Star Trek Collection Given to Browne Library December, 1997
Bowling Green, Ohioâ€“The Star Ship Enterprise has landed at Bowling Green State University. A toy replica of the space ship is among items in a substantial collection of Star Trek memorabilia which has been given to the Universityâ€™s Browne Library by an Illinois woman.
â€œWe have received Star Trek material in the past, but we have never had a donation like this in terms of quality, scope, or depth,â€ says Dr. Alison Scott, head of the Browne Library.
â€œAll together in a body, these items represent a cultural phenomenon worthy of study,â€ the Bowling Green librarian said.
The collection was donated to the University by Marie Wakefield of Champaign, Illinois. It not only includes videotapes from the original Star Trek television series, but also books, models, sound recordings, games, posters, figures, costume jewelry, comic books, and even a McDonaldâ€™s Happy Meal box. Many items are still in their original packaging.
â€œItâ€™s really a summary of the range of items from an invented universe,â€ says Scott. â€œThis is a collection of objects that represents the world of imagination, and it nicely complements the Universityâ€™s larger science fiction collection,â€ she added.
Those holdings include the Ray Bradbury Collection, which contains all first and limited editions of Bradburyâ€™s books in English, some 200 foreign language editions, records, cassettes, pamphlets, and magazine articles.
Since NBC-TV premiered Star Trek on September 8, 1966, the show has had a tremendous fan following. More popular in re-runs than during its initial network broadcast, the original version produced by Paramount led to spin-off TV shows and movies, merchandise of all sorts and conventions for fans whoâ€™ve come to be known as Trekkies.
One search reveals some 1,600 sites related to Star Trek on the World Wide Web, and dialogue from the show invaded everyday conversation long ago. Who among us canâ€™t identify the origins of â€œBeam me up, Scottyâ€ or â€œboldly go where no man has gone beforeâ€?
BGSUâ€™s Scott says that the appeal of Star Trek can be attributed at least in part to the showâ€™s positive outlook.
â€œStar Trek is wholesome. Itâ€™s optimistic. It looks to the best in our understanding of ourselves in the universe. We human beings survive and, unlike other (shows), it looks to expand good relations among all sorts of people,â€ Scott added.
She praised Wakefield for gathering such a comprehensive array of artifacts that can now be used for study. â€œWeâ€™re very, very happy to have the collection here at the Browne Library; she knew how to collect the right things.â€
Wakefield, who is a librarian for the U.S. Army, admits to having been a Star Trek fan since she was a teenager. â€œI was hooked the first time I saw it and later, I started collecting books. When Paramount realized it was a goldmine, they started merchandising the show, and the next thing you know, Iâ€™m spending my life savings practically,â€ she joked.
Because of her career, Wakefield often moves. â€œWhen you move, you realize you need to get rid of things,â€ she said, explaining that she no longer wanted to keep the collection but didnâ€™t want to sell it in bits and pieces.
Wakefield offered the Collection to BGSU at the suggestion of Michigan State University librarians, who were familiar with Bowling Greenâ€™s Browne Library, as well as the reputation of its academic programs in popular culture and American culture studies.
The Wakefield Star Trek Memorabilia Collection has been cataloged and is available for us, so students and other scholars can now take a closer look at Star Trek by examining the collection as a piece in Americaâ€™s cultural quilt.
For further information about the Marie Wakefield Star Trek Memorabilia Collection and the Browne Library, please contact the Head Librarian, Browne Library, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.