University Libraries Celebrate Four Millionth Volume
"Libraries are magical places," Nicholas Basbanes told a crowd of 300 guests at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University. Basbanes, a journalist, award-winning author, and rare book specialist, spoke Thursday, March 26 at the 4 Millionth Volume Celebration for the Texas A&M University Libraries. The program also featured a dramatic reading by Lionel Garcia '56, award-winning writer of Mexican American fiction, poetry and drama.
Why Don Quixote? See the story behind the story.
The event commemorated the acquisition of the University Libraries' 4 millionth volume, the 1617 edition of Don Quixote de la Mancha, parts I and II, described by Basbanes as "an exceedingly rare edition of the world’s most consequential work of fiction." Sara and John Lindsey '44, who provided funding for this two-volume set, have contributed to all the millionth volumes acquired by the University Libraries. Ray Bowen, former president of Texas A&M, and Robert Walker, senior executive for development at Texas A&M, praised the Lindseys for their vision and generosity to Texas A&M and the University Libraries. The Century Singers performed a medley highlighted by “The Impossible Dream,” the theme song from the 1960s musical, “Man of La Mancha.”
A poll by the Nobel Institute determined Don Quixote to be the most influential work of fiction ever published, and Texas A&M is home to one of the largest Quixote collections in the world. This treasure of world literature is a fitting tribute to the emergence of the Texas A&M University Libraries as one of the leading academic libraries in North America. It also places Don Quixote among the ranks of the select titles that have been celebrated as millionth volumes at Texas A&M.
“The Lindseys have adopted the millionth volumes as their signature project," Dr. Colleen Cook, dean of the University Libraries, said. "We are deeply grateful for their support in building our rare book collections. This extraordinary gift by the Lindseys has made Texas A&M the only American university to own a complete copy of this extremely rare work.”
The exhibit featuring the 4 Millionth Volume and other selected rare items will be on display at Cushing Library until Sept. 2009. A catalog of the exhibit, entitled A Decade of Promise, is available from the Cushing Library. For more information, call 979-845-1951.