Lost and Hidden Cultural Treasures in Archives Waiting to be Discovered

New life and creations Walt Whitman may always float to the surface.

LIS 653 Knowledge Organization

“It was wild,” remarked Zachary Turpin, a graduate student at the University of Houston, when asked last month by Ari Shapiro on NPR’s All Things Considered about his discovery of Walt Whitman’s anonymously published serial novel Life and Adventures of Jack Engle in 1852 editions of The Sunday Dispatch newspaper.

14431736_a-165-year-old-walt-whitman-novel-has-been_tdff3be5.jpg Image retrieved from: notey.com

While “wild” and “discovery” are not words people typically associate with conducting research in archives, libraries, and museums, maybe they are more relevant than we might at first think. Turpin points out in his introduction to the University Of Iowa Press’ first edition print, as part of their Iowa Whitman Series, that like Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, “plenty of American authors have left books in the dark” (xiv), which leaves me to wonder what other great works are hidden and tucked away in archives that we are yet to discover. This sense of…

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