Library And Museum Is Set To Open In January

INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) – Fans of celebrated author and onetime Chicagoan Kurt Vonnegut have the chance to get a sneak peek at the partially completed library in Indianapolis.

The library in the historic Emelie Building, at 340 N. Senate Ave. in Indianapolis, will honor the writer regarded by many critics as a key influence in 20th-century American literature.

Board members of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library tell The Indianapolis Star they hope the event Friday night will help raise funds for the project.

The five-room facility will be part library, part museum and part reading room. A large mural depicting a timeline of Vonnegut’s life will be unveiled.

The museum will include a replica of his writing studio, an art gallery featuring Vonnegut’s distinctive line drawings and a gift shop, museum founder Julia Whitehead said.

It will include his signed editions of his the first printings of his books, his artwork and personal papers, and his World War II medals.

The library will also feature items that belong to his three children, including a photo of their father just after his release as a POW, a Nazi sword he brought home as a souvenir, his cigarette-stained Smith Corona typewriter and a portrait of him by artist Joseph Hirsch.

Vonnegut’s eldest daughter is also donating a box of rejection letters her father received during his long struggle before he enjoyed literary success.

Vonnegut died in 2007 at the age of 84.

In his lifetime, Vonnegut wrote at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays. He also lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people. Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, and the short story anthology Welcome to the Monkey House are among his best-known works.

The Indianapolis native died at his home in New York City and had spent most of his adult life in Barnstable, Mass. But after World War II, he spent some time in Chicago, as a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Chicago and a reporter for the fabled City News Bureau wire service.

The Vonnegut library is tentatively scheduled to open in January.

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