Book Collections

Bates Author Collection

This collection of more than 1600 titles includes books written by Bates faculty, staff and alumni, as well as recipients of an honorary degree from Bates. In addition, the collection includes a small number of CDs, DVDs, and LPs.  Collectively, these works help to document the intellectual output of the college.

The Berendt Collection of Judaica

The library of Rabbi David Berent was donated to Ladd Library in 1984. Rabbi Berent was the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Jacob in Lewiston from 1940-1974. The collection consists of 95 titles, including works on all aspects of Judaism and basic Hebrew texts such as the Mishnah, the Talmud, the commentaries of 11th century Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, and the 12th century Jewish sage, Moses Maimonides, and others.

The Dill Collection

This recent acquisition contains 20 titles related to the study of mycology and was donated by Bill Dill, ’50. It complements the Stanton Collection in its focus on natural history.

The Dominican Collection

This collection was purchased by the French Department at Bates College from the Dominican Monastery in Lewiston, Maine and given to the Library.  It complements both the Freewill Baptist Collection with its important early 19th century texts on missionary experience in India and Africa, and the Rice Collection with its predominantly French texts.  In addition, the religious orientation of the collection complements the predominantly religious orientation of the Rare Books Collection.  This purchase also has allowed Bates to play a key role in preserving an important library in the Lewiston community.

The Fine Press Collection

This collection of nearly 200 titles includes limited edition and letterpress books previously housed with the Rare Book Collection. The collection includes works by Whittington Press, Fleece Press, Barbarian Press, Bird & Bull Press, Incline Press, Alembic Press, and others.

The Freewill Baptist Collection

Considered to be one of the best collections of Freewill Baptist materials in the country, this collection of 399 titles contains books, pamphlets, sermons, hymnals, serials, and biographies by and about prominent Freewill Baptist ministers, as well as a wealth of information reflecting the growth and outlook of the Freewill Baptists. Included is a complete run of the Morning Star, 1826-1911, the single most important Freewill Baptist newspaper, as well as a number of other serials published by the denomination. The collection also contains extensive information relating to Freewill Baptist missionary work in India dating from the 1830s through the turn of the century.

The materials in this collection reflect the origins of Bates College, which was founded by Freewill Baptists in 1855 as the Maine State Seminary. Freewill Baptists, though not limited to Maine and New England, were a major religious and civic influence in Maine throughout the 19th century.  They contributed immensely to the growth of educational facilities in the state and region, to the anti-slavery movement in the region, and to the role of women in church affairs.  As such, the collection is significant not only to the history of the College but also to understanding the religious and civic life of 19th century Maine.

The Isaac L. Rice Collection

Isaac L. Rice (1850-1915) was a prominent lawyer who made his fortune specializing in the legal battles of the railroad business. Rice was born in Bavaria and educated at Columbia University.  He founded the School of Political Science at Columbia and was a lecturer and instructor in the Columbia Law School.  In 1886 he resigned his duties at the University and took charge as attorney of some of the most important railroad interests in the country.  He had no formal relationship with Bates, although he did receive an honorary degree and he thought highly of the institution. His wife, Julia Barnett Rice, was a prominent figure in New York Society, a reformer and philanthropist. She gave this collection of 535 titles to Bates College in 1916 shortly after her husband’s death. It is a broad collection of primarily 19th century works by prominent French and German authors. It includes political, diplomatic, constitutional and financial histories. Considerable material is devoted to the reign of Louis XIV, as well as the French Revolution. There is a complete set of the Publication of the Societe de l’histoire de France, and works by St. Simon, the Duc de Braglie, Talleyrand, and Prince de Metternich. In addition, there are complete works of Montaigne, Montesqieu, Lamartine, Daudet, Zola, and Maupassant.

