You may recall from our first series blog post that the Special Collections Research Center holds the second largest collection of books on dogs in the United States.
In reviewing boxes labeled as “unprocessed ephemera,” a colleague and I came across something really cool. It is a tiny image of Abraham Lincoln framed in copper.
If you’ve ever visited the Special Collections Research Center, you may have learned that we hold the second largest collection of books about dogs in the United States, second only to the American Kennel Club. I love dogs and thought it would be fun to write a series of blog posts highlighting the dog book collection. This brief introduction to the collection will be the first.
In December 2016, David B. Wolf, a New York attorney and collector interested in John Marshall and his biography of George Washington, donated three letters that join an existing collection of John Marshall Papers (Mss. 39.1 M34). Two of the letters were written and signed by John Marshall and the third is from George Washington’s nephew, Bushrod Washington, to Tobias Lear at Mount Vernon. The letters document John Marshall’s writing of the biography of George Washington, of which the Special Collections has a first edition copy. Recent scholarship suggests that writing the biography was an honor for which Tobias Lear, in particular, passionately vied and one that ultimately eluded him (see Ray Brighton, The Checkered Career of Tobias Lear).
Institutional knowledge is an awesome thing and something that is often taken for granted and/or overlooked. I recently learned a cool story surrounding one of the rare books housed in Special Collections, thanks to former Dean of W&M Libraries, Nancy Marshall.