Founding Collections

Bernard F. Burgunder Collection of George Bernard Shaw

The Bernard F. Burgunder Collection of George Bernard Shaw was established at Cornell University in 1956. Now numbering more than ten thousand items and growing, the Burgunder Shaw Collection is one of the largest Shaw archives in the world. Captivated early in life by Shaw and his work, Bernard F. Burgunder began collecting modestly soon after his graduation from Cornell in 1918. His ambitions expanded over time, and after he donated his collection to Cornell, he began to pour his energy and expertise into its enhancement. Between the time the collection arrived in 1956 and Mr. Burgunder’s death in 1986, thousands of books and documents were added.

The Burgunder Collection covers all aspects of Shaw’s life and work with particular strength in the area of theater. The collection contains material documenting the production of his plays, including hundreds of printed editions, proof and rehearsal copies, prompt books, manuscripts, photographs, and correspondence with directors and actors. The collection also features notable holdings in areas other than theatre, with extensive materials on Shaw’s political and critical writings.

Fifty years after its establishment at Cornell, the Shaw Collection continues to draw students and scholars. Bernard F. Burgunder’s accomplishment stands as an inspirational example of how a dedicated collector—by gathering the obscure, the far-flung or neglected into a coherent whole—can provide a legacy for generations to come.

Major Barbara. Promotional Poster, [1941].

This poster advertises Gabriel Pascal’s 1941 film version of Major Barbara staring Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison and Robert Morley.

Mrs. Jenny Patterson. Portrait painted on ivory, ca. 1885.

Shaw’s affair with Jenny Patterson, his first lover, lasted from 1885 until 1893. This portrait was among the letters and papers belonging to one of Shaw’s secretaries, Ann Jackson (1892-1992). The Ann Jackson papers were purchased in 2005 with generous assistance from Stephan Loewentheil, law ’75, and Beth Farber ’77, and from Bernard F. Burgunder Jr. ’50.

Clare Winsten. Bronze cast of a bust of George Bernard Shaw, 1946.

Gift of Jon A. Lindseth ’56 and Virginia M. Lindseth ’56

View a photo of this exhibition case

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