Looking for a corporate sponsor with a sense of history

John Stuart Mill’s library is falling to bits because of a lack of funding. There cannot be a lot of money required, and some corporate philanthropist ought to be able to come up with the needed money out of petty cash. Mill wrote the greatest book ever written on the market economy, his Principles of Political Economy. Now is the time for some business to return the favour. The following is a note that has been sent out alerting the rest of us to the problem.

Dear Colleagues

I have received an appeal which I think is worth communicating to you. I hope many will heed it and make a donation, it is well worth it.

Oxford’s Somerville College was given John Stuart Mill’s library by Harriet Taylor’s daughter, Helen Taylor. The collection contains books which had belonged to John Stuart Mill and, even more, books which had belonged to his father; many books contain ample marginalia by one or other of them. Unfortunately the books are in a state of decay and an appeal has been launched to raise the funds necessary to their restoration. I hereby copy part of a message I have received from Dr Anne Manuel, librarian of Somerville College:

“we are now getting serious about preserving the Mill Collection and the marginalia contained therein. I am going to be putting in for some grants over the summer but we are starting off with a student-organised crowdfunding campaign to enable us to get started with a preservation survey and some initial boxing and box-shoeing of delicate volumes. As you expressed an interest in the annotated collection, I wonder whether you might promote the campaign to anyone you felt might be interested in supporting this? We are hoping to set up a Friends of the John Stuart Mill Library group with speakers/events/news updates etc and I can give you more detail about this as we go if you would be interested (or indeed any of your colleagues)

The link to the crowdfunding site is here.

Thank you for any help you can give us with this – it would be very much appreciated!”

Giancarlo de Vivo

Dipartimento di Economia, Management, Istituzioni
Università di Napoli “Federico II”
via Cinthia – Monte S. Angelo
80126 Napoli

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