Crazy Smart

Crazy Smart Virginia Woolf Desk

Earlier this year, we were pleased to announce that the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library had acquired one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history, documenting the work and intellectual contributions of women from the Renaissance to the modern era.

Carefully assembled over forty-five years by noted bibliophile, activist and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection includes more than 8,600 rare books and thousands of manuscripts, journals, ephemera and artifacts--including author Virginia Woolf’s writing desk.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was one of the leading figures of modernist literature. She is perhaps best known for her novels Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, and the feminist essay A Room of One's Own. Woolf acquired this oak writing desk while she was in her teens and used it until she was around thirty years old.

You can see the desk in person, along with many other treasures on exhibit from the Rubenstein Library's collections, when the renovated library opens to the public on August 24, 2015.

Noteworthy acquisitions like the Baskin Collection transform academic disciplines by facilitating archival research previously impossible, by attracting visiting scholars and top faculty whose work depends on the richness of the Libraries’ resources, by opening eyes to historical events and debates, and by establishing Duke as a leader in critical fields. That kind of face-to-face encounter with primary documents and artifacts is what original research is all about.

To find out more about the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, visit the Rubenstein Library's website.

To help Duke acquire more one-of-a-kind resources like these, make your gift to the Libraries today.

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