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A Scholar's Gift

Senior Liz Settoducato in the Oliver Reading Room

A sunny space with books lining three walls in Gelman Library, the Oliver Reading Room is home to the Andrew Oliver Book Collection for Classical and Near Eastern Studies, a generous donation to the GW Libraries made by Development Advisory Council member Andrew Oliver in memory of his late wife, the noted archaeologist Diana Buitron-Oliver. Together, the Olivers collected the nearly 8,000 volumes in support of their own research, writing, and curatorial work. Featuring everything from works of recent scholarship to rare editions of important texts, the collection covers the fields of archaeology, art history, ancient history, and philology.

With its emphasis on Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern material, the Oliver Collection complements perfectly one of the strengths of GW’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies: the interconnections among those parts of the ancient world. The Oliver Reading Room also realizes Mr. Oliver’s vision that his gift remain a working collection for scholars.

In addition to making the volumes browsable, the reading room serves as a seminar space for students in Classical Studies, ancient art, and archaeology courses. A large high-definition screen displays crisp images, crucial for art history classes, and a document camera lets instructors show both books and objects to the whole class.

“The Oliver Room acts as a hub, enabling high-tech teaching within arm’s reach of related publications,” Assistant Professor of Classics and Art History Elise Friedland remarks. “It is also an invaluable study space and gathering point for our students.”

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