William Henry Hudson
“Far Away and Long Ago”
Printed for members of the Limited Editions Club by Guillermo Kraft ltda., Buenos Aires: 1943.
FEBRUARY IS LIBRARY LOVER’S MONTH!
Library Lover’s Month is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying, preserving and otherwise loving books. Libraries are sanctuaries, offering safe spaces for study, reflection and enjoyment. Libraries indulge our desire to acquire knowledge – they are essentially ‘places of information.’ When we think about libraries, we often think about a building brimming with shelves of books on all topics. However, there is more to libraries than just books. They are community hubs supported by librarians who fulfill multiple roles as information experts, subject matter specialists, program organizers, educators, community builders and partners in research. Seton Hall University contains a number of libraries across its three campuses including the Walsh Library, Interprofessional Health Sciences Library, Valente Italian Library, Turro Seminary Library and Law Library. The Walsh Library also houses the Department of Archives and Special Collections and the Walsh Gallery which care for rare books, manuscripts, art and artifacts and hosts spaces for exhibitions, programs and displays.
The book featured in this post, “Far Away and Long Ago” by William Henry Hudson, recollects the author’s early life, between the ages of four and twelve, which were spent in Argentina. It is part of the Rare Book
Collection, housed in the Department of Archives and Special Collections. This limited-edition book had a run of just fifteen hundred copies and was designed by Alberto Kraft. The volume in the Seton Hall Archives is signed by Kraft and illustrator Raúl Rosarivo. This edition is bound in cowhide with undressed leather on the lower portion and features laced edges.  The materials used in the binding reflect William Henry Hudson’s childhood, much of which was spent in the rugged pampas of Argentina, where his parents raised sheep, though the region is known for its free-ranging cattle. These formative experiences in nature would profoundly impact his future. As an adult, Hudson would achieve recognition as an author, naturalist, and ornithologist. He was lauded for his exotic romances, especially “Green Mansions” which was published in 1904. “Far Away and Long Ago” lovingly recounts his childhood — roaming the pampas at liberty, studying the plant and animal life, and observing both natural and human phenomena on the harsh frontier. At age 15, he suffered an illness which would impact his health adversely for the remainder of his life. Around this period of infirmity, he read Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” which reaffirmed his interest in the natural world.
Though William Henry Hudson may not be a household name today, he had many admirers in his time. In 1934, renowned author Ernest Hemingway wrote a list of book recommendations to a young, aspiring writer. It included William Henry Hudson’s “Far Away and Long Ago” in addition to books by celebrated authors such as Stephen Crane, e.e. cummings, Leo Tolstoy, Emily Bronte, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and James Joyce. Hudson’s book was also among the objects auctioned from The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan at Christie’s auction house in 2016. Praise for Hudson’s writing consistently mentions his palpable imagery, as was noted in this thoughtful review on amazon.com:
“This book was like knocking on an old friend’s door, being welcomed in and settling in front of a fire with a glass of something in one’s hand. The author then talks, gently and beautifully, weaving this picture of his early life. He brings his characters to life and describes the birds and other creatures so well, I felt as if I was there with him, every time I picked up the book to read. A gentle lovely story of a young boy’s steps from childhood.” – L.M. Gainsford
The images and materials shown here are but a small part of the vast patrimony available to students, faculty and researchers. For access to this or other objects in our collections, complete a research request form to set up an appointment or contact us at 973-761-9476.
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