H. Gordon Smyth presents antique Shakespeare books to Mary Baldwin

August 2, 2001

Wednesday, August 1, 2001, H. Gordon Smyth, husband of Mary Beth Reed Smyth, Mary Baldwin class of ’46, presented Mary Baldwin President Cynthia H. Tyson with three books inherited from his mother. The books were The Works of Shakespeare with Notes, by William Knight, Volumes 1 and 2 and Vol. 2 parts 1 and 2. They are thought to have been published between 1870 and 1890.

Smyth’s mother, Jessie Edwards, inherited the books from her adopted father, Burd Edwards of Pottsville, PA. The donation of these books benefits Mary Baldwin’s new Master of Letters program in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, which opens with pilot courses this fall. The new graduate program is offered by Mary Baldwin University in partnership with Shenandoah Shakespeare.

Smyth said, “These are not to be treated as a rare books, but should be opened and used by students.” The books were re-bound by Mary-Parke Johnson of Orange, VA, a conservator in private practice. All three are newly bound with German small board, vellum tips for strength and handmade Italian end leaves. The book labels are leather stamped in gold.

Mary Baldwin University is a multi-faceted liberal arts college in Staunton, Virginia, with three residential programs for women – the traditional program, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, and the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership – as well as coeducational, non-residential Adult Degree and master’s programs. Mary Baldwin offers the B.A. and/or the B.S. in 32 majors, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with K-8 emphasis, the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, and post-graduate teaching licensure (PGTL). The oldest women’s college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Mary Baldwin was founded in 1842 and is also the first women’s college to be granted a circle of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. It is one of only 262 colleges and universities to house a chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

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