Thanks to the generosity of Joan and Vernon Gallup, Washington State University has acquired a remarkable collection of Izaak Walton’s classic book, The Compleat Angler.
In December 2006, the Gallups, who live in Spokane, donated 506 copies of the book to the WSU Libraries.
Housed in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) in Terrell Library’s rotunda ground floor, the collection includes all of the 17th century editions, beginning with the edition printed in 1772.
Trevor Bond, MASC’s interim head, said the book is a “festive, rambling discourse set as a dialogue” which Walton revised and expanded throughout his lifetime (1593-1683). The Compleat Angler is, along with The Bible, “one of the most popular books ever published in English,” he said.
The Gallups are praised by Bond for their donation which came in part due to their “strong ties” to the university because their son and two granddaughters are WSU graduates.
During an April 10 reception honoring the Gallups, Todd Butler, Assistant professor in the Department of English, addressed an audience gathered with the collection on display in the MASC gallery.
“What I think is wonderful about a collection like this is it provides us with the ability to reach students in all kinds of disciplines – natural history, husbandry, literature are all ways to interact with this text,” he said. “It’s the perfect gift to MASC as it envisions itself not just as an archive, but as a teaching institution.”
Vernon Gallup and Bond curated the exhibit, which is open to the public, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday through July 2009.
Jeff Kuure, MASC graphic designer, was exhibit designer. The Robinsons – Jerry of the Washington State Crop Improvement Association and Carol of WSU Libraries – loaned fishing flies and fishing gear for the exhibit. Joe Ford – from Owen Science & Engineering Library – provided flies and fish-tying equipment.