Quincy University’s new library exhibit, Hidden Treasures, is currently on display on the main floor of Brenner Library. The exhibit features a variety of rare pieces from the library’s extensive archives.  The exhibit runs through May 2020 and is free and open to the public during library hours.

“I named this exhibit hidden treasures because many people don’t realize the richness of the QU archives,” said Pat Tomczak, dean of library and information resources. “We would love for the community to visit the exhibit; we are happy to show it off.”

The exhibit includes books from the library’s rare and general collections as well as photographs and memorabilia from Fr. Francis Borgia Steck and Harry Hyatt. Also included are Japanese artifacts that belonged to Fr. Leopold Tibesar, M.M., who served as a priest to Japanese-Americans in 1942, at the internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho. Additional items on display include various memorabilia from Quincy University history as well as publications by local authors.

Of particular interest is the Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton (1854-1897) collection. Tolton was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886. A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, he lived here in Quincy and studied at Quincy University.  He died during a Chicago heat wave in July of 1897 and is buried in Quincy. In June of 2019, Pope Francis issued a “Decree of Heroic Virtue” advancing the progress toward sainthood, and authorized the title of “Venerable”.

The rare book collection, which was brought from Germany when the friars immigrated in the 1850s, occupies a special temperature-controlled room in the library and numbers about 3,500 volumes.  Forty-two volumes of this collection date from 1450-1500 and are given the special title of “Incunabula”.  They are among the oldest and rarest books in print.

“It is really interesting to see how the technology of the printing press evolved and its effect on society, “said Tomczak “It parallels the advent of the personal computer. That’s why interacting with the archives is so important. It allows us to draw on past experiences and connect them to our own.”

Brenner Library is open Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday closed and Sunday 5 – 11 p.m.

For more information, or to schedule a lecture or tour, contact the library staff at 217- 228- 5432 ext. 3800.

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University (www.quincy.edu) is a Catholic, co-educational, residential university offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs that integrate liberal arts, active learning, practical experience, and Franciscan values. Quincy University’s intercollegiate sports are members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference for men and women. For more information, please contact the Quincy University Office of Community Relations by calling (217) 228-5275.