Lilly Library adds new piece of Vonnegut memorabilia

On the heels of author Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday celebration, I wanted to share a reminder to check out a cool bit of memorabilia the Lilly Library recently acquired.

Vonnegut transparency

The transparency Vonnegut used to illustrate his 1983 lecture at IU Bloomington.

When Vonnegut visited IU in 1983, he gave a lecture titled “How to Get a Job Like Mine.” During the course of the evening, he fielded questions from students on a variety of topics, including his dislike of word processors and his dismal outlook on the “terrifying” technological revolution and how it is affecting culture. He said he believes too many men and women expect their lives to unfold as dramatic stories with intense highs and lows. Using an overhead projector, he demonstrated his theory by drawing line graphs on a clear transparency to explain the differences between the storybook lives of Cinderella and Hamlet and those rooted in reality.

That transparency, donated by IU alumnus Mark Saunders, is now part of the Lilly’s comprehensive Vonnegut Collection, which includes letters, writings and publishing records as well as a series of letters the novelist wrote his youngest daughter, artist Nanette Vonnegut.

Born in Indianapolis, Vonnegut is best known for his novels, including “Cat’s Cradle” and “Slaughterhouse Five.”

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