The Portland Press Herald reports that retired University of Southern Maine library cataloguer Albert Howard has donated nearly 2000 books to USM's special collections. Howard began his collection in 1958, and it contains works printed as early as 1490. He purchased the first book in the collection (a 1502 Venice edition of Latin poems by Statius) for $30, telling the paper "At that time, $30 was a lot of money. I got to like the creatures and discovered that in the 1950s on a librarian's salary, I could buy one or two every once in a while."
He says he decided to donate the books because "I've spent a lot of time with (my collection). Any collection of anything, whatever it is, is part of your personality. I feel it means more to me seeing it go someplace than selling it off."
Partial exhibits of sections of the collection are being displayed this summer at USM's Glickman Family Library.