The University of Tennessee Library Friends have begun a new tradition. Each year, gifts to the Library Friends, both large and small, will be pooled together to make a gift to the Libraries. This year’s gift is a rare 1725 first edition of Deo Optima Max, an important work on botany and medical properties of plants of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Libraries will celebrate and formalize the Friends’ gift with an event Thursday, March 14, at the John C. Hodges Library. Join us at 5:30 p.m. for a reception in the Jack E. Reese Galleria, followed by a lecture at 6:30 p.m. Botanist Ron Petersen will detail the significance of Deo Optimo Max. Petersen is an Emeritus Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. He has drawn international recognition for his research and knowledge of mushrooms, fungi and biology of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Deo Optima Max is the work of the renowned 18th century French naturalist Bernard de Jussieu. The unassuming little pamphlet (only four pages) is actually quite a rarity. One copy of the 1725 edition is located in the National Library of France, but there are no recorded copies of the first edition in America.
Deo Optima Max will reside in our Special Collections, where the showpiece will strengthen our existing collections related to Appalachia. Special Collections actively seeks material to support UT’s Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection and the study of Appalachian history, culture, and natural history.
Future annual gifts from the Library Friends may be a rare book, funds to support a renovation to one of the libraries, or new technology that will move the library forward. Gifts will be celebrated each spring to show the Library Friends how their donations make a difference to the students, faculty, and UT community.