Exhibit about ‘First Citizen’ of N.Y. opens at Union’s Schaffer Library

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Michael Goot - The Daily Gazette

To help mark the centennial of John Bigelow’s death, Union has embarked on an ambitious project to pay tribute to its most versatile alum, who graduated in 1835.

Called “Remembered First Citizen” in a nod to Margaret Clapp’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Bigelow, the project kicked off recently with an exhibit in Schaffer Library showcasing some of the 4,000 titles from Bigelow’s personal library, a journal he kept in the last months of his life (he was 94 when he died Dec. 19, 1911), and artifacts such as his death mask, typewriter and working papers for his groundbreaking edition of the Franklin autobiography.

In February, a massive digital index to the College’s John Bigelow Correspondence File, which consists of more than 20,000 letters from prominent political, cultural and literary giants, is expected to go online. Among those who wrote to Bigelow were Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who co-designed Central Park.