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John Updike Collections

The John Updike Collections of the Alvernia University Archives and Special Collections

Randen Collection

Collection Number:                       MS 3

Collection Title:                              Larry C. Randen Collection

Creator:                                           Larry C. Randen (with James O. Yerkes and David Lull)

Collection Dates:                          1963-2014

Extent:                                             12.6 linear feet

Former Accession Number:      2011/5

Background Note:

The Larry C. Randen Collection had its origins in The Centaurian Website founded in 1996 by Dr. James Yerkes, retired professor of religion and philosophy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For the next 14 years, as editor and webmaster for The Centaurian, he amassed a collection of works by and about John Updike until the site was abruptly shut down without notice by the Website’s host.

Dr. Yerkes earned a BA and MA at Wheaton College and an MA and PHD from the University of Chicago. He has held faculty and administrative positions at Moravian College and Mercer University and taught at Earlham College, the University of Chicago, and Wheaton College. He is the author of two books, including John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and the Motions of Grace, as well as numerous journal articles and book reviews.

David Lull served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 and attended library school from 1975 to 1976. Since then he has worked as an academic and a public librarian in Wisconsin. He was credited as Senior Bibliographic Associate at The Centaurian and kept the Website current with the most recent publications, reviews and articles by and about John Updike as they appeared on the Internet.

Larry C. Randen, the donor of this collection, was born in Minnesota and received a B.S. degree from Mankato State University in 1963. In 1967, he was ordained in the United Church of Christ.

Randen was credited as Senior Literary Assistant at The Centaurian and contributed content with special emphasis on essays and reviews as well as responding to questions submitted by readers. For over ten years, he collected and saved material as it was found. Early on, he began creating subject headings for what he saved so that organization and access could later be facilitated by computer. Much of the information from The Centaurian Website has been saved in this collection.

After the abrupt end of The Centaurian Website and John Updike’s death in 2009, Randen and Lull continued to collect materials on Updike until the publication of Adam Begley’s biography, Updike, in 2014. By September of that year, it became clear that the John Updike Society blog which continued to collect and publish articles for its members had replaced The Centaurian. Randen and Lull have ceased their collecting but continue to send their findings of Internet links to the Society’s blog.

Types of Records Included

The collection consists primarily of approximately 5000 items by and about John Updike that have appeared on the Internet, including articles, essays, reviews, photographs, memorials and more. They exist in both paper and electronic versions, the latter on compact disks.

Arrangement of Records

The series are numbered in the order in which they were donated. Each series contains one of five individual segments of Randen’s collection which he donated between 2011 and 2014. Therein, every series includes a CD that contains an electronic copy of each of the items in that series. The filename for each record was constructed by Randen to be a unique subject heading so that the CD is in effect a subject listing of that series’ contents. The paper copies of each item are filed alphabetically by filename/subject heading in a series of expansion folders.

This collection was obtained through the generous support and efforts of

the John Updike Society.

Randen Collection Finding Aid