are bound together for the purpose of easily viewing of each individual print.

Cover of The Shakespeare Rare Print Collection

The prints in each portfolio are reproductions of works from several different art sources. They were done by a team of artists known as the Etching Club. They received their name from the printmaking technique they used to create the originals, in which acid is used to make grooves in a metal plate. The grooves in the plate can then be filled with ink and passed through a printing press. The group was founded by Charles West Cope in Victorian England.

Prior to founding the Etching Club, Cope was a highly-esteemed artist who specialized in the areas of painting and etching. In the early 1840s he was credited with creating several of the frescoes in the House of Lords located in London. He was also elected as an associate of the Royal Academy where his work and the work of the Etching Club is documented. The Etching Club was made up mostly of Royal Academy members similar to Cope and produced etchings to go along with the writings of authors such as Oliver Goldsmith, John Milton, Thomas Gray, and William Shakespeare.

Originally, these images were published in the Etching Club’s own work titled Songs of Shakespeare in 1843. The Shakespeare Rare Print Collection contains reproductions of those etchings, as well as hand-painted illustrations and playbill facsimiles related to Shakespeare’s plays. All the reproductions I selected came from Part I, which mostly has scenes from several different plays. Number 7 comes from Act II, Scene III of Othello; the original etching was done by John Prescott Knight. I like that this etching captures the jovial nature of this particular scene through attention to detail in facial features and body language.

Drinking Song

Fellow Etching Club member Henry James Townsend originally produced Number 14 which comes from The Tempest. I particularly liked Number 14 for its clear line work. The bottom image of the spirits dancing and singing along with Ariel in Act I, Scene II clearly gives insight to how a basic etching is executed with the precise line work and amount of white space in between.

Ariel's Song

I wanted to write about the Shakespeare Rare Print Collection because of its emphasis on images for the text to work with. For someone who is first encountering Shakespeare and is unfamiliar with the language, the illustrations help put things into context.


“CHARLES WEST COPE (Book Review).” The Spectator Dec 19 1891: 890. ProQuest. Web. 4 Dec. 2017.

WWI Era Letter

Source: James G. Raby Papers, Manuscript Collection #317

Staff Person: Nanette Hardison















The James G. Raby Papers consists of handwritten letters from James G. Raby; a physician from Leggett, North Carolina who served as a 2nd Lieutenant during World War I. This particular letter dated October 8, 1918 is one written by him to his sweetheart and it contains a description of the influenza epidemic that occurred in Rocky Mount and Tarboro (1918-1919).


Auditor’s Statement, A.C. Monk & Company, July 13, 1920

Source:    A.C. Monk & Company/A.C. Monk Family Collection, 1907-2004  ECMC # 1285

Staff Person: Fred Harrison

Description: Originating just prior to WWI under the name Monk Adams Company, Wilson, N.C, A.C. Monk & Company officially began business in Farmville, N.C. on May 10, 1922.

The company’s records recently donated to the East Carolina Manuscript Collection attest to a continuous period of impressive growth.  The firm soon became one of the  nation’s leading dealers in leaf-tobacco.

According to Albert Monk III, grandson of A.C. Monk, the company’s initial wealth relied heavily on  diverse business interests: namely, farmland, a furniture store and funeral home. In the late 1980s; however, it was decided that in order to grow, the company had to get bigger.

As such, on July 13, 1990, the business merged with a competitor to form Monk-Austin Inc. Another merger later that decade resulted in the creation of DIMON Inc. which emerged to become the second largest leaf-tobacco merchant in the world. Monk family members retained some  indirect ownership in this entity until its eventual acquisition by Alliance One in the early 2000s.

On view here is an auditor’s statement from July 13, 1920, one of a nearly intact collection of business papers spanning from approximately 1916 to the early 2010s. Company founder, A.C. Monk, Sr. died on June 6, 1948.  Sons, Albert C., Robert Turnage and William C.  succeeded him.

Literary Lampoons Part II: Golf and Politics – Not Quite Death and Taxes, but Close

Special note: This blog post was written by Edward Reges, M.A. ‘16, East Carolina University Department of English, as part of a special series highlighting the Stuart Wright Collection.

Sometimes, the lives of authors can seem as distant to us as the hole on a long, hazardous par 5. One need only peer into a literary anthology to find oneself immersed in a strange world of antiquated terms, ideas, and even settings. Take John Updike’s renowned short story “A&P,” for example. In the story, a young man makes a rash decision to leave his job after his manager forces three young women, clad in only two-piece bathing suits, to leave the store. “What’s an A&P?” I recall a classmate of mine inquiring in a class discussion of our assigned readings. The question was not a literal one; we had all read the story and could draw from context what the A&P was. Rather, it was a commentary on how rapidly change occurs and how quickly our memories can glaze over what was once a staple of our predecessor’s culture. The short story, written just over 50 years ago, takes place in what was at the time one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States. Now the mere existence of a supermarket other than Wal-Mart, Target, or even K-Mart (which may be antiquated as you are reading this article) is the stock of a joke playing on our short-term view of existence. (For those seeking more information about A&P supermarkets, the company’s website has an interesting history section.)

