University Libraries Celebrate Nicholas A. Basbanes Collection

By Marketing and Communications | 02-06-2020

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS (Feb. 6, 2020) - The Texas A&M University Libraries are pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition: “The Eternal Passion: Nicholas A. Basbanes and the Making of A Gentle Madness.” The exhibit will open August 3 at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, and will run until Nov. 30. Nicholas A. Basbanes is an award-winning investigative journalist, columnist and author of 10 books, including Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Knopf, 2020) which will be released in June. Basbanes’ extensive archives and professional library were acquired by Texas A&M University in 2015.

Basbanes’ first book, A Gentle Madness, is a genre-defining work about the culture of book collecting. Since 1995, it has captured readers’ imaginations with chronicles of the well-known bibliophiles and bibliomanes of history. “The characters who populate this book are almost larger-than-life,” Libraries Curator Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Their adventures in book collecting are at times astounding, heartbreaking, or just stranger than fiction.” 

The exhibit will showcase manuscripts, correspondence, artifacts and books to tell the story of the authorship and publication of A Gentle Madness. “As a whole, A Gentle Madness is an enchanting book about books,” O’Sullivan said. “But the tale of how it was researched and written - the labor of love that produced this work we now know so well - is just as compelling.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

For more information about this exhibition or the Nicholas A. Basbanes Collection, please contact Kevin O’Sullivan at

Media contact: Lauren Waugh,, 979.458.2420