The Raymond Danowski Poetry Library
The Raymond Danowski Poetry Library is a 75,000-volume collection of rare and first editions of modern and contemporary poetry, in addition to literary journals, broadsides, manuscripts, audiovisual materials, and even objects. Assembled by collector Raymond Danowski over twenty-five years, the collection is thought to have been the largest poetry library in private hands until its arrival at Emory in 2004.
Remarkable for its range and depth, the library represents Raymond Danowski's desire to gather every book of poetry published in English. You can read more about the Danowski Poetry Library below, or read an article published by the Poetry Foundation here.
Coveted rarities of the 20th century
The numerous rare books, chapbooks, little magazines, journals, broadsides, audio recordings, manuscripts, and even visual art in the collection come from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Australia, India, Canada, Scotland, and South Africa.
Ranging from W. H. Auden to Louis Zukofsky, the collection begins with a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, arguably the first modern book of poetry, printed by its author and published on July 4, 1855. With an ownership signature from July 1855, this copy is thought to be the earliest signed copy known.
Other highlights of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library include:
- One of eleven known copies of William Carlos Williams' first book, Poems (1909), which was never reprinted
- A first edition of T. S. Eliot's Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), inscribed to his close friend Emily Hale
- Limited editions by Langston Hughes, with corrections in his own hand
- Anne Sexton's personal, heavily annotated copy of Sylvia Plath's Ariel (1965)
- Individual author collections, notable for their breadth and depth, including W. H. Auden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, and William Carlos Williams
A living collection
The Raymond Danowski Poetry Library is a living entity, constantly expanding and connecting with modern-day work thanks to new acquisitions, an ongoing reading series, and other initiatives.
"Democratic Vistas": Exploring the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, the first major exhibition of the collection, was curated by Kevin Young in 2008 and highlighted the democratic qualities of the collection. An exhibition catalog written by Kevin Young is available from MARBL for $40. To purchase, please contact MARBL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Searching the catalog
All of the works in The Raymond Danowski Poetry Library will be cataloged in the Emory University Libraries' online catalog. This work is not yet completed. To retrieve a list of all cataloged to date, search for "danowski" and then click on "Raymond Danowski Poetry Library" under Collections in the lefthand menu.