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The W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies

The collection provides a resource for scholars to consult material about Charles Baudelaire's life, works, and related studies. Visiting scholars have the opportunity to research the collection in topics such as Baudelaire's influence on literature and the visual arts, urban history, modernity, synesthesia, and popular culture.

The Bandy Center's most important holdings consist of:

• First editions of Baudelaire's works

• Journal and newspapers which first published his writings

• Collected editions of his works

• Materials on Baudelaire and related topics

• Translations of Baudelaire's works into various languages

• Illustrated editions

The critical focus of the collection is an exhaustive bibliography of writings by and about Charles Baudelaire. Titles of books and ephemera in the Bandy Center are available through the W.T. Bandy Center Web site, Baudelaire database, and the library catalog, Acorn. Current information is added to the Recensement Bibliographique and available from the Bandy Center Web site under Publications.

Pascal Pia Collection

Pascal Pia (1903-1979), literary critic, poet, and editor, occupied a prominent place in twentieth-century French literary and intellectual circles. The Pascal Pia Collection contains French literary works, journals, and ephemera. Many of the publications are from the modern period, with emphasis on prose and poetry since the mid-nineteenth century. There are a number of signed copies are in the collection; personal gifts of such major authors as Albert Camus and André Malraux, both good friends of Pascal Pia.

The Pascal Pia Collection is a unique resource for those interested in the avant-garde and in the relationship of literature and the arts. A reviewer commented that "The Collection of twentieth century poetry is most remarkable...Of undoubtedly the greatest value is the collection of periodicals. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many of the significant literary contributions were made in so-called...little magazines...I have never seen a collection of such periodicals as exquisite as the Pia Collection. Many titles are very, very rare indeed..."

Gilbert Sigaux Collection

Gilbert Sigaux (1918-1982) was an author, translator, professor of theater history at the Conservatoire national d'art dramatique in Paris, and secretary of the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques. Over many years, Sigaux gathered an enormous personal library of play texts, books, and other valuable documents on the theater.

The Gilbert Sigaux Collection contains about 6,000 volumes, including monographs, theater journals, and primary texts, as well as almost 75,000 items on authors, directors, actors, and theaters. These files contain such items as press clippings, programs, publicity releases, Sigaux's personal notes, and articles from journals.

"The collection represents," according to Dan M. Church, Emeritus Professor of French, "the single most valuable resource for research on theater in France in the twentieth century."

Morris Wachs Collection

Morris Wachs (1921-2001) was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 24, 1921 and died in Nashville on August 8, 2001. He was a graduate of Brooklyn College. He received his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin in 1959. He initially taught at DePauw University in Indiana, and then joined Vanderbilt University as associate professor in 1962, retiring in 1992 as Professor Emeritus, after 30 years of service. Professor Wachs was an eighteenth century specialist, with a focus on the poetry of Denis Diderot (1713-1784).  Wachs was the descendent of the great rabbinic Cohn family. He was fluent in Yiddish and Hebrew and took an interest in the development of the Judaica Collections in the Divinity School Library at Vanderbilt, playing a role in the acquisition of the Yiddish holdings. He created the annual Jacqueline Wachs Essay Prize for undergraduates in the French and Italian Writing Competition in memory of his wife. Jacqueline Touret Wachs was a long-time senior lecturer with the Department of French & Italian at Vanderbilt. His estate endowed the Blair School of Music with the Morris and Jacqueline Wachs Scholarship. Wachs was well known for his knowledge of the French Enlightenment. As a bibliophile, he helped build the library’s collection of eighteenth-century French literature. He served as a member and chair of the executive committee of the Modern Language Association of America on the French Literature of the Eighteenth Century section.

Morris Wachs was a great book collector, focusing on eighteenth century French literature. His collection is particularly rich in rare popular fiction, providing an insight into the literary tastes of the eighteenth-century. His collection represents material of the Enlightenment, ranging from orientalism, satire, novels, epistolary fiction, almanacs, and fictional travel accounts. The book collection is housed at the Library Annex in separate Microclimate boxes and occupies 116 linear feet. The collection also includes 118 lantern slides housed in an old wooden box, each slide labeled individually. The lantern slides are glass slides with the dimensions of about 3-3/8” x 4”. These slides contain images related to the eighteenth century and the Enlightenment, including book covers, portraits, and paintings. Wachs may have purchased the lantern slides along the Seine River from the bouquinistes of Paris. The lantern slides were digitized by the Visual Resource Center at Vanderbilt and linked to the Bandy Center site.

The collection of about 700 monograph titles and lantern slides was donated (purchase/donation) to the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, Vanderbilt University in 2004 by Sol and Frieda Shaviro, the sister of Morris Wachs.

For additional information:
Paul Kingsbury, “Wachs Collection Is World Class,Acorn Chronicle, Fall, 2004, p. 14.