Correspondence and history - replying to Don Rosa

Mike Rhode mgrhode at
Wed Sep 24 20:41:55 CEST 2003

Kai, thank you for your thoughtful and measured
response.  I'll just respond to a few points to
clarify my original comments although I think we're
roughly in agreement. 

--- Kai Saarto <ksaarto at> wrote:
> As a historian I can appreciate some of Mike´s
> comments. Still, private 
> correspondence is *private*. Personally, I wouldn't
> want my personal 
> e-mails all over the internet. 

Yes, but when you're dead, presumably you won't care.
:^)  I'm not suggesting Don turn them over to someone
for research or publishing now.  Just consider it for
the future.

As much as I respect what Barks made with his life,
it's interesting to read in Don Ault's book how much
he had to struggle to get to that point.  His
reflections  to people, not in published interviews
but his private musings, would increase our
understanding of the man especially in the early years
before (as in Liberty Vallance) the legend became
bigger than he was.  Barks and all his heirs are dead
nopw(is that correct btw?), and can't be hurt by
anything now.

> Still, it would be great that *some* parts of the
> said correspondence 
> between Barks and Rosa could be seen *someday*.
> Those that are not 
> overly personal.

Right.  Plenty of correspondence is donated and sealed
for a set period of time.  It's pretty standard.  I'm
sure the UKy archives would be willing to advise Don
if he was interested in this idea.

> Following rant in not for you Mike (this is not the
> same thing), this 
> just reminded me of one of my pet peeves:
> Why do some people assume they have the right to
> know everything about 
> every celebrity in the planet? 

I'm also not a big fan of the cult of celebrity that
the mass media has brought to us, but I think since
Pepys diaries are usually kept w/ an eye towards
eventual use.  Overall, I think that someone like say
Robert Caro on LBJ can add to our understanding of a
complex person through the paper record.  The recent
Truman diary 'discovery' by the National Archives was
interesting - Truman apparently had a healthy dose of
the unsurprising for the time anti-Jewish racism, but
still supported the establishment of Israel -- a minor
historial point perhaps, but an interesting one.  

Sorry for wandering off topic, but I feel very
strongly that Barks is important enough that his
correspondence should be preserved, just as LBJ or
Churchill or Hemingway (partially in the Boston
Kennedy library and partially in Cuba) deserved.

I'm writing this unofficially, but anyone interested
in seeing the type of material that I am responsible
for (a small collection of its type) can go to


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