In the early 1930s, Mary McDonald (1848-1935), concerned with the preponderance of scientific and technical books at most land grant universities, donated a rare book collection to the Oregon State University library. In 1934 the McDonald Rare Book Room was established with gifts to the library of items from her collection. Since then, the McDonald endowment has enabled the acquisition of thousands of rare books and fine bindings. Included in the collection are numerous incunabula (books printed before 1501). Among the exceedingly rare items housed in the McDonald Collection are three cuneiform tablets, the oldest of which dates to 2041 BCE.
Treasures of the McDonald Collection
This exhibit makes available the collection's most striking items through a narrative history of the evolution of text production from approximately 3000 BCE to the 20th century and features examples from many of the world's most important intellectual and technological advances in printing.