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Mr. Tom Hooper, a Maryville resident and realtor, was an avid collector of Civil War memorabilia and writings. Of particular interest in the Hooper bequest to Owens Library are the "Official Records of the Union Army" and the "Official Records of the Confederate Army," exhaustive records of personnel and supplies for both the North and the South. One of the most unusual pieces of the Hooper bequest is a rare reproduction printed in a limited edition of a Civil War soldier's handwritten diary. The Hooper bequest totals nearly 400 volumes as well as artifacts and memorabilia. This bequest is actively supported through Owens' current collection development efforts, which include additions of new scholarly works, videos, and memorabilia.
Owens Library houses a complete first-edition set of the works of the eminent author, Willa Cather. The set was acquired by matching a substantial gift from a patron with Northwest Foundation funds. The impetus for purchase of the set was a gift from Mrs. Charles (Lela) Bell, an avid reader and supporter of higher education and the arts, whose love for Cather's writings was inspired by a Northwest faculty member. Mrs. Bell's gift was matched by funds from the Morehouse and Saville bequests. The first volume of the set carries Cather's signature. To support this rare holding, Owens has developed a solid collection of scholarly material about Cather ranging from biographies and annotated bibliographies through memorabilia to current criticism of her works. The most recent acquisition to the Cather collection is a rare "advanced copy"--a bound galley proof--sent to Cather for final editing before the work was published.
Owens Library contains the entire personal library of the eminent scholar of higher education, Dr. Lewis B. Mayhew, many items in the order in which the collection appeared in his home. The collection includes Dr. Mayhew's substantial contributions to scholarship and research in higher education, dissertations of graduate students who benefited from his mentoring, and books and journals that he read and reviewed for a large number of professional associates. The collection came to Northwest's Owens Library through the efforts of former president Dean L. Hubbard, a co-author and former pupil of Dr. Mayhew's, and Dr. Mayhew's son, Lewis B. Mayhew, Junior. Unique volumes in the Mayhew Collection are housed separately in the Mayhew Room. The standard works have been incorporated into Owens' main collection.
In 1995, Owens Library received a valuable collection of works relating to geology from Professor Charles I. Frye, who retired from Northwest in the academic year 1995-96, after several years of service to the Department of Geology/Geography. Dr. Frye's interest in early and rare geology textbooks lead to, over time, a substantial collection of special works. Most notable of these works is the rare 1834 edition of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which delights modern-day scholars with its hand-inked face plates and maps.
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