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Indiana University Bloomington

Online Tour: Mendel Room

Portrait of Bernardo Mendel
Foyer | Main Gallery | Lincoln Room | Ellison Room | Elisabeth Ball Room
Slocum Room | Reading Room | Portrait Gallery | Mendel Room | Wordsworth Room

This room is named for Bernardo Mendel, whose extensive personal library of books and manuscripts on European expansion into the Western hemisphere, particularly the Spanish empire, came to Indiana University in stages between 1961 and 1967. A small selection of his books is kept in this room. The room is furnished in the style of late fifteenth-century Spain.

Books were an avocation in Mr. Mendel's early years, but they became a full-time occupation with him in the later years of his life. He followed with the greatest interest the book trade in Europe and the Americas up until the day of his death. He thought of books as the chief of his legacies to posterity, and his last years were spent enlarging, rounding out, and perfecting his collections.

Bernardo Mendel also had a lifelong interest in music. Periodically, from 1961 to the end of his life, he made gifts to the Lilly Library of selected works from his extensive private collection of music, both orchestra and piano scores. After his death the Lilly Library's collections were further enriched with rare editions of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Richard Wagner, Weber, and many other composers. Mr. Mendel had purchased the collection of sheet music formed by the late Dr. Saul Starr, of Eastchester, New York and in 1970 the Starr sheet music collection was given to the Lilly Library. It consists of more than 100,000 items covering almost 300 years of national, folk, and popular American music.

The books and manuscripts which Bernardo Mendel assembled, now in the Lilly Library, will serve and inspire future generations of scholars, teachers, and students.

Above: Portrait of Bernardo Mendel, 1895-1967
photograph © Dave Repp, 1997.