Notable Gifts & Givers

Washington University Libraries’ donors, many of whom are University alumni or National Council members, have allowed the Libraries to thrive in times of change and challenge. We invite you to learn about these important benefactors, and to consider becoming one as well.

arnold Philip Arnold (1911 - 1994, EN '32, SI '41) was collecting books even as a Washington University engineering student in the 1930s, taking the trolley downtown to visit used bookstores. Over the years, Arnold became an avid and expert collector, particularly of works about semeiology, the study of signs and symbols. In 1969, he donated his semeiology collection to the Department of Special Collections. It is truly a one-of-a-kind collection, including many rare volumes on cryptography and the decipherment of ancient languages. Through a bequest, Arnold provided for ongoing support of the semeiology collection and for the acquisition of other rare books.


Stella Darrow (1911-2002), a former librarian, had a special place in her heart for the University Libraries. A St. Louis native and a 1931 graduate of the School of Arts & Sciences, Darrow was active with the Libraries' Bookmark Society, served on its Eliot Society, and its National Council. She funded the Libraries' acquisition and preservation of Clayton and Bell's drawings for the stained glass windows in Graham Chapel, and in the spring of 2002, she left a bequest of $500,000 to the Libraries.

The Libraries used a portion of her bequest to establish an endowment for preservation of library materials. This endowment helps fund preservation efforts on materials held only at Washington University Libraries as well as the preservation of historic film from the Eyes on the Prize documentary film series, part of the Henry Hampton Collection. Stella Darrow's gift has made hundreds of hours of film footage available for use and is preserving unique but deteriorating books for future generations.

edisonJulian Edison (1929-2017) was a member of the University Libraries' National Council. He began collecting books during his undergraduate years at Harvard in the 1950s. He was the owner of a world-class collection of miniature books.

Julian and his wife Hope generously provided the Libraries with an endowment devoted to activities in the Department of Special Collections. The endowment supports talks by experts on the history of the book and book arts, funds exhibitions concerned with the history of the book, and supports the acquisition of rare books. In spring 2005, the Libraries used the endowment to bring in the author Nicholas Basbanes whose books include Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World; Among the Gently Mad: Perspectives and Strategies for the Book-Hunter of the 21st Century; and A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books.

fegleyWashington University Professor Bruce Fegley and Research Professor Katharina Lodders-Fegley apply chemistry to key problems in astronomy, cosmochemistry, and planetary science. Their experimental studies and theoretical models address a wide range of problems related to the chemistry taking place in various environments in space. In 2005, Professor Fegley established the Fegley-Knaster Chemistry Book Fund. Income from this endowment typically goes toward the purchase of library resources in chemistry.

Alumnus and University Libraries' National Council member David M. Grossman received his PhD in history from Washington University in 1973. Formerly the vice provost and dean of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Thomas Edison State College, Grossman retired with more than 25 years of experience as an administrator in continuing education programs.

In 1983, David and his wife, Phyllis Wilson Grossman (LA '66) established the Joseph and Ida Grossman Junior Faculty Book Purchase Fund in memory of David's parents. Over the intervening years they have made additional gifts to the fund. The fund is used to purchase retrospective monographs in history, political science, and anthropology on a rotating basis, one discipline each year. When making the gift, David stated, "By establishing this fund expressly for new faculty coming to Washington U, it is our hope that we will have helped to germinate new collections and areas of emphasis for Olin Library, thereby making Olin an ever-changing, intellectually vibrant institution-the very heart of Washington University."

harrisWhitney R. Harris served as a prosecutor, working with U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson, in the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg following World War II. Harris was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work at the Nuremberg Trials and later wrote an analysis of the Trials entitledTyranny on Trial: The Trial of Major German War Criminals at the End of World War II at Nuremberg Germany. Harris went on to teach and to practice law for a variety of organizations, but was affected by his experiences at Nuremberg and has maintained a life-long interest in justice and peace.

In order to honor this interest and her husband's work at Nuremberg, on January 30, 1981, Harris' then wife Jane Freund Harris gave a gift to the University Libraries to fund the Whitney Robson Harris Collection on the Third Reich of Germany, 1933 - 1945. Books purchased with this fund cover topics such as Nazi Germany, resistance to the Nazis, and World War II. The Harris Reading Room (room 211 in Olin Library) houses the most recent portion of the collection and serves as a comfortable study space. Half of the endowment's income now contributes to the general library collection, giving the Harris' generosity even further reach.

kranzbergNancy Kranzberg (LA '66) has served on the Libraries' National Council since 1994 and has was co-chair of the Libraries' Eliot Society Committee for 27 years. Her husband Ken, who is the chairman of the board at packaging company Kranson Industries, shares Nancy's interest in the Libraries. The Kranzbergs funded the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Illustrated Book Studio, a curriculum collaboration between the Libraries and the School of Art. They also contributed greatly to the Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library, which opened in 2006, in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library.

An art collector and arts supporter, Nancy is a member of many boards, including those at the Sheldon Arts Foundation, the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. She also sings cabaret for Nancy Kranzberg and the Second Half, a band composed of several community leaders. The Kranzbergs especially value and encourage the library's role in community and collaboration.

neureutherCarl Neureuther, a 1940 graduate of the Washington University School of Business, established a book fund in 1987 to encourage Washington University students to read for pleasure as well as for their studies. The Neureuther fund has strengthened the Libraries' collections, particularly in fiction, poetry, and biography. It has also made possible a browsing collection of current popular books. The Neureuther fund also supports the Student Book Collection Essay Competition, an annual contest for undergraduate and graduate students that awards prizes to students building their own book collections.

wickesBorn in St. Louis as Mary Isabella Wickenhauser, actress and 1930 Washington University graduate Mary Wickes maintained an active connection with the University throughout her life, often returning to perform and to teach. Best known for her roles in films such as White Christmas, The Trouble with Angels, Now Voyager, and Sister Act, Wickes became a well-recognized face and voice. In honor of her parents, her bequest established the Isabella and Frank Wickenhauser Memorial Library Fund for Film and Theater Arts for the acquisition of books and films to support the University's evolving film studies and theater arts curriculum. In addition, she gave her personal papers and professional memorabilia, including scripts from every film and television show in which she performed, to the Department of Special Collections.