The Somerville campaign to raise funds for the College’s Mill Library has entered its final fortnight with more than £9,000 of the target minimum already raised.
The campaign now has a target of £13,000, funds which will be used to support much-needed conservation work for John Stuart Mill’s private collection of books, which was bequeathed to the College in 1905 by his stepdaughter.
The campaign total currently stands at £9,582, half of which is match funding kindly provided by Christopher Kenyon, a friend of the College and husband of Margaret Kenyon (1959), Honorary Development Board Member.
Some 130 volumes from the Victorian philosopher’s private collection are in a state of serious decay and require restoration. The total cost of restorations is currently estimated at £50,000. The current crowdfunding project targets only the most delicate volumes in the collection.
“We’re delighted with the response to our campaign to transform the Mill Library, which has started to take off among the philosopher’s many admirers,” said Dr Frank Prochaska, author of several books on nineteenth century history, member of the College and Mill enthusiast.
“Clearly, the College’s reputation can only be enhanced by spreading the word that it boasts the personal library of arguably the greatest thinker in the English speaking world of the nineteenth century. That he and Mary Somerville were allies in the cause of women’s higher education only adds to the library’s significance to the College, and to Oxford,” said Dr Prochaska.
The collection is especially remarkable because many of the volumes carry jottings by Mill and his father, providing a window into their views on Voltaire, Adam Smith, Ralph Waldo Emerson and several other leading thinkers.
To find out more about the project view the Somerville Hubbub campaign.