Marcia Allentuck, professor emerita of English and comparative literature at City College, City University of New York and a collector herself, will discuss “Two Collectors of William Morris: Estelle Doheny and William Noble” on Thursday, February 19, 6: 15 p.m., at New York University’s Fales Library, 3rd floor of NYU’s Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South. The event is free and open to the public; for further information, the public may call (212) 998-2596.
Allentuck discusses the contrast in Morris-enthusiasm between two very different collectors. Estelle Doheny, wife of a California multimillionaire oilman and rancher tainted by the Teapot dome scandal, had the means to pursue her passion for books to th e fullest, ending up with an extraordinary library crowned by a Gutenberg Bible. Her Morris holdings, which included Morris’s calligraphic manuscript of the “Aeneid” and a Kelmscott “Chaucer” printed on vellum, brought more than $2 million when sold by C hristie’s in 1987. Noble, on the other hand, was a working-class Englishman, sometimes on the brink of poverty, devoted to Morris for his Socialist principles. However, what he acquired was also substantial.
Marcia Allentuck’s publications include The Achievement of Isaac Bashevis Singer and an edition of John Graham’s A System and Dialectics of Art.
The NYU Fales Library, one of the country’s great libraries of Victorian literature based on the acquisitions of a single collector, Courtney Fales, is the perfect venue for this lecture on two important collectors of William Morris.