Two New Exhibitions in SC&A Feature Items from Collection of Rare Books by Jan Morris and Oliver Atkins Photographs

Jan Morris, as photographed in 1974.

Jan Morris, as photographed in 1974. Photo is from her 1974 book, Conundrum.

SC&A has completed two new exhibits of materials from its holdings.  On exhibit displays a group of books by historian and travel writer, Jan Morris, while the other features photographs from photographer, Oliver Atkins. Both exhibitions run through December 2015.

“Excerpts from a Life Well Traveled: The University Libraries’ Jan Morris Collection”

George Mason University Libraries acquired a collection of rare Jan Morris first editions and pre-release review copies in 2010. The collection consists of 135 books and one rare signed poster from the 1940s.  Born James Morris in 1926 in Somerset England, Morris underwent gender re-assignment surgery in 1972. In her highly personal work Conundrum: From James to Jan – An Extraordinary Personal Narrative of Transsexualism, Morris describes her life and sexual reassignment. Morris began as a newspaper writer, working on the editorial staff of The Guardian from 1957 to 1962 and was the first journalist to report the conquest of Mount Everest.

Destinations (1980) is a collection of Jan Morris travel essays for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Destinations (1980) is a collection of Jan Morris travel essays for Rolling Stone magazine.

Morris also served in the military, was married, and has 5 children. One of her children is Twm Morris, the musician and poet. Her most famous work is arguably the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire. She is also widely acclaimed for her travel writing, which includes famous profiles of Oxford, Venice, Wales, Hong Kong, and New York City. The collection is the generous gift of Philip M. Teigen. Teigen also donated a substantial collection of rare John Richard Green volumes to the Libraries in 2008. Teigen’s interest in collecting Morris’ works stems from his development of the John Richard Green Collection. He wrote in a letter to the Libraries that he views Morris as Green’s “20th century intellectual heir.” This exhibit combines images with excerpts from select works.

Oliver Atkins in China, 1972. Olliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 34, Folder 2. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Oliver Atkins in China, 1972. Olliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 34, Folder 2. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

“A Life in Focus: A Look Inside the Oliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection”

Oliver F. Atkins was a professional photographer from the 1930s until the late 1970s.  He worked for several news organizations, the American Red Cross, The Saturday Evening Post, and the White House. He covered the Second World War and Korea as well as the American political and cultural landscape during the 1950s and 1960s.  Some of his subjects include Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, Gamel Nasser, Nikita Kruschev, Josip B. Tito, and Jawaharlal Nehru.

High School students from Ozark, Arkansas visit Chinatown in New York City, May 1950.  Oliver Atkins Photograph Collection Box 12, Folder 13. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives. Images taken for the Saturday Evening Post are © Saturday Evening Post.

High School students from Ozark, Arkansas visit Chinatown in New York City, May 1950. Oliver Atkins Photograph Collection Box 12, Folder 13. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives. Images taken for the Saturday Evening Post are © Saturday Evening Post.

In 1969, Atkins became the personal photographer of President Richard M. Nixon and chief White House photographer. Of his many images of Nixon, the series documenting the meeting of December 18, 1970 with Elvis Presley is the most famous and the most often requested. The collection, which contains over 60,000 images, is held in the University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives department in Fenwick, C-204. This exhibition looks at various facets of Atkins’ life, career, and works. The collection, which contains over 60,000 images, is held in the University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives department in Fenwick, C-204. This exhibition looks at various facets of Atkins’ life, career, and works.

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