- Carolina Gold Discoveries in the Archibald Henderson Scrapbooks at the University of North Carolina
[On 8 January 2013, less than three weeks before his death, Isidor Saslav emailed me a draft version of an article I had accepted for publication in this volume of the shaw. He noted: “I’ve spent some time going over my 2011 speech (at the Shaw Symposium at Niagara-on-the-Lake) about the Henderson scrapbooks (which you so kindly read to our colleagues) as the basis for my article. I plan to fully cite the sources of the excerpts in the scrapbooks as well as to fully cite the collative works in the endnotes. Plus I plan to find further items to cite between 1921 and 1931, which I’ve found subsequent to the speech.” I hope Isidor’s findings will entice others to follow his path to Chapel Hill in search of “Carolina gold.”
My article is about the Archibald Henderson scrapbooks at the Louis Round Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. But before I describe this astonishing collection, I wish to say a word about another significant collection, the scrapbooks kept by Shaw himself collecting all of his published music criticism (also held at Chapel Hill). These scrapbooks begin with the anonymous, unsigned articles that the young Shaw ghostwrote starting in 1876 for George John Vandeleur Lee, Mother Shaw’s one-time conductor and vocal coach in Dublin. Having previously moved to London, Lee commissioned the recently arrived Shaw to write anonymous music criticisms for him in a magazine called The Hornet. [End Page 203]
When it came time for the much maturer Shaw to collect all his music criticisms into four volumes for the Collected Edition in the 1930s, Shaw deliberately chose to omit all those jejune criticisms that had appeared in The Hornet. Yet it was thanks to those scrapbooks and the presence in them of all those unsigned articles that Dan Laurence was able to establish their authenticity and to create, finally, a truly complete edition in 1981 of Shaw’s Music, as Laurence called his collection. But it was only in 1991, when the paperback version of Shaw’s Music was published, that the collection became truly complete. Shaw had written one final review of a concert given by the Bach Society in 1894, a review so scathing that the editor of The World, Shaw’s official employer at the time, refused to print it. Shaw thereupon resigned his position, thus ending his official status as a full-time music critic, though he continued to write music criticisms occasionally from that year until the year of his death in 1950. Thus it took until 1991 for this Shaw critique to be finally published.
When I arrived in Chapel Hill in the fall of 2007 for a concert performance, I was cordially greeted by the staff of the Rare Book Collection of the Wilson Library. They knew of my interest in Shaw and in that longtime North Carolina resident and UNC faculty member, Archibald Henderson. The Wilson Library holds almost four hundred different works by Henderson alone. Aside from his work on Shaw, Henderson’s fields of expertise extended beyond mathematics (whose department at UNC he had headed for many decades) and into the fields of theater, American history, and cultural history in general.
In the course of showing me and Mrs. Saslav through their collections, the staff came in their stacks to a wide filing cabinet. They pointed to the bottom drawer and asked me to open it. In that drawer were seventy-six scrapbooks, assembled by Henderson (and no doubt by his helpers), each containing about eighty to ninety double-sided paste-in pages of newspaper and magazine articles from the 1880s to the 1950s. Naturally, the subject of all these clippings is Bernard Shaw: articles and letters by and about him, reviews of his plays’ performances, reviews of books about him, etc. Henderson had obviously collected these items for use in creating his three Shaw biographies: Life and Works (1911), Playboy and Prophet (1932), and Man of the Century (1956). The vast nature of Henderson’s...