Off and on for over the past few weeks I’ve been poking around in the basement, garage, and filing cabinets, gathering manuscripts and correspondence regarding published work to place on loan at Myer Library’s archival collection at Missouri State University.
I’ve done this in the past. On the first occasion I had several boxes of manuscripts and correspondence appraised, took my tax write-off for the donation, and gave them to Ophelia Gilbert for her archival collection at James C. Kirkpatrick Library on the campus of Central Missouri University in Warrensburg, Missouri. By the next time I felt ready, Congress had changed the law about authors donating their papers. My work was worth the cost of the paper it was printed on. Needless to say, I placed that part of my work on loan rather than make an outright gift. Still waiting for Congress to decide that an author’s papers are worth something. What I’ve given or loaned to Kirkpatrick is available to students or other interested parties in 35 boxes plus some folders. They’ve done a very nice job of sorting and arranging for users’ convenience. http://guides.library.ucmo.edu/harrisond1
This time I’ve decided to place my papers on loan to Myer Library. It is here in Springfield and will be easier for me to access if for some reason I might want to look up something in the future. I’m working on an agreement to leave these papers on loan for a long enough period of time to protect the library’s investment of work, time, and knowledge in displaying and protecting the papers, after which my family could reclaim all or part of the work if it should suit them to do so. My opinion is that the papers are much better off in a library than stuffed in boxes in my basement.