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16th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Exhibition, “In Cold Blood and Truman Capote”

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The 16th Annual Professor John Howard Birss, Jr. Memorial Exhibition, “In Cold Blood and Truman Capote” commemorates the 50th anniversary of this major work of literature.

When In Cold Blood was published in 1966 it was an instant bestseller, having been serialized in The New Yorker during the fall of 1965. Capote labored over this “non-fiction” novel, as he labeled it, for almost six years. He meticulously documented the Clutter murders, including the background, investigation, trial and eventual execution of the convicted killers. Capote’s unique fictional style of telling a true story, including dialogue, engages the reader in a unique and unparalleled manner.

The exhibition is open daily through March 31 during the library’s operating hours.

Featured items include:

  • First edition of “In Cold Blood” published by Random House (1966)
  • Serialized version of “In Cold Blood” in four issues of The New Yorker (September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 1965)
  • Facsimile book reviews from The New York Times and The Observer (London)
  • Facsimile local news coverage in The Hutchinson News at the time of the murders, trial and execution
  • Facsimile Kansas Bureau of Investigation report of the critical interview with Floyd Wells, which was the first clue leading to the capture of the murder suspects
  • Issue of Life (May 12, 1967) that includes a feature article on the making of the film, “In Cold Blood,” in the town where the murders took place
  • Facsimile portraits of Capote by Carl Van Vechten, Roger Higgins of New York World-Telegram and Sun, and others
  • Facsimile photographs of the Black and White Ball held by Truman Capote at the Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966

Artifacts on display are courtesy of: Douglas and Judith Krupp Library, Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island; Providence Public Library, Providence, Rhode Island; Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC; Redwood Library, Newport, Rhode Island.