Dr. Tritt's Story
Don Tritt’s 40 year passion to experience the land of his ancestors brought him to the Swiss Center of North America in April 2012, with 5,250 pound of books and other treasures. Above you see Don and Alex Champion adding Don's collection to those the library shelves. With four additional volunteers, it was a labor of love.
It took about 5 days to carefully unpack some 4,000 volumes merged them into the Swiss Center’s holdings. The oldest and most rare book measures just 2 ½ inches wide by 4 ½ inches tall, and is a 1627 printing of “Helvetiorum Respublica” written in Latin by renowned Swiss historian Josias Simmler.
As professor of psychology at Denison University in Ohio, Tritt had the opportunity to travel, and with each trip he searched for books in the U.S., England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Australia, and not surprisingly Switzerland. Why did he start this collection? “As a little kid, I remember stories being told that were so exciting about people who lived somewhere else (Switzerland). As I grew older, I realized I needed to know my own identity.”
As he explored his personal Swiss roots, Tritt collected not only written material, he also accumulated 17,000 Swiss postcards from 1895 to 1945; stereoviews from 1860 to 1940, early advertising art and binders filled with fascinating pins. Adding Tritt’s holdings to the Swiss Center’s library means there are approximately 9,000 books and artifacts representing what the Swiss Center believes is the largest focused library on Switzerland and Swiss Americans.
Swiss Center President Beth Zurbuchen thanks those who continue to support the only Swiss center in North America. “As a nonprofit organization, continued public financial support will ensure that Don’s legacy continues to live on for generations to come.”
Back home in Ohio, Tritt wrote in an e-mail to Zurbuchen, “Two sentiments linger - the sense of relief that my library is now safely planted in its next home and that its current home is of the highest quality.”
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