Hans Christian Andersen Presentation Copy from the Library of Carl Sandburg (839.83 An2Eb)

While checking the recently-cataloged Hans Christian Andersen book inscribed to Mary Bruun against the special collections provenance file, a second book inscribed by Hans Christian Andersen was identified.  This copy of The Sand-hills of Jutland has just as interesting a provenance as the last book.

As soon as you open the book, a University of Illinois Library bookplate on the front paste-down announces that the book is from the library of Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), the famed Illinois poet whose library and papers are held in our special collections.  Sandburg was of Scandinavian descent and must have treasured this volume inscribed by Denmark’s most famous author.  Andersen himself was a champion of Scandinavism and in 1839 he wrote the poem Jeg er en Skandinav (I am a Scandinavian), which was set to music by the composer Otto Lindblad.

The book is inscribed on the verso of the front free endpaper and reads: “Statsraad Edvard Collin fra hans ven, Hans Christian Andersen” (Councilor Edvard Collin from his friend, Hans Christian Andersen).

Andersen is well-known for having many unrequited loves.  The Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was perhaps his most famous, but Andersen pursued many unsuccessful relationships with both women and men.  Edvard Collin (1808-1886) was a close friend of Hans Christian Andersen and was one of the several men with whom Andersen pursued intimate relationships.

Edvard Collin was the son of Jonas Collin (1776-1861), a director of the Royal Theatre and one of Andersen’s early patrons who paid for his education, along with King Frederick VI.  Andersen was also to romantically pursue Jonas Collin’s daughter, Louise.  The Collin family’s close relationship to Andersen is further evidenced by the fact that Edvard Collin and his wife were originally buried at Andersen’s grave site.

T o learn more about Andersen’s relationship with the Collin family, see Collin, Edvard. H. C. Anderson og det collinske hus. Copenhagen : C.A. Reitzel, 1929. AD