NHIOP Receives Presidential Book Collection

June 9, 2017

By Katelyn Ellison

The donation of an extraordinary book collection on the United States Presidency is transforming the New Hampshire Political Library at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) at Saint Anselm College. On Friday, June 9, a dedication ceremony in the recently renovated reading room was held for the library's newest addition. The collection, titled "The Presidency Unfurled: Context, Landmarks, Legacy," was gifted to the NHIOP by Arthur P. Young, Ph.D. and Patricia F. Young.

In recent months, the New Hampshire Political Library Reading Room has undergone a transformation to house the new collection, which contains 2,724 volumes. Custom bookcases were built and installed by the college's Buildings and Grounds Department, and staff from Geisel Library carefully inspected, inventoried and catalogued the thousands of volumes.

"This special collection adds a crown jewel to New Hampshire Institute of Politics," said Neil Levesque, NHIOP executive director. "The Institute at Saint Anselm College is already known world-wide as a political focal point for our state's first-in-the nation primary. Dr. Young's collection provides valuable research opportunities and reinforces the value of the NHIOP to the many presidential candidates who regularly visit our campus, as well as scholars, journalists and the public. We are honored to be the caretakers of this comprehensive and important resource."

The college community including college president Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., college trustees, and Institute staff joined Dr. and Mrs. Young for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Institute's executive director gave a welcome speech followed by remarks from Dr. Young. "I grew up in a home with thousands of books and have spent my professional life concerned with their care, preservation and dissemination. It is not surprising that collecting them became a passion," he explained.

Dr. Young amassed this collection over a 25-year span after being initially interested in the "changing perceptions of presidential performance across time." The books feature biographies, memoirs, and monographs. He also added books on vice presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and the founding fathers to round out the collection. He placed a high value on the condition of the books, selecting ones with original dust jackets and reputable printing presses, including many first editions. Publication dates range from the 1900's to the present.

The complete and wide-ranging nature of the Young collection is exemplified by titles, including "Woodrow Wilson, a Psychological Study," "The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson," "Martyr for the Union" (Franklin Pierce), "Guns & Butter: The Presidency of LBJ," "George Washington in New Hampshire," "The Last of the Crooked Hats," and "The Hidden Hand Presidency" (Dwight Eisenhower).

Several presidential biographical series are held in their entirety: "American Presidency Series" (University of Kansas Press), "The American Presidents" (Henry Holt & Company), and "Blackwell Companions to American History-Presidential Companions" (Wiley-Blackwell).

Dr. Young received his undergraduate degree in political science from Tufts University and his Ph.D. in library science from the University of Illinois. He served as the director of several libraries, including the University of Rhode Island, the University of South Carolina, and Northern Illinois University.

The Youngs are pleased to see these books find a home in an academic institution. "My wife and I are delighted to have this collection reside here in the Institute at Saint Anselm," Dr. Young said. "It is our hope that students and scholars will make use of the volumes. It seems to us that this collection and this institution are a perfect match."

Those interested in viewing items in the collection can do so by visiting the library's online catalog. The books are accessible to the public at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.