Monday, December 25, 2006

Treva Kelly

I have been informed that Treva Kelly died in November.

Of Treva Kelly, Jacques Barzun wrote in From Dawn to Decadence:

For turning the entire book into type several times and finally on to disk, I am indebted to the skill, accuracy, and intelligence of Treva Kelly.

In an interview, Mr. Barzun told the Austin Chronicle:

AC: Tell me about writing From Dawn to Decadence.

JB: I began thinking about this monster around about 1935. And I started it after retiring from Scribners. As usual I made a lot of plans, about scope, organization, features, what to put in, what to leave out, but not with the idea that once I had decided on a plan, I would follow it to the last detail. I left myself flexibility. I spent about three years on that, including the ordering of the notes and books which I’d been accumulating from 1929. I still have all of those notes from graduate school. Then after two years of mulling, I began to write. In the middle of that, my physical well-being called for a move. My wife is from San Antonio, we’d been coming here for spring break. She has a daughter here and two sons.

Anyway, that was quite an upheaval. First I had to sort out and give away things I had accumulated in 35 years, including 2,700 books that I gave to Columbia University. I kept about 2,500. But they got badly mixed up, they were put in boxes and all that sort of thing. So it took me several months here to recover momentum. And besides that, moving affected me physically, so for a time I was not in a bad way, but a very disturbing way. I had four physicians trying to put me back on track. During that period, I didn’t know whether I would live to finish the work. So I took a little time off to write a sort of summary in 40 or 50 pages, which happily proved to be unnecessary. I finished, and had the good fortune to get it accepted at once, with a very large advance, from my old editor at Harpers, to whom I'd been talking about my book for 15 years. My troubles weren’t over, because I was required to turn in a disc. As you’ve seen the book, well, it has certain features that are unusual. The software used to translate the disc into typeset upset instead of setting. It was heartbreaking. There were paragraphs missing, lines transposed — utter chaos. So, with the help of a wonderful copy editor, Treva Kelley, who was the first really good one, I managed to reconstruct what I had written.

— Roger Gathman, The Man Who Knew Too Much: Jacques Barzun, Idea Man, The Austin Chronicle, October 13, 2000

In a letter to me (June 27, 2001), Mr. Barzun referred to:
. . . my invaluable aid-to-production, Treva Kelly, now retired in N.J. from years of top-notch service to C.U.