With titles from “Queen Victoria at Home” to “Caswell County Heritage - North Carolina,” a collection of books donated to St. Andrews University’s DeTamble Library is rivaled in number only by its scope.
The 220 titles donated by the family of the late Patricia Phillips Marshall are largely historical works of nonfiction, with a few volumes on art thrown into the mix, according to Library Director Mary McDonald.
Although many books are donated to academic libraries after thorough use by their owners, Marshall’s collection is somewhat unusual, as Marshall was herself a curator of decorative arts at the North Carolina Museum of History and curator of the North Carolina Executive Mansion.
“This was somebody’s research collection for many years, so it was really a windfall for us,” McDonald said. “Libraries often receive gift books, but we rarely get such a strong, subject specific, collection of titles. It was wonderful that these books came to our small academic library. Somebody usually gives these to a big library like UNC’s.”
The bulk of the collection focuses on American history, with a particular focus on women’s history, the Civil War, and slavery in the United States
“The Marshall collection enriches our holdings on Southern history first begun with books from Flora McDonald College and substantially enhanced under the guidance of Professor Charles Joyner,” said Dr. David Herr, a St. Andrews University professor of history. “Students now have access to many more important monographs about the early and antebellum South, slavery, and material culture.”
The collection is representative of Marshall’s 30-year career in history, with materials ranging from diary entries to comprehensive studies of the experience of slave families.
“A lot of what she had are primary sources: diaries of women, she had a lot about women in the South, she had a lot about slaves and slavery, just a wonderful mixture,” McDonald said. “A lot of it is first-person accounts, because she was a historian and that’s what historians love.”
Marshall’s family selected St. Andrews as the institution to benefit from her collection following her son’s impression of the school in his first semester of attendance. Dalton Marshall is a rising sophomore at St. Andrews, with his younger brother Stuart set to attend as a freshman this fall.
“My late wife was in the career for 30 years and collected a lot of items,” said Patricia Marshall’s husband Jackson “When she passed from an unexpected heart attack we had a massive library of materials. I talked to the boys, and decided it was more than we could handle or keep. We wanted to find a smaller North Carolina location to provide with these resources. With Dalton here as a student, having such a good experience, St. Andrews became our first choice.”