African-American literature collection receives donation

David Anderson

Former Governor Elmer L. Andersen, 91, is having a lot of fun with his aide surfing Internet auction sites for more books for the Givens Collection of African American Literature.
The collection is part of the Elmer L. Andersen Library, named after the former governor, which opened in April.
“We’re just having a wonderful time working to improve the quality and capacity of the Givens Collection, which is a wonderful collection to begin with,” he said.
Andersen, who graduated from the University in 1931, pioneered legislative measures in fair employment practices, special education and civil rights as a Minnesota senator and governor from 1949 to 1962. He also served as a University regent from 1967 to 1975.
Andersen recently donated more than 30 books and a manuscript to the Givens Collection of African American Literature.
“Our hope is that it will be a bridge to students and people generally to be more appreciative of the contribution of the black community,” he said.
Among the latest donated items are a letter written by black orator and educator Booker T. Washington, dated 1911, and a first edition of a biography of pre-Civil War abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.
“Collecting works such as those for the Givens Collection is a high priority for me,” said Kathryn Neal, the curator. “But it’s even more wonderful and more of a delight when donors such as Gov. Andersen are generous enough to assist in the continuing development of the collection.”
Andersen donated more than 1,200 books to the University Libraries last year. Over the past four months, he has contributed another 60-odd books to the Givens Collection.
The Givens Collection is a prime research resource in African-American literature with more than 6,000 books and documents.

David Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected]