Books to Benefit and IWU Partner to Preserve Rare Book
Books to Benefit, a local nonprofit organization that sells donated books to raise monies for area literacy programs, has partnered with Illinois Wesleyan University for the preservation of a rare text from the early 19th century.
At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14, a first edition copy of William Wilberforce’s 1807 A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formally presented to President Eric Jensen of Illinois Wesleyan University at the Ames Library. The book will be added to the university’s holdings and become part of the archival library collection with emphasis on Social Justice.
Wilberforce was a member of Parliament a philanthropist and a leading abolitionist. His work, and this text in particular, influenced the British Parliament to pass the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire and specifically focused on shutting down the Atlantic slave trade. This act preceded a similar one in the United States in 1808, although it would be another 25 years before Britain abolished slavery itself and another 55 years before Lincoln would issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Wilberforce’s book played an important part in influencing American history. Finding a local home at Ames Library ensures its preservation for future generations,” shared Books to Benefit President Jackie Langhoff. “We are passionate about literacy and preserving scholarly works like this one that have such significant historical content.”
Books to Benefit is a local 501(C)3 nonprofit organization passionately working to support literacy. The proceeds of its semiannual book sales benefit STAR Adult Literacy and YouthBuild McLean County’s literacy programs, provide financial support for the Books to Benefit Community Service Scholarship Award at Heartland Community College, encourage volunteerism through community service, and assure that works of scholarly importance and/or unusual publication history or content find appropriate homes offering ready access to these works.