Archives and Special Collections houses more than 100,000 items from Burroughs' life.
Archives and Special Collections houses more than 100,000 items from Burroughs' life.

To mark the July 1 release of the movie, “The Legend of Tarzan,” the University of Louisville’s Archives and Special Collections will showcase its vast collection of “Tarzan” author Edgar Rice Burroughs’ work.

The collection contains more than 100,000 items in all categories of the author’s work, including first-edition books, fanzines, film stills, scrapbooks and posters, games and other memorabilia. It is considered to be the largest institutional collection of Burroughs’ works in the world.

Most of the collection was donated and curated by ASC Professor/Curator Emeritus George T. McWhorter as a tribute to his mother, who taught him to read early in life using Burroughs’ stories.

Beginning July 1, to synchronize with the movie’s release, ASC will exhibit editions of “Tarzan” in 37 different languages, to emphasize the worldwide appeal of Burroughs’ iconic character. It will be shown on the first floor of Ekstrom Library, in the west wing across from the circulation desk, and will run until September 2, one day beyond Burroughs’ birthday.

“What better time to showcase some of this important collection, which means so much to the numerous fans of Burroughs, than at the release of another Tarzan movie,” said Carrie Daniels, director of ASC. “Just the fact that this story, with an indelible character at the center, prompts a major movie release shows the longevity and imaginative depth of Burroughs’ original tale.”

Known as “The Grandfather of American Science Fiction,” Burroughs (1875-1950) penned 63 novels, 21 short stories and 26 literary sketches. Originally writing for pulp magazines, Burroughs quickly mined a deep vein with his Tarzan character by capitalizing on the stories’ success and allowing for merchandisers to create knives, bows and arrows, belt buckles, watches, figurines, candy, bread, pop-ups, coloring books and costumes. Many of these items are part of the Burroughs collection.

In addition to the editions on display through the summer, all items from the Burroughs Memorial Collection are available in Archives and Special Collections Research Room, Ekstrom Library, lower level 17.  Anyone with a photo ID is welcome to request, view or research individual items Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.