1930s-1960s. Includes correspondence from John S. Van E. Kohn (Seven Gables Bookshop), Brom Weber, Andreas Brown (Gotham Book Mart), plus offprints of reviews and articles about Crane. Item #32782
An instructor of English at Rutgers University and later a professor of English and American literature, Professor Birss was a noted Herman Melville scholar and one of the founders of the Melville Society. He was a bibliographer and collector of letters written by famous people as well as inscribed first editions and rare first editions. His collection included a wide variety of material on Melville, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe and Hart Crane. In addition, his collection of more than 3,000 lithographs, photographs and newspaper clippings included iconographies of many famous writers.
Professor Birss was nationally recognized for his knowledge of first editions when he was asked to contribute to Merle Johnson's "American First Editions," published in 1936, on the works of Crane, James Farrell, Joseph Rodman Drake, Katherine Anne Porter and A. Edward Newton. In later years, he compiled the greatest scholarly collection of Mary Baker Eddy material ever privately assembled.
Professor Birss was a contributor to numerous publications including the "Bibliography of American Literature" with Jacob Blanck; "Familiar Quotations;" "Notes and Query;" ''American Speech;" "The New Colophon;" "The American Book Collector;" "Publisher's Weekly;" and "Good Reading," a guide co the world's best books.