Donation Spotlight: Karen Gould’s Books Find New Life at UTSA

May 16, 2013

By Stephanie Sanchez, Communications Specialist

Folded in the hundreds of thousands of books on the third floor of the John Peace Library is a collection of art history books with a history of their own.

These volumes on medieval studies, codicology, and the history of books and printing once belonged to Karen Keel Gould, Ph.D., a published scholar who taught courses at the University of Texas at Austin. After retiring, Gould decided to donate more than 1,000 books from her personal collection to the UTSA Libraries between 2001 and 2006.

“The books were from my work as a medievalist and reflected my career and interest,” Gould said in a letter in 2001 to the university. “I am delighted that the collection will be at your institution, and I hope the students and faculty benefit from its presence in your library.”

Gould, who died in April 2012, worked on illuminated manuscripts and early printed books. Her scholarly articles appeared in The Art Bulletin and other distinguished and peer-reviewed publications. Her book, “The Psalter and Hours of Yolande of Soissons,” was published in 1978.

She received her bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees from UT-Austin. She was a vising professor at the University of Oregon in 1980, and held a Mellon Fellowship at Duke University from 1980 to 1981. She then taught courses on the Gutenberg Bible and the history of the book at UT-Austin until 1988.

Gould’s husband, Lewis L. Gould, Ph.D., also worked as a professor at UT-Austin alongside now UTSA President Ricardo Romo. Lewis Gould reached out to Romo about the book donation in the early 2000s.

“When her scholarly career came to end because of her health issues, Karen was very pleased to donate her academic and art books. … She was delighted they had found such a good home,” he said. “Her books provide your students with a core set of volumes about medieval and Renaissance art that would have been difficult to assemble in any other way.”

The books are being put to good use, as they comprise a large majority of the Libraries’ collection on medieval manuscripts pertaining to civilization, history, literature and more, said Shari Salisbury, a librarian who specializes in art and art history.

Unlike other subjects that are easily accessible online, she said, many students, faculty and researchers in art history mainly use books for their work.

"Dr. Karen Gould's books have been a great benefit to student and faculty researchers interested in medieval studies," Salisbury said. "We are grateful she generously donated her well developed collection to our university, enhancing the scholarly resources available to generations of students to come."

To honor Karen Gould, the Libraries will add a book to its collection through the Memorial Book Program.