(October 16, 2008)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Renowned Author Donates Personal Collection to Magale Library


SHREVEPORT, La. — A major gift recently increased the size of Magale Memorial Library by approximately 6,000 volumes when the widow of John William Corrington donated the personal library in memory of her late husband.

According to Christy Wrenn, Director of Library Services, Joyce Corrington decided to donate the collection to the library when she began "downsizing" her life.

"Mrs. Corrington is moving to the east coast and decided it was time to donate his personal collection to his beloved alma mater," said Wrenn. "It was quite a surprise to us when we found out we were receiving it."

John William Corrington moved to Shreveport as a young boy and graduated from Centenary College in 1956. He went on to pursue a career as an English professor, and attorney in private practice. After giving up the practice of law in 1978, Corrington, along with his wife, Joyce, became the head writers for the daytime drama Search for Tomorrow and wrote scripts for several other television series, including Another World, One Life to Live and General Hospital. A prolific poet, he also published four novels, two short novels, and three collections of short stories. An avid reader and researcher, his personal library grew to thousands of books.

The Omega Man (1971) directed by Boris Sagal, is a science fiction film, featuring Charlton Heston, based on the novel I Am Legend (1954) by Richard Matheson. The 98-minute screenplay was written by John William and Joyce Corrington.

The collection was transported to the College from California and includes more than 3,000 nonfiction books, 38 musical scores, and almost 1,400 fiction books. According to Wrenn, the library was donated before Christmas 2007 and has taken the staff almost 10 months to go through and see exactly what was in the collection. The majority of the books cover Eastern philosophy, religion, mythology, and psychology. There were also 17 books written by Corrington as well as some original handwritten manuscripts.

Cataloging the books was a daunting task, according to Barbara Moore, coordinator of technical services and archives. Some of the books were duplicates already found in the library, which she said, were donated to the Centenary Muses for their annual book sale. The remaining books will be integrated into the works in the library.

There were also a few surprises found in the collection, said Moore, including a 1st edition printing of The Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein. "That book itself is very valuable," she said. "I looked it up on-line and it was easily worth $500."

Another surprise was a typewritten letter to Corrington from Pulitzer Prize winning author, Norman Mailer. "Apparently, he (Corrington) sent Mailer an unsolicited manuscript and wasn't too happy about it," said Moore.

For all the surprises and all the hard work that went into adding Corrington's personal collection into the Magale Library, it really is a wonderful gift for the College, said Wrenn. "We are seeing more people giving gifts such as these to academic libraries and it really is an awesome trend."

About John William Corrington

Corrington received a B.A degree from Centenary College in 1956 and his M.A. from Rice University in 1960, the year he took his first teaching position in the English Department at Louisiana State University. At age 40, he decided to study law and obtained his J.D from Tulane Law School in 1975. Corrington practiced law in New Orleans for three years and gave up his practice to pursue his television, literary and intellectual history writing projects. He died in 1988 and is survived by his wife, co-author and collaborator, Joyce Corrington.

In 1991, Centenary College awarded the first John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. The award is presented annually by the English Department on behalf of the Centenary student body and faculty to an established writer who has earned the critical esteem of readers who distinguish artistic accomplishment from commercial success.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrates 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.