We are back again, and this time with the letter:
N is for Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s influential essay “Nature,” published in 1836, is the foundational document for the Transcendentalist Movement. In “Nature,” Emerson set forth his belief that God can be found in all aspects of nature, and that only by studying nature can man understand his relationship to the universe. The essay greatly influenced Henry David Thoreau, Branson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman and many others.
Contributed by George Riser, Collections and Instruction Assistant.
N is for Natural Bridge
In 1774, a 31-year-old Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of property in Rockbridge County, Virginia from King George III for 20 shillings (approximately $40 today). The natural rock formation became as popular as Niagara Falls to visitors from around the world as they stood marveling at the “bridge” twenty stories above them and peering into the caves, thirty-four stories below them. Jefferson built a log cabin on the property, declaring Natural Bridge to be “the most Sublime of nature’s works.”
Contributed by Donna Stapley, Assistant to the Director
N is for Nick of the Woods
Although educated as a physician, Robert Montgomery Bird pursued a literary career. In the 1830s, Bird wrote for the theatre, creating many of his plays expressly as vehicles for the actor Edwin Forrest. After a dispute with Forrest, Bird turned from playwriting to fiction; ironically, this move ensure his work a lasting place in the American theatrical tradition. In the novel Nick of the Woods; or, The Jibbenainosay, Bird conceived of an eighteenth-century Kentucky frontiersman who avenges the death of his family at the hands of the Indians. It was successfully adapted as a melodrama for the stage by Louisa H. Medina in 1838, and was produced widely for many decades. Other adaptations of this novel appeared on stage, such as one by George Washington Harley that survives in our collection in manuscript form.
Contributed by Margaret Hrabe, Reference Coordinator
N is for Anais Nin (1903-1977)
Anais Nin is best known for her extensive life-long diaries and her erotica (Delta of Venus, Little Birds). The daughter of two musicians, she lived a quintessentially Bohemian life in Paris and San Francisco. Married to two men at one time, she did not divorce the first husband until the IRS discovered her two identities.Nin materials appear in our extensive Henry Miller collections; the two had a well-known affair. In a 1958 letter held here, she asks famous Beat photographer Harry Redl to retake her picture because he’s not captured her “luminosity.” When publishers refused her book Winter of Artifice, she bought her own press and printed 500 copies in 1942.
Contribution by Anne Causey, Public Services Assistant
We look forward to seeing you again in couple weeks when we feature the letter “O.” Bye for now!