Jerry Tarver talks with Ragan.com about his other professional passion: quietly collecting 19th-century books and memorabilia on rhetoric and elocution
Jerry Tarver has taught speechwriting to thousands of students, professional speechwriters and corporate executives in his 35-year career as university professor, Ragan seminar leader and conference speaker. He has written books and manuals on speaking and speechwriting, works considered to set the standards for these fields by those who know. Tarver believes that America must restore rhetoric to the curriculum of both lower and higher schools as a liberal art to be practiced and as a subject to be studied.—ed.
In the summer of 2007, Jerry Tarver, a retired professor of speech communication at the University of Richmond, donated his collection of printed material on American l9th-century rhetoric, oratory and elocution to the libraries of The Ohio State University.
Tarver, a courtly, soft-spoken, passionate bibliophile, began collecting speech items in the l950s as an undergraduate at Louisiana State University. He acquired more than 3,000 books, pamphlets, class notes, travel journals, programs, cards, handbills and other speech memorabilia over the course of more than 50 years. (See accompanying box below for a sample from this collection.)