Terre Hill physician leaves treasure of rare books

The cover of one of the hundreds of local almanacs to be sold in the October 13 Dr. Robert B. Hess book auction.

LANCASTER —When local family physician Dr. Robert B. Hess passed away on July 14 this year, he left behind a trove of old and rare books on topics ranging from nature to Mennonite history to the Civil War.

On Saturday, October 13, 9:00 AM–2:00 PM, much of Dr. Hess’s prized collection will be sold in a book auction organized by Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society at the Fivepointville Fire Company, 1087 Dry Tavern Road, Denver, Pa.

The sale will include dozens of first editions and copies autographed by authors, including Mennonite and church literature and theology from Harold Bender, Guy Hershberger, C.S. Lewis, Orie Miller and John Howard Yoder. A first edition of Amos B. Hoover’s The Jonas Martin Era is one of only 650 copies printed.

A mosaic of publications on local history includes a rare 1875 atlas map of Lancaster County by Everts and Stewart and hundreds of agricultural almanacs printed in Reading and Lancaster as early as 1839. Local family and church histories are also available in good condition.

National Geographic magazines from the early 1900s will be sold in complete sets, with some runs stretching over two decades. These and other iconic twentieth-century periodicals—The Guardian, The London Illustrated News, The Saturday Evening Post—often include advertisements coveted by collectors.

Robert Buckwalter Hess (1923-2012) of Terre Hill, Pennsylvania, delivered over 14,000 babies in his career as a doctor, from 1950 to 2007. When he wasn’t practicing, Dr. Hess often had a book in his hands. The October 13 sale will include over 3,000 volumes.

A free catalog is online at www.lmhs.org. Printed catalogs may be purchased for $8.00 ($4.00 for Society members) by writing to usedbooks@lmhs.org or calling (717) 393-9745.

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