The loss of Harry Elkins Widener onboard the R.M.S. Titanic inspired his mother, Eleanor Elkins Widener, who survived the maritime disaster, to build a great library at Harvard University in her son’s honor. She collaborated closely on the project with Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach—an endeavor that helped launch Dr. Rosenbach’s career. In this episode of The Rosenbach Podcast, we will journey to Harvard University to learn more about the Widener Memorial Library, its collections, and the process by which it came to exist by speaking to a Harvard curator who works closely with books Harry Elkins Widener once owned. We will also speak with Harvard University experts in grief to gain insights about what inspired Eleanor Elkins Widener to create a library in her son’s memory—and what her journey from anguish to triumph can teach us about healing from grief in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guest: Leslie A. Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books & Manuscripts, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Guests: Susan Block and Sue E. Morris