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Boston College Acquires Playwright’s Works

February 5, 1991

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) _ Boston College has purchased a collection of about 300 books, manuscripts and articles by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett.

″It’s probably one of the finest collections of Beckett materials assembled in private hands,″ said Robert K. O’Neill, librarian of Boston College’s John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections.

O’Neill would not say Tuesday how much the university paid George Minkoff, a rare book dealer, for the collection. The collection was part of the estate of Beckett’s friends, Calvin and Joann Israel of New York.

Beckett, who died last year, is best known for his 1952 play, ″Waiting for Godot.″ A native of Dublin, Ireland, he lived in France and wrote in French but translated many of his own works into English.

He wrote novels as well as plays and won the 1969 Nobel Prize for literature.

The collection acquired by Boston College includes handwritten manuscripts, photographs and signed playbills. Most of the items are printed works, including first editions and limited editions.

The collection includes 12 editions of ″Waiting for Godot,″ all signed by Beckett.

Last year, Dr. Brian Leeming and June Leeming of Brookline gave Boston College material by another Irish Nobel laureate, William Butler Yeats.

Much of Boston College’s collections ″have focused on the political, social and economic history of Ireland, and more recently we’ve been trying to develop the more literary part of the collection,″ O’Neill said.

Boston is home to a large number of Irish-Americans.