Adopt a Book for Conservation

A unique holiday gift to honor someone special in your life

    Adopt a Book list

Wesleyan's Adopt a Book Program supports the library's conservation program. This program is focused on books that have a direct connection to Wesleyan's curriculum and those that are tied to Wesleyan's history. While many texts are now available online, the physical book as an artifact supports scholarship in ways that supplement the text contained within. Aspects of the book such as binding, evidence of ownership or readership, and original format all reside within the physical object.

For a book to be permanently available, it must be in a usable physical state. Though many of our books are in fine condition, years of use inevitably cause wear and tear, book bindings decay and their paper deteriorates. Conservation treatment can counteract and remedy these effects, but it is expensive - hence our constant need to seek conservation funding so that the books that support teaching and research today can still be read in the future.

How to Adopt a Book: There are a variety of books available for adoption. All you need do is (i) select a title from those listed, (ii) decide on the donation level -- $25 or more, and then (iii) either fill out and mail the donation form to the Friends or proceed to the online checkout to give your details and make your gift. Unless otherwise noted, the full adoption level for most books is $150; partial adoptions are welcome. 

How Your Donation Makes a Difference:  Limited resources mean that we can never treat all the books needing conservation as quickly as we would like. Adopt a Book was therefore established to support the library's conservation activities. Please note that your donation does not directly pay for the treatment of the book you adopt. Your gift goes into a special fund which is solely used to support the library's conservation work, ensuring that many more books will be treated and protected for future generations. When the funding goal for each book available for adoption is reached, that book will be treated.

Holidays, Graduations, Weddings, Birthdays, Retirements, Remembering Loved Ones:  Adopt a Book makes a personal and memorable present for special occasions. Many people have chosen to adopt a book as a lasting tribute to a loved one. The beneficiary of your gift will have a personalized bookplate added to the chosen book and will receive an acknowledgment of the gift, unless you specify otherwise.

For a donation of more than $500, and in consultation with the Head of Special Collections and University Archivist, you may support the conservation of a book that has not already been identified for adoption.  We will add a bookplate dedication to it. 

Books on the Adopt a Book List: Unless otherwise noted, books are removed from the list once $150 has been raised for a single volume. When several people adopt the same volume, the Adopt a Book bookplate will list all donor or beneficiary names.  Book sets with multiple volumes or books requiring extra conservation treatment may have higher adoption levels. The book list will be updated periodically so check back often.  

Click here for the full Adopt a Book List

Sample books:


county atlas

(Click for a larger image.)

Partially adopted for conservation treatment thanks to a generous donor.  Please join in the effort to reach the funding goal for this book.

County atlas of Middlesex, Connecticut: from actual surveys by and under the direction of F.W. Beers.  New York: F.W. Beers & Co., 1874.

      Nearly everyone investigating 19th-century local history, from Ron Schatz's Middletown history class to community researchers, finds the Beers atlas invaluable.

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The gift

(Click for a larger image.)

Eliza Leslie, ed.  The Gift: a Christmas and New Year's present for 1836. Philadelphia: E. L. Carey & A. Hart, 1835.

      Gift books such as this are literary anthologies that were very popular from the 1830s until the Civil War.  This one is an especially evocative example with a personalized leather binding and a handwritten dedication to Ann Petit from her friend Elihu Roberts.

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Adopt a Book list