If you are interested in military,
diplomatic or political history, you will want to stop by Special Collections
to see this wonderful gift recently donated by the family of the late
Richard F. Casper. This collection of several thousand books, includes
materials on the American Revolution, World War I and World War II. The
American medical corps and service academies, literary works and military
biographies plus first editions of works by C. S. Forester, Bruce Catton,
John Hersey and Sir Winston Churchill are among the treasures.
Richard Casper's father, Andrew Casper, started the collection
with purchases of naval history books. Casper eventually took it over,
shifting its focus to combine his own love of books with an interest
in the American military and the history of uniforms.
Along with the books are specialized journals, maps,
recordings of military music, and artifacts. Casper's interest in the history
of uniforms, insignia, flags, and weaponry led him to collect a wide
variety of graphic materials that show these in accurate historical detail. There are hand-colored prints, colored cigarette cards as
well as an extensive collection of hand-painted ceramic mugs and steins.
Casper was also a longtime member of the Military Miniature
Society of Illinois (MMSI), one of the country's largest and most important
military miniaturists organizations. In the collection are hand-painted
miniature soldiers depicting troops from the French and Indian Wars and
the American Revolutionary War.