News Release

Richard Collin Collection unveiled

Southeastern Library announces Richard Collin collection of books, papers and CDs

Contact: Rene Abadie


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COLLIN COLLECTION DEDICATED – Standing next to the stained glass piece “Chaos of a Collector” at the dedication of the Richard Collin Collection in Southeastern’s Sims Memorial Library are, from left, Michael Ledet and Phyllis Mayronne, friends of the late history professor, artist Jerry Hymel, and Library Director Eric Johnson.    

     HAMMOND – The addition of a large collection of books, papers, and music CDs valued at approximately $100,000 from the estate of the late Richard Collin of New Orleans has been announced by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Sims Memorial Library.
     At a formal dedication ceremony Thursday (Oct. 13), Library Director Eric Johnson said the collection from Collin, a former UNO history professor best known as New Orleans’  “Underground Gourmet” for his books and newspaper columns, includes more than 4,000 books on history, art, music and  popular culture and 500 opera and vocal CDs. Also included are Collin’s collection of books and papers associated with President Theodore Roosevelt, an area of history in which he specialized.
     The collection came to Southeastern by way of Collin’s friends Phyllis Mayronne of New Orleans and Michael Ledet, an artist and book designer who moved to Hammond just before Hurricane Katrina.
     Ledet, a member of the executive board of the organization Friends of Sims Library, said he first met Collin in 1968 as a student taking a history course at what was then LSUNO. Later he became friends with Collin and his wife, the late Rima Drell Reck, who taught comparative literature at UNO.
     “He was an eccentric, sweet man, an intellectual in every sense of the word,” said Ledet. “He was my best friend for 45 years.”
     Even after Collin moved to Birmingham following Katrina, Ledet continued to visit, and as Collin became ill, the two agreed that Southeastern would be an excellent home for much of his collection.
     The event also included the dedication of a stained glass art piece that hangs in the library’s lobby. Called “Chaos of a Collector,” the piece was created by Hammond artist Jerry Hymel and depicts stylized books in Collin’s memory.
     A special exhibit highlighting Collin’s life and career with samples from the collection is on display in the Library lobby.

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