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Event to celebrate our rare book collection

Image of painting of the Princess and the title of the event

Join us for an event April 19 at 4:00 pm to celebrate more than 50 years of collecting rare books at Atkins Library! We will take a deep dive to learn about one of our most fascinating collections and then put the spotlight on a few of the other gems that are enjoyed by students and scholars who visit the Dalton Rare Book and Manuscript Reading Room. (RSVP)

The family of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and King George III were avid fans of the theater, sometimes even inviting famous actors to their homes for play-readings. At the center of their enthusiasm for the theater is an extensive collection of English drama collected by Princess Augusta Sophia, George and Charlotte's second-oldest daughter. Join us as we learn about the royal family's bibliophilia and this collection's fascinating journey on its way to a home at UNC Charlotte centuries later, in 1971.

But this was just the beginning of rare-book collecting at Atkins Library! We will also glimpse highlights from the next 50 years of acquisitions and learn the rich histories of many of the rare and distinctive books that have fascinated students and scholars alike for generations. Among the books discussed will be Moby Dick, Leaves of Grass, and works by Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass. 

As an added bonus, we will also hear about two original letters in our collections from Queen Charlotte: one regarding the health of another daughter, Sophia Matilda, and the other to her son, William.


Andrew Keener earned his Master's degree in English from North Carolina State University and his Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He has been teaching and advising for the UNC Charlotte Honors College since 2021, and he researches and writes in his spare hours. His scholarly interests include early theater, the history of translation, and the history of printed books.

Robin Brabham is the founding director of Special Collections at J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte, a position he held from 1973 until 2007. He received his B.A. in French and History from Furman University, his Master of Librarianship from Emory University, and his M.A. in History from UNC Chapel Hill.

Event Details

  • The Julian D. Mason Talks on Book Collecting: Princess Augusta Sophia Collection of Drama and Other Rare Treasures from Atkins Library
  • Wednesday, April 19, 4:00 pm
  • Dale Halton Reading Room
  • Main Floor, J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
  • RSVP

About the Mason Talks

The Mason Talks on Rare Books and Book Collecting were endowed by an anonymous donor to honor Julian D. Mason, who was a Professor of English and administrator at UNC Charlotte for more than 20 years. He was also a consummate book collector and a generous library benefactor.

More Information

Contact Dawn Schmitz, Associate Dean for Special Collections and University Archives, 704-687-1674