COLUMBIA Thanks to a lifelong collector who began amassing Ernest Hemingway’s published works more than 50 years ago, the University of South Carolina now has one of the most comprehensive and preeminent collections of the 20th century American writer’s work in known existence.
The body of work, which joins numerous other holdings including an already sizable Hemingway collection at the library, contains more than 2,000 Hemingway pieces – everything from appearances in newspapers and magazines to galleys and proofs and pirated editions printed overseas. About 1,200 volumes alone are novels including first editions and reprints.
“Anytime you can ....say we have the finest collection of Ernest Hemingway in the world, well that makes us feel pretty good,” said USC’s Dean of Libraries Tom McNally on the staggering collection acquired from C. Edgar Grissom, of Hattiesburg, Miss.
A retired physician and self-described “amateur collector,” Grissom spent most of his life looking for books and rare finds by the famous writer known for his love of adventure and understated writing style.
“It was like an Easter egg hunt,” he said. “It became really fun for me because I discovered a lot of new material.”
“I wanted somebody that was serious about using (the collection) and understood the potential for scholarship the exhibit potentially helped,” Grissom said.