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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

student life

Lilly Library obtains ‘Dame of Dictionaries’ collection


IU’s Lilly Library has taken possession of book collector Madeline Kripke’s wide-ranging dictionary collection, according to an IU News article. Kripke, also known as the “Dame of Dictionaries,” collected more than 20,000 linguistic books in her lifetime. 

Kripke kept the books in her apartment in New York City until her death in April 2020, according to the article. One of her dying wishes was to create a public dictionary library, leading to IU gaining ownership after her passing.

Michael Adams, provost professor and chair of the department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, met Kripke through the Dictionary Society of North America, according to the article. After Kripke’s death, Adams reached out to the Lilly Library Director Joel Silver to begin acquiring her large dictionary collection. 

"It was of primary importance to the community of dictionary people that the collection stay together," Adams said in the article. "But we knew Madeline would have wanted the collection to end up at a public university, where all the very rarest materials would be available to everyone."

At this time, only a third of the collection, 6,000 volumes, from the Kripke collection have been inventoried at the Lilly Library. 

"We're very pleased to be able to preserve Madeline Kripke's remarkable collection here at the Lilly Library," Silver said in the article. "We'll always be grateful for her unrivaled knowledge and dedication, which enabled her to assemble this matchless resource.”

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