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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Exhibition Highlights Donated Collection of Rare Fish Books

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers the public a glimpse into the worlds of fine printmaking and rare books with "Ichthyology in Print (1554-2004): The Gerald F. and Marjorie G. Fitzgerald Fish Book Collection."

The exhibition is on display through June 30 in the University Archives and Special Collections Gallery in Room 332 of the FGCU Library. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Five centuries of Western printmaking, typography and bookbinding are represented in the Fitzgerald collection of 142 ichthyologic reference books valued at nearly $1 million. Printed in seven languages, the monographs donated in 2009 serve as an exemplary compilation of fish scholarship, including pre-Linnaean (pre-1735) naturalists, with anatomical and descriptive surveys of fish species throughout the world. Many of the volumes contain rare hand-tinted plates preserved in vivid color.

"Ichthyology in Print" highlights selections from the collection with enlarged prints that enable viewers to appreciate the fine details in the etchings and engravings from which the illustrations were printed. Also on display are the seminal works "Piscium, Serpentum, Insectorum," written and illustrated by Mark Catesby and originally published in 1750; and "Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische (A General Natural History of Fish)" written by Marcus Bloch and published in Berlin between 1782 and 1795.

The Fitzgerald collection provides a valuable academic resource for FGCU and serves as a lasting memorial to the generous spirit and curious mind of Gerald F. Fitzgerald, a successful Chicago banker and bibliophile who vacationed and wintered in Naples for four decades. He died at 85 in October 2010.

"He had deep ties in Southwest Florida," said James G. Fitzgerald, one of the Fitzgeralds' five children and also a seasonal Neapolitan. "FGCU seemed the best fit to leave a mark on Southwest Florida."

The donation was administered by the FGCU Foundation, which supports the University's mission by securing gifts on its behalf, managing its endowment and allocating funds that advance student achievement and enhance academic programs.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Melissa M. VandeBurgt at or (239) 590-7658.

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