Stories Shared: New Rare Books Exhibit in Special Collections

Special Collections and Archives is proud to announce the opening of our newest rare books exhibit, Stories Shared: Highlights from the Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection. As our title suggests, this exhibit expresses the extraordinary scope of DePaul Trustee Arnold Grisham’s collecting interests by highlighting some of the unique items within his collection. In addition to the exhibit (which will be on display through the summer and fall), the library has also created a Digital Bookshelf, where users can navigate around a virtual recreation of much of Grisham’s library.

1927 edition of Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man
1927 edition of Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man

Arnold Grisham studied business and finance at DePaul (B.S.C. Management ‘70, M.B.A. ‘73) during a time in which the books featured in the exhibit were not a part of standard university curriculum. It was fellow alumnus John Motley’s gift of a 1927 edition of Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (on display) that inspired Grisham to begin his own collection. As Grisham continued to read authors he had not encountered before, his passion for collecting works by people of African descent grew. Similarly, Grisham’s donation to Special Collections and Archives gives the DePaul community a gift to inspire the next generation of readers.

Last week Special Collections welcomed visitors to celebrate the donation of over 500 volumes by Arnold and Jane Grisham. Guests admired the collection of exceptionally rare first editions, texts inscribed by the authors, and galley proofs (or, final draft copies of books). The impressive thematic and chronological scope of the Grisham Collection allows researchers to engage with an array of stories and narratives of the African diaspora. This exhibit showcases just five prominent themes from Grisham’s expansive collection that reflect the diversity of his interests.

Arnold Grisham stands with a selection of book from his donation
Arnold Grisham stands with a selection of book from his donation, on display in Stories Shared: Highlights from the Arnold and Jane Grisham Collection.

Collections like Grisham’s demonstrate that book collecting is not a passive undertaking. Rather, in seeking, identifying, and curating his collection, Grisham has actively brought together works that speak to each other and affirm the enduring relevance of these texts. By gathering the remarkable books in this collection, Arnold and Jane Grisham have ensured that these authors will be able to speak, sing, and yell at us for generations.

To learn more about this exhibit or related materials, visit Special Collections and Archives in room 314 of the John T. Richardson Library or contact us at archives@depaul.edu.

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