Rare Book Collection Donated to OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University has received a hefty donation, a large collection of rare books.

The collection of rare books contains more than 350 titles.  Many volumes are the only recorded copy in Oregon or the Pacific Northwest.

OSU alumnus Albert Parr and his wife Ruth donated the collection.  They had collected many of the titles for more than 30 years.

“They wanted their collection to go somewhere that it would have new life that it would have a new chapter so to speak,” said OSU History of Science Librarian Anne Bahde with the Special Collections & Archives Research Center.

The OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center will write that new story.  The collection will be used as a tool for students and researchers.

“Arrange for class sessions to be held in the department using the materials and by examining them, we can contextualize some of the ideas and concepts that they’re talking about in class,” Bahde said.

“We’re looking at, in terms of the Parrs, is the opportunity for them to work with students, talk to students about the importance of the collection, their collecting decision,” said OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center Director Larry Landis.

The entire Parr collection has an appraised value of more than $320,000, but to librarians it’s worth much more.

“The value goes beyond the monetary value, it’s really the research value, the inherent value, the artifactual value that is present in collections of rare material,” Bahde said.

The books span seven centuries and cover diverse subjects ranging from the history of printing, to religion and literature.

“There is a 1571 edition of Strabo’s geography with woodcuts by Sebastian Munster, which is really exciting,” Bahde said.

These books will join OSU’s principal rare book collection, the McDonald collection.

Librarians call it the gift that keeps on giving.  OSU is planning a reception to celebrate the gift during fall term.

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