Family donates $45,000 worth of Civil War books to library

When Earl R. McLoney learned his great-great uncle was a Union soldier who died in the Civil War, he began reading as many Civil War books as he could and visiting battlefields.

It was the beginning of a lifelong interest in the Civil War.

Through the decades, McLoney, a family doctor in Norwalk, Ohio, amassed a collection of an estimated 550 Civil War books, many of which focused on Civil War surgery and medicine, and artifacts. He participated in historical and Civil War organizations.

“As long as I can remember, he collected Civil War stuff,” said his eldest daughter, Karen Stormer of Troy. “As kids, we visited every battlefield at least once. You could tell he was picturing the battlefield and how the battle took place.”

After Earl and his wife, Evelyn, died, the family wanted to find a good home for his beloved collection of books, valued at $45,000. After much research and searching, they decided to donate the collection to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums.

The McLoneys’ three children – Stormer, Gail Klein of Delphos and Dr. Mark McLoney of Cleveland – and their families made the donation on Saturday, Aug. 26. The collection ranges in books from the 1860s to 2010 and covers topics including medical books, regimental histories and personal memoirs.

“It’s valuable especially for the medical part,” said Becky Hill, head librarian at the Hayes Presidential Library. “The personal memoirs are valuable. Those are primary sources.”

When the books are catalogued and entered into online databases, more researchers will know they are available at the Hayes Presidential Library, Hill said.

“Our goal was to have it all together as much as possible,” Klein said. “It’s nice the collection will be intact here. I know our dad would be pleased.”

The Hayes Presidential Library is a fitting place for the books because President Rutherford B. Hayes served in the Civil War and rose to the rank of general. Hayes also catalogued and carefully preserved his books and artifacts, just as Earl did with his, Mark said.

“I’m just excited that something my dad loved and took so much pride in is going to have a good home,” Mark said.

“He just loved these books,” Stormer said. “We hope people enjoy reading them.”

The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is very grateful to the McLoney family for this important donation, said Christie Weininger, executive director.

“The research value to our patrons and staff is tremendous,” Weininger said.

The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is America’s first presidential library and the forerunner for the federal presidential library system. It is partially funded by the state of Ohio and affiliated with the Ohio History Connection. The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is located at Spiegel Grove at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues.

For information, call 419-332-2081, or visit rbhayes.org. Like HPLM on Facebook at fb.me/rbhayespres and follow on Twitter at @rbhayespres and Instagram at rbhayespres.