Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Parapet Project

To top off (literally, or maybe, literarily) the new library in the renovated Fones Hardware Building, CALS set out to develop a list of authors to immortalize in stone at the top of building.

The Parapet Project provoked some rather colorful commentary from the community. For example:

“Bobby [Roberts], it appears you’ve been out in the sun too long without a hat and consequently have turned up with your dipstick about an inch shy of your oil. Metaphorically speaking, of course. . . . I refer to the plan to put the names of authors hammered into concrete all around the parapet of the building. It looks nice . . . but will eventually cause you to lose whatever fragile grip on reality you currently have. . . . You have put yourself directly into the path of a runaway locomotive.” Frank Fellon, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 13, 1995

But eventually, the parapet prevailed. Nominations from the public poured in and the committee members labored over the tough task of creating a ballot. Library card holders voted on a number of authors from twelve major categories: Arkansas, Applied Science, Pure Science, Social Sciences, Philosophy & Religion, History, American Literature, Children’s Literature, Southern Literature, Poetry, Popular Fiction, World Literature.

The end result — the winners of the literary death match — can be seen atop the Main Library. And, as far as I know, everyone walked away from the project with their sanity intact.

Left: Author nomination form, 1995.
Bottom: Vote Flyer, Front and Back, 1995.

Contributed by Stephanie Bayless, Manuscripts Department.


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