In December, Simpson Library added a new book to the rare book collection: The Adventure of Cobbler’s Rune by Ursula K. Le Guin. Cobbler’s Rune was published in 1982 through Cheap Street Press, an independent press located in New Castle, Virginia, just outside of Roanoke. The press, specializing in science fiction and fantasy, was owned and operated by George and Jan O’Nale from 1980 to 2001.1 The Ursula K. Le Guin Literary Trust and the book itself note that only 277 volumes were produced, and Simpson Library holds number 71. The text is signed by Le Guin and the illustrator, Alicia Austin.
Cobbler’s Rune joins a growing collection of special Le Guin publications in the rare book room, which includes signed first editions of the Left Hand of Darkness and Tales from Earthsea. The majority of this original collection was donated by Dr. Warren Rochelle upon his retirement from the English department at the University of Mary Washington. The purchase of Cobbler’s Rune was made possible by donations to Simpson Library, and staff look forward to sharing this book with the UMW community as part of Ursula K. Le Guin’s extensive works, and as an interesting example of Virginia independent press publications.
Jamie Van Doren ’23 contributed research and writing to this post, as well as digitized the cover and pages from The Adventure of Cobbler’s Rune.
- Winne Wagaman, “Till Death Do Us Part,” The Roanoker, December 1, 2010, accessed February 3, 2023, https://theroanoker.com/interests/history/till-death-do-us-part/