Over the past century Aberystwyth University has been fortunate to receive a number of important bequests from various sources which have served both to enrich the library collection and to support teaching and scholarship. In the earliest years George Powell of Nanteos gave and bequeathed many books, manuscripts and objets d’art to the College between 1879 and 1882. These items formed the core of the original library and include several rare treasures such as the Warburton edition of Shakespeare, published in 1747, which was used by Samuel Johnson in the preparation of his English Dictionary.
Sir John Rhys, first Professor of Welsh at Oxford, left his collection of some 2000 books to us when he died back in 1915 and these items are recognisable by their very distinctive coloured book plates.
The display for the Alumni concentrates on two more recent bequests to the University. John Challinor was on the staff of the Geology Department from 1919, retiring as a Senior Lecturer in 1960. He died in August 1990 at the age of 95 and bequeathed his extensive collection of books relating to geology, botany and topography to the University. There are many valuable books published during the 18th and 19thcenturies, a large proportion are of antiquarian interest and many are key works in the history of geology.
Professor Fergus Johnston was on the staff of the History Department from 1934 until his retirement in 1967. He donated some 1500 books relating to history and military studies to the library back in 1986 and the remainder of his collection was passed to us by his widow after his death in 1991. The collection is particularly strong in military affairs from the 19thcentury, including the Napoleonic Wars. Many of these items are now much sought after by book collectors and command extremely high prices.
Bill Hines – Information Services