The collection will complement the teaching of professors Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, the husband-wife scholars who jointly hold the Norma Jean Calderwood Chair in Islamic and Asian Art, endowed by a $2 million gift from Stanford Calderwood two years ago.
"The study of Islamic art has blossomed in the United States," said Bloom. "The collection will provide BC students with a core of basic works. There are a lot of treasures in there."
Norma Jean Calderwood, a Harvard-trained art historian widely traveled in the Orient, lectured in the BC Fine Arts Department from 1983 to until her retirement in 1996.
Active on the Boston arts scene, she was a lecturer and overseer at the Museum of Fine Arts, an overseer and trustee at Boston University's Huntington Theater, a volunteer at Harvard's Fogg Museum, a member of the board of the Boston Baroque and a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum.
Bloom and Blair were graduate students at Harvard with Norma Jean Calderwood in the 1970s.
"This book collection is a living gift," said Bapst Art Librarian Adeane Bregman. "It allows the spirit of the collector, Norma Jean Calderwood, to be continually transmitted every time one of her books is opened and read."
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