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A rare collection

Richard Macksey
Retired professor Richard Macksey spent
a half-century on the Johns Hopkins faculty.

Walk into a room lined floor to ceiling with well-thumbed volumes and there's a moment when you're simultaneously overwhelmed and comforted: Comforted by the thought that the answers must surely be here; overwhelmed at the notion of actually finding the answers behind all those spines.

What you need in such a situation is a handy guide, someone familiar enough with the available pathways to get you where you're going but not so jaded as to miss the surprises waiting along the way.

At Johns Hopkins University, one such leading guide has been Professor Richard Macksey, founder of the Humanities Center and influencer on the lives of countless JHU students.

He recently announced that he will bequeath his jaw-dropping 70,000 volume collection to the Sheridan Libraries.

More so than his shelves of English, Russian, French, German, Italian and Spanish texts - even Babylonian cuneiform - his impact on the campus is felt in his manner of teaching. Passionate discourse exchanged over a book-strewn table by sharp-minded students facilitated by a knowledgeable instructor was Macksey's method of choice.

Highlights from Macksey's collection will be housed in the new Brody Learning Commons building, adjacent to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. In order to preserve such an iconic piece of so many students' Johns Hopkins experience, the new building will include the Dick Macksey Seminar Room, designed in tribute to his home library, so students will have the same environment for fervent discussion for generations to come.



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