The late Dr. Maurice Nielsen has left a legacy beyond his contributions to the philosophy department he helped establish at Western Illinois University in 1959.
His family has donated his personal collection to WIU's Malpass Library.
It is the largest such donation in the library's history. It is composed of more than 9,000 items including nearly 3,000 books.
Library Specialist Greg Phelps helped to catalog the collection. He says it was a “treasure hunt” that took about six months.
He says, “Most faculty members that donate to us have one specific area that they have their collections in. But this was everything-art, philosophy, history, religious studies-it was just an amazing collection.”
Phelps says the collection shows Nielsen had a lifelong love of learning.
He says the books include “phenomenal history books and great atlases and coffee-table books.”
Dr. Nielsen chaired the department until 1982. He died in 2006.
Nielsen's family will be the guests of honor at a reception June 21 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the library's Garden Lounge.