The Adam Collection holds many items that are of interest for anyone concerned both with the history of the book and with the history of literary culture in the 20th century. The collection of monographs and serials (approximately 3,000 monographs and 4,000 periodical parts held at King’s) reflects the nature of the connections, which he formed from the 1930s onwards. Authors who are well represented in the collection invariably tended to be contributors to Adam or members of its editorial board.
Unlike most other collections, which were systematically developed by collectors to reflect their interests in a particular area, the Adam Collection grew in an unplanned way. The most important part of the collection comprises autographed copies of books, which were presented to Grindea and review copies of books for Adam. The monographs demonstrate vividly Grindea’s wide range of acquaintance and include inscribed copies of books by TS Eliot, Robert Graves, Iris Murdoch, Arthur Koestler, Arnold Toynbee, Bertrand Russell, Michael Foot, Marshall McLuhan, Yehudi Menuhin, Michael Redgrave and Octavio Paz. Notable French writers whose autographed works appear in the collection include André Gide, François Mauriac, André Maurois, Raymond Queneau, Georges Duhamel, Louis Aragon and Jules Supervielle.
The holdings are significant in ways other than the intrinsic interest of inscribed copies to historians of the book and to anyone concerned with the history of 20th century publishing. The collection is particularly noteworthy for its holdings of 20th century poetry published in limited runs or by small presses. The holdings of first editions include a signed copy by Peter Ackroyd of his critical essay Notes for a new culture (1976) and other works by lesser-known poets, which are not widely held in university libraries.
One feature of the Adam Collection that is of special interest to those pursuing courses in War Studies or in Middle East Studies is a collection of monographs, including ephemera dating from the 1940s and 1950s, on Israel, the Middle East and the history of Zionism. It includes inscribed copies of books by Teddy Kollek (the former mayor of Jerusalem), Yael Dayan (the daughter of Moshe Dayan) and Yitzhak Navon (the president of Israel in the 1970s.)
The extensive holdings of periodicals in the Adam Collection reflect Grindea’s interests closely, with a heavy emphasis on literary, Romanian and Jewish periodicals. As the runs of these periodicals in the collection are often incomplete, it is worthwhile taking a close look at the online catalogue record in order to ascertain whether we have a particular issue.
Because the vast majority of the books in the collection date from the 20th century, a significant number pose conservation problems. Many of the French and Romanian books in the collection suffer from advanced acidification of the paper, which in several cases has led to the disintegration of the book. After the 1940s standards of Romanian book production seemed to have improved and a better quality of paper was used. A similar change appears to have occurred in France around 1960.
Most of the collection is now catalogued. Several items, particularly those which have suffered from paper acidification, have been conserved.
Using Library Search
Records from all collections are available through King's Library Search.
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Please do contact us for further advice on identifying material which will assist you with your studies.
Other related collections elsewhere
The archive of Adam international review is housed in the College Archives. These papers have not been catalogued. A collection description is available in the Archives catalogue.
Other university library special collections which cover a similar area to the Adam Collection include the following:
- The Plomer Collection (the library of the South African writer William Plomer) at Durham University contains signed copies of works by 20th century authors. Further details are available at Durham University Library Special Collections.
- The James Parkes Collection at the University of Southampton covers the same subject area as part of the Adam Collection (Judaica and Middle Eastern Studies). Further details are available at Southampton University Library Special Collections.
- The personal library of the art historian, Sir Herbert Read, who, like Grindea, was a devotee of Modernism, and whose library contains presentation copies of works by TS Eliot and James Joyce, forms part of the Brotherton Collection at the Special Collections at Leeds University Library. Included in the Brotherton Collection are significant holdings of 20th century French printed books. Further details are available at Leeds University Library Special Collections.
- The Arthur Koestler Collection in the Archives at Edinburgh University may be of interest, as Koestler, a Hungarian Jew, had a similar background to Grindea.
Vanessa Louise Davies. Adam International Review: a short publishing history, 1941-1991. London: Adam Archive Publications, School of Humanities, King’s College London, 1992
Vanessa Louise Davies. Adam International Review: a thematic and contextual study. London: University of London, 1987. PhD thesis, King’s College London
Rachel Lasserson (ed.) Art, drama, architecture and music: an anthology of Miron Grindea’s ADAM editorials. (2 vols.) London: Valentine Mitchell, 2006