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Writer plans support for Libraries in her will

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Molly Peacock '69.
Molly Peacock '69 speaking on the panel “Your Voice: Writers Sharing their Personal Journey” during Binghamton Women’s Weekend at Convene in New York City in October 2017. Photography: Kristyn Ulanday.

Poet and biographer Molly Peacock ’69 said she found herself as a writer when she was a student at Binghamton University.

Many of her papers and manuscripts make up a special collection in the Glenn G. Bartle Library at Binghamton. Recently, she outlined an estate plan to ensure those documents and more remain available as resources on campus long after her death.

Peacock described in her will her intent to establish an endowment that will give the Libraries significant support to maintain, promote and enhance the collection of her poetry, other writings and personal memorabilia.

“I don’t have children, so that’s why I think about my will differently,” she said.

When she considered how she wanted to leave her legacy and how she could make the most impact, Binghamton came to the forefront of her mind.

“I value librarians and people who are the guardians of information and truth,” she said. “Libraries still have material things like books in them. Poetry readers tend not to read poetry on an e-book. They tend to read poetry in an actual book. There’s something about the object of it, and libraries are citadels of those objects.”

Bartle Library and the books in it gave her refuge, Peacock said. And it’s where as a student she discovered a small poetry room that no longer exists but remains a vivid memory: “It had an old couch that was not an orange plastic chair, and it had just a little bit of a semblance of a place that was individual and imaginative and not cookie cutter. I’m hoping that my legacy goes in the direction of something that’s individual and imaginative and not cookie cutter for Binghamton.”

Currently, the Molly Peacock Collection spans the years 1955-2017. Items document all stages of Peacock’s life, including her childhood. There are multiple drafts of particular works before they were published in their final form, along with heartfelt notes from those who read the work and corresponded with her.

“Having the papers of a nationally known poet is of great value to the University as researchers now and in the future will be able to explore how she thought about and approached her work,” said Blythe Roveland-Brenton, head of special collections at Binghamton. “We also have the luxury of access to this living donor who is willing to interact with those interested in the collection and help us understand her papers more fully. …

“For Binghamton students today, it is exciting that they are able to carry out research using an alumna’s papers and perhaps identify more with Peacock and her work because of it.”

The Molly Peacock Collection

In 71 boxes and 10 map case drawers in the Special Collections of Bartle Library are the works and related materials of writer Molly Peacock ’69. See what’s available in the Molly Peacock Collection at Binghamton.

People think wills are about dying. I think of wills as leaving a creative legacy. What are you going to create?

— Molly Peacock ’69

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