Access to research opportunities often relies on available resources upon which to base a scholarly activity. While these resources are often difficult to acquire, Sam Houston State University has recently been provided with a new opportunity. Through the generous donation of his personal library with over 4,000 volumes, Dr. Horace Burke, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at Texas A&M University, has provided his undergraduate alma mater, Sam Houston State University, with an important resource for research.
The main portion of this library, which will be housed along with our natural history collections, includes an extensive collection of works on naturalists and discovery of natural history, and is rich in works on botany and entomology. A few of these books are not even listed by WorldCat® as being held by any other library in the United States!
Another component of Dr. Burke’s donation is what are called his biofiles. This is a collection of biographical information on scientists and naturalists; the availability of this material has already attracted the attention of authors working on biographical studies.
The final part of the donation includes a multitude of reprints of articles and scientific journals. All of these donations enhance the research resources associated with the Sam Houston State University Natural History Collections, which itself is a rapidly growing research center.
The Horace Burke Natural History Library is a very recent acquisition and is still being catalogued with help of librarians from the Newton Grisham Library. Now past the dedication of the library on April 1, 2016, there is still much work to be done to organize the collection and make it accessible for researchers, but researchers are welcome to use these resources.
So, why dedicate and open the library at this time? Well, April 1st is the 90th birthday of our prestigious benefactor.