The Mary and Mavis P. Kelsey Americana Collections

Mavis P. Kelsey, the physician who founded the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston in 1949, is also a longtime collector of rare and illustrated books.  The Kelseys’ support of the libraries at Texas A&M began many, many years ago, long before anyone imagined the renovation of Cushing Library as the home of special collections.  Were it not for the books and other materials that the Kelseys placed here, the need for a more appropriate home for the University’s special collections would have been far less pressing when the subject came to be considered in the mid-1990s, and therefore the renovation itself much harder to justify.  The items in the collection illustrate their wide range of interests and the many potential topics for research and study in the material they so assiduously gathered – from English literature to Mexican art to natural history and ornithology to western Americana to illustration and prints to Texas history – to name only a few.

Sample highlights of the collection:

Mark Catesby.  The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.  2 volumes.  London, 1731-43.

Prideaux John Selby.  Illustrations of British Ornithology.  2 volumes.  London: Bohn, 1841.

John J. Audubon and John Bachman.  The Quadrupeds of North America (octavo edition).  3 volumes.  New York: Audubon, 1849-54.

Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall.  History of the Indian Tribes of North America.  3 volumes.  Philadelphia: E. C. Biddle, 1836-44.

[image collections: Selby bird; Audubon quadruped; McKenney/Hall portrait]
[Link to online exhibit page / pdf of catalog]