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Trine receives rare book collection
Petitti family donates legacy
Angelo F. Petitti Sr. left a legacy of military service to America, but he left a legacy of another kind to Trine University—the written word.
Angelo Petitti Jr., left, presents Trine University President Earl Brooks with the plaque that accompanied his family's gift of his father's book collection.
When Petitti died at 87 on Aug. 4, 2009, he left behind a collection of over 1,000 antique books. Recently his children, Angelo Jr. of LaGrange, Ind., Donna Vince of Oak Brook, Ill., and Robert of Winfield, Ill. made a gift of his collection to Trine, a private university in Angola, Ind.
After learning a love of books from a Belgian professor during his World War II service with the Army Air Forces, Petitti returned to Chicago and began collecting rare books from the 19th century.
Angelo Petitti Sr.
Fascinated by accounts written by those who lived through major historical events, he collected non-fiction books on American history, on subjects such as the battle of the Alamo. A very rare 1812 account of treaties between Native Americans and the U.S. government drew calls of interest from across the country.
An expert in appraising American history books, he bought and sold books at fairs around the country, earning a reputation among collectors as an authority on non-fiction Americana.
Some of the collection will be placed in circulation within Trine’s libraries, while rare books will be placed in archives, said Trine Vice President for Development Robert L. Remington.
“We are honored to be the repository for a book collection gathered with such passion by an American of distinguished military service,” said Trine University President Earl D. Brooks II. “Mr. Pettiti’s collection views American history through a unique perspective which will prove invaluable to history students of all ages. As an institution of higher learning, Trine University is an appropriate keeper of this historical treasure.”