Jacqui Colt Summer Fellow
For her St. Lawrence University Fellows summer research project Jacqui Colt is looking at all of the fiction ever written that is set in the Adirondacks. She is compiling a bibliography of these books in preparation for exhibit on Adirondack fiction in the fall in ODY’s Frank and Anne Piskor Reading Room. Speaking to her work, Jacqui says, “I’m a book person, an Adirondack person, and I love old books. There is something to be said for literature coming out of a place. If someone describes a place in a particularly beautiful way it can instill the place in people’s minds, and can become a way to motivate conservation. I also want St. Lawrence to have a really excellent Adirondack collection.” One of the things that has been a discovery for Jacqui this summer is the workmanship of the old books, “When you look at the type set on the pages, the covers with gold inlay, the designs on the dust jackets, you get an appreciation for the work that went into the books, and for the importance of preserving old books because of their literal, social and historical value.”
The earliest book that Jacqui has found is The Farmer’s Daughter of Essex by James Penn, published in 1802, and her bibliography spans more than two centuries from then—there were five books set in the Adirondacks published in 2014, including Joyce Carol Oates Carthage. There have been a number of surprises along the way, titles such as Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me (a James Bond novel set in the Adirondacks), and the large number of mysteries and romances since 1975 that authors have decided the Adirondacks a perfect setting—for obviously very dissimilar reasons.
Jacqui’s advisor for her summer research was St. Lawrence University’s Curator of Special Collections & University Archivist Mark McMurray, who spoke to Jacqui’s research, “St. Lawrence already had a terrific collection of Adirondack fiction, and Jacqui’s project was a great way to fill in a couple of gaps and bring it up to date.” The Adirondack fiction bibliography will join the SLU Libraries’ Digital Collections in the near future.