Dayton-area collector brings rare books to UD

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By: Anna Hays – Staff Writer

An exhibit of books on display in the first floor gallery of Roesch Library—seems like a fairly typical occurrence, right? Maybe so. However, the newly opened Rose Rare Book Collection offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the University of Dayton community to experience the milestones that have impacted the development of humanity.

From Hippocrates’s very first edition of the “Hippocratic Oath,” the original copy of Anne Frank’s “A Diary of a Young Girl,” and even to J.R.R. Tolkein’s original manuscripts of “The Lord of the Rings” (with his very own revisions), there is a document with an appeal to any and every student on campus.

The Rose Rare Book Collection is a result of the extreme generosity of one of the most prominent private collectors in the world, Stuart Rose. The Dayton-area collector has offered about 50 books from his library of more than 2,000 significant historical pieces for the enjoyment and study of UD students, faculty, staff and the Dayton community at large. Rose identifies with the purpose of the exhibit as it offers a platform for discussion among
faculty and students in regard to the relevance of these documents to learning and research today.

So, why exactly should UD students be interested in pieces that the Rose Rare Book Collection has to offer? English professor Patrick Thomas, Ph.D., provides an insight to this question:

“This really is the only time in someone’s life that they will have the opportunity to access these rare and ancient texts,” he said.

The students enrolled at UD are in the prime of their academic life; the context and significance of this exhibit could not be timelier for those in the midst of studying the very topics that these rare books explicitly document.

Thomas has been working for months with his new media class on the online exhibit companion to the Rare Book Collection. This online exhibit offers a new medium for the collection to be experienced.

Graduate student Brittany Cook was also significantly involved in the development of the online exhibit this summer, and speaks on the specific texts chosen for the exhibit.

“A lot of the texts were picked because they were relevant to what UD students are studying,” she said. The relevance of the documents selected for this exhibit scopes over an exhaustive range of academic disciplines; each document represents an innovative period of history for and it is this universal appeal to all areas of study that sets this exhibit apart.

Both Thomas and Cook particularly enjoy Salvador Dalí’s original painting portfolio for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Cook said, “I really love the Dalí [artwork] because it was created for both children and adults. It is something younger [in the collection] that has been brought attention to by a famous artist.”

Among the multitude of notable works that will be on display from Sept. 29 – Nov. 9 are Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” the 2,100-year-old Egyptian “Book of the Dead,” Malcom X’s autobiography, Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and Johannes Kepler’s “New Astronomy” accompanied by many, many more.

The Rose Rare Book Collection is a masterpiece that will make its home in Roesch Library for the next two months. It is an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to obtain a new perspective of study and come together over common interests that will result in a learning experience for everyone.