One very special part of Newcomb's collection of historical records is the personal library of Josephine Louise Newcomb, who founded Newcomb College in 1886 with an initial gift of $100,000 and who gave $3.6 million to support the growing College.

The personal book collection of Josephine Louise Newcomb, which was left to the College, is not a very large one nor a very valuable one as far as book collections go. There is not one particularly rare or valuable book in the entire collection. Newcomb's book collection is valuable and rare in a different way. Its value lies in the insight it can give us into the hopes of the woman who owned it, and also into life in the late 1800s, for it is a typical personal library of that time. Most importantly, the collection reveals much about attitudes toward women of that time, and also these women's attitudes about themselves. Mrs. Newcomb's library is one of great interest to those who care about Newcomb College. In her collection you learn of Newcomb's growth: "We see the early interest of a young unmarried woman in the drama and the Romantic novel; the wife's interest in travel books, and the practical business of housewifery, the mother's sad fascination for the poetry of death and loss during the time when she mourned intensely the death of her daughter;and the older woman's emerging interest in the issues of women's rights, particularly in the right to vote and the right to an equal education. As we read the book's Mrs. Newcomb read, we feel closer to her, and we begin to understand more fully who she was and what she believed."

Excerpts of this page from:
Witting, S."Reflections of Sorrow and Hope."Newcomb News.5(1),p.2-11.(1981).

A virtual tour sample of Josephine Louise Newcomb Collection.

Newcomb Archives and Nadine Vorhoff Library

Newcomb College Center for Research on Women