Yale Collection of American Literature founder, Owen F. Aldis Y1874, made his mark as a Chicago real estate developer, and he was responsible for some of that city’s most recognizable skyscrapers, including the Montauk, Monadnock, and Pontiac Buildings. Aldis began collecting books around 1890, acquiring primarily American first editions and aiming to include in each volume a letter from the author referring to the specific title. In 1911 Aldis donated his outstanding collection to the Yale University Library, where it has since been maintained as a separate entity with its own curators. In the hope that other Yale alumni might donate their collections of American books, Aldis insisted that the collection not bear his name. Thus, his gift became the Yale Collection of American Literature.
Image: Owen F. Aldis Library bookplate
Exhibited Materials: Books from Owen F. Aldis’s founding gift, including Emerson’s Nature, Poe’s The Raven, Alcott’s Little Women, Barlow’s Columbiad, Hawthorne’s Our Old Home, and many others. Owen Franklin Aldis Library–Checklist & Object Descriptions