In Memoriam: Henry Posner Jr.-Library Giving - Carnegie Mellon University

In Memoriam: Henry Posner Jr.

Henry Posner Jr., a longtime friend of Carnegie Mellon University and Lifetime Emeritus Trustee, passed away on March 23, 2011, at the age of 92.

Mr. Posner was a quietly influential Pittsburgh entrepreneur, chairman of The Hawthorne Group, former CEO of Pittsburgh Outdoor Advertising, and scientist with the Manhattan Project. He amassed a fortune from various business ventures in his lifetime, and gave most of it away to support education, health care, the welfare of Jews in the former Soviet Union and other philanthropy.

In 1978, Helen and Henry Posner Jr. deeded his parents’ personal library of rare books and artifacts to the University Libraries’ care. In 2004, they built Posner Center to provide the ideal environment in which to secure and display the collection. The LEED-certified facility not only provides museum-quality storage and exhibit space, but also houses the Carnegie Mellon trustees’ board room and serves the university as a premier meeting venue.

Simultaneously with construction of Posner Center, the family launched a foundation to promote awareness and use of the Posner collection for education and scholarship at the university. The Posner Fine Arts Foundation funds two internships per year for Carnegie Mellon students. Student interns work directly with collection materials and create major exhibits on topics of their choice.

Carnegie Mellon University is one of the institutions that the Posner family named to accept gifts in Mr. Posner’s memory. We will use the memorial contributions to enhance projects that were initiated by Mr. and Mrs. Posner and supported by their generosity.

Indicate Library support and Additional Comments: Posner.

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Banner photos
from left:
Helen Posner, Anne Skoog, Ida Posner (Mrs. Henry Posner Sr.) and Henry Posner Jr. in 1978
Helen and Henry Posner Jr. at Posner Center opening in 2004
Posner Center, in granite
"The Hare of the Moon," ivory netsuke from Posner Collection

Henry Posner Jr.

At the opening of Posner Center, 2004.

Henry Posner Jr.

The Posner Memorial Collection of 622 titles includes landmark works in the history of western science, and beautifully-produced sets of literature and decorative arts books. The Posners funded the University Libraries’ digitization of the collection to create an exceptionally accessible fine and rare book library in full text (text and images), including Mr. Posner Sr.’s collection records for each acquisition.

Posner Collection

  • Das Kapital: Illustrious but Ill-Read” … David Haeselin (PhD candidate in Literary & Cultural Studies), fall 2013 
  • “Ancient and Picturesque Edifices: English Country Houses” … Julie Bowman (PhD candidate in English), spring 2013
  • “Seeing is Believing: Arteries, Animalcules, and Asteroids from 1500-2012” … Marisa Colabuono (PhD candidate in English), summer/fall 2012 
  • “The Last Minstrel: Sir Walter Scott and the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders” … Sheila Liming (PhD candidate in English, Literary & Cultural Studies), spring 2012 
  • “Pedals, Pittsburgh and Planning” … Prisca Ohito (CFA and HSS 2013), fall 2011 
  • “Creating & Copying Color” … Hannah Gilchrist, H&SS and CFA 2012 (BHA in Information Systems and Communication Design) spring 2011
  • “The Romance and Reality of Darkest Africa: H.M. Stanley and the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition” … Kate Holterhoff, H&SS 2011 (PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies)
  • Through the Looking Glass: The Changing Experience of Books” … Vanessa L. Koch, CFA 2010 (Design)
  • “Patronage in History” … Mirae Kim, Heinz 2009 (MA in Arts Management)
  • “Poetry and Prose Performances Project, p4” … Jessica Dickinson Goodman, H&SS 2011 (Philosophy)
  • “Representations of Queen Elizabeth I in Literature and Portraiture” … Julianne Mentzer, H&SS 2008, 2009 (English & Philosophy)
  • “The Familiar and the Strange: Science and The Time Machine” … Christine Beaty, H&SS 2008 (Professional Writing)
  • Vanity Fair: A Study in Adaptation” … Deanna M. Mulye, H&SS 2007 (English)
  • “Protean Probability: How A Mathematical Theory of Probability Wrestled Answers from Randomness” … Benjamin C. Jantzen, H&SS 2006, 2010 (PhD in Philosophy)
  • “Charles Darwin's Impact on Science and Society” … Rachel Gougian, MCS 2006 (Biological Science), Heinz 2007 (MS in Public Policy and Management)
  • “Scheherazade's Legacy” … Mary Grace Duncan, H7SS, 2005 (Social and Decision Science)
  • “Music of the Spheres” … Eric J. Goldman, CFA 2005 (MA in Music)

Posner Intern Exhibits