Watson Mystery Solved, Part 2

If you remember back a few weeks ago, we had re-discovered a collection of books by William Watson. We figured out why his book became dispersed. Warning it’s a bit technical. In the online library catalog, some of our onsite rare books can be identified by location as WRC – [name of collection]. When Watson lived on the shelves in the Woodson, the collection was safe and a distinct unit both physically on the shelves and in the catalog.

But…Watson moved offsite to the Library Service Center. When that happened, the location designation changed to LSC-WRC and that’s it. With the location change, what tethered the collection together (proximity and the Watson location name) fell apart. There’s only one other rare book collection that lives offsite and that one has a special note that ties the collection together.

stack of books
Complete set of Odes and Other Poems

Lauren DuBois, trusty cataloger, is now ordering the books by title (There are multiple editions for each title.) and making the requisite changes in the catalog as well as providing more descriptive updates. For example, Watson wrote two poems (published elsewhere) into the first couple of pages one of the books.

But folks, that’s not all. We temporarily proved Rudyard Kipling wrong.

Newspaper clipping: Mr. Rudyard Kipling said of Sir William Watson last night: "He did magnificent work. He never wrote a bad line. His work has gone to the general account and will never be lost."

The Watson books, which now formally go by the title the James Wade Rockwell collection of William Watson poetry, will become a complete collection again (not lost) with a proper title including the donor’s name.

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