Leith Johnson, project archivist for the William Manchester Papers, speaks about author William Manchester's career at Wesleyan Feb. 5 in Olin Library. The Friends of the Wesleyan Library sponsored the event titled "William Manchester: Portrait of a Writer" honoring and celebrating Manchester, a writer in residence at Wesleyan whose ties to the university date back to 1955. Manchester died at his home in Middletown, Conn. in June 2004.
Manchester was most known for his book, The Death of a President (1967). In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy selected Manchester to write about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Two years later, she sued him to prevent the publication of The Death of a President, setting off a controversy that played out on the front pages of newspapers around the world.
Rebecca McCallum, cataloguing librarian, watches the Manchester presentation. She and about 60 other people from Wesleyan and the community attended the event.
Jenny Miglus, archival assistant for the William Manchester Papers, speaks about Manchester's writing process as documented in his papers. Manchester was best known for his books on Winston Churchill, President John F. Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, among other great figures.
Claire Potter, professor of history and American studies, director of the Center for the Americas and chair of the American Studies Program, provided an overview on Manchester’s achievements as a scholar, and examined his book, The Death of a President.
At left, John Manchester '72, son of William Manchester, and Joseph Lynch '47, spoke briefly about William Manchester and welcomed questions from the audience. Lynch, a longtime friend of Manchester, says "Bill Manchester cared deeply about his writing … He was a retrospective reporter. He watched events happen and then wrote about them."
Joe Bruno, vice president for academic affairs and provost, introduced the Manchester event.
Peg Rider, pictured, worked as Manchester's secretary at Wesleyan for 22 years. She retired in 1991.
Barbara Jones, the Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, says Manchester would write in his Wesleyan office, located in the Olin Library, for up to 50 hours without eating or sleeping.
Highlights from the Manchester Collection will be on exhibit at Olin Library through March 15. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)