Library exhibitions celebrate recent Lincoln acquisitions


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4:57 p.m., Feb. 11, 2011----In commemoration of the birth of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12, 1809, the University of Delaware Library each year mounts a new exhibition of items from the Lincoln Collection of the Lincoln Club of Delaware in the Lincoln Exhibit Case, adjacent to the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery.

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The 2011 commemoration consists of two separate exhibitions celebrating the receipt of two significant gifts of collections related to Abraham Lincoln. The first exhibition is on view now through June 6, and the second will be on display from June 14-Dec. 20.

“Selections from the Thomas Herlihy III Collection”

“Selections from the Thomas Herlihy III Collection” is on view through Monday, June 6, 2011.

Herlihy is a Wilmington attorney who has had a lifelong interest in Lincoln's life and career, and he has built a significant collection of books and other materials on Lincoln and the Civil War era. A longtime member of the Lincoln Club of Delaware, he has been a board member and served as president of the club in 1982, continuing a tradition of Herlihy family service to the Lincoln Club. Herlihy's father, Thomas Herlihy Jr., served as president in 1975, and his brother, the Hon. Jerome O. Herlihy, served as president in 1982.

Herlihy, who also served as vice chair of the Delaware Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission from 2006-2009, portrayed Abraham Lincoln for many years as a Lincoln re-enactor, appearing as the 16th president in schools and community organizations throughout Delaware and the surrounding region.

The Herlihy collection includes a diverse array of books, ranging from 19th century accounts of Lincoln's life, presidency and assassination to broader topics, such as the history of the Civil War, slavery and the Confederacy.

A number of books are from the library of Thomas Herlihy Jr. and bear his bookplate.

The University of Delaware Library received the extensive historical map collection of the late Pearl Herlihy Daniels as a gift from her sons, Thomas Herlihy III and the Hon. Jerome O. Herlihy. Both are members of the University of Delaware Library Associates, the friends group of the University of Delaware Library. Mrs. Daniels also was a member of the Library Associates, including serving on its Board of Directors.

“Selections from the Otto C. Rentner, Lincoln and Civil War Literature Collection”

Another significant gift the library received in 2010 is the Otto C. Rentner Lincoln and Civil War Literature Collection.

The Rentner collection contains a variety of books, journals and ephemera focusing on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. The collection is particularly strong for books published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Otto C Rentner was born on Sept. 17, 1887, in Chicago. He received his law degree from the Illinois College of Law (now Kent Law School). After law school he practiced law at Rentner and Meyer Law Firm in Chicago. He became an assistant judge in the Circuit Court of Chicago and was very active in Democratic politics. In 1946 he moved to Appleton, Wisc., to join the Aid Association for Lutherans Insurance Co. as general counsel, then vice president, president and chairman of the board. He was a Lincoln and Civil War scholar for most of his adult life and was a member of the Lincoln Society of Illinois. Mr. Rentner died June 29, 1964.

“Selections from the Otto C. Rentner, Lincoln and Civil War Literature Collection” will be on display from Tuesday, June 14, through Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Both exhibitions can be viewed during the regular hours of the Morris Library. The curator of the exhibitions is Timothy Murray, head of the Special Collections Department in the University of Delaware Library.

For library hours, call 302-831-BOOK or check the library website.