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Exhibit at Andalusia: these machines put genius on paper

Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon and Tennessee Williams created worlds, and they all used typewriters to do it.

Attention young people: a typewriter is an archaic device. You beat it with your hands and it produces manuscripts.

You might call it a word processor and a printer wrapped into a machine-age marvel. Impervious to hurricanes, the typewriter continues to function, even without power.

The typewriter has fallen out of fashion over the last 40 years, but some of the greatest prose and poetry in the history of the English language jumped into existence through the agency of these machines.

This month curious bibliophiles can look at the very keys that were pounded by the writers of  “The Sun Also Rises,” “Imagine” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” during a unique exhibit at Andalusia, the Milledgeville home of Flannery O’Connor.

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A typewriter similar to the one used by Flannery O'Connor will be on display at Andalusia, along with bona fide machines that were used by Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and others. CONTRIBUTED: ANDALUSIA

Andalusia, a working dairy farm when O’Connor lived and wrote there, is now a house museum dedicated to preserving and explaining the art and life of one of the greatest writers to come out of Georgia.

 Andalusia is also an events facility, offering musical and literary happenings. During the month of October it is hosting the Soboroff Typewriter collection.

Steve Soboroff is a Los Angeles real estate businessman who began buying typewriters in 2005 while at a Sotheby’s auction, and has amassed a small but meaningful collection.

All were property of celebrated (or notorious) authors, from Greta Garbo to Ted “the Unabomber” Kaczynski.

On display at Andalusia will be  typewriters that were owned and used by Hemingway, Lennon, Williams, Truman Capote, Maya Angelou, George Bernard Shaw, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury and Tom Hanks.

But one author’s machine is missing from the collection. Soboroff doesn’t have a Flannery O’Connor typewriter. Neither does Andalusia.

O’Connor’s alma mater, Georgia College and State University maintains an exhibit of O’Connor memorabilia, but also does not own an O’Connor typewriter, according to Matt Davis, director of historic museums at the college.

One exists but is in private hands. 

Nonetheless, a typewriter similar in make, model and vintage to the one O’Conner used will be at Andalusia.

The exhibit was organized by the Southern Literary Trail and the Greensboro (N.C.) History Museum.

Due to problems caused by Hurricane Michael, Andalusia won’t reopen until Tuesday, Oct. 16.

The Soboroff Collection is on exhibit through Oct. 31; Andalusia is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Saturdays; 2-4 p.m. Sundays;  $7; 60 and older: $6; ages 6-18: $2; 5 and younger: free; 2628 N Columbia St., Milledgeville; 478-445-8722; www.gcsu.edu/andalusia

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