Professor Stan Shelmidine and His World

Stan's Library

Rare Books

Within Stan’s extensive library are numerous rare and old books, each with their own history and value to Stan. As an avid book collector, Stan likely received or purchased many of these pieces during his travels. Included in the Shelmidine collection are pivotal history writings of Europe and Middle East. Stan’s love for historical texts was no secret, as he held membership in multiple book clubs and societies.

Title page of the General History, with artwork of a stand decorated with lions, knights, unicorns, and minarets surrounding the text

The Generall Historie of the Turkes by Richard Knolles, 1610

Originally written in 1603, this 1610 edition is the oldest book in Stan’s collection (pictured on left). Richard Knolles, an English historian and traveler, collected and wrote of Ottoman rule through social, economic, and political events. The Generall Historie was the first historical account in English of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Stan may have acquired the book as a gift or through a rare book vender.

Constitutional Government in the United States by Woodrow Wilson, 1908 (pictured below)

Woodrow Wilson outlined the future United States president’s recommended government changes including the elimination of political parties. Written during his presidency at Princeton University, Wilson signed this copy as a gift to Sir Edward Grey. Stan left a typed note describing how he came to acquire this copy, which he certainly valued, ensuring its history would not be forgotten.

"The Constitutional Government in the United States" by Woodrow Wilson    The page with Woodrow Wilson's signature

The Qur’ān al-Karīm, on a patterned stand

The Qur’ān al-Karīm

Part of the Collins Memorial Library Religious Texts Collection, the Qur’ān al-Karīm is a handwritten Ottoman Qur’an from Hacilar village in the Karnobat district of Burgas Province in eastern Rumelia, a part of the Ottoman Empire that roughly corresponds with current Bulgaria.  While the author and date of the Qur’an are at present unknown, it must have been created some time prior to the end of the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire was broken up and the present Balkan States were first formed.  The work itself, acquired by Professor Stan Shelmidine, is hand-bound in maroon leather over a cardboard backing and features page after page of remarkable, fluid calligraphy, not to mention the many floral-themed illuminations.

A page from the Qur’ān al-Karīm, with a line of floral artwork on the left side 

Travel Literature

"Middle East Pilgrimage," "Bagdad," and "Not to me only"    "The City of Sultans," and "Around the Black Sea"

Stan owned a number of travel accounts, written mainly by young, American men between the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As travel was only available as a privilege of the upper class, young men and women documented their adventures for others to experience. These texts were published with the intent to foster religious inspiration or to educate readers of other countries and cultures. Today’s readers would note the tone of these writings romanticize and often exaggerate their experiences. Stan would certainly have gathered curiosity and inspiration for his future travels and studies.

Political Literature

A book open to "The life of Mahomet, Fifth King of the Turks"

Stan’s collection contained works, commenting and describing the political states of countries in the Middle East. While some provide historical accounts, others are autobiographical writings.


Professor Shelmidine's books, artifacts and more may be found in Archives & Special Collections at Collins Memorial Library.