What Ho!

The Wodehouse Society is pleased to announce The P. G. Wodehouse Collection at Vanderbilt University, a collaboration between The Wodehouse Society and Vanderbilt University Library Special Collections and University Archive in Nashville, Tennessee.

The purpose of this project is two-fold: to preserve a comprehensive collection showcasing the history, diversity and depth of Wodehouse works, and to provide a place for scholars and lovers of Wodehouse to research the evolution and development of his craft spanning many genres and decades.

The URL for the Collection website and database is: http://www.wodehouse.org/PGWCVU The database provides categorized listings of items that have been donated to the Collection and specific items or types of desired items that have not been donated thus far.

You are invited to peruse the various Sections of the database and consider if you would like to donate one or more items from your personal Wodehouse collection.

How the Database is Organized

The database is arranged according to the Sections into which McIlvaine numbers were organized in P. G. Wodehouse A Comprehensive Bibliography and Checklist by Eileen McIlvaine, Louise S. Sherby and James H. Heineman and the later 2001 Addendum to the Bibliography.

The database uses the McIlvaine system of numbers, the internationally accepted standard for identifying specific volumes, editions/issues of works by, or related to Wodehouse.

Three new Sections (T, U and V) have been added to accommodate some categories of items that were not included in the McIlvaine Bibliography or Addendum, but that are desired for the Collection.

There is no intent to imply that the new Sections T, U and V are official Sections of the McIlvaine Bibliography or Addendum. They are used solely for the purpose of organizing the additional types of items in the Collection.

Section W is a separate section devoted to records and items related to The Wodehouse Society. These holdings do not fall under the McIlvaine system of organization.

Each Section can be reached by clicking on the gold Navigation Bar to the left, then clicking on the navigation tab for that Section.

Each Section includes an explanatory preface, followed by the Section’s database. (There is an additional preface and database under Section A.)

The references and resources used to compile the Collection database continue to evolve. The database itself is a “work in progress.” Items may have been missed. It is expected there will be clarifications or corrections, that new items will be discovered or published, and additional items will be donated to the Collection over time. Your input will be very helpful in in these aspects.

Types of Section Databases

Type A Section databases provide a comprehensive listing of items desired for the Collection. They are listed in order of the original McIlvaine numbers, followed by items that were added in the 2001 Addendum, and following that, items discovered or published Post-Addendum.

Type B Section databases are used for Sections with items too numerous to list, or so unique that standard spreadsheet column headings would not be useful. These Sections don’t list all items desired for that Section, only those that have been donated thus far. Individual items are only added to the database listing when they are donated.

Determining if an Item Has Been Donated to the Collection

You are presently on the Collection’s homepage at http://www.wodehouse.org/PGWCVU

If you know which Section the item should fall under, click on the gold Navigation Bar to the left, then the desired Section tab to bring up the preface and database for that Section. If you are unsure of the item’s Section, please send an email to the Project Leader at the email given below.

In Type A databases, with comprehensive listings of items desired for donation, entries in the Condition column indicate which items have been donated. In the case of books, some show only the book has been donated, others show the book with dust wrapper has been donated.

In Type B databases, in which items are only added to the database listing when they are donated, the presence of that item on the database indicates it has been donated to the Collection. If you would like to donate an item appropriate to, but not listed on a Type B database, please email the Project Leader with a description of the item to learn if it is desired for the Collection.

Upgrades and Items of Interest Desired for the Collection:

Understanding McIlvaine Numbers

Not everyone has a McIlvaine Bibliography available for consultation. It is useful to have a basic understanding of what is represented in a McIlvaine number.

Using the McIlvaine number “A44a” as an example,

Sometimes a title was first published in the U.K., other times in the U.S. Whichever country was first is designated with an “a”. Whichever country was second is designated with a “b”.

It is understood that a McIlvaine number such as “A44a” indicates a first edition of that title. Later editions are indicated by the addition of 2, 3, 4, etc. In some Addendum sections, the numeral “1” has been added to indicate a first edition/issue.

Guidelines for Editions, Dust Wrappers and Condition Levels

It is desired that items donated to the Collection are first editions/issues. Ex-library items have not been approved for donation to the Collection except on a case-by-case basis of very rare items, awaiting possible donation of an upgrade copy.

Some rare titles will be difficult to acquire in a first edition/issue. In those instances, the Collection will accept a “closest to first edition possible” copy, awaiting a possible upgrade to a first edition/issue copy. The database indicates the titles to which this applies.

Dust wrappers are treated in a similar fashion. Acquiring first editions/issues of early titles with dust wrappers will be difficult.

The Condition Guidelines table seen below, organized on a sliding scale, has been developed to indicate the date ranges of books that will be accepted without dust wrappers and those that require a dust wrapper for acceptance to the Collection.

The required Condition Level for each date range is described in detail in the second table below.

The Guideline tables for these aspects reflect a realistic approach to collecting items spanning more than a century. Top condition and dust wrapper will not be required for earlier books, with the hope that better copies may eventually be donated. In general, the more recent a publication is, the higher the requirements for condition level and dust wrapper will be.


1902-1909BookFair or aboveDust WrapperDesired, but not required
1910-1934BookGood or aboveDust WrapperDesired, but not required
1935-1944BookGood or aboveDust WrapperFair or above
1945-1959BookVery Good or aboveDust WrapperGood or above
1960-presentBookVery Good or aboveDust WrapperVery Good or above

Condition Guidelines for non-book items are the same as books, except in the case of very rare items, which will be decided on a case-by-case basis.


NNewItem is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition
FFineLike new, no defects, but not as crisp as new, shows very little usage
VGVery GoodVery light wear, minor flaws in older books, no large tears/defects
GGoodPossible slightly loose binding, cocked spine, chipped or torn dust wrapper
FaFairWell worn, but everything present

Additional gradients of + or – may be added when describing an item’s condition.

The Donation Process

If you wish to donate an item to the Collection, the first step is contacting the Project Leader with a description of the item to identify the precise edition and condition of the item.

The item will either be approved for acceptance, or you will be notified of the reason(s) it does not meet the Guidelines, or requested to supply additional information.

If the item is approved, you will be instructed how to complete the Donation Form and will be given the address to mail or UPS your item to Vanderbilt University. Multiple items may be sent in the same package, but each must have a separate Donation Form. Insurance is suggested for high value items/packages.

All donations of books/items are tax-deductible. The University will send you a receipt for having donated your item(s), but will not place a value on the item(s) for tax deduction purposes.

If you donate an item and a subsequent upgrade copy is offered to the Collection, your copy can be returned to you if you have indicated that preference on the Donation Form.

Thank you for visiting the TWS webpage and database devoted to The P. G. Wodehouse Collection at Vanderbilt University.

We hope you will browse the various Sections of the database, consider donating one or more items from your personal Wodehouse collection, and will come back often to see the progress being made.

Together, the members of The Wodehouse Society can build an enduring legacy of preserving and spreading the sweetness and light of Plum’s long and illustrious career.

Please feel free to email the Collection’s TWS Project Leader at anitaavery@verizon.net with any comments or questions you may have.