A Family Tradition: An Exhibition of Books from the Gifts of George Eckels and Virginia Eckels Malone


The exhibit offers a selection from the gifts of two generations of notable book collectors and supporters of the University of Chicago Library. Begun in 1916 with the gift of George Eckels's collection of Cromwelliana, the Eckels family's generous support of the University Library has been continued by his daughter Virginia, culminating in her 1979 additions to the Library's collections. Born in 1863, George Morris Eckels was a resident of Hyde Park and a Chicago lawyer. A student of English history, Eckels collected books and pamphlets on Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War. After his death Mrs. George Eckels gave his collection of over 500 volumes to the University Library. This gift greatly enriched the Library's holdings, and the Library continues to hold one of the most comprehensive collections of Cromwelliana available for scholarly research in this country. Virginia Eckels, born in 1893, married aspiring caricaturist Robert Malone in 1920. The two founded The Smithtown News in Long Island, leading Virginia to develop her interest in local history and eventually to serve as the trustee of several local and state historical societies in New York. She was a notable collector of fine books, and her bequest to the University Library in 1979 contributed significantly to the Library's holdings in history, and in finely bound, finely printed, and lavishly illustrated books.