ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 20, 2006) --Ohio University has recently acquired the private library collection of Dr. David Wyatt, a retired professor of Southeast Asian History from Cornell University. An extensive and unique collection, consisting of approximately 15,000 volumes on Southeast Asia, the Wyatt collection is one of the largest private collections ever acquired by Ohio University's Alden Library.
David Wyatt earned a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University in 1966 and returned to his alma mater to join the faculty in 1969 after teaching at the University of London and the University of Michigan. A well-known expert on Thai history, Wyatt is the author of more than one hundred books and articles. He currently serves as interim curator of the Echols Collection on Southeast Asia at Cornell University.
The collection, half of which is in Thai, includes general works on Thailand, virtually all the Thai royal chronicles, the diaries of King Chulalongkorn, and a vast array of very rare memoirs and cremation volumes. Unique to Thailand, the cremation volumes are published after the death of an individual to memorialize that person's life and career. Publishers generally print no more than 100 of each of these volumes and they can only be acquired at the temples where funeral services are held, so they tend to be rare. Newly acquired materials also include Southeast Asian vernacular and Western-language books and other documents on or from Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, some of which are rare and out-of-print titles.
According to Jeff Ferrier, curator of International Collections and head of the Southeast Asian Collection at Alden Library, the Wyatt collection greatly increases the breadth of the Southeast Asian collection in the Center for International Collections at Alden Library. He saw the acquisition of the collection as a way to increase the library's mainland Southeast Asian holdings. The acquisition of this collection will also help Ohio University to recruit both students and faculty who focus on mainland Southeast Asia, according to Southeast Asia Reference Librarian Jeff Shane.
Shane, who is a scholar of Thai history, and a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Ohio University, has followed the career of David Wyatt and was immediately interested in the library collection when David Wyatt announced that it was available. "The addition of these materials changes dramatically, the scale and scope of our collection's holdings on mainland Southeast Asia," said Shane. "While we have always had one of the best insular Southeast Asia collections in the country, and will no doubt continue in this direction, I think we can now justly claim to have one of the better Thai collections in the country as well."
The Wyatt collection materials will be available not only to Ohio University faculty and student researchers, but also, through inter-library loan, to scholars and researchers around the world. Staff members in Alden Library's Center for International Collections and Cataloging have already started working on processing these new materials.
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