Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Beinecke Brothers: A Yale of an Association Copy

The Beinecke brothers weren’t your average well-heeled alums looking to have a name on a building as a path to immortality.  Edwin J. (1886-1970) and Frederick W. “Fritz” (1887-1971) Beinecke were two of America’s most notable book collectors.  Their common love of books was supplemented by a long professional relationship working together in the various family businesses.   The two brothers, along with other members of the family, built Yale a new rare book library in the early 1960s.  The Beinecke Library at Yale is renowned for its holdings and groundbreaking modern design.
It is doubtful my brother and I will someday build our alma mater, The University of Texas—Austin, a new rare book library.  We are fortunate that UT’s Harry Ransom Center is already in place and frankly, unless we win the lottery and then do some Warren Buffett-style investing with that money the cash flow may come up a wee bit short.  Nonetheless, I can still relate to the brotherly camaraderie of collecting.  My brother and I collected a number of things together as youth; most notably a vast assemblage of beer cans still housed twenty-five years later in our parent’s attic.  I moved onward and upward to books and my brother has “collected” countries, having visited over 110 of them and counting.