Last Tuesday, July 22, 2014, Rob Zoschke and David Pichaske met in Ellison bay with two librarians from the University of Wisconsin Library—Susan Barribeau and Robin Rider—to inventory Norbert Blei’s papers in storage there.
As a result of that meeting, twenty-six boxes of manuscripts, letters, files, books and other published Blei stories are now tucked safely in the special collections section of the library in Madison, there to become the Norbert Blei Collection. Norb Blei is now a part of the University of Wisconsin! The 26 boxes of material—most of which had been inventoried by Pichaske last summer—will be assessed, re-inventoried, and refoldered. The process will take some time, but eventually the archives will be open to the general public and the library will provide a “finding tool” for what it considers “a very special acquisition.” Some materials may be available on-line.
Meanwhile, Pichaske is hard at work inventorying the electronic files stored on Blei’s computer, which will also become part of the Madison collection. While some items seem incomplete or gone missing, Pichaske has found digital files containing substantial portions of some book-length projects on which Blei had been working back in the 1990s and early twenty-first century.