AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN
The AAUW Fremont Branch tours the
MARTHA HEASLEY COX COLLECTION FOR JOHN STEINBECK,
in the MARTIN LUTHER KING LIBRARY, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
Several AAUW Branch members visit the Martin Heasley Cox Collection.
A group of 13 AAUW members and friends drove to San Jose to visit this library which is a joint endeavor of the City of San Jose and San Jose State University.
The Steinbeck collection has memorabilia, copies of every book in over 50 languages, and manuscripts and letters written in Steinbeck’s own hand. A total of 25,000 items are there for perusal.
It’s the largest collection of Steinbeck material open to the public in the U.S.
The group listened to Peter Van Coutren, who is the collection’s archivist, speak knowledgeably about Steinbeck’s childhood, his three wives, their contributions to his body of work and his development as an author.
One interesting talent of Steinbeck’s was his ability to talk to anyone – professors, field laborers, presidents, cannery workers and fishermen. As a teenager, he talked to workers in the fields of Salinas and as an adult he lived in one or more labor camps and experienced first hand the privations of the lives of the migrant field worker.