Humble beginnings inspired Milwaukee native, Otto A. Lempke, to admire Napoleon Bonaparte. As he became more prosperous through education and career, he avidly added Napoleonic literature to his personal library. While comprehensive, his collecting focus was on biographical accounts of Napoleon and the military campaigns. His untimely death at the beginning of the Great Depression necessitated the need for his heirs to sell his library so that his estate would remain solvent. The 4,000 volumes purchased by DePaul University in 1937 formed the basis of the Napoleon Collection.
Since that time, additional gifts have enhanced the collection. In 1984, the son of Hungarian-born Dr. Max Thorek donated 221 books and broadsides from his father’s collection which included extra-illustrated editions of Napoleon, the French Revolution and the Royal Family. In 1999, an estate gift from Milton Lewis, a 1977 graduate of DePaul’s College of Law, included ceramic figurines and hand-bound books with medallions and engravings of Napoleon embedded in the covers. In 2010, Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, transferred the Napoleonic collection of Leslie H. Kuehner with its wealth of English language first editions and other novelty publications to DePaul’s Special Collections.
Allegorical portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte from Mouton-Fontenille de la Clotte, Marie Jacques Phillippe. La France en délire, pendant les deux usurpations de Buonaparte. Lyon: Guyot Frères, 1815. SPCN. 944.05 M934F. Otto A. Lempke Collection.
Illustration of Robspierre from extra-illustrated edition of: Roland, Mme (Marie-Jeanne). The Works (never before published) of Jeanne-Marie Phlipon Roland, wife of the ex-Minister of the Interior, containing her philosophical and literary essays written previous to her marriage, her correspondence, and her travels. To which are annexed the Justification documents relative to her imprisonment and condemination. The whole preceded by a preliminary discourse, interspersed with notes, illustrative and explanatory, by L. A. Champagneux. Tr. from the French. London, J. Johnson, 1800. SPCN. 944.04 R744W. Max Thorek Collection. Gift of Dr. Philip Thorek.
Frontispiece: [Potter, Louis Joseph Antoine de] Saint Napoléon au paradis et en exil suivi d’une épitre au diable: poèmes avec des notes / par le Révérend Père*** 2e éd. Paris : Chez les principaux libraires, 1827. SPCN. 944.05 P867S2. Otto A. Lempke Collection.
"Qui, Satan tu veux faire une ample et riche proie." Interior illustration: [Potter, Louis Joseph Antoine de] Saint Napoléon au paradis et en exil suivi d’une épitre au diable: poèmes avec des notes / par le Révérend Père*** 2e éd. Paris : Chez les principaux libraires, 1827. SPCN. 944.05 P867S2. Otto A. Lempke Collection.
Cover. Bayati, A. Eskandar. The Final Events of the Life of Napoleon. [S.l.] : Hekmat Book Store, [1940?] SpCN. 944.05 B356f1940. Collection of Leslie H. Kuehner. Gift of Christian Brothers University.
Title page. Mudford, William. An historical account of the campaign in the Netherlands, in 1815, under His Grace the Duke of Wellington, and Marshal Prince Blücher, comprising the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo; with a detailed narrative of the political events connected with those memorable conflicts, down to the surrender of Paris, and the departure of Bonaparte for St. Helena. Drawn up from the first authorities by William Mudford. Illustrated by ... official documents, and other papers, hitherto unpublished ... Embellished with a series of plates, descriptive of the country between Brussels and Charleroi from drawings ... by James Rouse, esq. Also a plan of the battles, and a map, shewing the march of the allied armies to Paris. London, H. Colburn, 1817. SPCN. 944.05 M943H c.2. Leslie H. Kuehner Collection. Gift of Christian Brothers University.
"Lion de Waterloo: the lion at Waterloo". Handcolored illustration from: Souvenir de Waterloo. Bruxelles: Litographie Royale Gobard, .
SPCN. 914.93 S729L1830. Gift of Norbert Jacker.