THE KING LITERATURE COLLECTION
T w o o f t h e n a t i o n ’ s m o s t p r o l i fi c S p a n i s h l i t e r a t u r e s c h o l a r s h a v donated a literary goldmine to the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library at Texas A&M International University. e
The literary collection is that of the late Dr. Willard F. King, professor emeritus and former chair of the department of Spanish at Bryn Mawr College and Dr. Edmund L. King, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Romance Languages at Princeton University.
TAMIU’s standing as a fairly new institution motivated the Kings’ decision to donate their priceless collection to the University a few years ago.
“Thanks to Dr. Ray Keck (TAMIU president and long-time friend), my wife and I decided to bequeath our library to a young University,” Dr. King said.
Dr. King said he and his wife did not want their book collection to run the risk of dispersal or even shredding. Donating their library to Princeton University or Bryn Mawr College would only increase this risk because they already have most of the books in their libraries.
“The idea of dispersal hurt us a little bit somehow,” King confessed, “after all, we spent all our lives collecting these books. They were part of us and having them dispersed was a little bit like having an amputation.”
The Kings’ library is indicative of their individual interests in their professional specialties.
Dr. Willard King specialized in 17th Century writings while her surviving husband, Dr. Edmund King, authored countless articles and studies on the 20th Century Spanish novelist Gabriel Miró and is considered an international authority on all matters related to Miró’s life and literary remains.
Rodney Webb, Killam Library director, said the King Collection is a significant inventory of more than 5000 books on Spanish and Spanish American literature, containing many items no longer available in print.
“The King Collection makes available some titles that would probably be difficult, or in many cases impossible to even purchase,” Webb said.
Moreover, Webb indicated that among the collection are volumes by Juán Ruiz de Alarcón, early 17th Century Spanish dramatist, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer,19th Century Spanish poet and essayist,Américo Castro,
Spanish philologist and literary critic and Gabriel Miró, 20th Century Spanish writer.
According to Webb, it is Miró’s work that makes up one of the core and most valuable parts of the King Collection.
“In fact, an extant copy of Miro’s La Mujer de Ojeda is the most valuable piece of literature in the collection,” Webb stated.
On that note, Dr. King made mention of Miró’s work. “If it’s worth knowing anything about a writer, it’s worth knowing everything,” Dr. King said.
Rogelio Hinojosa, TAMIU acquisitions librarian, said there is still much work to be done before the King Collection is made available to the general public.
“Currently, the King Collection is in the appraisal phase, where specialized individuals will determine the collection’s worth,” Hinojosa stated.
Hinojosa added that the King Collection will be available through the University’s Killam Library Special Collections and Archives and Romance Study Seminar Room by the end of the Fall semester.
For more information on the King Collection or on making a donation to the Special Collections and Archives, please call 956.326.2404.
Rodolfo Zúñiga Student Intern , 6i pr sm
“If it’s worth knowing anything about a writer, it’s worth knowing everything. “
Dr. Edmund L. King
Rodney Webb, Killam Library director