One point of pride in the McCormick Library is the collection of books written by Groton School graduates. Authors who expanded their writing skills—and their ideas—on the Circle range from diplomats and historians to current best-selling novelists and the Pulitzer Prize–winner Oliver La Farge, who graduated from Groton in 1920 and won a Pulitzer for Laughing Boy
ten years later.
In all, the still-growing alumni book collection includes more than six hundred books by nearly three hundred authors. Some of the writers were remarkably prolific, such as Louis S. Auchincloss ’35, P’82, with fifty-nine books. Many fine writers have a single volume in the collection.
The earliest books in the alumni collection were published in 1919—Wade in, Sanitary! by Richard Derby 1899, War in the Garden of Eden by Kermit Roosevelt 1908, and Letters of an American Airman by Hamilton Coolidge 1915. More recently, two members of the Form of 2016 have published; and well-known contemporary novelists such as Ben Coes ’85 and Curtis Sittenfeld ’93, and cookbook author Merrill Stubbs Dorman ’95, keep the alumni book collection growing.
In the spring 2019 Groton School Quarterly, Michael Knox Beran ’84, P’20, ’23 (who has four books himself in the collection), wrote: “From the mysteries of Elliott Roosevelt ’29 to the thrillers of Ben Coes ’85, from the prep-school fiction of Louis Auchincloss ’35 to that of Curtis Sittenfeld ’93, from the insights into American foreign policy of Dean Acheson 1911 to those of Walter Russell Mead ’70, from the literary fiction of Pulitzer Prize–winner Oliver La Farge 1920 to that of Daniyal Mueenuddin ’81, from the recovery, by Andres Reyes ’80, of C. S. Lewis’s Lost Aeneid to the threnody for the WASP establishment of Joe Alsop ’28 in I’ve Seen the Best of It, the alumni collection abounds in books that are absorbing to read and bear witness to a high degree of literary sensibility.”