The University of Cincinnati collection of Ambrose Bierce letters consists of fifty-nine items sent to Myles Walsh and donated by Walsh to the University of Cincinnati after World War II. Walsh’s sister Elizabeth (Lily) was a protégé of Bierce and during her illness – and after her death – in young adulthood, the two men began writing to each other about everyday matters as well as Bierce’s journalism and fiction. These items are unique and revelatory in the biographical details they provide on a major author’s life. Typically, the letters are four pages each, a.l.s., measuring 5” x 8” and totaling approximately 240 pages. Other major holdings of Bierce correspondence can be found at Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Virginia, with other letters held at a few other institutions.
In digitizing these letters, the University of Cincinnati makes them widely available for literary scholarship. Such a project includes accompanying transcriptions, links to the holdings of universities and scholarly websites, open acceptance of scholarly annotation, and the possibility of collaborative digitization with other repositories of Bierce material.
For this project, Linda Newman and the Digital Collections and Repositories digitized the letters in-house, beginning after January 1, 2011. Contributors were given a photocopy of an original letter (or more) and asked to transcribe it to a Word document. Kevin Grace served as project director and editor, and an “orientation” of the collection began with a PowerPoint presentation on Ambrose Bierce and the letters, along with a showing of the 1989 film, Old Gringo, starring Gregory Peck (as Ambrose Bierce), Jane Fonda, and Jimmy Smits, about Bierce’s final days in the Mexican desert.
This is considered to be an ongoing and dynamic project.
Kevin Grace, Archives and Rare Books Library, project director and editor
Suzanne Maggard, Archives and Rare Books Library
Linda Newman, Digital Collections and Repositories
Janice Schulz, former staff member in the Archives and Rare Books Library
Michael Tipton, Kent State University, Library and Information Science intern
Bradley Wedig, Kent State University, Library and Information Science intern
Susan Banoun, Electronic Resources Department
Rosemary Franklin, Reference and Bibliographic Services
Olga Hart, Reference and Instruction
Barb Macke, former librarian, Reference and Instruction
Elizabeth Meyer, Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning Library
Mark Palkovic, College-Conservatory of Music Library
Mary Piper, former librarian, Health Sciences Library
Holly Prochaska, Geology-Math-Physics Library
John Tebo, former librarian, Chemisty-Biology Library
Website created by the ARB 2013-2014 intern, Melissa Schirmer and Kent State University LIS intern, Michael Tipton. Research, transcriptions, and text by Michael Tipton.