Friday, August 30, 2019

Rivers Run Deep

An image with commentary from Moser's papers
Long before Robert Redford brought the novella A River Runs Through It to the silver screen in 1992, its author, Norman MacLean, was known to Dartmouth College as a member of the class of 1924. The Iowa-born but long-time Montana resident was, among other things, the editor-in-chief of the campus humor magazine The Jack-O'-Lantern his senior year before handing the reins of the publication to Ted Geisel '25, known more popularly as Dr. Seuss. MacLean was also an instructor of English at the college immediately following his graduation and for several more years before eventually attending graduate school at the University of Chicago.

Here in Special Collections, we are fortunate not only to have a lasting record of MacLean through his alumni file and issues of the Jack-O, but also because of another impressive collection that we oversee, the papers of printmaker and illustrator
A letter from UChicago regarding a certain fishing fly
Barry Moser. In 1989, Moser received a commission to illustrate an edition of MacLean's novella for the University of Chicago. In his papers, there are numerous records that speak to the high level of detail and thoughtfulness that Moser put into his illustrations, as well as the collaborative process between him and MacLean during the design stages of the book. In particular, the correspondence about fishing flies, and who tied them, is fascinating for anyone who enjoys the art of fly-fishing.

To learn more about Norman MacLean '24, come to Rauner and ask for his alumni file. To see the issues of the Jack-O'-Lantern for which he oversaw publication, come into the reading room and take them off of the reference shelf. To explore the negotiations and deep thought that went on behind the scenes of the University of Chicago's edition of A River Runs Through It, ask to see Box 90 from the Barry Moser Papers (ML-39).

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