Donation to Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI brings author's legacy home to the Midwest
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is the new home for the papers and office library of one of America's master storytellers.
Author Ray Bradbury's family and his longtime friend Donn Albright recently donated collections of Bradbury's manuscripts and letters, along with furniture and other items, to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.
Ray Bradbury, 91, an Illinois native, passed away in June 2012 in Los Angeles, where he had lived since the 1930s. His work and influence span many aspects of modern American intellectual and popular culture, including mainstream literature, and the highly popular genre fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror and detective fiction.
Bradbury's novels and story collections include such perennial favorites as "The Martian Chronicles," "The Illustrated Man," "The Golden Apples of the Sun" and "Fahrenheit 451." Materials related to these and other books, as well as many film and television adaptations, are included in the donated collections.
The donations to the Bradbury center at IUPUI bring the creative author's legacy back to the Midwest, said Jonathan Eller, Chancellor’s Professor of English at IUPUI and director of the Bradbury center.
“The gifts from the Bradbury family and Professor Albright reinforce the writer’s abiding ties to the Midwest,” Eller said. “We plan to reconstruct Mr. Bradbury’s home office as it existed in the mid-1960s, at the height of his power as a creative writer and cultural visionary.”
The writer left his manuscripts and author’s copies of his books to Albright, his principal bibliographer and a Pratt Institute professor, according to Eller.
In turn, "Donn, a native Hoosier, has graciously donated most of these books and papers to the Bradbury center," Eller said.
Albright's gift, to be known as the Bradbury-Albright Collection, will be the centerpiece of the Bradbury Memorial Archive at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. The archive is being created with the gift from the Bradbury family that includes the furnishings, correspondence, awards and mementoes from Bradbury’s home office.
Many awards and artifacts representing Bradbury’s strong influence on America’s space program are also included in the Bradbury family gift.
"The Ray Bradbury items are a tremendous addition to the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, one of five scholarly editions that are part of the Institute for American Thought at IUPUI," IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. "Recently named an IUPUI Signature Center, the Institute for American Thought is internationally recognized for the work of the faculty and staff to preserve, research and publish authoritative texts by important American writers. Being able to display the Ray Bradbury artifacts from his office library will present Bradbury in a compelling way for countless readers and students of his work."
The IU School of Liberal Arts will catalog and store most of the items until the Bradbury center is able to expand its space to accommodate the new holdings. A few items will be on display in the center offices until then.
“Ray Bradbury’s influence and stature come not only from the impact of his own writing but from the many authors and other creative people he inspired,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “We are honored and extremely pleased to be able to preserve and showcase his work and materials, as one more dimension of the excellent scholarship about his work that already flourishes here.”
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is a research component within the Institute for American Thought in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The center opened in 2007 with the goal of providing an archive for Bradbury's writings and a library of related reference books in the fields of fantasy and science fiction.
The new donations will be invaluable to the center’s ongoing work of publishing Bradbury’s early stories in their original forms. "The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury — A Critical Edition: Volume 1, 1938-1943" was published in 2011; Volume 2, comprising Bradbury’s stories of the 1943-44 period, is in the works at Kent State University Press.
“The outreach potential of these gifts is exciting,” Eller said. “We already have a good presence throughout the Indianapolis Public Library system, and we hope to use the displays and the resources of the center to reach further into the school communities and general readership of Indiana.”
University students and faculty researchers in Indiana and beyond will also benefit, the director said.
Shipment of the Bradbury items to the IUPUI campus this month coincided with a shipment of Bradbury’s home library and related materials to the Waukegan Public Library in Illinois, a donation representing the author's wish to leave his hometown with a significant portion of his literary legacy. Waukegan Library staff and the IUPUI center worked closely throughout the summer to coordinate the shipments from Bradbury's Los Angeles home.