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A place for art, books, conversations

A place for art, books, conversations

Teri Rizvi November 16, 2021

Lewis Carroll’s whimsical words from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland greet visitors on a plaque outside the door of the new Stuart and Mimi Rose Gallery in Roesch Library.

“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?”

“I like this quote so much,” said Kathy Webb, dean of University Libraries, at the gallery’s dedication on Oct. 26. “It represents what this space is and can be — a place for art, books and conversations.”

And it’s fulfilling that promise. In the gallery’s first three weeks, 1,336 visitors — including UD classes, a team from the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and three vans of visitors from Goodwill Easter Seals — viewed its opening exhibit, UnDesign the Redline.  At the dedication, visitors strolled around the spacious first-floor gallery to glimpse the traveling, interactive display that describes the painful legacy of 1930s redlining in Dayton and what the community can do today to dismantle racial segregation.

University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina called the Rose Gallery “a crossroads for a campus dedicated to learning about humanity, whether from rare books or a redlining exhibit — or any number of future displays that will give voice to the deepest questions of our times.”

“This will be a place of shared dialogue,” he told the standing-room-only crowd. “It will be a place for curious minds and for lifelong learners. It will be a place of quiet reflection as students, faculty and staff stop in to soak in the exhibits.”

“It will be a place of quiet reflection as students, faculty and staff stop in to soak in the exhibits.”

In the past decade, local philanthropists Stuart and Mimi Rose “have become dear friends and benefactors to the UD Libraries and the campus,” said Webb, noting that she and colleagues were “awestruck” when they visited Stuart’s world-class library of rare books.

“We had the opportunity to touch and view a first edition Galileo, a book signed by Abraham Lincoln, the original typewritten manuscript of Malcolm X’s autobiography and the galley proofs for Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy,” remembered Webb. “And those are just a fraction of the rare books and manuscripts in Stuart’s library.”

Since then, the couple loaned 50 of the oldest and most important works in history for an Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress exhibit that drew thousands and set the stage for future collaborations. They’ve also donated a number of books, including a “He” version of the 1611 King James Bible, to the library’s growing rare books collection.

“When Kathy brought professor after professor out, I saw the love they had for books. I saw how rare books could be used to teach classes,” said Stuart Rose, one of the world’s preeminent collectors. “It’s a great honor to have my name on this room. You have one of the greatest libraries I’ve ever seen.”

“You have one of the greatest libraries I’ve ever seen.”

The University has become a home to the couple, so it’s apt that the Rose name graces the gallery.

“We’re grateful, joyful and very appreciative to be part of the University and your family,” Mimi Rose said.

Dali drawing from Alice in Wonderland
An illustration of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Salvador Dalí, part of the books and pages on display during the "Imprints and Impressions" exhibit in 2014 featuring rare items from the Rose Rare Book Collection. (1969, New York; portfolio of illustrations by Salvador Dalí; signed by the artist)


Storied Books: From the Rose Rare Book Collection