THE YEAR 2001 IS A WATERSHED TIME FOR SPECIAL COLLECTIONS at the University of Arizona Library. Good fortune and impeccable timing have come together to usher in a new era of prosperity. The newly renovated Special Collections area of the Library offers a world-class facility for our collections and the researchers we serve. In conjunction with our reopening, Special Collections is presenting an exhibit on writer John C. Van Dyke and is publishing this volume: a landmark essay and bibliography on Van Dyke by Professor Peter Wild of the University of Arizona's English Department. We are also publishing a digital version of this book on the Internet to insure it reaches a global audience.
Professor Wild is a frequent patron of Special Collections and the foremost authority on John C. Van Dyke. After years of chasing down the far-flung details of Van Dyke's life, Wild has assembled the first comprehensive annotated bibliography on him. This bibliography is a literary Rosetta stone of sorts, a tool with which one can begin peeling away the encrypted layers of Van Dyke's career.
In 1901 Van Dyke assured himself a lofty position in the canon of Southwest literature by publishing The Desert: Further Studies in Natural Appearances. Despite a tendency to embellish various scientific realities, this tome is vitally important as the first book to praise the desert and advocate its preservation in a wild and pristine state. Van Dyke consulted with faculty members of the University of Arizona while writing The Desert, and his words on the land's aesthetic beauty ring especially true to those of us living here in the Sonoran Desert.
Wild's essay and bibliography, as well as the Special Collections exhibit on Van Dyke, commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Desert's publication. Grateful for the serendipity that has brought Special Collections, Wild, and Van Dyke together, we offer this important work as the inaugural Special Collections Monograph.
Shan C. SuttonArchivist