On October 23, a new stage musical opened in the Shaftsbury Theatre in London’s West End. The musical, From Here to Eternity, was based on the bestselling and award-winning 1951 novel by Illinois author James Jones. The lyricist for the musical is Tim Rice, famous for blockbuster shows like The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita.
The production drew upon photographs from the Handy Colony Collection in the Archives/Special Collections department of Brookens Library, not only for use in publicity material, but to help create authentic costumes for the solders featured in the show.
The book of the musical was based on a new unexpurgated edition of James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, created by George Hendrick, a Professor Emeritus of English at UIUC. This new edition (published in 2011 as an e-book by Open Roads Media and as a trade paperback and e-book by Random House) also drew extensively on material contained in the UIS Archives.
The Handy Colony Collection was acquired by the University in 1984 and was processed by UIS Archivist Thomas J Wood and his staff in the following years. The large collection (filling 77 archives boxes of various sizes) was in considerably disarray when received and took over four years to arrange and process.
James Jones, the Handy Colony Collection and the musical From Here to Eternity are also featured in the latest issue (Fall 2013) of UIS Alumni Magazine.