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Dr. Ong Discusses his Passion for Antique Book Collection

February 5, 2019

In the first in a series of CNR faculty lectures sponsored by College Advancement this spring, Dr. Nelson Ong, Associate Professor of Political Science, spoke to an audience of students, staff, and area residents about what drives his passion for book collecting. During the lecture, Ong shared his impressive collection of antique books and rare illustrations. His collection is a reflection of his love for history, architecture, and his alma mater Oxford University.

Ong shared the backstories to many of the pieces showcased. He explained how he came to own them, why they are significant to him, and even delved into how much they have grown in value since his acquisitions, though in his eyes their historical significance are the biggest draws.

“That’s the passion of a book collector. When you’ve got a purpose for it,” said Ong. “The purpose isn’t for making money off it. It’s because of the strong interest you have for it and you learn something from it. You learn about the art, you learn about the history, and you want to preserve it. Some of these things draw you in.”

Some of the items included in Ong’s collection can be viewed both in person and online (Dr. B. Nelson Ong Exhibit ) in a special exhibit in Gill Library, put together by CNR archivist Sr. Martha Counihan and digitized by Brunie Lopez.