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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU Ashbrook Center receives rare books to further academic excellence

The center is celebrating its 40-year anniversary
Brynn Meisse
The Ashbrook Center was loaned 25 rare books from the Remnant Trust. The earliest book in the Ashbrook Collection is Rubricated Manuscript Leaf in Latin by Thomas Aquinas, which was printed in 1447. 

In honor of The Ashbrook Center’s 40 anniversary,The Remnant Trust loaned the center rare books to help celebrate and further academic excellence.  

At the beginning of the academic year, Dr. Jeff Sikkenga and professors from the political science and history department decided to celebrate 40 years by loaning 25 rare books from The Remnant Trust, a public educational foundation that shares manuscripts, first editions, and early works with higher education institutions.  

Currently, Ashbrook has the largest collection of books at a higher educational institution. The books range from one of the five original printed copies of the U.S. Constitution, the first printed edition of the New Testament in Greek and Latin, as well as the first edition of The Federalist. 

“These are books from [Remnant Trust’s] collection that they are loaning to us for use this semester as part of our 40 celebration,” Sikkenga said. “Since Ashbrook focuses on primary documents and great historical texts, we thought it would be a really great fit for us as an organization. A great way to celebrate our 40.” 

There are several prominent authors in the collection such as Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, Julius Caesar, and Susan B. Anthony. 

The books were chosen through a survey sent out to the political science and history departments. 

“We did a survey of professors here at Ashland particularly in the department of history and political science, which works with these kinds of books,” Sikkenga explained. “The professors got back to us with their ideas, and we added some of our own and put a list together.” 

The full collection is as follows: 

  • Erasmus’ Greek and Latin New Testament by Eramus; 1570 
  • Sophokleous ai Hepta tragóidiai. Sophoclis Tragoediae Septem. Vná cum omnibus Graecis scholiis, & cum Latinis Ioach. Camerarij by Sophocles; 1568 
  •   Ethica ad Nicomachum. Politica Economica. By Aristole; 1473 
  • Caii Iulii Caearis: Invictissimi imperatoris commentaria by Julius Caesar; 1511 
  • Historiarum by Titus Livius Livy; ca 1580 
  • M. Tulli Ciceronis De Re Publica Quae Supersunt by Marcus Tullius Cicero; 1822 
  • Citie of God by Augustine of Hippo; 1494 
  • Rubricated Manuscript Leaf in Latin by Thomas Aquinas; 1447  
  • The Commedia and Canzoniere of Dante Alighieri by Dante Alighieri; 1896 
  • Letters from a Farmer. In Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies by John Dickinson; 1774 
  • Common Sense by Thomas Paine; 1776 
  • The Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush; 1787 
  • The Federalist by Alexander Hamiliton, James Madison, and John Jay; 1788 
  • A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America by John Adams; 1787-1788 
  • Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson; 1801 
  • Letters to Alexander Hamilton, King of the Feds. by James Thomas Callender; 1802 
  • Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean by William Clark and Meriwether Lewis; 1814 
  • Report on the Subjects of Manufacturers by Alexander Hamilton; 1827 
  • Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies by Thomas Jefferson; 1829 
  • The Anti-Slavery Record by American Anti-Slavery Society; 1836 
  • An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism, with Reference to the Duty of American Females by Catharine E. Beecher; 1837 
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass; 1846 
  • An Account of the Proceedings on the Trial of Susan B. Anthony by Susan B. Anthony; 1874 
  • An Oration Delivered on the Battlefield of Gettysburg by Abraham Lincoln; 1863 

“One thing that is really unique about the Remnant Trust is that when they loan out all these rare books, they want people to use them,” he explained. “They want people to hold them. They want professors to bring them in class and pass them around to students. They want students to hold them, read them, and read them out loud. They want them to be used.”  

One of the professors in the Ashbrook Center who plans to use the books in class is Dr. Jason Stevens, an assistant professor of Political Science and co-director of the Ashbrook Scholar Program 

“We emphasize reading original texts in all our history and political science courses,” Stevens said. 

In his American Political Thought I class, Stevens will be using Common Sense, The U.S. Constitution, and The Federalist. Stevens also plans to use Fredrick Douglass’ Narrative for his first-year seminar course.  

“This is the first time that many of our students will have the opportunity to hold in their hands a literal piece of history, learning that these documents don’t just exist online or in a reading packet,” Stevens explained. “It’s an entirely different experience coming face-to-face with the past. You can’t help but be moved by these documents.” 

Ashbrook Center plans to get a new set of books in the spring while keeping some of the books that are already in their collection. 

“As the folks at the Remnant Trust would say “the books are valuable but the ideas inside them are priceless,” Sikkenga concluded.  

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