May 11, 2006

SIUC's Morris Library receives Carus estate gift

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale continues to benefit from a longstanding relationship with the Carus family, founders of Open Court Publishing of Chicago.

Morris Library will receive up to $450,000 from the estate of Alwin C. Carus, the youngest son of Paul and Mary Carus, the publishing empire's founders. Alwin died in 2004 at the age of 102. According to Edward Carus, trustee for the Alwin C. Carus Estate and Trust, Morris Library will receive about $18,000 per year for the next 20 years from income from a mineral trust. The sale of property in Canada should bring an additional $70,000 to the library.

The relationship between the library and the Carus family and Open Court Publishing, one of the first academic presses in the country without a university affiliation, dates to the 1960s. The collection of manuscripts, books and materials is one of the largest in the library's Special Collections Research Center. The library will use the donated funds specifically for the processing of Open Court and Carus family material for patrons' use.

"What is exciting about the Carus gift is that it is a commitment to a life-long legacy," library affairs Dean David H. Carlson said. "Open Court Publishing and the library have had a long-term commitment. It is wonderfully affirming for such an important member of the family to recognize our relationship, and the contribution of Morris Library to the family's permanence through our stewardship of the Open Court papers and collection."

Rickey N. McCurry, SIUC's vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, noted that cultivating and strengthening relationships is a focus of SIUC's strategic plan, Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment.

"The relationship between the Carus family and Morris Library is an example of a relationship with a modest beginning that has grown over the years to the point where Alwin C. Carus remembered the library in his estate plans," McCurry said. "Thus, this relationship and Alwin's impact will continue well into the future."

Open Court, founded in La Salle, publishes about 15 titles annually in such areas as philosophy, psychology, history and popular culture. It has more than 400 titles in print.