FEBRUARY 17, 2010

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OPSU's McKee Library Receives Grant to Preserve Rare Collection

Photo of OPSU librarians Evlyn Schmidt and Elaina Stewart.
Librarians Evlyn Schmidt, left and Elaina Stewart display two of the pieces from the R. L. Howsley Poetry and Shakespeare Collection.


The Marvin E. McKee Library at Oklahoma Panhandle State University was recently notified of a $6,000 grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of the R. L. Howsley Poetry and Shakespeare Collection project.

The grant was funded by the Division of Preservation and Access and the project period covers from Jan. 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. Written by Elaina Stewart, the grant provides support for expertise and materials to evaluate and preserve this valuable collection.

The Howsley Collection, located in the Archives and Special Collections room, includes the complete works of William Shakespeare and at one time was considered “one of the most complete library sections on poetry and Shakespeare in the country.” (The Oklahoman, April 3, 1960, p. 165) The donated group of material includes many rare and unusual books relating to poetry and research on Shakespeare. The publication dates of the Howsley Poetry and Shakespeare Collection range from 1673 to 1976 and the 1043 volumes in this collection are out of print and have various bindings and construction. Some of the more unusual titles with the publishing dates include The Works of Abraham Cowley, 1689; The Works of Sir William D’Avenant, Knight, 1673; and The Poetical Works of Augustine Duganne, 1855.

An archivist will examine the material to help determine how to continue conserving the material and how best to display and use the Collection in the future. It is an honor for Marvin E. McKee Library personnel to act as curators for the R. L. Howsley Collection and the staff hopes it may prove to be a valuable resource for scholars. Thanks to the NEH, the grant helps assure that the collected materials will be properly preserved for future generations.