Alice Adams, come on down! The canon awaits

“With 36 million manuscripts and a million rare books, the Harry Ransom Center, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, is a standout in the exclusive club of the world’s great museum-quality collections….

“The Ransom Center is on a buying binge, but not with the long-dead titans of literature in mind. Instead, the library is pursuing the private papers of contemporary authors [and] is out to play a role in literary-canon formation….

Alice Adams, the [Chapel Hill-reared] novelist and short-story writer, was a major acquisition in 2000 and now seems to be the subject of a subtle awareness campaign…. En route to the [David Foster] Wallace archive, one staffer pointed out the 27 boxes comprising the Adams collection. Later, another employee, while showing me [Don] DeLillo’s letters, offhandedly mentioned her love for Adams’s stories. ‘She really should be better-known,’ the woman said, looking up at me hopefully.”

— From “Canon Fodder” by Anne Trubek in The Atlantic