Bookshelf of the Week: Personal library of Richard A. Macksey

Personal library of Richard A Macksey

While the subject for this week’s Bookshelf of the Week feature may look like an overstocked bookshop, it’s anything but the sort. Rather, this is the impressive personal library of retired Humanities professor Richard A. Macksey, housed in his home in Maryland, USA.

Comprised of over 70,000 books which include many precious copies such as Proust’s copy of Swann’s Way, and rare first editions from William Faulkner, Henry James and Edith Wharton, Professor Macksey’s library is just too impressive for words. To focus on building a bookish sanctuary in one’s home as comprehensively as this is to show the world that literature is the most important thing in one’s life.

And literature certainly is a driving force in Professor Macksey’s life. Responsible for co-founding the Humanities Center at The John Hopkins University, Professor Macksey has been teaching at the university for fifty years, and as can be seen in the following video – which also includes a brief tour of the library – the professor is a true renaissance man; a shining light who dedicates his life to teaching the glory of the written word to all those who are lucky enough to fall under his guidance. A true inspiration, as you are about to see for yourself:

[youtube width=”590″ height=”332″]http://youtu.be/4rvXUHI331k[/youtube]

For those fearful that the shining light that is Professor Macksey will slowly dim and extinguish now that he’s in retirement there is good news, because his library and his legacy are set to live on into infinity and beyond. Not only has the professor donated his entire library collection to the university, but the university itself is planning to create the Dick Macksey Seminar Room. This space will be modelled on Professor Macksey’s home library and it will offer future students the opportunity to discuss books in the same nurturing environment that others have had the honour of studying in. I can think of no more befitting a tribute to bestow on such a literary legend. May you enjoy the remainder of your retirement Professor Macksey, with much bookish splendour.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

Comments

  1. This is more beautiful that some of those libraries full of gilt and leather and carpets. I love the stacks on the side tables the most. This might be my dream library. 🙂

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      I agree Kristen . This library looks lived in and used, and completely soul nurturing.
      Warmest
      Rob

  2. stujallen (Twitter: stujallen)
    says:

    wonderful room ,all the best stu

  3. Oh yes.

    I am humbled.

  4. Nice, but could do with a duster 🙂

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Ha..obviously not a room that his wife is allowed anywhere near 🙂
      Warmest
      Rob

  5. Unbelievably awesome. Any chance you recognize the portrait at the center of the photo?

  6. I was a student of Macksey’s back in the 1960s and was in that library shortly after it was constructed (out of a garage). It wasn’t so cluttered then, but the shelves were full. Macksey was a film buff and would have people over to his place regularly to discuss films. He lived a couple blocks away from campus so it was easy to see a film on campus and then go over to Macksey’s for the discussion.

  7. Leonore Wilson says:

    As the morning owl in the oak calls who-oo-oo outside my window…I dwell on this photo which is heaven/haven to me!! How I deeply appreciate this posting—-Leonore Wilson (mother/daughter/wife/poet/writer/rancher/environmentalist.

  8. Than you Professor Macksey. You are an inspiration. I wish good health and every happiness.

  9. i want to have this amazing of a library someday. my books only fill 1/4 of my living room, half of my hall way, and only two shelves in my bedroom. NEED to step up my game! thanks for sharing this!

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      That is still a sizeable library. Keep at it, and I’m sure you’ll rival Prof. M at some stage. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck!
      Warmest
      Rob

  10. My dream library! My “messy” study library is only 1/10 of this, and yet Inget complaints for the stacks of books that created the “mess”. Hey, I can show this pic and proudly proclaim that my library is nothing compared to the venerable professor’s library ???

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      You can :). I show my wife the same picture, and she just goes away mumbling.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Rob

  11. Although I have thousands of books in my home, this particular picture is like a portrayal of my dream home…..my happy place. I love it!

  12. I wonder if you have miniature books in your collection. Might be time to fit these little gems among the gaps..!