Wednesday, November 20, 2019
The Providence library recently acquired a large donation of books, DVDs and CDs from the estate of the late Dr. Wendy Beauchemin Peterson. Wendy had always made it clear to Terry Kennedy, Director of Library Services, that her collection would someday make its way to Providence. Unfortunately, it came much sooner than anyone would have imagined or hoped. Wendy passed away suddenly on September 28, 2018 while on vacation in Paris. Wendy was a Providence alumna and long-time faculty member as well as a friend to many in the Providence community.
Of the 284 donated books, the vast majority are on the topic of Indigenous people’s history. Wendy was Metis and a founding board member of NAIITS. In June 2018, Wendy defended her Ph.D. dissertation, A Gifting of Sweetgrass: The Reclamation of Culture Movement and NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, through Asbury Theological Seminary.
Terry said receiving this donation is a welcome addition to Providence’s already well-rounded collection of Indigenous studies books. It is an extremely high quality collection of books that will benefit students of Providence’s Indigenous studies courses. Providence receives many book donations but Terry said it’s rare to receive a collection of this depth. A number of the donated books were on Terry’s wish list so it was an added blessing as it hadn’t been in the library budget to purchase them yet.
One of Wendy’s former students had the opportunity to purchase some of the titles that the library already had, after offers to other local institutions’ libraries were declined. She looked up to Wendy as a mentor, as they shared the same Metis heritage, and said it touched her heart to have the opportunity to own some of Wendy’s extensive collection. She most looks forward to reading Wendy’s notes in the books as a way to continue learning from her even though she is no longer physically with us.
It is a blessing to have Wendy’s incredible legacy live on through the donation of her vast book collection. Her husband Ed said that Wendy would have been overjoyed to know that her books would be read and used by others. He felt it was a natural fit to have them donated to Providence and he’s happy that they can be used by our students.
Each of the donated books has a nameplate on the inside cover acknowledging Wendy’s gift to Providence.