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January 26th, 2016

‘Recovering Bibliophile’ Donates Library’s Worth of Books to Mayo Clinic

By In the Loop

Retired physician W. Bruce Fye donated 9,000 "rare, valuable" books from his personal collection to Mayo Clinic.What do you get a "recovering bibliophile" who, due to his self-confessed condition, seems to have every medical book ever written? If you're Mayo Clinic, perhaps you carve out a section of your History of Medicine Library for part of his collection and rename the library in his honor. And as the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports, that's what Mayo recently did for retired physician W. Bruce Fye, M.D., who donated 9,000 "rare, valuable" books from his personal collection to Mayo Clinic, and another 2,000 to Assisi Heights. (Lest you worry that the good doctor has nothing left at home to read, the P-B reports the donations only accounted for "about a third" of his collection).

While getting his name etched into Mayo Clinic history is undoubtedly nice, Dr. Fye, of course, tells the P-B that's not why he did it. "When I was going through the (donated) books, it was a really good feeling," he tells the paper, adding that making the donation "was absolutely the right thing to do. I think Mayo Clinic is a magical place — and I'm not paid to say that. I just really believe it."

"Magical" is also a word that could be used to describe Dr. Fye's massive in-home medical library. So well stocked is the space that the P-B reports Dr. Fye developed "his own personal filing system, allowing him quick access to research materials in one of the best medical libraries in the world."

It's a system that's helped him to not only publish "thoughtful medical pieces in prominent journals," but also a 672-page book on the history of Mayo Clinic. "I realized this was a terrific way to marry my passion for old books and journals with questions," Dr. Fye tells the paper. "I discovered there was almost nothing written on medical history. I was like a new discoverer, sort of like the people who discovered Yosemite or Antarctica."

It's that kind of "steadfast devotion to his craft" that's attracted "a legion of local admirers" throughout Dr. Fye's career, including Matt Dacy, director of Mayo Clinic Heritage Hall. "Dr. Fye has made many important contributions to Mayo Clinic," Dacy told the newspaper. "Dr. Fye's energy, insights and enthusiasm are an inspiration, as is the support he so generously gives to colleagues and patients."

You can read more about how Dr. Fye's love of books is benefitting Mayo Clinic (and the world) here. Then, be sure to benefit us with your comments below. You can use the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.

Tags: Dr W. Bruce Fye, Employee Stories, History of Medicine Library, Matt Dacy, Mayo Clinic Heritage Hall

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