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Also In This Issue:

New Directions for Weissman Center - Q&A with Lois Brown

Meet FP Scholar Nancy Doherty "05

Levin Discusses Women and Science at MHC

MHC Students Visit Senegal

MHC Receives Rare Book Collection from Alumna

Brad Leithauser Inducted into Iceland's Order of the Falcon

Dept of Public Safety Becomes First in State to Win Accreditation

Students Become Sailors in the Caribbean During January Term

Math Achievement-Gap Expert Busts Myths About Public Education and Standardized Tests

MHC Newsmakers

MHC Milestones


This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives
March 11, 2005

Mount Holyoke Receives Rare Book Collection from Alumna

By Irina Liberman ’06

Katharine Ray ’70 has recently given a collection of rare books to the College. The collection consists of 31 books and pamphlets and presents a broad overview of mankind’s intellectual progress from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. It includes science, literature, poetry, theater, politics, history, and education, with such jewels as Boccaccio’s Il Decameron (1665) and Galileo’s Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche (1638).

"This unique collection of rare books,” said Jennifer King, head of archives and special collections, “can enrich the academic experience by providing primary sources, early translations, and different editions for comparison. The collection joins other cultural treasures that belong to Mount Holyoke and its students and faculty. The collection also has items unique to the Five Colleges, strengthening the resources held by all five libraries."

Ray inherited the collection from her great-uncle Morse S. Allen, a former professor of English at Trinity College. Along with the gift, Ray created digital images of the books as well as impressive research into their relative rarity. King speculated that Ray’s research, not unlike that done by librarians and appraisers, might be typical of a Mount Holyoke alumna’s work.

The new addition to the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections is inspiring to faculty. “This gift is indeed impressive,” said Claudia Chierichini, an assistant professor of Italian. “The two editions of Boccaccio's Decameron could be incorporated into a course on the Decameron; Ariosto’s Satires could become a nice little diversion within a course on Renaissance epics—and both courses, on the Decameron and on Renaissance epics, are something that I have in mind for the Italian curriculum here at Mount Holyoke. Early editions of works by Savonarola, More, and Galileo would be ideal and precious components of a new course on the many facets of Renaissance culture, including religion, social and political utopia, and science."

"I am happy that we can already see the potential use of this wonderful collection to enrich the curriculum,” King said. “Special collections is proud to curate this, and other collections, and seeks to ensure that the faculty and students are aware of the priceless resources available to them.”


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