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NMSU Library program to honor J. Phelps White

The New Mexico State University Library announces that donor J. Phelps White III of Roswell will be honored at a program Friday, Nov. 7, from 3-5 p.m. The free public event will be held on the east side of the fourth floor of Branson Library.


White, who has given his collection of rare 19th century books to the NMSU Library's Special Collections, will give a talk about the collection. The program will be followed by a reception.

The collection consists of 431 volumes from the library of Mr. and Mrs. James Phelps White. James Phelps White (1856-1934) was a prominent rancher and businessman in the Roswell area. A number of the titles had been previously owned by the industrialist, miner and rancher J.J. Hagerman (1838-1909).

"As a collection, the books provide a valuable snapshot of the library of a wealthy family in small town New Mexico around 1900," said Laurence Creider, special collections librarian.

The collection consists primarily of sets of literary and historical works from the middle and late 19th century. The literary works include sets of the writings of Eliot, Ruskin, Carlyle, Longfellow, Poe, de Quincy and other major literary figures. There are first editions of "The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge" (1836-1839) and James Gillman's "The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge" (1838).

The historical works include ancient and medieval history, England and France in the 18th century and American history. Especially noteworthy is a set of volumes focusing on the history of India. There are several books on the Middle Ages, ranging from the Crusades and Charles the Bold to an early copy of Henry Charles Lea's "History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages" (1888).

Many of the books are bound or half-bound in leather with gold stamping or tooling and marbled endpapers. Others are 19th century cloth.

For more information contact the NMSU Library's Archives and Special Collections staff at (575) 646-3839.