Likewise, authors and poets of yesteryear seem accordingly distant from us. Creators of fiction such as John Updike seem to be of a different breed. A breed that survived and even thrived without all of the technology we now take for granted. These authors have an air of mythos: an air that a bit of digging in a literary archive, however, proves unwarranted.
Nestled away in the Stuart Wright Collection at Joyner Library are windows into the lives of these very human authors of yesteryear. While Updike is known for his writing prowess, he was not born a writer or a historical character; he was born a man. A man who, incidentally, once aspired to doodle for a living. Several original pen-and-ink drawings as well as Updike’s newspaper copies of published cartoons found their home in the collection of Stuart Wright, Updike’s friend and golfing companion. They are now available for view in the North Carolina Collections area on the third floor of Joyner Library.

Looking through these inked drawings, the difference between our predecessors and us seems to shrink. One of Updike’s cartoons references a troubling time in U.S. History. Following WWII, Germany was divided amongst the allies into East and West Germany. The nation’s capital, Berlin, located in Soviet occupied East Germany, was likewise divided. The situation grew tense when East Germany denied land access between West Germany and West Berlin. A decade later, President Eisenhower found himself in a rough situation when the Soviets demanded that western allied forces leave Berlin:

Updike, John. “The Rough.” Undated. Stuart Wright Collection. Stuart Wright Collection. J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.

Compare this to a modern political cartoon depicting President Obama sinking into the sand trap of world crisis:

Varvel, Gary. “Obama, golf, and world crisis.” Cartoon. Indystar. Gannett, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014

Varvel, Gary. “Obama, golf, and world crisis.” Cartoon. Indystar. Gannett, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014

As you can see, the pastime of golf serves as a bridge between the distant past and present, if not in reality then at least in political cartoons. As Updike used humor and a pastime to voice his concern about political affairs, so do those of us in modern society.
Updike’s love for golf proves to be an unexpectedly relevant part of ECU’s collection of his materials. This is evidenced in Stuart Wright’s personal copy of “Golf Dreams,” complete with a dedication to Wright from the author himself. Tucked away in the pages one finds a number of letters expressing Updike’s delight in playing the game and his companionship with Wright. Several scorecards record the friendship match by match.

Updike, John. Untitled Scorecard. Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection. Stuart Wright Collection. J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. 22 May 1987

As you can see, John Updike was not just some far away author creating literature to enjoy from a detached modern viewpoint. He was a man who could revel in a game of golf to the point of solidifying his appreciation of the contest on the scorecard: “what a match!” More cartoons, bridges to the present and past, and glimpses into Updike’s life can be located and requested by using the Special Collections Finding Aid to his papers.

Alumni Day 1968

Source:  University Archives Image Collection (UA55-01-9775)

Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson

Description:  This image from the University Archives features the layout of J.Y. Joyner Library on Alumni Day in 1968.  Joyner Library was dedicated on March 8, 1955 as part of that year’s Founder’s Day celebrations.  The growing student body forced campus administrators to add air conditioning and two additional floors in 1964. From 1994-1999, a third major renovation added the rounded tower and Sonic Plaza which make Joyner among the most recognizable buildings on campus.  Its namesake, James Yadkin Joyner, was a career educator and served as state Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1902-1919.  He was instrumental in the modernization of the North Carolina public school system.

USS Sarda (SS488)

Source: USS Sarda entering Havana, Cuba  Call Number: 818.os1.1

Staff Person: Ken Harbit


USS Sarda (SS-488), was a Tench-class submarine.  Financed by bonds purchased by the residents of Lynn, Massachusetts, her keel was laid down on 12 April 1945 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. She was launched on 24 August 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Heffernan, the wife of James J. Heffernan, Congressman from New York.

Because World War II had ended a few weeks before the submarine’s launch, a new decision whether to commission or scrap her had to be made. Sarda’s prospective commanding officer grew frustrated with the debate over the fate of his boat. During the months of waiting, he received a small plaque from his father inscribed Illegitimi non Carborundum — “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Up.” After a a hard won fight by her prospective commanding officer, Sarda was commissioned on 19 April 1946 with Commander Chester W. Nimitz, Jr., son of the famous Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, in command.

