In spring 2011 the decision was made to integrate the Kuehner Collection at Christian Brothers University in Memphis and the Lemke Napoleon Collection at DePaul University in Chicago. The Lemke collection has been enhanced with estate gifts from Chicagoans Max Thorek and Milton Lewis and the collection is now over 4,000 volumes.
In October of 2011 the Kuehner books and materials (over 1,300 pieces) from Christian Brothers University were hand delivered to the Richardson Library at DePaul. The administrations of both DePaul and CBU were excited and pleased that these two collections would help one another in being an important collection of Napoleon materials for researchers. Those wishing to use the Lemke Collection may do so by contacting Special Collections at www.library.depaul.edu.
Leslie H. Kuehner was a devoted bibliophile whose collecting energies were focused on work relating to the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte. The period of his collecting career spanned eight decades and culminated with the gift of his collection of books, sculpture and other memorabilia to Christian Brothers University in 1978 shortly before his death. The collection, which Kuehner believed may well have comprised the most complete private collection of its kind in the world, cost him over $15,000 to assemble in his lifetime.
When the collection arrived at Christian Brothers University it was a rich trove of approximately 1300 books and other Napoleonic memorabilia. While the collection is composed of books in twelve languages (English, Russian, Arabic, Flemish, Swedish, Japanese, Norwegian, German, Italian, French, Greek, Polish and Braille), only a handful of books are written entirely in French, Napoleon's native language. The real strength of this collection is its English materials which expose the British reaction to this French phenomena through books written during Victorian and Edwardian years about Napoleon and his campaigns.
In January of 1995 the entire collection of books was placed under the care of Brother I. Leo O'Donnell Archives. Christian Brothers University was fortunate to have this valuable collection.