UNLV alumna Beverly Rogers is establishing a $5 million endowment to support a rare books curator and bolster the rare books collection at the UNLV University Libraries.
The endowment will fund the Beverly Rogers Rare Books Curator, the first named position in the University Libraries. Rogers will also donate her personal book collection, valued at more than $1 million, to the libraries’ Special Collections and Archives division.
“I am thrilled to establish this endowment for the UNLV Libraries because UNLV is my school. I have a relationship with people in several departments and am excited about what this collection could mean for students, faculty, and the university,” said Rogers. “When I first met with members of the University Libraries team, they shared my vision for what the collection could mean and will continue enhancing and growing it to benefit all at the university and beyond.”
The Beverly Rogers Rare Books Curator will create exhibits that raise awareness and engage researchers, students, faculty, and other interested parties in the collection. The curator will also look for opportunities to grow and enhance the collection.
“What Beverly has done over the years to help drive UNLV’s ascension into a literary and cultural destination is truly amazing,” said UNLV President Marta Meana. “Through her support of University Libraries and the Black Mountain Institute, UNLV has become a go-to place to experience the best in literature and engage directly with top literary minds right here in Southern Nevada.”
The Rogers collection contains four sub-genres: Victorian First Editions; Joseph Conrad Firsts & Association copies; John Steinbeck Firsts & Association copies; and “Books About Books.”
“This unique collection of Victorian literature, forgeries, railway editions, catalogs, serial magazines, and first editions is unrivaled in the Southwest. Bev’s collection will be an amazing collection for researchers and UNLV students to utilize and enhance our reputation as an R1 institution,” said Maggie Farrell, dean of the University Libraries at UNLV. “We are honored that Bev has chosen to establish this endowment for UNLV and will entrust her collection to our Special Collections and Archives.”
Rogers was hooked on collecting books after reading a copy of Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone’s Used and Rare, and began establishing her collection in the late ‘90s. The collection now contains more than 1,300 items, including an edition of George Eliot’s The Mill on The Floss owned by William Thackeray in his binding with his initials blindstamped inside; a first edition of John Donne’s Collected Poems, 1633, used by and bearing the notes of George Eliot; and a first edition of Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë under the pen name Currer Bell.
“I want to donate my collection to UNLV’s library because I’ve seen awe on the faces of students, professors, and book lovers when shown one unique piece of the collection, or when they run their fingers across a title page that carries the name of the wrong author,” said Rogers.
In the future, the collection will be available to students, faculty, researchers, and the public at large through the UNLV University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives, located in Lied Library.
To commemorate the donation, the University Libraries will host a special guest lecture, “Victorian Connections and the Evolution of a Book Collector,” with Rogers on Oct. 3 from 5-7 p.m. in the Goldfield Room at Lied Library. Portions of the collection will be on display at the event, and Rogers will be discussing the many connections between the authors featured in her collection and her evolution as a rare book collector.
Special Collections & Archives has been part of UNLV University Libraries for more than 50 years and includes the Oral History Research Center and the Center for Gaming Research.