Beloved Fairbanks historian and author Terrence Cole loved books. Now, his massive collection of books will help pay for renovations at Noel Wien Library.
“This is something he would have approved of and liked a lot, I think,” said his twin brother and fellow historian / journalist Dermot Cole. Terrence Cole died in December 2020.
The books will be available to the public, via donation, in the Noel Wien auditorium from 10 am to 6 pm April 22 and 10 am to 5 pm April 23. Anyone who acquires a book will also receive a special bookmark, designed by Terrence’s son , that shows photos of Terrence reading to his kids and a quote from Thoreau that he liked.
“Terrence was a true collector of Alaskan / Northern memorabilia,” said his sister-in-law, Debbie Carter. “But he also read many of these books. There are notes with his handwriting in many of them.
“In addition to books, he collected political stuff, like Bill Egan bumper stickers, matchbooks and bumper stickers from a variety of candidates, historical newspapers (Truman elected, Alaska statehood, etc), magazines, maps, historical photographs and CDs.”
“Mostly, it’s books,” she added.
The more than 2,000 books include Alaska and Northern topics, covering history, politics, geography, fisheries, Alaska Natives, social commentary as well as US, European, Russian and world history, biographies, fiction and kids books. There is a first edition of Ulysses S. Grant Memoir, Volume 2, from 1886.
A former geography major, he also collected two full boxes of atlases and a wide variety of maps.
“Not only was his house overflowing with books, he filled a shed with them,” she said.
“He was driven as a collector, but also took joy in the collection,” Carter said. fad in the early 1900s. ”
“He loved going to bookstores and buying books wherever he went,” Dermot Cole said. “Often he would go in, spend an hour or two or three, then emerge with a box he would mail home.”
In addition to books, he bought lots of old copies of newspapers, including the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and magazines.
“Everything he bought, he bought because he thought it was interesting and he might use it in a class,” Cole said. “He used hundreds of these things in class over the years. He would construct lectures by gathering information, the same way historians and reporters work. ”
His literary tastes were wide-ranging and there was really no place for the entire collection to go, said Cole. The family also donated books to the Alaska Historical Commission for their online fundraisers and to the Literacy Council of Alaska.
The event was initially planned for last year, but rescheduled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The family hopes the community will offer generous donations for the books, which will benefit the Noel Wien Library Expansion and Renovation Fund. This project is slated to break ground in spring of 2023 and will create additional children’s room square footage, a new teen space, an active learning lab, additional community meeting spaces, and overall facility renovation and modernization.
Terrence Cole served many years on the library commission and would have liked the idea of donations from the books helping the library foundation, which is raising funds for this project, Cole said.
“He cared a lot about the library and spent a lot of time there, and at the Rasmuson Library,” Cole said. interesting materials, ”said Melissa Harter, director of Fairbanks North Star Borough Libraries.