The Brian S. Donaghey Center for Boethian Studies

The following is adapted from a press release prepared by LCU upon the establishment of the Center, in recognition of the generous gift from the Donaghey estate and in gratitude for the support of the International Boethius Society as this exciting project begins. 

As co-editor of Carmina Philosophiae, the journal of the International Boethius Society, Dr. Kenneth Hawley, Professor of English at Lubbock Christian University, was recently given the opportunity to manage a special collection of texts related to Boethius. The books were donated to the LCU by the estate of the late Professor Brian Donaghey, a scholar from the University of Sheffield, UK, and a Trustee of the Society. Through the work of his colleague and co-editor, Professor Harold Kaylor of Troy University, arrangements were made in August of 2015 for this library of materials to be given for the creation of the Brian S. Donaghey Center for Boethian Studies. 

Professor Donaghey passed away that same month, and in March of 2016, Dr. Hawley traveled to Sheffield, England, along with Dr. Kaylor, to stay with Brian’s widow, Helen McIlroy, who graciously hosted them there and helped select and pack the over 450 volumes that were shipped to LCU for the Center. Originally housed in an office in the LCU Honors College, the collection was moved this month to a suite in the Administration Building, adjacent to the University Library.

“When I heard about the collection, I was a bit overwhelmed; I could hardly believe it,” Hawley recalled. “There was a lot of the unknown. We knew that it was going to be a great collection; we just didn’t know all that it would include. As it happens, it includes nearly everything of importance. We’re amazed and thankful that something like this is possible.”

“The topic itself, the works, the figure of Boethius, and the ideas engaged in his most famous text, the Consolation, are things that a small, private liberal arts university could be committed to in the liberal arts tradition,” Hawley explained. “As a school, we always want to strive for greater academic rigor, we want to provide our undergraduate students opportunities for research and for learning, but we also want to make sure we continue to engage the larger academic community. And this is one way that we can do that.”

“Boethius is worth knowing because he’s worth knowing,” Hawley said, “not just because other important people cared about him. He’s worth caring about here and now. The works themselves need to be preserved. Many of the items in this collection are quite rare. Some of them are very hard to come by.”

The collection features multiple editions and translations of the Latin Consolation, including:
  • 46 English translations, including editions from King Alfred the Great in Old English, Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English, Queen Elizabeth I in Early Modern English, multiple rare English translations from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and multiple scholarly translations from the 20th and 21st centuries,
  • 50 Latin editions and commentaries (dating from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries), and
  • 22 German, French, and Italian translations (dating from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries).
The rest of the collection includes over 300 volumes of primary and secondary texts related to Boethius, his translators, authors influenced by him, and the historical context of his life and times.

Near term goals for the collection include:

  • Organizing, securing, and storing the texts, especially the older and more fragile works,
  • Arranging works for display and use in a reading room with proper preservation and security standards in place.
The primary long term goal for the collection will be:
  • Digitizing the early works in the collection to make them available to users online in an official website with an interactive catalog and reading interface,
  • Organizing opportunities with faculty and students for undergraduate research, and
  • Continuing collaboration with the International Boethius Society and other researchers who will help in preserving Boethius’s legacy.