The John S. Best Collection in Special Collections
The John S. Best Collection was begun in 1997 when Bests widow, Helen M. Best, donated her husband's library to the Golda Meir Library as a way to honor his memory. John S. Best, a noted Milwaukee lawyer, conservationist, and dog breeder, built an extensive collection of books on a variety of subjects before his death in 1989. The collection reflects Mr. Best's deep interest in wildlife, outdoor sportsmanship, and the breeding, raising and showing of dogs, especially Irish and Smooth Fox Terriers. The core and strength of the collection rests on rare and historically significant materials relating to dogs and dog breeding.
The collection is intended to support interdisciplinary study in such UWM programs as English, sociology, art, and the history of science, as well as teaching and study in the general community. The collection holds over 400 titles in first, early, and special editions, of which approximately three-quarters are cynological. The books Mr. Best collected on Irish terriers undoubtedly forms one of the most extensive collections about this breed to be found anywhere. Imprints in the collection range from 1642 to the present, with the vast majority concentrated between 1870 and 1980.
Mr. Bests personal papers have been added to the Librarys Archives as "UWM Manuscript Collections 149," and includes runs of many serial publications and catalogs put out by American and European dog clubs and breeding associations. The finding aid to that collection may accessed at: http://www.uwm.edu/Library/arch/findaids/uwmss149.htm.
To view all the materials from the John S. Best Collection cataloged in PantherCat, UWMs online catalog, click HERE.
Special Collections continues to add materials to the John S. Best Collection only in areas that relate to dogs and dog breeding published before 1970, and in materials that document the movement to preserve prairie chicken populations in the upper Midwest. Materials on dogs published after 1970 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Currently, materials for this collection are acquired only through private donation.
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