The Million Volume Tradition

With six gifts presented by a single family in honor of each of the University Library’s million volume acquisitions, the University of North Carolina is unique among research libraries in the tradition of a single family presenting a gift to the Library in celebration of each of the six millionth volume acquisitions. The Library achieved its first millionth volume in 1960. On this occasion, a gift by the Hanes family allowed the Library to purchase an extraordinary copy of John Gower’s Confessio amantis (1483). This book was one of eight recorded copies printed by the first British printer William Caxton. Of particular interest was the binding done by Caxton’s house binder. Subsequent study of this volume revealed a second Caxton imprint; a broadside indulgence of Pope Sixtus IV (1481) had been used as part of the binding structure. (A binder removed the indulgence and restored the binding in 1975.) In 1974, Frank Borden Hanes, representing the Hanes family and the Hanes Foundation, presented the two-millionth volume on University Day. The selected volume, Dame Juliana Berners’s Book of Hawking, Hunting and Heraldry (St. Albans: Schoolmaster Printer, 1486), sometimes called the Book of Saint Albans, was another landmark of early British printing. This edition was probably the first English book to employ color printing.

In 1984, the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation provided funds for the acquisition of the Library’s three-millionth volume—in this instance not a single volume but three hundred volumes printed by the Estiennes, an important dynasty of scholar-printers working in Paris and Geneva during the sixteenth century. In 1992, the Hanes family celebrated the Library’s four-millionth volume with a gift in honor of the retiring University Librarian James F. Govan, Anne Bradstreet’s Several Poems (Boston: Printed by John Foster, 1678), the first book of poetry by a woman to be published in America.

In 2000, the Hanes Foundation provided funding for the acquisition of a William Butler Yeats collection of 1,200 volumes. The turn of the new century seemed a fitting time to strengthen the Rare Book Collection’s holdings with so comprehensive a collection of the most important English-language poet of the twentieth century. The six million volume gift of John Keats editions permits the Rare Book Collection to build on strength and to better serve the University and research communities. The millionth volume tradition is just one dimension of the Hanes Family’s commitment to and ongoing support of the Rare Book Collection, the University Library, and the University.

The Hanes Family Legacy

You may depend upon our continued,
liberal support...

Hanes Foundation for the Study of the Origin and Development of the Book

To tell the story of the Hanes Family and the Library in full, one must begin not in 1960 when the Library first reached the million volume mark but eighty years ago. In 1928, Librarian Louis Round Wilson discovered that a collector of incunabula (books printed before 1501) wanted to dispose of his collection in the state of North Carolina. Upon learning of Dr. Frederic Hanes’s potential interest in supporting this endeavor, Wilson packed a few choice items and headed for Winston-Salem. Hanes, who later became the head of the Department of Medicine at Duke University, was captivated and immediately wrote to UNC President Harry W. Chase:

I told Dr. Wilson that my brothers and I would like to establish some permanent endowment as a memorial to our mother and father, but that we did not consider these books, valuable as they are, suitable for the purpose unless they were made the nucleus of a larger collection, selected to illustrate the origin and development of the book.... Such a collection separated from the general library and given a special room where they could be studied and used easily, might be a very worthwhile thing; simply mixed in with the general library they would, in my opinion, lose their effectiveness.

We will start such an endowment.... You may depend upon our continued, liberal support of such an endowment, provided it be proved by trial to be a worthwhile, dignified department of the library.

Wilson Library, 2008. Photograph by Bill Richards.

Wilson Library, 2008. Photograph by Bill Richards.

By 5 April 1929, Dr. Hanes (Class of 1903) was able to announce to the Graduate Club of the University the establishment of the Hanes Foundation for the Study of the Origin and Development of the Book by his brothers and sisters as a memorial to their parents, John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes. When Frederic Hanes died in 1946 a number of important volumes were left to the Library, most notably the Kelmscott Chaucer of William Morris, the “Doves” Bible of Emery Walker and T.J. Cobden Sanderson, and the exquisite fifteenth-century manuscript codex known as the Hanes Book of Hours (Manuscript 10). It was not until 1952 before the “special room,” the “worthwhile, dignified department,” would become a reality.

Hanes Family Library Endowment

In 1972 the Haneses established the Hanes Family Library Endowment, which permits the Library to continue to build strong literary and cultural collections; to enhance strengths in the history of printing, publishing, and the book arts; and to undertake new collecting initiatives. The base of support F. Borden Hanes, Jr. presenting the five millionth volume in 2000.
F. Borden Hanes, Jr. presenting the five millionth volume in 2000.
established by the Hanes Family and other donors has allowed the Rare Book Collection, the Special Collections, and the Library to build research collections of national, even international, importance. In addition to acquisitions, the Rare Book Collection uses income from the endowment to provide for exhibitions, programming, publications, and scholarly lectures. Since 1980, when the Hanes Lecture series began, the Library has been able to bring to Chapel Hill internationally prominent scholars, publishers, and writers to speak on topics within the general areas of the history of the book and bibliography. The Haneses’ generosity continues to support and add to the Hanes Family Library Endowment, furnished the conservation laboratory in Wilson Library, completed the purchase of the papers of Walker Percy and Shelby Foote, and has created or added to several library endowments honoring friends and university supporters.

True Philanthropists

Frank Hanes in the Rare Book Collection Reading Room
in 2008. Photograph by Bill Richards.
Frank Hanes in the Rare Book Collection Reading Room in 2008. Photograph by Bill Richards.

The support of the Hanes family has never been limited to funding. Two members of the current Hanes family—Frank Borden Hanes (Class of 1942) and his son, F. Borden Hanes Jr. (Class of 1967)—have been among the most significant philanthropic supporters the university libraries in Chapel Hill have known. Carrying on the tradition established by the children of John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes, who were Frank’s grandparents, each has played a role in nurturing the excellence of the collections and services. A novelist, poet, journalist, and businessman, Frank has been actively interested in the Rare Book and North Carolina Collections, and has been a major supporter of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at Carolina. He served as chairman of the Friends of the Library from 1964–1968, and presented the first, second and third millionth volumes to the Library as gifts from the Hanes family and, later, the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation. Borden Hanes, also a businessman and philanthropist, helped form the first board of directors of the Friends of the Library in 1986, served as its chairman from 1991–1996, and remains a member. He played a leadership role in the fund-raising effort on behalf of the Library during the Bicentennial Campaign from 1989–1995 and has made the millionth volume presentation to the Library since 1992.

The story of the Hanes family of Winston-Salem is one of long, vital, and distinguished involvement with the University, its Library, and the Rare Book Collection. Their tradition of service extends far beyond their unprecedented recognition of the millionth volume milestones. They have unfailingly provided that “continued, liberal support” promised by Dr. Frederic Hanes four score years ago, which has allowed the Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to build the collections that secure our niche among American academic research libraries. There are no words sufficiently eloquent to express our thanks.

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Presenting John KeatsExhibition Index
Presenting John Keats
The Million
Volume Tradition

The Life and Legacy
of John Keats

Presenting John Keats:
Work and Reappraisal

The UNC John Keats Collection
Selected Bibliography