The University of North Carolina has hosted a number of well-known literary visitors through the years, including Robert Frost, William Faulkner, and Langston Hughes. I wasn’t aware until recently that Gertrude Stein had passed through Chapel Hill. She remembers her visit in her 1937 book, Everybody’s Autobiography:
“I had never heard of Chapel Hill but it is important, lots of places that the name was not known not to me were and here they had the best collection of Spanish books anywhere in the world and lots of students from everywhere in the world and a nice town and a pleasant spring.”
The “Spanish books” Stein refers to are likely the collection of extremely rare (and in many cases unique) early Spanish plays that are now housed in the library’s Rare Book Collection.