Gift From Alumnus to Benefit Lockwood Library

Release Date: December 12, 1996 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The acquisition of a group of scholarly electronic resources in humanities for the University at Buffalo Lockwood Library to support new trends in database research has been made possible through a $50,000 gift from a 1936 alumnus of the university.

The gift from Irma DeVoe will be used to establish the Irma DeVoe Humanities Electronic Text Initiative, which will allow UB students and faculty full-text access to major humanities resources via computer. Databases on American poetry, African-American poetry, the Bible, Shakespeare, 18th-century fiction and the Oxford English dictionary are expected to be available via computer network by spring 1997.

"State funding for the library has declined dramatically, particularly in the last two years, yet we are faced with providing print and electronic materials," said Judith Adams, director of the Lockwood Library. "UB is a research university and we need funding to provide research materials such as electronic text resources.

"We are extremely grateful for Miss DeVoe's generous gift which will enable the library to obtain needed materials for educational and research purposes. With this gift, Lockwood could become the leader for humanities text research within SUNY."

Admiration for the old Lockwood Library, established in 1935 through the support of Thomas and Marion Lockwood, prompted DeVoe, a resident of Honeoye Falls, to make her gift. She has many vivid memories of the library when it opened at its original site, which now houses the Health Sciences Library in the UB South (Main Street) Campus. The new Lockwood Library opened in the North (Amherst) Campus in 1979.

"Construction of the library at the Main Street Campus was completed while I was attending UB and was built to replace the university's old Grovenor Library," said Devoe, who received a master's degree in history from UB. "It was a beautiful, magnificent place with luxurious chairs and surrounded by a quietness that was perfect for studying. The Lockwood Library was grand in comparison to the old library, which I used as a graduate student. I have many good memories of the library."

A native of Batavia, DeVoe taught at a rural Wayne County school after graduating with a bachelor's degree in education from Syracuse University in 1931. During the summer months, she commuted daily by bus from her hometown to attend UB. "I would listen for the chimes on Hayes Hall to determine if I was on schedule to reach my bus to return home," recalled DeVoe, who worked as a graduate assistant in the UB Department of History from 1935-36. "Even though I had to travel that distance, UB was close to my family and gave me a wonderful education."

DeVoe studied history and English with some of UB's most distinguished history professors, including the late Julius Pratt and the late John Horton. One professor, said DeVoe, was "not much older than myself, but he made the class so interesting that the students forgot he was such a young professor. Also, the classes were small, maybe eight to 10 students, because I attended the summer sessions, and gave the classes a more close knit, attentive atmosphere."

Although she has not returned to the Main Street campus since graduation, DeVoe still has deep appreciation for the Lockwood Library.

"All libraries are worthwhile, but Lockwood Library was particularly important to me. Costs for the library are so tremendous today, yet a lot of people don't realize that their help is needed. I'm glad I was able to support the library," said DeVoe.

After completing her studies at UB, DeVoe taught history at a high school in Clyde, N.Y., and later in LeRoy until her retirement in 1970. She was a member of local and state chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international teacher's society, and the American Association of University Women.