Exhibitions Celebrate Recent Lincoln Acquisitions


The University of Delaware Library announces each year, in commemoration of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, February 12, 1809, the mounting of 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. The 2011 commemoration consists of two separate exhibitions celebrating the receipt of two significant gifts of collections related to Abraham Lincoln.

“Selections from the Thomas Herlihy III Collection” Exhibition
“Selections from the Thomas Herlihy III Collection” will be on view through Monday, June 6, 2011. Thomas Herlihy III is a Wilmington attorney who has had a lifelong interest in the life and career of Abraham Lincoln and built a significant collection of books and other materials on Lincoln and the Civil War era. He is a longtime member of the Lincoln Club of Delaware and has been a Board Member and served as President of the Lincoln Club of Delaware in 1982, continuing a tradition of Herlihy family service to the Lincoln Club. Mr. Herlihy’s father, Thomas Herlihy, Jr. served as President in 1975 and his brother, the Honorable Jerome O. Herlihy, served as President in 1982. Thomas Herlihy III also served as vice-chair of the Delaware Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission from 2006-2009. For many years Thomas Herlihy III also portrayed Abraham Lincoln as a Lincoln re-enactor, appearing as the sixteenth president in schools and community organizations throughout Delaware and the surrounding region. The Herlihy collection includes a diverse array of books, ranging from nineteenth-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. Thomas Herlihy III and The Honorable Jerome O. Herlihy are members of the University of Delaware Library Associates, the friends group of the University of Delaware Library. 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 Honorable Jerome O. Herlihy. Pearl Herlihy Daniels was also of member of the Library Associates including serving on its Board of Directors.

“Selections from the Otto C. Rentner, Lincoln and Civil War Literature Collection” Exhibition
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-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Otto C Rentner was born on September 17, 1887, in Chicago IL. 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, Wisconsin to join the Aid Association for Lutherans Insurance Company 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. Otto C. 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, 2011 through Tuesday, December 20, 2011.

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.

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