Chestertown, MD, October 3, 2002 — Washington College's Clifton M. Miller Library is pleased to announce that it has received an extraordinary collection of books on Medieval and Renaissance literature and culture courtesy of Dr. Werner Gundersheimer, former director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. The gift represents a significant addition to the Miller Library's collection.
The 985 volumes, from Dr. Gundersheimer's private research library, are now being sorted and cataloged to be added to the library's stacks, said William Tubbs, College Librarian. He credits former Washington College dean Dr. Barbara Mowat, Director of Academic Programs at the Folger Library, and Professor Colin Dickson with helping to secure this collection for the College.
“We are very honored to be the recipient of this gift, and it will greatly add to our resources,” Tubbs said. “Our faculty and students studying history, philosophy, art, sociology and political science will benefit from the depth and breadth of this collection of books.”
As a noted scholar of early modern French and Italian history, Dr. Gundersheimer hopes to pass on his appreciation of Medieval and Renaissance culture to generations of students in the liberal arts and sciences.
“I went to a liberal arts college, and so did my wife and two sons. I chose Washington College to receive this collection because it is one of the historic representatives of liberal education in our region, and because its collecting needs and my books seemed like a good match,” said Dr. Gundersheimer, who directed the Capitol Hill-based Folger Library from 1984 to 2002. A graduate of Amherst College, Dr. Gundersheimer earned his M.A. and Ph.D degrees at Harvard University, and taught at several universities. Before joining the Folger, he was Chairman of the Department of History and Director of the Center for Italian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I believe in the value of a liberal education, as preparation for a life of personal and intellectual growth, and as the basis of an informed, independent-minded citizenry,” he said. “Early modern Europe, which is the central focus of my library, holds the beginnings of our modern society in almost every area. As an historian, I maintain that you cannot really know who you are without understanding where you came from; and for Americans, that means knowing something about medieval and early modern Europe.”