During the period between launching and commissioning, Sarda, was no longer needed for wartime service. Because of this, her conning tower was made bigger to permit installation of experimental equipment. After commissioning, she conducted her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean Sea, then returned north to commence experimental work out of New London, Connecticut. There, she joined Submarine Division (SubDiv) 22 of Submarine Squadron 2; and, for the next four years, she tested new equipment for the Underwater Sound Laboratory, Fort Trumbull, and evaluated new ship control procedures. In the fall of 1949, she was transferred to SubDiv 21, and her primary mission was shifted from test and evaluation work to training ship duties. She continued that work through the 1950s, interrupting it only for type training; mine planting exercises; ASW exercises; fleet exercises; occasional participation in NATO or joint United States-Canadian exercises off the coasts of the Atlantic Provinces and northern New England; and, from January to June 1957, operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Guiana and Brazilian basins for the Hydrographic Office. On her return, she resumed her primary function, training submarine school students.

In the early 1960s, she continued her training mission, but devoted more time to providing services to ASW units conducting exercises. During the winter of 1960, she provided services to 92 surface ships and 14 air squadrons participating in annual training exercises in the Caribbean. During the winter of 1962, she again returned to the Caribbean for an extended stay and, when not employed in servicing Atlantic Fleet air and surface ASW units, she tested and evaluated acoustical torpedoes. The following winter, 1963, she deployed to the Mediterranean Sea where she operated with the Sixth Fleet; and, on her return to New London in late May, she resumed school ship duties.

Eleven months later, Sarda was declared to be surplus to Navy needs. May 1964 was spent in port at New London preparing for inactivation; and, on 1 June, Sarda was decommissioned. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day, and her hulk was sold for scrapping in March 1965.

Though she never saw combat action she is just as much an asset to the Navy and America as any combat unit. She tested new equipment, brought about new and better combat techniques, new ways of fleet-wide communication and collaboration, and most importantly of all, she trained those who did go into harms way.

Sadie Hawkins Day Race

Source:  University Archives Visual Materials Collection

Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson

Description: This photo from the University Archives shows East Carolina students participating in a 1953 Sadie Hawkins Day Race (UA55-01-4841). By tradition, on Sadie Hawkins Day girls ask boys to accompany them to a dance or on a date. The event originated in 1937 with the comic strip Li’l Abner when the town spinster, Sadie Hawkins, is sent in pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors as they raced to avoid marriage to the “homeliest gal in the hills.”  The gender-based role reversal proved popular among female college students as Sadie Hawkins Day events rose in popularity across the nation. By 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day events were held in over 40,000 locations.  In this image, Fleming and Wilson Dormitories are on the right and the Old Cafeteria Complex is just visible on the left. The large building in the center rear is the original Austin classroom building.


Presidential Candidate John Kennedy

My first thought when viewing this picture was about how the times have changed. This is Presidential Candidate John Kennedy riding in a motorcade on his way to an ECU rally. You would not see that today. Today important people travel in bullet proof limousines. I remember his campaign, and am saddened by what happened to him and his brother. BTW that’s a 1960 Mercury Monterey convertible that he’s riding in, and the car in front is a 1959 Cadillac (note the distinctive “fin” just to the left of center at the bottom).

U.S.S. South Dakota

USS South Dakota


Special Collections Reference: VA 63 .S72 1972

The USS South Dakota was the first of a group of fast battleships built under 1939 fiscal year appropriations just prior to World War II. The other vessels in her class were: Indiana, Massachusetts and Alabama. The USS South Dakota was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey and was launched on 7 June 1941 and commissioned on 20 March 1942. The South Dakota class vessels had nine 16-inch guns mounted in triple turrets. After commissioning she served in the Pacific where she promptly ran aground on a coral reef and had to go to Peal Harbor for repairs. At the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal she suffered a massive power failure and was out of action while receiving 42 topside hits. At this point the South Dakota returned to New York for repairs, after which she joined the British Home fleet for a period before returning to the Pacific again operating as a carrier escort. She ended the war in Tokyo Bay at the surrender of Japan. She was sold for scrap in 1962. Two sister ships remain as museums: Massachusetts and Alabama.

The C. Heber Forbes Store

Source: East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #741

C. Heber Forbes

C. Heber Forbes

Staff Person: Coleen Allen


This image dated March 30, 1960, is of the window displays from the C. Heber Forbes Store which was known for its high quality up-to-date ladies fashions. The store was originally located on Evans Street for many years. The owner, C. Heber Forbes, lived on Cotanche Street. His beautiful home and its breath-taking landscape was demolished for the location of what is now McDonald’s facing Tenth Street.

Source: Digital Collections, Joyner Library, ECU:

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