Endowed Funds - O

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  (Note: The Endowed Funds History is alphabetized by the last name of the person(s) named for the fund.)
The Hiram Olsan Fund
Date Established: 1947

The Hiram Olsan Memorial Fund was established in 1947 by relatives and friends of Dr. Hiram Olsan, Class of 1905. The purpose of the fund was to purchase rare books, specifically 15th and 16th century volumes for the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. In the first thirty years of the fund, the Library was able to purchase significant and beautiful additions to the Library's holdings of incunabula (books printed before 1501) and 16th century books. The first purchases from the Olsan Fund was a copy of Diogenes Laaertius' Vitae et sententiae philosophorum published in Venice in 1493, a pamphlet titled Epistola de C. Plinii Secundis patria by Matthaeus Rufus in 1496 (the only known copy existing in the United States), and a 1486 Venetian edition of Flavius Josephus' Opera.


Robert Metzdorf, renowned librarian, wrote that from "a biographical standpoint, probably the most interesting purchase from the Olsan Fund is a puzzling little book by Francesco Negri, entitled, Epistole, sive opusculum scribendi epistolas, published in Paris by Michael le Noir, probably about the year 1493. This handbook to letter writing was written by Negri, a Venetian who taught at Padua and died in the latter place in the year 1513. Since the book was a popular compilation, very few examples of this edition have come down to us, and the only other copy recorded is in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris."

The Ira M. Olsan Book Fund
Date Established: 1961

The fund was established upon the death of Ira M. Olsan, MD, with the stipulation that the gift "has come from a fund established by both my brother David B. Olsan and Ira M. Olsan, MD, and shall be limited to the purchase of books." Dr. Olsan, Class of 1914, willed his entire estate to his brother, David Byron Olsan, with the provision that if David predeceased him the estate was to be placed in trust and the income apportioned as stipulated. David Byron Olsan did predecease Ira. Dr. Olsan had many University connections. His sister Esther Olsan Hyman, Class of 1917, brother Hiram Olsan, Class of 1905 (MD), and Barbara R. Olsan, Class of 1936.

The Jennie and David Byron Olsan Memorial Gift
Date Established: 1974

This fund was established by the family to purchase books for the Rush Rhees Library in the field of economics.

Samuel and Rachel Leah Olsan Endowed Book Fund
Date Established: 1949

This fund was established by a gift from Ira M. Olsan, M.D. to purchase books for the River Campus Libraries in the field of general science.

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