Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

"About 2 o'clock on a drowsy afternoon, when, according to psychologists, mental alertness is lowest, a figure bent under the weight of textbooks stands on the library steps - doesn't feel like studying. Three-quarters of an hour till class and one can't rest in those hard chairs... Ah - if only he knew that in a quiet, top-floor corner of that same building is a room shelved with books and illuminated by soft lights, but best of all furnished with big, comfy 'overstuffeds' warranted to take out the kinks. That's the McDonald room, library 301."

Lois Williams, The Daily Barometer, October 30, 1935.

McDonald Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, 2041-1763 BC, ca. 960-1941 AD

Mary McDonald, ca. 1880s.
Stanley, Thomas. The history of philosophy: containing the lives, opinions, actions and discourses of the philosophers of every sect. Illustrated with the effigies of divers of them. London,
				Printed for W. Battersby [etc.] 1701.
Summary translation: 37 sheep and goats from 12 named Amorites from the town of Bàd, and 7 sheep and goats from 3 named Sumerian officials, were delivered to Abbasaga who expended them for various unnamed purposes. The
				transaction took place on the 27th day of the month of Akiti in the 5th year of king Amar-Suen (2041 BCE).
Cuneiform Tablet, ca. 2000 BCE.
Frazer, James George, Sir. The golden bough; a study in magic and religion. London: Macmillan and Co., limited, 1911.
Lapsley, Arthur Brooks, ed. The Writings of Abraham Lincoln. New York: G. P. Putnam's sons, 1905.

Information and Credits

RB McDonald

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
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.