SE Library acquires extraordinary Shakespeare collection

President Larry Minks awarding Evert Tigner with a special plaque acknowledging his impressive donation to Southeastern.

By Tyler Slawson

Contributing Writer

William Shakespeare once said “‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up but to support him after.” Evert Tigner must have taken this to heart when he chose to donate his collection to the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library.

Tigner’s collection, which consists of a multitude of items relative to Shakespeare including portraits, books, prints, porcelain figures and even china plates, is 50 years in the making.

Kyle Stafford, executive director for university advancement, said the collection really helps to emphasize the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, which occurs every summer on Southeastern’s campus.

In fact, Stafford says that this is the reason for Tigner’s donation. He said, “He has always enjoyed Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival because of his interest and has entrusted us with his collection.”

“It is my pleasure to share my collection with the library at Southeastern Oklahoma State University,” said Tigner, according to an SE press releast. “I also hope my gift will inspire students to discover the importance of William Shakespeare.”

Deann Prince, library assistant/director’s assistant, said the collection was donated to the library rather than the art department, for example, because “we have a room just for that.” She added that the library has the security necessary to keep the collection safe.

Stafford said that the collection may not yet be complete, adding that Tigner is going to be searching for new items to be added to the collection over the next two years.

“We appreciate the arts but this helps elevate our appreciation of the arts” Stafford said.

With the recent recession and many organizations scrambling for money, many students and faculty may be asking about the money spent remodeling the room to be used for the display of the collection. However, Stafford said Tigner paid for it all.

“He has given money for renovations,” said Stafford. “He has given an endowment for support of this room. He has given the collection and all the furniture in the room.” He added the total donation is easily in excess of $50,000.

Tigner is a 1953 graduate of Southeastern and was honored as a distinguished alumnus in 2002. He received his master’s degree from Pepperdine University and has done a great deal of research at Bodleian Library at Oxford.

He taught English and social studies around Los Angeles for 25 years. He has spent the last 20 years studying, buying and selling antiques and art and is considered to be an expert in these areas, according to Stafford.

Currently a special appointment has to be made to view the collection while policies regarding the room are still being determined; however, Stafford says that in the future a key will be available at the circulation desk.

So, even while Southeastern may not be described as feeble, Shakespeare’s words on kindness and philanthropy carry over.

Photo by Dan Hoke