New Bookcase in Brandeis Library Previously Owned by Alumni, New Jersey Governor

A large wooden bookcaseA new bookcase in Rapaporte Treasure Hall had a decades-long history with alumni before arriving at the Brandeis Library this summer.

The Victorian-era bookcase was previously owned by Peter Stark (‘71, MA‘75, MA‘10) and then Scott Lasensky (PhD ‘01). After Stark passed away in 2012, Lasensky, a close relative and also a Brandeis alumnus, came into possession of the bookcase. Thinking it would be a perfect piece for the Brandeis Library, he reached out to the university and arranged the donation in honor of Sid and Ida (Edelman) Stark, and their children Barry, Peter, and Robert.

The Library was an important place for Stark and Lasensky throughout their academic careers, with Lasensky estimating that together they logged thousands of hours there between the ‘60s and ‘90s. He believes his family would appreciate the bookcase’s new home in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall, where it will be used to display remarkable memorabilia from the Brandeis Library.

“They were doctors, patrons of the arts, and teachers, and the Stark, Edelman and Lasensky families have long been devoted to community, education and the Jewish people—and all those roads lead to Brandeis!” Lasensky said.

In addition to Brandeis alumni, the bookcase had other notable former owners. The bookcase was in the Stark home in Freehold, NJ for decades, with the family often remarking about how it was owned by “a former governor of New Jersey.” Although the details had been lost, in moving the bookcase to Brandeis, papers were found that confirmed it had indeed belonged to Walter Evans Edge, a prominent political figure who was twice the governor of New Jersey, a U.S. senator and a former American ambassador to France.

The Library is touched by the support of alumni who have appreciated their time here and who return to continue their support of the Library years after graduation. Alumni are the lifeblood of financial support and community wellbeing, and contributions allow the Library to continue providing materials and services to the campus every day.