Long Island University C.W. Post Campus
C.W. Post Campus B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library


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The Post Library Association
A Short History

In 1969, the Long Island University elected Mrs. Carleton (Winthrop B.) Palmer to its Board of Trustees. Winthrop replaced her husband, who resigned from the Board due to health reasons after having served in this position for over seventeen years.

 During her first-year as a trustee, Mrs. Palmer was asked to Chair the Library Committee for the three centers of Long Island University. As Chair she originated the idea of the Post Library Association. Winthrop gathered together several North Shore of Long Island residents to discuss her plans and these eight members became known as the founders. The original founders were: Mrs. Carleton B. Palmer, Mrs. Hoffman Nickerson, Mrs. Franz Schneider, Mrs. Fred Haggerson, Mrs. Ewing Reilley, Mrs. James Cecil, Prof. E. Hugh Behymer and Dr. Donald L. Ungarelli.

The Board of Trustees approved the Post Library Association plan and the first meeting of the PLA Executive Council was held on January 5, 1970. Mrs. Carleton Palmer served as chairman and council members were: Mrs. Jo H. Chamberlin, Mrs. Innis O'Rourke Jr., Mrs. Richard Griffith, Mrs. Lisa Collado Ford, Mrs. Hoffman Nickerson, Mrs. Franz Schneider, Mrs. Fred Haggerson, Mrs. Ewing Reilley, Mr. John Bernard Myers, Mrs. James Cecil. Another member, Mr. Vincent Macri, secretary of the University's Board of Trustees, wrote the by-laws and served as the first secretary of the PLA.

The Post Library Association was devoted to planning many cultural and educational functions for the LIU Post Library (B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library). The long, T-shaped marble hall on the lower level of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library was remodeled in order to make it more conducive for use as a gallery. Carleton and Winthrop Palmer engaged craftsmen to redesign the walls and lighting. The first exhibit arranged by Winthrop featured Mexican lithography and displays of poetry and prose. The guest speaker was Professor Rubin Arango of LIU Post's Foreign Language Department.

In 1973, the PLA Report began as a joint venture between the Post Library Association and the Library. This beautifully illustrated magazine contained book reviews, poetry, and scholarly articles written by the University faculty and members of the local communities. Its editor-in-chief, Joan Huntoon, was a PLA Council member who had been in the publishing field and volunteered her services for this venture. The PLA Report was widely circulated to all types of libraries in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

In the quarter century that the Post Library Association has been in existence it has contributed greatly to the cultural life on the campus in general and in the Library specifically. The more than 300 member families have generously donated their time and energy to many events that not only improve the collections of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library but they have contributed thousands of dollars to library scholarship funds and poetry awards. Waldo Hutchins, a PLA Council member, contributed a generous gift to refurbish the library gallery. His gift allowed the Library to have the walls, lighting, and alarm system redesigned, and the gallery was renamed the Waldo Hutchins Gallery in 1980. The Hutchins Gallery has become a showcase of fine art with its wide variety of beautiful art exhibits. Exhibits sponsored by the PLA have been uniformly praised for their high quality.

The PLA "Friday Night Programs", a dinner and lecture series, have attracted a wide array of nationally and internationally renowned scholars. Other events sponsored by the PLA include the annual book sale, various booktalks, poetry readings and special events, such as museum and opera trips. The Post Library Association has a long history of service to the LIU academic community with their many literary and artistic endeavors, and they continue to expand and evolve as an organization dedicated to the betterment of the Library and the University.

The Special Collections department of the library is traditionally where the Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill Library, the William Randolph Hearst Art Archives, original movie posters from the 1940's and 1950's, and the Theodore Roosevelt Collection resides. But in recent years, and following the original strictures of Mrs. Winthrop Palmer's generous gift to the library, much rare Irish and French literature has been acquired. Although they have concentrated on the Nobel Prize-winning avant-garde writer, Samuel Beckett, an Irishman who wrote both in French and English, they have collected rare items of many writers from varying literary periods, both French and Irish. This collection has grown, in just a few years, to over a thousand titles. It includes a manuscript of eighteen year-old Simone de Beauvoir, the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses, and significant rarities by Yeats, O'Flaherty, Wilde, George Moore, Shaw, French surrealist and symbolist poets, Seamus Heaney and other contemporary Irish poets, and many others, both well known and little known.

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