Rare book collection donated to Nicholls library

Left to right: Clifton Theriot, library director; Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president; Stephen Heffker; Teresa Heffker; and Jeremy Becker, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation.  
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — A Houma native donated a rare collection of books from the 19th century to the Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University in honor of his mother.

Stephen Heffker, a Houma native now residing in North Carolina, made the donation with his sister, Diana Guidry, in honor of their mother, Dorothy Heffker (B.A. ‘77). Dorothy, a lifelong educator in New Orleans and at Vandebilt Catholic High School, passed away in 2001. She cared so much for her students that she regularly attended commencement ceremonies at Nicholls to see her former students graduate.

“My mother had strong ties to Nicholls, being an alumna and supporting all of her former students who graduated from here, so what better way to honor her memory than by donating this collection for students and professors to use,” said Stephen Heffker.

The 8-book collection, authored by Madamé Jean DeWitt, was translated from French to English in 1857 and covers the ties between Louisiana and France in the 19th century.

“Donations like these are so important because they strengthen our connection to South Louisiana,” said Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president. “What makes this donation even more special is when the family makes the donation to honor a former student.”

Only 1,000 copies were printed in the U.S. Today, only about 30 complete collections are known to still exist in the United States.

“The collection is in remarkable condition and will be a great addition to the archives,” said Clifton Theriot, director of Ellender Memorial Library.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@www.nicholls.edu