Saint Anselm College in Manchester welcomed more than 2,700 books to its political library on Friday. The collection, which focuses on the presidency, first ladies and the founding fathers, includes many first editions and rare texts.
“I grew up in a house full of books, and have spent my professional life concerned with their care, preservation and dissemination,” says Dr. Arthur Young, who is donating the collection he amassed during the previous 25 years. He and his wife Patricia were both librarians.
To display its newly acquired collection, St. A’s converted a former reading room at its Institute of Politics into an expanded political library. Custom-made mahogany shelves now line the walls, stocked full of biographies and memoirs on every president from Washington to Obama.
The collection includes texts that date back nearly a century.
“You learn how the presidency and its view is changed over time,” says Young. “Some presidents get elevated a bit, some get de-elevated.”
The political library is open to students, scholars, and researchers. Patricia Young says the only reason the couple chose to part with the books is logistical: they recently moved into a smaller home in Manchester and could only keep so many.
Before an official ribbon cutting, Arthur Young told the assembled crowd that “important ideas and skillful writing are the enduring treasures of our culture.”