“I remember writing to Santa Claus and asking for books. I have a collection of a lifetime”
-Judge Jack E. Hightower
Welcome to a new series about our Book Vault. The vault holds many rare and collectable books along with many other special items from our collections. Today’s installment will focus on its namesake, Judge Jack E. Hightower and his flagship collection.
In 2009, the Poage Library dedicated the Jack E. Hightower Book Vault, now home to Hightower’s collection of over 3900 books. A large portion of the titles relate to presidential subjects, with nearly 200 volumes about Abraham Lincoln, Judge Hightower’s hero. His love for books is home-grown as Judge Hightower credits his father’s devotion to reading as his inspiration.
Judge Hightower developed a unique hobby of collecting signed books. As a young man, Hightower approached former Texas Governor and then Baylor President, Pat Neff to sign a book. Speaking about his collection of presidential signatures, Judge Hightower states, “I’ve been lucky through the opportunities that my career has afforded me to obtain books that were inscribed to me by many presidents.” Today, the volumes of Hightower signed books number well into the thousands.
Through Judge Hightower’s generosity, he has entrusted his special collection to Baylor University. All of the Hightower books are cataloged and are available for viewing at the Poage Library by appointment.