Much of Britain’s literary heritage may be found in America, from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C, to the manuscripts and letters of famous authors housed in wealthy universities from coast to coast. Not so for G. K. Chesterton’s own collection of his books and periodicals, and personal effects down to his hat, pince-nez spectacles and walking stick, the pen with which he wrote “The Ballad of the White Horse,” and even his handmade toy-theatre described famously in his autobiography.
All will be given their own room in the new library building of the Oxford Oratory sometime this year.
Assembling these treasures and relics was a cooperative effort among the project’s senior fellows, Mr. Aidan Mackay, Rev. Ian Boyd, CSB (editor of The Chesterton Review), and Mr. Dale Ahlquist, renowned Chestertonians all; plus support from The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire. Many of the items formerly resided at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, with the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture.
For a tantalising description of someone stumbling across Mr. Mackay’s collection years ago, and photos galore including the piece of chalk that inspired one of GKC’s most famous essays, look here.
Books on the people discussed in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.