The Maine Small Press Collection

In the mid-1980s, the library began to collect imprints printed by small presses and publishers in Maine. By the late 1990s, this collection had grown to over 3,000 titles. In an effort to better define the collection, many duplicative titles were weeded and the collection policy was re-written to focus on the work of fine press and limited edition books by a variety of Maine letterpress printers, publishers, and book artists. This new focus allows the collection to document the art and craft of the book in Maine – collecting limited editions that are printed letterpress, utilize hand-made paper and traditional bookbinding techniques.  Presses highlighted in this collection of 1220 titles include: Falmouth Press, the Printing Office at High Loft, Ascencius Press, Ives Street Press, Shagbark Press, Wolfe Editions, Landlocked Press, Theodore Press, Muse Press, Tatlin Books, and others.

The Marsden Hartley Collection

An important American modern artist, Marsden Hartley grew up in Lewiston, Maine. From 1934 until his death in 1943, he divided his time between New York and Corea, Maine, where he kept a studio. This collection is a small library of 165 books kept at his studio. It was given to Bates College by the heirs of his estate, in compliance with his wishes, in 1951. The collection is supplemented by a small amount of Hartley’s papers housed with the manuscript collections, as well as the Hartley art and artifacts housed at the Bates College Museum.

The Muskie Collection

This collection contains some of the books and journals of Edmund S. Muskie, including many of the reference materials he maintained in his U. S. Senate office. The collection is comprised primarily of government publications and law books.  Some of the volumes are inscribed to or annotated by Muskie.  This collection compliments the Library’s archival holdings, specifically the Edmund S. Muskie Papers.

The Rare Books Collection

The Rare Books Collection contains 1070 titles, and is comprised primarily of material published in Europe prior to 1800, material published in the U.S. or the colonies prior to 1820, and material published in Maine prior to 1830. While there is a broad subject range represented here, the bulk of the collection is 18th-19th century religious material—bibles, sermons, commentaries, and theology—which reflects the origins of the college as the Maine State Seminary. Many of these volumes contain gift plates identifying various important and early donors to the College.  Some of these books can be traced back to the Freewill Baptist Education Society formed in 1840 in Parsonsfield, Maine.  This library traveled to a number of other Freewill Baptist institutions before coming to Bates in 1870 as the library of the Cobb Divinity School.  The Cobb Divinity School folded in 1908 and its library was integrated into the College library.  Other strengths of this collection are philosophical inquiry and classical literature.

The Stanton Collection

Jonathon Y. Stanton served on the faculty at Bates College from 1865-1902 and as instructor of ornithology until his death in 1918. In addition, he was the first librarian of the College from 1865-1895.  The Stanton Collection originally formed part of his personal library. Professor Stanton gave some of his library to the College before his death, most notably his ornithology books, but the bulk of his library (2,725 volumes) was given to the College by his nephew, Walter Woodman, in 1919.  In the 1980s the rare ornithology and natural history books from the Stanton library were transferred to Special Collections (329 titles).  In 2002, more than 900 titles, originally part of Stanton’s library, were weeded from the general stacks of the college library and added to the Stanton Collection.  Stanton was a major figure in the formation and early development of the college.  He had a keen intellectual curiosity and his library reflected that.  His library, covering such broad subjects as art, bibliography, books about books, travel narratives, literature, natural history, science, and others, is more reflective of Stanton and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of him. Included are fine editions by Audubon, Dresser, Eliott, Gould, Mulsant, Sharpe, and others.

The William Lyon Phelps Collection

The Phelps Collection was originally donated to the Library in 1940 in honor of the 75th birthday of William Lyon Phelps, a Yale professor and bibliophile. The collection of signed first editions by or about “distinguished” people was conceived by Emma Moody Powell of Lewiston as a lasting tribute to Phelps, who was a family friend. Subsequent additions were formally received annually each year on January 2, Phelps’ birthday.  In subsequent years the collection has come to house signed books that come to the library as gifts or purchases.  The initial collection of fifty books has grown to more than 400 volumes.