E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., a distinguished lawyer in the District of Columbia, generously gave his remarkable and unique collection of over 1,000 inscribed books to the Greenfield Library in several installments, beginning in 1997.
A true lover of books, Prettyman believes the value of a book is raised significantly if it is signed by its original author. He believes books are even more valuable if they are inscribed with elaborate personal inscriptions.
A true bibliophile, Prettyman decided that it would be best for his collection to be housed at a College that is also a lover of books.
The Prettyman collection is an eclectic mix of books which spans from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. The collection includes, but is not limited to, books signed by important political figures artists, American, British, French and German literary authors, Nobel Prize winners, and contemporary authors. The current exhibit showcases books signed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Mann, Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Albert Camus, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dali, Jorge Luis Borges, Kenzaburo Oe, Franklin Roosevelt, Herman Hesse, Samuel Beckett, and more.
"The generation of mankind is like the generation of leaves. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the living tree burgeons with leaves again in the spring."