Author of “Wicked” Contributes to UAlbany Collection

Published on Nov. 27, 2012

By. Casey So Hyeun Cho

Gregory Maguire is holding up his first draft of his award winning novel "Wicked" Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

Gregory Maguire is holding up his first draft of his award winning novel “Wicked”
                           Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

University at Albany alumnus and the award-winning author of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” Gregory Maguire ‘76 donated his writings on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Maguire has published 19 books for children and eight for adults and his donation includes his personal and professional papers, manuscripts, documents, diaries, memorabilia, and significantly the first 30 handwritten pages of “Wicked.”

Along with his contributions, Maguire donated the collected papers of his father John Maguire, who served Albany community as a Times Union columnist, and a collection of poetry that was published in newspapers and poetry journals in 1940s and 50s by his stepmother, Marie McAuliff Maguire.

According to Maguire there were other universities have been asking him for years to donate his paper. When his stepmother died recently, UAlbany President George Philip wrote him a touching letter. Maguire made his final decision that the collection belongs to UAlbany.

“Gregory Maguire has made an indelible mark on American life and letters with his prodigious talent, imagination, and commitment on his craft,” said UAlbany President George Philip.

“It was with great honor that UAlbany undertakes the task of safeguarding his literary legacy for the use of students, scholars and our community-at-large.”

The school already has a wide range collection of children’s literature, some 15,000 titles that run from 1850 to 1960. Among the items displayed at a ceremony in the Science Library was Charles Carryl’s 1891 book “The Admiral’s Caravan,” about a young girl named Dorothy who takes a journey with three wooden soldiers, which was published almost a decade before Frank Baum’s “The wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

Maguire said the school nurtured his talent by letting him create his own independent studies for classes toward his English degree. On Tuesday, Maguire gave back to the place where contributed to his literary success.

“They let me spread my wings and write what I wanted and gave me credit,” Maguire said. “They made a good bet on me.”

It is not Maguire’s first contribution to UAlbany collection. As a double major in English and Studio Art, Maguire’s watercolor collections are hanging on campus.

Having a poet mother and a columnist father, who had dinnertime arguments over grammar paints the Maguires was a “literary ecosystem.”

The Maguire’s donation will be stored in the University at Albany Libraries’ M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives to serve as a resource for scholary research on his literary career and on the subjects of his many works.

Maguire’s writings will join the papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, Joseph Persico and Marcia Brown.

Maguire said the school almost did not let him graduate since he had taken too many independent studies, but by keeping every permission slip in an old filling cabinet, he successfully graduated in 1976.

After the ceremony, Maguire surprised the audience with special gifts. The audience who sat on the chair that had purple ribbon tied upon it got a free copy of “Wicked” with Maguire’s signature.

In Maguire’s words, after reading the book, everyone becomes a little bigger. The Albany-native author’s donation may lead the future giants’ readership.