Ralph Besse, 1906-2002, a notable Heidelberg alumnus, donated his personal library of published correspondence in 1967 to establish the Besse Collection. This collection has grown to more than 8,000 volumes and is shelved within and outside the Besse Room on the second floor of the library.
This collection represents a broad range of subjects and time periods. Many Civil War letters are available, as well as correspondence between authors, statesmen and artists. It includes books of letters written by pioneer women, children at camp, immigrants and slaves. It is a wonderful source of primary information and includes many rare and unusual items.