Nothing Like a Good Book, or Twenty: The Fred Donnelly Memorial Book Sale

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On Monday, Feb. 2nd, the Ward Chipman Library was the center of activity on campus.

Students, faculty, and members of the UNBSJ and greater Saint John community were buying books by the box-load, all in memory of the late Dr. Fred Donnelly, a beloved history professor who passed away last November. All proceeds from the event are going to a new student award in memory of Dr. Donnelly.

“We’ve already sold two tables’ worth of books,” says Dr. Greg Marquis, who helped oversee the book sale, “Here’s hoping that we can sell more.”

The sale began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m., before resuming from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. During the day, several students came to the Ward Chipman Library to purchase books, each person permitted to buy two boxes.

According to Dr. Cheryl Fury, Donnelly’s daughter donated her father’s collection for the sale. The entire collection amounted to a total of 70 boxes’ worth of books.

“For these books, we want them to have a good home, and people want some way to remember Fred,” Fury says, elaborating that, “We’re looking at 2,000 books right now.”

Throughout his academic career, Donnelly amassed quite an impressive collection of books that were hardly limited to historical literature—as expected of a history professor.

There were several titles on history, politics, economics, religion, English, sociology and writing. Among such works included biographies on Napoleon, writing style guides, travel books and religious texts like the Book of Mormon.

Marquis recalls Donnelly as having great tastes in English and history, as well as having several favorite writers. “There’s a lot of military history and political-related books,” he says, “Fred was very eclectic in his interests; he was big on George Orwell and E.P Thompson.”

Donnelly did his graduate studies in Britain during the 1970s, so it’s not hard to see that his collection would be diverse to say the least. In addition to teaching, Donnelly wrote scholarly articles and wrote travel-related pieces. After retiring, he focused exclusively on travel writing for a publication called Troy Media.

The sale began Monday and continued through Wednesday.