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Po​tok's Papers Go to University

January 21, 2010
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The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania is now the home of a wealth of papers from bestselling novelist Chaim Potok. The writer -- a Penn alum -- was also a professor and a rabbi during his multifaceted career, as well as editor-in-chief of Philadelphia's Jewish Publication Society.

The archive contains lectures, sermons, correspondence, promotional materials and fan mail sent to Potok over the years, including a letter from Elie Wiesel regarding Potok's novel I Am the Clay.

In addition to providing insight into Potok's writing process -- the archive includes notes, drafts, annotated typescripts with comments and more -- the materials also delve into his personal life, including stints as an Army chaplain in Korea and his tenure at JPS.

In a press release announcing the event, Penn director of libraries Carton Rogers stated that Potok's writing has had an impact on multiple generations of students and researchers, and that the library eventually looked forward "to opening his unpublished works to that same audience."

The writer's papers were bequeathed to the university upon his death in 2002.

An invitation-only reception celebrating the arrival of Potok's papers will be held at Penn's Rare Book and Manuscript Library on Feb. 17 -- what would have been the writer's 81st birthday.

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